Monday, May 12, 2008

I tried, but I couldn't resist.


Burton Newall said...

Say, this chap could be on to something. How is the steam generated?

A. Tinlegs, Gnome said...

Unfortunately there was no technical explanation given with the clip or the name of the builder. Only that this was a clip of a steam motorcycle (one of several steam motorcycle clips on YouTube.)

I would imagine that it uses a flash steam generator similar to that developed by the Doble Brothers for their steam automobiles. You can catch a glimpse of the fuel tank mounted behind the rider o'r the rear tyre. But 'tis difficult to say what sort of fuel it uses. For a flash generator of the Doble type the fuel would need a pressurized feed. This would be a rather complex thing to do with liquid fuels in the limited space available on a motorcycle, though not impossible.

Many steam enthusiasts seem to gravitate toward propane, which would solve the issue of adequate fuel delivery quite nicely. At least that's my wild guess.

I am working on future articles about the Doble's and offshoots of their designs, such as the Besler Brother's Steam power aeroplane.

Stay tuned.

A. Tinlegs, Gnome said...

I was wrong. The entry on YouTube does state that the machine in the clip is a 1910 Haleson Steam Bike.

A quick search on the aetherweb revealed that this company was in business from 1903 to 1914 in England. There is discussion on some steam hobby boards about scale models and modern reproductions, but no hard technical details about the machine's operation, save that it takes about 15 minutes to build up a head of steam and runs for about six miles for each gallon of water.

There was one unsubstantiated assertion that the top speed was 45 mph. That's actually a bit slow for a production motorbike of the time. Indian had street machines in production then that could top 100 mph, assuming a rider with a death wish.

I did find a link to a nice shot of a 1903 Haleson.