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Autobike
Home away from home
Joined:
2016/3/13 15:24
From Coalmont, B.C., Canada
Posts: 860
Hey Guys,
I know this is thoroughly off Packard topic, but didn't want to step on Ernie's 'Packard Trips' post, (which I love, Ernie) and we had got to talking about bikes and such, and I had mentioned my Autobike, which is kind of an odd bird. It shifts through a 6 gear derailleur automatically via a 'constant-drive' counterweight concept. I believe it is 30 RPM that is the designated 'ideal pedal speed' and one starts out in 1st gear; as soon as 31 RPM's are achieved, the unit shifts up a gear, and so on. The down shifting is governed by the wheel speed, so if in 2nd or 3rd gear say, one can free-wheel, or coast and the gear does not change, until the bike speed reduces to the equivalent of 29 RPM in a given gear. Neat concept and I have to say, it works very well. I've had the bike for about 30 years and it has not given me any problems. Few pics attached at Ross' request.

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Posted on: 4/28 17:50:02
_________________
'If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right!' Henry Ford

1939 Six, Model 1700

http://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/modules/registry/index.php?Action=view&ID=1823
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Re: Autobike
Home away from home
Joined:
2013/12/21 11:14
From Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 186
Chris;
Are the three black ‘things’ attached to the rear wheel spokes the centrifugal weight stops?
The bike I remember had a solid disk in the back, but that may have been an expedient to try many combinations of mass and limits in an engineering mule.
It looks like the stops might be adjustable to tailor the pedal speed range. Did the bike come with instructions as to tailoring the pedal speed?
dp

Posted on: 4/28 19:01:16
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Re: Autobike
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/3/21 18:20
Posts: 2210
Fascinating. Thanks for the photos.

Posted on: 4/28 19:13:34
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Re: Autobike
Home away from home
Joined:
2016/3/13 15:24
From Coalmont, B.C., Canada
Posts: 860
David Packard,

The 3 black things are the actual weights that slide outward with centrifugal force which in turn, pushes the collar behind the gear sprocket cluster, forcing the derailleur to change gears from one sprocket to another. I looked them up on the net (Autobike) and it sounds like they developed the concept from this mechanical governor to a computer activated change system in later years. They say good things about the original iteration though, with it being quite hardy and reliable. It doesn't sound like it 'caught on' in the bicycle world; probably why I've never seen another one of them around. Chris.

Posted on: 4/28 23:05:39
_________________
'If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right!' Henry Ford

1939 Six, Model 1700

http://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/modules/registry/index.php?Action=view&ID=1823
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Re: Autobike
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 691
Quote:

Packard newbie wrote:
David Packard,

The 3 black things are the actual weights that slide outward with centrifugal force which in turn, pushes the collar behind the gear sprocket cluster, forcing the derailleur to change gears from one sprocket to another. I looked them up on the net (Autobike) and it sounds like they developed the concept from this mechanical governor to a computer activated change system in later years. They say good things about the original iteration though, with it being quite hardy and reliable. It doesn't sound like it 'caught on' in the bicycle world; probably why I've never seen another one of them around. Chris.


Ahhh. The Autobike. What you have there is known as the "Autobike Classic"... yes, six speeds. Somewhere I have original literature, but since this is so new, don't have it sorted and easy to find.

While these are not common, they are not that rare, either. They used to sell them on TV in late-night sales pitch marathons. Mass-marketed direct sales, so not likely something you would find sold in a shop. They also turn up on eBay.

The company (out of Michigan) went to a newer design a few years ago that uses a kind of CVT transmission rather than clunky derailleur cogs.

Posted on: 4/30 9:13:29
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Re: Autobike
Home away from home
Joined:
2019/1/30 23:11
From Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 214
Interesting stuff, Leeedy

A very clever device and - from what you say - quite inexpensive. No doubt collectible now!

Being a lazy type, I don't much like pedalling so gravitated towards the two-stroke jobbie pictured earlier. 30mph with feet on the handlebars, but can still be ridden like a normal bike.

