Gasifier for a motor-bicycle?

Anne, It’s not a crazy idea. Its a great idea. I’m thinking of building a wood gasser trike for trips to town and cruising the mountain roads. I’m just short on play cash. Wish I had the money to build everyday. Maybe soon. have fun always, Gordon

Hi Anne, I can’t just jump in my truck and drop by … My daughter just started teaching at some university in China today … I had lunch with her on Wednesday in Milwaukee and drove 140 miles back in a snow storm … She flew to abudabi and then to Shanghai … I think she is 4 hours (by car) north of there. At any rate I love driving on wood … The walking stick I use is around 6 feet long and has a mag nail in each end … It is long because I have to walk through 2 foot or 3 foot snow drifts and need to know where the ice is and don’t want the stick to get me in the guts or eyes … It will all melt soon but it’s your turn for fall and winter … Peace Out, Mike LaRosa

There was some discussion here awhile ago about running two strokes and someone recommended a certain oil injector system. I wasn’t able to find it just now, but I’m sure you can. If you are just now putting an engine on your bike, I would consider one of the small four stroke weed whacker engines they are now making. Edit, Wait a minute I think the oil injector was in regard to older tractors which required leaded fuel for valve lubrication.

The wonderful thing about the internet Mike is that we can in a sense ‘drop by’ with folk who share a common interest despite them being thousands of miles apart. Brrrr… 3ft snow! Driving in snowstorms! In Winter we can get some hard frosts here and black ice on the roads, but the nearest we get to snow is when the highest mountain in the district might get a very light scattering on its summit. The Chinese are doing some interesting things with gasifiers, so perhaps your daughter might be able to find some useful information for you.

Keep warm, Anne.

As a woman of slender means I can’t really afford to buy a new four stroke engine Andrew. I already own an assortment of useful two stroke engines so it really does have to be a two stroke engine in my bike. Many if not all of the Japanese two strokes have a separate oil metering system which could be adaptable to other engines that normally use an oil/petrol mix, but with my vintage Villiers engines a drip oiler setup should work just fine. :slight_smile:

I think Koen is using charcoal with a 2 stroke in Thailand .

As I’m supported by an Invalid’s pension I don’t have much money to come and go on either Gordon. Petrol here in New Zealand is commonly over $NZ2.00 a litre so a gasifier makes a lot of sense. Over the years I’ve developed somewhat of a scavenger’s habit and I’m always on the look out for thrown away raw materials which I can use on my projects. Sometimes I just have to be patient though and wait to save enough to buy a particular item that has to be purchased new (sigh).
Your trike idea is a good one. I’ve been using trikes I’ve built up myself as my main means of transport for a while now and they are extremely useful vehicles. You only have to look at China and the way they make use of tricycles for general freight haulage as well as personal transport to see how versitile a good trike can be.

Cheers, Anne.

Thank you for that link Carl what Koen is doing is certainly very interesting.

Hi Anne,
Here is a picture of an interesting vintage 2 cycle bicycle that has a drip oiler added to the intake. It also has a compression release just to the right of the spark plug where I think the rider could pedal the bike and the engine would act as a pump to get the charcoal gasifier up to operating temps.

I’ve been to NZ, beautiful country. I’d build a wood gasifier,based on Stephen’s Victoria for a motor bike, but that’s just me… I have a couple of 400cc motorcycles, I’m gonna have to think about a gasifier side car at some point now I guess… good luck on your build

Thank you so much for the picture Don. That is a particularly nicely done conversion and there is so much in that photo that is worthy of further study. As an old bike enthusiast I love to see interesting motorised bicycle pictures and this one is definitely a keeper.

Hello Arvid, have you seen that incredible Russian sidecar outfit with a gasifier on the internet? When I was younger I owned sidecar outfits as my main form of transport for around 10 years. I still miss riding an outfit, but my doctor would have a fit if I was to take up riding one again.
I know everyone has been advising me to build a charcoal gasifier, but my main concern would be obtaining the necessary fuel at an affordable price. I don’t really see myself being able to make my own charcoal so I would need to be very sure of a good source of supply before committing myself to this option. That was why the Constance gasifier particularly appealed to me as in the district where I live wood is very easy to get.

Thanks for wishing me luck and yes New Zealand is a beautiful country I feel very blessed to live here.

With all the response, I hope you understand how happy we are to have you on this site.

Your last response was not knowing where to get fuel for a charcoal gasifier. For all of us fuel is a bridge we all have to cross. Even with wood, it is NEVER given to us in the exact form we can use. Chips are readily available in many places but unfortunately, they present problems that are greater than most can overcome. So we have developed many methods to make the “chunks” out of wood that is available.

