Introduction: Tall Amphibious Couchbike

Picture of Tall Amphibious Couchbike

That's right, tall, amphibious, and with a couch.

Why? That's a good question...

The whole notion of an amphibious tall couch trike is the beer-induced brain child of a Rat Patrol member, I am simply the conduit between a fantasticly absurd idea which should never have been done, and something that now exists and is actually practicle to use in the real world... But it at all started with beer.

More about the bike at http://www.rat-patrol.org/RPOz/FArt/mitzie.html, beer being essential at every step of the conception, design and building phases...


Step 1: Beer

Picture of Beer

First we sat down and thought about the ergonomics of our world-beating Steer-by-beer concept — would it be easy enough to ride, steer AND drink beer at the same time. Some things are more important than others. A few beers later and we were satisfied it could be done.

Fortunately, I had picked up an old bunk bed frame the week before, it seemed to be about the right size and shape... 

Step 2: More Beer

Picture of More Beer

It had to be a tallbike so that the eye level of the pilots would be well above that of all but the tallest pedestrians (good for concerts and the like)...

Also, the couch had to be easy to remove for parties (4 bolts) and the like... good idea! Steer-by-beer was totally going to work!

Now we set about setting the pedal distance before making final decisions about the dimensions of the chassis.

Step 3: Beer Chassis

Picture of Beer Chassis

A bit of welding, 10 beers later we had a deal.

Step 4: Floatation & Beer

Picture of Floatation & Beer

Floatation was quite an issue. It had to float yes, and while it would be OK if things dropped off here and there, it HAD to be UNSINKABLE. You know what they say about the dangers of mixing beer and water...

I figured (hoped) about 300 litres would be fine... I cut the bottom out of the plastic barrels, scuffed the joining surface, then after they had been sitting in hot sun for a while, a few of us smashed them together using epoxy resin and a huge piece of wood... of course, beer played it's part too :)

All of a sudden, the whole structure was totally rigid — wow, it worked really well!! Next we drilled a 10cm dia hole in the side of the barrels, close to the end. So now we had bulkheads, which were filled with expanding polyurethane foam. Bomber.

Next, I used angle iron to make the float base, which had nylon strapping going through lugs to attach the floats. So far so very good.

Step 5: Floatation, Beer and Propulsion

Picture of Floatation, Beer and Propulsion

Seing as we were already building a tall trike with a serious inherent danger of off-camber cornering disastery, I thought it would also be great to have a reliable 360degree-turning system, allowing it to (theoretically) spin on it's own footprint in traffic.

The floatation frame attaches with only 4 bolts, the floats weigh about 80kg, so it needed to be able to just drop off when required.

So once the drive train was attached and working, we needed an aqua propulsion system — my idea was to use propellers, but that would have become caught in weeds and stuff, quite the hassle when all you want to do is drink a beer.

Fortunately I had outsourced the design, build and installation to some other Rat Patrollians... their idea was to use paddle wheels — it worked (slowly).

Step 6: Testing (with Beer)

Picture of Testing (with Beer)

Finally it was time to ride this thing into the water (dry photo showing floatation barrels prior to strapping)... I was only guessing the placement of the barrels and wondered about it's stability in the water.

Funny thing is... IT WORKED PERFECTLY THE FIRST TIME!!!!!!!!! Didn't expect that. Mmmmm, beer, the sweet taste of success :) 

Step 7: Living the Dream

Picture of Living the Dream

OK, it probably has a top speed in the water of about 1 knot, but it's a STYLISH ride! The cops aren't sure how to take this one, it's a bike but it's much bigger than a car... or is it a boat? We are quietly confident that she is legal in this country.

Off we go the the Rat Patrol Oz 2007 FLOATilla

That's 7 pretty easy steps on how to make a tall amphibious couchbike, right?

So, what's the next project...? Sleep :)

Comments

Kiteman (author)2010-08-27

Oh, that is incredible!