Of course, none of that existed when the Autobike was built. Was the design patented?

What else do you have stashed away?

Cheers

Brian

Posted on: 4/30 17:03:27
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1941 120 Club Coupe (SOLD)
1956 Clipper Deluxe (RHD and auto) - for the wife, or so I told her!
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Re: Autobike
Home away from home
Joined:
2019/1/30 23:11
From Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 214
Hey Chris

Sorry I got us onto this. But it is interesting stuff and illustrates what Packard people mess with in their spare time.

The basic Autobike looks a lot like the surplus mountain bike which I fitted the two stroke kit onto, except for the very clever auto gear change gubbins.

Brian

Posted on: 4/30 17:09:36
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1941 120 Club Coupe (SOLD)
1956 Clipper Deluxe (RHD and auto) - for the wife, or so I told her!
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Re: Autobike
Home away from home
Joined:
2016/3/13 15:24
From Coalmont, B.C., Canada
Posts: 860
Thanks for weighing in Leeedy. I consider you the 'bike authority' on here, so what ever you say, goes as far as I'm concerned. I'd still like one of Brian's little 2-stroke units though; they sound like fun. Chris.

Posted on: 4/30 17:14:58
_________________
'If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right!' Henry Ford

1939 Six, Model 1700

http://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/modules/registry/index.php?Action=view&ID=1823
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Re: Autobike
Home away from home
Joined:
2009/1/24 9:59
From Davis, CA
Posts: 691
Quote:

b.wilson wrote:
Interesting stuff, Leeedy

A very clever device and - from what you say - quite inexpensive. No doubt collectible now!

Being a lazy type, I don't much like pedalling so gravitated towards the two-stroke jobbie pictured earlier. 30mph with feet on the handlebars, but can still be ridden like a normal bike.

Of course, none of that existed when the Autobike was built. Was the design patented?

What else do you have stashed away?

Cheers

Brian


You should understand that motorized bicycles and bicycle motor kits have always existed since the beginning of bicycles. This means a a jillion different motorizing gadgets over 100+ years. They come... and they go. During the period just after WW2 and during 10-speed era, there were motor kits that came out every few months. Somebody, somewhere always figured they'd make a fortune with a motor kit for bicycles–or that nobody had thought of it before them. This notion was not limited to the USA, but was also going on in Canada and Europe. For a while, the Germans had a little diesel kit. There was also the British BSA bicycle motor attachment.

One of the most popular ever was called the Whizzer. These single-cylinder kits and built-ups were introduced in 1939 and hung on until they petered out 1960s. For a while, they had factories in the USA and in Europe. In the majority of the time they were made in Michigan. In the 1960s and 1970s I managed to save the paper archives of the company, including all of the literature and the company correspondence files. These included thousands upon thousands of letters back & forth between the company, customers, dealers, etc. I also have many of the original blueprints. Guess who the guy is riding the Whizzerized Schwinn in the photo below? I had one of each model until my barns were robbed many years ago. I still have a few other motorized bicycles including two Monark Super-Twins (these had 2-stroke twin-cylinder engines). I still have a mint 1949 and a 1954.

During the 10-speed era some of the more known kits were "Bumble-Bee," "Chicken Power," "Cox" and others. Somehow nobody seemed to remember that these things came and went over and over and over.

Of course the Autobike (both the old and newer versions) were patented.

What did I "stash away"????? I have over 80,000 original bicycle catalogues, books and photos. And while many of my bicycles were stolen years ago, along with my 1956 Caribbean, I still have a few...

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Posted on: 5/1 7:44:56
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Re: Autobike
Home away from home
Joined:
2013/5/7 13:42
From Scottsdale, Arizona, United States
Posts: 554
Good Morning Chris...You have one very cool bike...Thanks, Ernie in Arizona

Posted on: 5/1 7:52:09
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Caretaker of the 1949-288 Deluxe Touring Sedan
'Miss Prudence' and the 1931 Model A Ford Tudor 'Miss Princess'
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