Submission Thursday: Cyrobuka

One of the influences for the Cyrobuka project. Personally, I want it.

I think we’ve all sketched or doodled our schemes  at some point. I had a History prof in University whose voice was so boring, he made Ben Stein sound like Rod Roddy from the Price Is Right. Much drawing and scheming was done. Tanshanomi, however, has taken things one step further. But don’t take our word for it…

The Sub G1 three-wheeler. Yeah... I'd rock that too.
The Sub G1 three-wheeler. Yeah… I'd rock that too.

As a hot-rod-crazy kid, my vehicle tastes were profoundly influenced by a couple of encounters with minimalist, single-passenger vehicle such as Chuck Miller’s Honda-305-powered “Crater Raider” and a particulary wonky H-D flathead-powered sidecar thingie [The lead photo above -Ed.]. Then, at 17, I discovered motorcycles. I ate, drank and slept motorcycles from 1980 to ’96. After 11 bikes and 16 years of riding (including one near-death ambulance ride along the way) the risk or riding just got to be too much for me. Over the last decade, I’ve pursued “motorcycle-ish” vehicular hobbies, including VW street buggies, go-karts, and personal watercraft. And getting back into bikes has always remained a distinct possibility. Along the way, I’ve looked into such other stuff as the BRP spyder, VW trikes and the TwinTech roadster. I’ve also developed a lasting infatuation with Manx- and JAP-powered Cooper F3s and the stunning Sub G1 three wheeler.
Yet I’ve never been perfectly satisfied with what’s out there. So, I sat down and tried to conceive of the one vehicle I would build if I had the skill, time, and money. Sine I’m not an industrial designer, engineer, or CAD wiz, I sketched out my concept and sent the drawing to my friend Nori Watanabe of Pi-Unit, a CAD/3D graphics firm in Niihama, Japan. He’s is a great guy who did these drawings as a favor to me. Nori turned a very brief description and a very crude sketch into images that are amazingly close to what was in my head, and yet even better due to some nice detail improvements.

I'm hoping that's not the intended driver's position. I'd think inside the vehicle would work better.
I'm hoping that's not the intended driver's position. I'd think inside the vehicle would work better.

My objective seemed fairly simple, but frustratingly elusive to nail down: I wanted to explore how much of the simplicity, elegance and wind-in-the-hair (okay, wind-through-the-helmet) experience of a motorcycle could be combined with the opposing priority of safety.
People who have seen the design are surprised that, for an ex-motorcycle freak, I didn’t incorporate some sort of leaning technology. I don’t need to lean. First of all, that sort of technology is complex, expensive and challenging to design and make function properly. Secondly, I know how much fun a go-kart can be. I wanted something compact, simple and elemental, like an Atom. No heater, no doors, no glass, no windshield wipers. My main goal was a small, narrow, monoposto vehicle that could capture the wind-in-the-hair (okay, wind-through-the-helmet) experience of a motorcycle, as well as a bike’s pillarless, windshield-less panoramic view of the world ahead. That meant no full roll cage. However, as an ex-motorcycle freak whose come to recognize my mortality, it had to have bit more protection and stability than a bike, including some side bars, enclosed footwell, a roll bar, a head restraint and the ability to strap into four-point belts. Okay, so this isn’t even up to Smart impact standards, but it sure beats a bike, and is probably is no worse than a Jeep CJ. I further thought the seating should be comparable to a typical sedan — high enough to see traffic ahead, and high enough to be seen.
Synthetic man is waiting for you to turn away so he can steal it.
Synthetic man is waiting for you to turn away so he can steal it.