The first picture in step 7 is just glorious, definitely living the dream.  If Randy hadn't beaten me to it, I would definitely have featured this.

Just one small thing... where's the video?  Why haven't we seen the Tall Amphibious Couchbike pedalling gently off towards the sunset?

_nicos (author)Kiteman2010-08-29
Because you have to pedal hard if you wanna boat anywhere in a hurry!

Here are a couple I found, one without the floats attached, one kinda dark launching into water at speed...



mgshalim (author)2013-04-05

that's Great :)
i have try to make it sir , but i have problem with a float ?
how to find them

Frankie Pintado (author)2011-08-02

How about a sail?

scubaru (author)2010-08-27

This is AMAZING! Boats can be so uncomfortable..but this, class my friend! I must ask if you guys have any trouble with it rocking, I see the seat is raised pretty high up and wasn't sure if that maybe made for wobbly ride. Also I was curious if you guys had considered using a motor instead of man power. Absolute relaxation then ;).

_nicos (author)scubaru2010-08-29

Our Rat Patrol group is not into motors. Motors, oil and the people that waste them are the reason for Rat Patrol's existence. Motors are noisy and pollute the Earth, so no motors on the couchbike — anyhoo, that would make drive issues somewhat more complicated (ie. less time for drinking beer). I wasn't sure how it would go in the water for stability... turns out it is impossible to capsize!!! We've tried, and beer has helped in this endeavour. I know, I didn't expect that either!

CatTrampoline (author)_nicos2011-08-01

Awesomely cool build!!

The other problem with adding a motor is that you get into boat registration territory in many states. Here in Texas, even a tiny electric trolling motor means registering your kayak the same as if it were a speedboat with a big motor. And beer-drinking plus motorized craft equals a DUI most places as well. Best to stick with people-power.

tdawber-mandeno (author)2011-07-18

video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please video please

_nicos (author)tdawber-mandeno2011-07-18

Google is your friend!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1UNDotEBIs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwNrA4JcTbw

tdawber-mandeno (author)_nicos2011-07-18

ONE of thoughs must have but you'll never build
Fantastic i wish i had one
thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks thanks

doomsdayltd (author)2011-07-18

....this....is.....KICK @SS!!

_nicos (author)doomsdayltd2011-07-18

Cheers :)

wizcling68 (author)2011-06-15

Throw in a portable t.v. and a few fishing rods you have the perfect mobile man cave. Water will keep the brain juice (beer) cold as you watch NASCAR and fish on your own floating couch. REDNECK masterpiece!!!!

carpe_noctem (author)2010-12-04

AUSTRALIAN RAT PATROL? WTF?

Really though, i thought the Rat Patrol only thrived under the shadow of Chicago scrappers...you learn something every day...

_nicos (author)carpe_noctem2010-12-05

Yes yes :) www.rat-patrol.org

carpe_noctem (author)_nicos2010-12-25

Oh ok cool

ANDY! (author)2010-10-17

It's amazing how you made something with that much alchol.

tswain4 (author)2010-08-30

Anyway to download a higher res photo so I can make the sunset picture my screen saver?

_nicos (author)tswain42010-09-01

Hm, well, I didn't take the photo, but here it is:

Cozmo35 (author)2010-09-01

"You might be a redneck if...." This is BY FAR the BEST instructables I have EVER seen!! You guys are AWESOME!!

Macworldwizardz (author)2010-08-31

Thats awesome. How much do you want for it? 200? 500? Just Joking! Thats awesome though.

damack1 (author)2010-08-30

I want to buy one. Can I have yours?