This is true for charcoal also. The stuff you purchase for your barbeque is not usually satisfactory for a charcoal gasifier. You will have to go to youtube and look around besides what is on DOW to find a method that will work for you. I do not know what circumstances exist where you live, so will not go into a dissertation on charcoal production. Just another part of running on wood, that you will have to research, and decide what to doTomC

One good thing about making charcoal, is that there are so many ways to do it, you’re bound to be able to find a method that works for you. You can have a dedicated outdoor retort, a small retort you can insert in your wood heat stove, or maybe as a by-product of cooking on a TLUD stove. Since you are heading into winter, you will likely have to heat something in the coming months, so with a little planning, you should be able to incorporate charcoal making into that process.

One thing is fur sure, you can definitely build and operate a bicycle-sized charcoal gasifier a whole lot easier than a raw wood one.

Check out Martin Payne’s charcoal powered Honda motorcycle

AT in TX

Your advice is very much appreciated. I suppose I was having myself a nervous ‘wobble’ over the fuel dilemma. From what I’ve found out so far I can see that a motorised bicycle with a wood gasifier would end up with so much plumbing and cylindrical objects attached to it that it would be impossible to ride. The obvious simplicity of the setup on that vintage two stroke bicycle is very plain to see and it is that which has helped to persuade me.
Sooooo charcoal it is then.

Does anyone want to buy a 2 inch Tee fitting ideal for a Constance? I suppose it will make a nice paperweight (Ha ha).

And yes Tom I do feel very much welcomed as a new chum to the forum. Already the knowledgeable advice I’ve received has guided me into the correct approach for my project and has saved me from months of unnecessary expense and frustration.


Hi Anne,
Welcome to the site. I see from your posts that you certainly have done a lot of homework. I’ve built an imbert type stand alone unit hopefully to power an emergency generator in 15-20 hp range.
I stand with Tom Collins on store bought charcoal. Briquets are practically useless for anything except to burn hotdogs. Watch my video on fuel analysis.

I threw in some leftover briquets as a test and they seem to go through the system practically unchanged! Huh! was my first reaction. Brickettes, I say! That Texas made real wood stuff is a little better, but sold by weight it is not fully pyrolized thus keeping it “heavier” along with the price. Also some initial heat from the burn will be used up (wasted) finishing the pyrolysis process and possibly introducing some tar effects to the system. I never followed up with Part 2.
Here’s my process for making charcoal. It uses heat from my house stove to pyrolyze the wood and burn the gas at the same time adding to house heat.

I had planned on making several of these tin can gas logs for a more or less constant process. The tin can logs or the charcoal “must” be kept in an airtight container. One spark and you end up with ashes the next day. Hmmm, wonder how I know this?
I like your spirit and sense of humor. Good luck with your build. Feel free to pick our brains.
Darn, You’re just starting winter…aggghh!
Regards, Pepe
My avatar pic was taken on top of Whiteface Mountain looking down on Lake Placid, New York.

I found this video on charcoal making an interesting option. Cone pit method.

Your method looks to be really interesting Pepe and I’ll give it some close study. When I started to look around for charcoal options I discovered that it’s possible to buy high quality culinary charcoal here of the kind that’s used in posh restaurants, but of course the price put it very much out of the running.

I have a very good house stove fortunately so at least I’m a step on the way to being able to make my own charcoal. That was what had me worried as I live in a small 1930s cottage on a not especially large patch of land amongst other residential houses and any method involving smoke and flames would soon have my neighbours complaining.

And yes it’s very important to have a sense of humor, - life would be very boring without it.


If I was still living on a 10 acre rural block like I was some years ago Andrew I would be quite willing to give the cone pit method a go, but with neighbours close by where I’m living now I think they would complain. Not that they’re unfriendly neighbours or anything, but building smoky fires in a pit on my small patch of front lawn might just be a step too far.

Cheers, Anne.

Well…charcoal is great…however wood doesn’t take as much preparation. Wood has water (hydrogen) in it which will give you the energy for performance.You have to add steam to a charcoal to make hydrogen to get proper engine pop. Hydrogen burns VERY fast and CO burns kinda slow. I believe the Hydrogen is the valued fuel. I am new to this but from my constant studying having to add water to a charcoal unit to make hydrogen is less desirable than getting the Hydrogen and CO from the wood pyrolosis and reduction process. Having to clean and cool the gas is more difficult tho… Charcoal burners seem to run OK but all the prep and energy loss in the prep to make charcoal has made me a “wood gasser”. I would think a narrow trike that would fit a small wood gasifier would be better than a charcoal gasifier bicycle. I’m just saying? You are the final builder but remember wood is everywhere and charcoal…well…not so much. Plus I think people would be much more amazed at seeing a bike run on scrap biomass from anywhere than Charcoal. I will be in deep sheep doodoo for this