This question is just for curiosity... Was wondering would it be possible to create an entirely mechanical motorcycle (no electricity used anywhere)?

It would have to have; no spark plugs (diesel), no headlights/taillights, mechanical gauges, mechanical fuel pump, carburetor, mechanical throttle cable, push starting only (not sure this would work with diesel) etc.

Something seems appealing about the idea... An entirely mechanical motorcycle, metal/rubber and liquid fuel, in an electronic filled world. A true machine, breathing and making fire.

Anyway does it seem possible in theory and what do you think of the idea?

  • You could but it would not be street legal. Diesel bike requires No electricity to operate. – Moab Aug 26 '16 at 21:47
  • You don't need no new fangled electric lights, just use good ole acetylene. Just make sure to not refill with the water from the town's horse trough or you'll poison the horses. To get it Dot approved you should probably start with a really old bike, that would have come with acetelyne lights originally. That way you might find a state that will let you register your bike as a 1913 Indian, or whatever. – Eric Nov 6 '18 at 2:43

It's very possible. Most pre-Disco bikes were 100% mechanical plus bare-minimum electrical for street-legal reasons like brake lights. Electrical accessories like a starter came way before EFI systems.

mechanical gauges, mechanical fuel pump, carburetor, mechanical throttle cable

Check, check and check. My 2006 bike worked like that. My 2013 bike still has a mechanical throttle cable. Traditional-style bikes (and some scooters) with the fuel tank in the "normal" place and a carb don't have fuel pumps. Gravity handles fuel delivery to the carb.

push starting only

You have apparently forgotten (or are too young to know about) kick starters.

Regarding ignition, you do not need an electrical system for spark plugs. You need a magneto. Self-contained gizmo that generates the necessary energy for the spark. Yes, it's "electrical" but it's very simple and single purpose - it doesn't run on 12V. Modern light aircraft still use magnetos for ignition as they are extremely reliable - all they need is engine rotation. This minor exception eliminates the considerable difficulty of a small-displacement diesel engine.

It seems what you want is a not-too-new Harley minus the headlight. Drive in daytime, stick your arm out to signal turns and it might even be licensable.

  • magneto creates electricity...."(no electricity used anywhere)?" – Moab Aug 26 '16 at 21:49
  • That's ok it's a good answer and it was specified as an exception to make things easier. Btw ya just momentarily forgot about kick starters, remembered after i posted it. – Guest Aug 27 '16 at 10:11

I'm sure it's quite possible. But I don't think the Amish ever built motorcycles. I had a "Sundowner" mini-bike that was quite close, but still employed a magneto on what was basically a pull-start Tecumseh lawn mower engine.

Even a small diesel is going to be difficult to start manually without some electron flow somewhere.

  • magneto creates electricity.....:"(no electricity used anywhere)?" – Moab Aug 26 '16 at 21:48

Depending on your jurisdiction you need electrical driven headlights, turn signals and horns (Myself imaging a steam horn, lol).

The engine itself could be a small, all-mechanical diesel. I found out that there still exist some old engines (Hatz L1, Deutz MAH 914 and others) but they all are too heavy (200-300 Kg)

So I guess when you go strictly non-electrical it will be quite a challenge

  • 1
    Another popular diesel engine is the Lister. It is widely use in remote areas to power various items/devices (especially small river boats). And would generally have an added AC generator for lighting. Hand started or foot pump started. But lets not forget the "first" motorcycle, the Roper steam velocipede. – spicetraders Aug 24 '16 at 15:48

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