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How To Build A Motorcycle Out Of Recycled Tires
By Jennifer Spears
Check out our latest project…this motorcycle that we made out of recycled tires!
This time of year is great for us. The garden is in, and the weeds are out. The chickens are free ranging and feeding themselves. The bees are happily gathering pollen and nectar, needing very little care from us. How then, do we spend our free time?
We create yard art, and other fun things for us to enjoy around our homestead!
After living in town for 16 years, we really appreciate the privacy that we have now. Our property is mostly wooded, and our house sits square in the middle. Whoever build this place certainly had privacy in mind, because our driveway is long and curvy, so we can’t be seen from the road.
We love it! Not only can we wander outside in our night clothes whenever we want…but we can also decorate and arrange our yard and play areas any way we choose…without worrying about uptight neighbors!
This past weekend, we spent an afternoon making a new toy for our yard…this motorcycle!
As a family, we are very committed to recycling, so we would rather create new things out of old tires than just send them to the landfill!
Plus we love unique things!
This project is based on a picture that we saw on the internet awhile ago, but we couldn’t find directions or a tutorial anywhere, so we had to figure it out on our own, using the picture as a guide.
From the picture, we could tell that we needed 6 tires for the body of the motorcycle, and that one of them (the base) needed to be a bit larger than the others. We also needed old bicycle handlebars and at least 1, maybe 2 more tires to cut for the seat and the fenders.
Luckily, my husband is very handy and a genius (yes…I really mean it!!!) when it comes to figuring things out. If I had tackled this project on my own, I would have used a ton of duct tape and my glue gun!
Okay…maybe not…but the truth is, I had no idea how to hook the tires together and make the motorcycle sturdy and safe, so I’m really happy that my husband is around a lot to help. This whole pretirement thing is working out pretty good!
How We Did It
First off, it’s important to remember that working with old tires is not a one size fits all operation. This post is not meant to be a complete step by step guide. This is how we made our play motorcycle out of the tires we had. If you make one, please use common sense and adjust your plans as necessary. If the tires that you use seem to need more bolts to make your end result safe…please…USE MORE BOLTS!
Cutting…and drilling…tires, is dirty and smelly work, so we recommend wearing a dust mask to protect yourself. It’s also good to have a few extra sets of hands around to hold things in place.
Before we began, we prepared all of the tires by drilling holes in what would be the lowest part of each, to allow water to drain. Stagnant water is a not a good thing…ever!
We started the motorcycle by bolting the three center tires together, using 3 inch bolts (1/2 inch wide) with flat washers and nuts. We pre-drilled the holes using a 1/2 inch bit.
Using the same bolts, we then attached them to the larger, base tire.
For the tires, we used this RUST-OLEUM metallic finish paint that we picked up at Home Depot.
This paint is awesome! The old rattle can sure has come a long way! We painted the sides of both wheel tires.
We also sanded the old, rusty bike handlebars that we had scavenged, and used it to make them look almost brand new.
To attach the tires, we used two all thread pieces that were 1/2 inch by 36 inches long. We ended up cutting about a foot off from them though, so next time, we’ll try the 24 inch.
The Finishing Touches
At this point, we needed our handy dandy Sawzall reciprocating saw. I’m embarrassed to mention how long it took me to get the play on words thing with the name…holy moly, that thing will cut through anything!
We cut the side walls off from 2 tires, and sliced through each, so we had long strips of rubber to work with.
For the fenders, we cut one of the strips in half and tucked each half between the motorcycle tire and the main body. We then bolted it into place using our 3 inch bolts.
The seat was a little more tricky because it was hard to bend and hold into place while we were bolting it on. Luckily, we have a lot of hands willing to help. We made a curve at the front and a curve at the back, and again used 3 inch bolts to secure it to the body of the motorcycle.
The last detail was the freshly painted handlebars, which we hooked to the motorcycle with a 1 inch u-bolt.
So What’s The Point
Why do we do all this stuff? Why does it matter that our property is not only becoming a self-sustaining farm, but is also gradually being transformed into a life size art museum and a playground for all of us…not just the kids?
Because we LIVE here…this isn’t just a house, where we keep our stuff and our beds…we LIVE here. Our homestead is not just a place where we come to sleep. Being creative makes us all feel more alive and makes us enjoy our days and our lives even more.
Some might see projects like this as silly…a waste of time for a couple of 40 year olds!
Well, we’re not like other people! Building this motorcycle with our kids is exactly where we wanted to be. We spent time with the people we wanted to be with. We creating memories and strengthened our family.
That is our legacy…what we want to be remembered for. Tires last a long time, so someday…decades from now…a little boy or a little girl is going to climb up on this motorcycle, and someone that may have only met us as a small child, is going to start talking about Great-Great Gramma and Grampa Spears…and tell stories about our adventures, our projects, our dreams…and about the love we had for God, for the Earth…and for each other.