Macworldwizardz (author)damack12010-08-31

Seriously, I want one, too. THATS AWESOME!!!!! (:

Bad Maxx (author)2010-08-31

Very cool, I've seen a few of these before, particularly on the St. Croix River on the WI & MN border. Have to say though yours is a bit more refined and nicer than the others I've seen. That said my favorite of all of the Rat bikes is the Penny Fake Thang. Keep up the excellent work!

junits15 (author)2010-08-30

this is the craziest thing ive ever seen

l8nite (author)2010-08-29

more info or at least bigger pictures of the water propulsion system pleeeeeeease... totally awesome build !

_nicos (author)l8nite2010-08-29

Check the second pic out in Step 5. Sorry, I don't have any detail pics handy. It's as simple as that paddle wheel attaching to a bottom bracket, power comes via a cog off the main chainring.. In the air the paddle wheels look cool spinning down the street, in the water the rear wheels can still turn but that reduces efficiency (even more!), so you can just let the chain for the wheels spin on the plastic chaingaurd when in the water... elegant and easy.

l8nite (author)_nicos2010-08-29

I saw that picture, unfortunately its to small to make out any details. I may be confused because in the diagram you show propelers but then the pics show paddle wheels

_nicos (author)l8nite2010-08-29

Yep, my idea was propellers but that would have been a hassle with weed and stuff getting caught... paddle wheels work pretty well in that regard! It's really a pedal arm with paddle wheels welded on, driven by a chain from the main chainring.

daveleb55 (author)2010-08-29

How many barrels and what size did you use for each pontoon? Tnx DaveL

_nicos (author)daveleb552010-08-29

I think I count 7 each side in the photos daveleb55. When you cut the bottom off I think it comes to about 45 litres, about 300 litres each maybe..

got2bskilled (author)2010-08-29

I think I just peeed with excitement. I love couchbikes... and this is the best I have seen yet! Now you need to white-trash it- up with some Christmas lights, a cooler, and a radio. I WANT BUILD ONE NOW! :-) Too cool! *****

D3 (author)2010-08-29

Ben Franklin was right, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.". :) Love to see it in action.

_nicos (author)D32010-08-29

God was clearly right on this occasion :D

IRQ_VET (author)2010-08-29

awesome vehicle/ couch add a floating wagon and u can put a cooler along with fishing poles.

_nicos (author)IRQ_VET2010-08-29

The large beer cooler sits under the couch for easy access — of course!

reefhugger (author)2010-08-29

my love for you has no bounds!!!!

_nicos (author)reefhugger2010-08-29

Aaaw :)

ribatejoluso (author)2010-08-29

I will take my hat to you guys. AWESOME! Spontaneous events like this with beer make me miss my buddies back in the home country, where we would certainly be rising to the opportunity. I need to make some friends here in Frederick MD to give it a shot too. You should patent the beast :)

_nicos (author)ribatejoluso2010-08-29

Cheers, fabrication was very much a group effort! Beer always helps ;) Ha ha, not sure the market is there for a patent — any ways, who would want to buy one???? You should start a Chapter of your own, then start infecting people — Rat Patrol started in the US a very long time ago... more ifno at http://www.rat-patrol.org

xana (author)2010-08-29

that is awesome.

degas74 (author)2010-08-29

Spock here, captain on the bridge! - ... I see a ship of unknown origin Captain ... Its chassie reveals an high tecnology but ... Jim, I suggest caution: they may be much better equipped than us! Sensors give illogical data.... It seems their warp coils are tubes full of... interesting but highly illogical... they both seem full of beer!!.... - BEER?! WHY BEER?! I saw the site... but how is crash down from so high? Greetings from Italy, pazzi squinternati! :-DD Mattia

SinAmos (author)2010-08-29

I love it. You guys get 5 extra cool points.

teeval (author)2010-08-29

Genius.... pure, unadulterated genius :-D

pueblita (author)2010-08-29

LOVE IT!!

cindyshort65 (author)2010-08-29

i think i'm very much in like. thanks for the smile...

NostalgicStone (author)2010-08-28

I think I love you guys....

of course you love them D<

gladys45 (author)2010-08-28

u sir, are a prince among men!

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