10-134 S.R. 110 Napoleon, Ohio 43545
These are photos of my 'Novocycle.' I am 58 years old and have been riding motorcycles since the early 1950s. About 16 years ago, I took up another hobby antique engines. My largest is a 1925 Bessemer oil field engine.
A little over a year ago I acquired a Novo single cylinder 'Rollr' engine. I think most of you readers will recognize it. It is circa 1935. It's a hopper cooled, 'L' head engine of 36 cubic inch displacement that I found easy to start and reliable. The sound it made was reminiscent of several of my old British single cylinder motorcycles. And, of the many motorcycles I have owned, they were my favorites.
I began looking around for a 'Titled' frame or basket-case motorcycle to use to build a bike out of. What you see in the pictures is what has evolved after about seven months work.
The frame is a 1970, B.S.A. 'Rocket three.' The transmission is from an early model Triumph, as well as the front forks, wheel and controls. The engine of course, is the Novo.
The primary drive system is by V belt. The handlebar mounted clutch lever controls the idler on the bottom side of the V belt. The pedal seen in front of the brake pedal is a belt tensioner. I designed it in anticipation of slipping belts, but I have rarely used it.
The engine was made to be cooled by evaporation from an open top hopper. It was, of course, not feasible to use it like that in a motorcycle, so I plugged the hopper with a disc. The disc also holds 12' long aluminum rods which conduct heat from the water to the air stream. In addition to this, I used a heater core from a Yugo as a radiator, seen in front of the engine. The combination keeps the water well under the boiling point without having to go to pressurizing the cooling system.
The bike is licensed and street legal with lights, turn signals, etc.
The frame was cut in two and built back around the engine. The upper left member of the frame is removable, and with it removed, the engine can be lifted up to the left and out.
As a motorcycle engine the Novo is slow and heavy, as I knew it would be. However, it sounds great! It is pleasant to ride in the country on back roads and it is reliable. I have put on about 350 miles so far. It certainly is no highway burner. It seems to be a cross between an old British 'Thumper' and a John Deere tractor. The top speed is about 50 MPH, and the cruising speed is about 35 to 40 MPH.
I am now looking around for a small trailer, so that I can take it to some of the engine shows next year along with other items. The Novocycle is not the first bike I built using a non-motorcycle engine, but it is the first bike I built with an antique engine. Next, I would like to find a single cylinder diesel engine to put into a motorcycle.