Bike-Powered Rotisserie Spit





Introduction: Bike-Powered Rotisserie Spit

Humans need food to survive. Humans need exercise to survive. But in today's fast-paced world, it's hard to find time to take care of essentials as well as social functions, work, and other such pesky things. So why not combine cooking and exercise into a single, less-pesky bike ride?
Well, we couldn't think of any reason not to, so we did. Here's how.

Step 1: Get Your Stuff Together

You'll Need...
- a bike you're willing to part with
- some Allen wrenches

- some regular wrenches
- a machine belt (1/2 the circumference of your wheel plus another 4 feet should be a good size.)
- a bike trainer, or something else to hold the bike while you ride it (Don't have one? Try a simplified version of this.)
- electrical tape
- a fire pit

a way to hold up your front wheel and spit (Our solution was to use two of the car jack pictured, because they could be adjusted.
- something to use as a spit (Any clean metal rod over 1/4" in diameter works. make it as long as your fire pit is across, plus another 6".)
- a way to connect your front axle and spit (Ours were threaded the same way, so we used a nut from the bike. This doesn't have to be very sturdy.)
- a bike stand, if you have one (makes things monumentally easier.)

Step 2: The Wheels

1. Take both wheels off your bike.
2. Pry off the tires, as well as any lining underneath.
3. Set the front wheel aside. In the rim of the back wheel, the screws holding the spokes on all need to be taken off.
4. Get rid of the back rim. By any means necessary, start taking the spokes off  the back axle. (For us, this meant a combination of bending them until they could be pulled off and skilled hacksaw usage.)
5. Put the belt over the axle. Reattach it to the bike, hook it back up to the chain, and wrap the spindle in electrical tape.
6. Set the back wheel into your bike trainer.
And now to the fun part...

Step 3: Final Assembly

1. If you haven't been building there from the start, move your bike over next to your fire pit.
2. Bend a piece of coat hanger wire into a U, and join it to the spit with zip-ties. It should look like a trident, and the spit should twist with the wire. If the wire can twist freely, more zip-ties!
3. Join the trident end of your spit to the axle of your free wheel. The wire should sit comfortably between the spokes.
4. Put the belt over the rim of the free wheel. make sure it's tight enough.
5. Support the free end of the spit and the free half of the axle.
6. Prop the front fork of the bike up on something sturdy.
7. Test it! If you're lucky, the entire spit should turn rather easily.
Well, there you have it. Skewer some meat and get pedaling!

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    12 Discussions

    We built this this weekend for a whole lamb (54lb) roast and it worked out great.
    We built a cinder block pit for our fire and used roller blade wheels and chassis for the spit to ride on to reduce friction. We used a drier belt for the drive which was very skinny but worked. If I had to do it again I'd use a automotive serpentine belt, they are about 1in wide and you can get various lengths for about $20.

    We cooked for 3.5 hours it came out perfect and we'd totally do it again. We are thinking about adding a second gear reduction, via another rear wheel with the cluster removed, so that the rider could really spin and get more of a workout.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Matt S.

    1 reply

    This is neat. I was wondering if I could see a close-up picture of steps 2 and 3 for clarity. Thank you so much for the 'ible.

    1 reply

    Hmmm... we've already gotten rid of most of the parts from step 2, but I can explain things further if you'd like. :D

    Wow hella gunna hurt somebody with that I would never get on that thing

    1 reply

    With proper precautions, you shouldn't run into anything more dangerous than you otherwise would around a fire pit.

    I'm putting together an instructable on my hog roaster, which uses bike parts. How many RPM are you getting? I've had to gear my system down to achieve 2RPM. Yours looks like the chicken may well be rotating at about 50rpm!

    At least you have plenty of torque!

    1 reply

    Believe it or not, we're getting between 2 and 5 RPM, depending on the gear and pedaling speed. Our rear axle is about 1/2" in diameter, and the rear wheel is about
    1-1/2'. The gear ratio there gets us a lot of torque with hardly any speed.

    eh why take the front wheel off? you really couldn't come up with something better than a rickety old chair to balance the forks on?

    1 reply

    The front wheel was taken off to be used in the pulley system that drives the actual spit. But no, we couldn't find anything better than that old chair. :D

    How come you're not in the bike contest? I was going to vote for you. Love it!

    I wonder how many calories from the food are offset by the pedalling?