• Jul 31, 2010
Big Dog quadri-cycle – Click above for high-res image gallery

Friday afternoon, we had the opportunity to walk around the site of the first-ever Maker Faire Detroit while exhibitors were getting set up. Among the wheeled contraptions we encountered was the contraption you see above: the Big Dog. This human-powered conveyance was designed and built by Tom Wilson of Royal Oak, Michigan in his basement and garage. Big Dog is actually the third such vehicle Wilson has constructed, with his original inspiration coming from a similar device he saw at the Burning Man festival several years ago.

Looking closely at the 600-pound machine (which stands a towering eight feet, six inches tall), it's clear that Wilson put serious thought and craftsmanship into it. Note the inboard-mounted rear disc brakes and the elaborate gear-change and chain mechanism. The centrally-mounted propane tanks are there to support the flame effects from the tower. We'll add photos of that if we catch it being demonstrated this weekend.



Photos by Sam Abuelsamid / Copyright ©2010 AOL

[Source: ThirstyBeachLandscaping]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Insane and kinda cool, but can you get any speed with a 600 lb cycle?
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you have four humans to power, I don't see why not.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They had something like that in Key West, but they were light. I guess if it was a 10 speed or something it would be fine.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Each person needs to push 150 lbs of bike, plus themselves. That's quite a far cry from the normal 20-40 lbs of bike that a single person pushes.

        The drivetrain is more complex, which adds frictional losses.

        Aerodynamics appear not to have been a concern, as this looks quite draggy.

        So I think it's not likely to be faster than a regular bike.
      • 4 Years Ago
      umm. bad ass?
        • 4 Years Ago
        ...in the world!

        me likey
        • 4 Years Ago
        THIS is why Burning Man is so unbelievably awesome. You see tons of insane, flame spewing machines like this out there, then someone builds on those ideas the next year, and so forth...

        The sheer volume of creative engineering you'll see there is mind blowing. Can't wait to see this there!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Uh, folks...

      It's an art piece. It's not supposed to be practical or efficient.

      Do you people criticize ice cream for not being healthy enough? Are you turned off by the MPG of Top-Fuel dragsters? Do you lament the fact that alcohol causes intoxication? Yeah, I figured you did.

      It's purpose is to evoke emotion, which it does quite well. Mission accomplished.

      Now, if it were me, I'd have made some paper mache Hummers to crush with it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What would happen if it tips over?
      • 4 Years Ago
      The hummer of bikes..

      Because nothing is big enough in America ( tm )
      • 4 Years Ago
      HA! Even though it's considerably higher tech and very COOL, it looks very much like the Gold Rush quadracycle that I rode/peddled in at SEER (Solar Energy Expo & Rally) in Willits, CA, in 1990. The Gold Rush used motorcycle tires and rims, and had a nifty on-demand 12 volt motor assist. The most interesting thing about it was it steered by handles mounted low on each side of the "driver", and it had a linkage to a pivot in the middle between sets of wheels (and passengers/peddlers), it could turn on a dime!

      I wasn't able to get a ride until late in the day and it had been in use all day so the battery was pretty flat and we did a LOT of peddling, but we headed out into the streets of Willits at 8 pm, with no lights, and went buzzing by a Willits PD cruiser about 30 mph with no motor assist, and they gave us a look, but let us be, it was pretty neat riding so High up and being so Quiet while peddling/motoring along.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Saw this in person today; the craftsmanship is top-notch and Tom was taking a few lucky maker fans on tours around the grounds about every hour. You could feel the heat of the propane bursts if you were anywhere inside a 20ft radius.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm looking at this and not massively impressed - it seems like a lot of this is overbuilt for appearance's sake, rather than functionality. Probably this think is using 2 or 3 times as much steel as it really needs, which is what's got the weight up. The wheels, in particular, look like they weigh a ton, which is the first sin of transportation.

        Also, these are not pretty welds, but at least he's not weakening them by "dressing" them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Leo Laporte was there! I didn't go, but from the looks of the coverage it was great.
      • 4 Years Ago
      the monster truck of bicycles ??????
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