After a wonderful chance to ride a giant quadrocycle at the Reno BM decompression, the lady and I have decided that our project for this year is to built a smaller quadrocycle for riding about, amusing folks with some fire effects, and looking generally spiffy to add to both the day and night landscape of Black Rock City. However, the challenge lies in the fact that both of us are completely unskilled in welding, tinkering, building, hoo-hobbling, goo-gobbling, putting things together, and mechanical know-how. We are effectively at the "duct-tape that shit/I read about rigging in a PDF!" level of knowledge.
Ideally, our quad would be a two-seater with a small sound system for camp and out on the playa and room for a cooler. A fire poofer would come out the tail end. The quad would be decorated to resemble some kind of bikey-mechanicaly-furry monster, with lights for eyes, an El-wire lined mouth with sharp teeth, and other adornments to add to the monsterish feel. Horns out of the handlebars, maybe a horn, who knows. We've been planning this for a few days now, so we're still at the beginning of the process. Before moving forward creativel, we're looking to get a base vehicle down.
We are somewhat limited by our spending options, being two young college graduates with useless degrees and limited job availability in our area. Again, we are mechanically stupid. We have ambitions, though, so onward we go!
So far, I've come out with two dominant options for my base vehicle.
1 - Build an American Speedster Sidekick (http://www.americanspeedster.com/side-kick.htm
The advantages of the American Speedster are that it looks neat, and it would definitely teach me something that I could apply to future projects. It's a self contained unit, and since it can handle some weight, mutating it into something cool would hypothetically be somewhat easy.
However, the disadvantages appear to be that the design is flawed with the way the chain is placed, and it also has quite a few annoyances that people have brought up on Eplaya and other places. It is flexible, which could be a pain if playa conditions are bad, and the transportation footprint of this thing is huge. I'd have to get a trailer.
2 - Take two big-box store cruiser/mountain bikes and Granny Bike them together (http://www.thegrannybike.com/index.html
This one would require much more "mutation" in order to look cool and not be an eyesore on the playa. On the other hand, with some legwork, we could make all of the pieces attachable, negate the need for a trailer, and it would probably be cheaper. We would also be dealing with familiarish things, rather than building a whole new vehicle.
I think I'm leaning more towards option two at the moment.
For some further questions - I've been told (and personally seen) quad-cycles with electric assists out there without a license. Whats the official DMV stance on this? I've seen electric bicycles, too. I'm guessing having four wheels would change things, though, predominantly pedal-powered or not.
I'm going to need power for this sucker, no doubt. For some rope-lighting, el-wire, and a small sound system, I'm not sure which direction to look for batteries or even where to begin researching powering stuff. What direction should I go to research this? And I'm going to need to find information on fire effects, too... golly. I know some basics, but not much. This'll be fun.
And, hell, in general, what are your guys experiences with quadcycles out there, homemade or not?