Flying Bikers Build “Aero-Cycles”
Words & Photos: John “Gunner” Gunnell
Tim Buttles (eight) stands next to his white Aero-Cycle. Under the streamlined body is a complete Honda 600 RR motorcycle.
Tim Buttles and David Myers are both interested in airplanes and bicycles. So it was natural for both men to construct “Aero-Cycles.” Tim’s 3-wheeled motorcycle looks like a little jet, even though it doesn’t fly—at least not off the ground. David’s bike could pass for a racing car, but is still very aero-looking.
Buttles, an Ogdensburg, Wis., resident, says that his white Aero-Cycle was inspired by the BD5 one-man Jet that starred in a James Bond film. His 3-wheeler started life as a Honda 600RR. Buttles’ front end uses Pontiac Fiero front spindles and brakes and joins them with a motorcycle frame at the rear.
“The whole bike is in there, except for the fork,” Buttles said. “The motorcycle cost me $2,200 and my total cost was about $3,500. I started the project in January 2009 and worked on it part time. I completed it in July 2009.”
The front fenders of Buttle’s Aero-Cycle are polyurethane foam. He made the unique amber parking lights on top of the fenders from model airplane fenders. He cut the bottoms off drinking glasses to use as lenses. For headlights he mounted ‘39 Dodge lights on the front with lenses that he bought at a store.
Buttle’s Aero-Cycle has a fully-enclosed canopy over the cockpit. The strut scoops are painted. Buttles is proud of his low-budget build, but says that saving money wasn’t his main motivation. “It was something to fill up time,” he explained. “It’s either build a motorcycle or watch TV and I’d rather build a bike.”
Myers, owns Wood Innovations in New London, Wis., He built his Aero-Cycle from scratch using a ‘78 Kawasaki KZ400 and parts of a ‘58 VW Beetle with the front end removed. He crafted a frame to fit the two elements together.
Myers thinks that his vehicle looks more like an Indy racing car than an airplane, though he is also an airplane buff. He used car tires up front and mounted the biggest possible motorcycle tire that would fit at the rear. “I had to put extra air in the tires to keep them hard,” he advised. David says the three-wheeler is fun to drive and it gets a lot of attention wherever he takes it.