  • I wanted three wheels not because I am a big fan of trikes (most are sort of goofy lookin), but because a swing arm is the lightest, simplest, cleanest rear suspension design. Also, since they are legally defined as motorycles, trikes skirt a lot of automotive equipment regulations.
  • I wanted it to be economical, eco-friendly and light weight, so I chose a big water-cooled thumper from a dual sport bike for power, such as a Kawasaki KLR650 motor — enough to get me over the backroads I take to work, but not something that would send up a pillar of smoke from the rear tire.
  • In appearance, I wanted to combine elements of a motorcycle, a tube-frame dune buggy, a go-kart, a vintage biplane and a bucket-T. (Hence, the name: Cyrobuka is a portmanteau of “cycle-rod-buggy-kart.”)

I had originally suggested a traditional, transverse-leaf dropped axle front suspension. The double A-arm suspension with inboard dampers was a great suggestion by Nori that also brings in a bit of open-wheel racing influence.
There are lots of details missing in these views, such as headlights and mirrors, obviously, and perhaps a rear fender. And there are a lot of unaddressed, “then something magical happens” functional and space issues hidden within that bodywork (but probably no more than the typical concept drawing you see from manufacturers, no?)
There are, of course, absolutely no plans to bring this any closer to reality, but there you have it — exactly what I would drive to work every day if I could. I’m just wondering what you Hoons have say about it…
– Tanshanomi

So who wants to help him build it?

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  1. PowerTryp Avatar

    What will it cost and when can I get it delivered? While I have my own idea of a fun time (The atom being damn close) that right there looks to be afordable and simple.
    I myself am a 4 Wheel guy but that is one hell of a concept.

  2. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    I'd be all over that if the price was right and there was somewhere to put my bag while commuting.
    60-80mpg and performance that'd put most cars to shame is a definite winning combo.
    My biggest problem with most of the versions of this on the market now is that they're way more than most fun, cheap cars for not that much more fun or utility.
    I'm thinking in kit form you could make it work. Ship the buyer a kit that just needs to be bolted together for maybe 10k and you're good to go.

  3. Tanshanommi Avatar

    Actually, I live in Lee’s Summit and work in Grandview. My commute winds through a couple of subdivisions and then south of Longview Lake on Sheerer Road. Not exactly clogged with high-speed traffic.

  4. Tanshanomi Avatar

    Live in Lee's Summit, work in Grandview. My commute winds through a couple of subdivisions and then south of Longview Lake on Sheerer Road. Not exactly clogged with high-speed traffic.

    1. Alff Avatar

      I had no idea. We are neighbors – work in OP, live near KCI.

      1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

        Oy, at least the commute is counter traffic. Lawrence to Lenexa for me (FING K10.)

        1. Alff Avatar

          Pretty long drive for this part of the country

          1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

            could be worse… At least it is 75-80 the whole way.

    2. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

      Seriously this is pretty awesome man, if you get to build it I'm definitely bringing beer buy to gawk at your creation.

  5. skitter Avatar

    I'd start with a wrecked motorcycle, salvage the rear half of the frame, engine and rear suspension, and base the rest of the design around that. And I'm afraid I'll have to suggest some front downtubes; that roll hoop will do you no good unless you are upside down, and I've known front downtubes to save your life in a formula car wreck. I'm sure you can tailor them so they stay on the edges of your peripheral.

  6. Tanshanomi Avatar

    Just to make sure you all give Nori his props, you need to see how crappy my drawing was. I sent him this
    <div align="center"><img src=""></div&gt;
    …and got what you see back 2-1/2 days later.

    1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

      I've seen worse… serious props to your buddy though.

  7. deafness Avatar

    Kudos for the fantastic details, It was exactly what I was looking for, and extremely helpful.

  8. survey money Avatar

    This site just keeps on improving every time I see it. You should really be happy.

  9. Rickey Mccullars Avatar

    There’s obviously a whole lot to understand about this. I consider you created some very good details.Maintain operating ,wonderful position!

  10. James Stevens Avatar
    James Stevens

    HELL NO! He should have two S&S 100 HP sportster units, one on each side. Sidecar Cockpit in between the two engine/tranny units. Should scale in about 800 lbs and 200 hp. Yeeha! jwstx