So here’s the deal

Progress on this project is going very slow for me right now. This is primarily for two reasons. 1) I’m busier than I’ve ever been doing lots of really cool stuff with lots of cool people. 2) I’ve discovered that I can’t possibly meet my own design criteria. Let me elaborate.

Thing the first
I have a lot of really cool stuff going on. I’m writing daily for, weekly for and both gigs afford me ancillary opportunities to do cool stuff with cool people. I was a guest host on two automotive podcasts this week (bimmercast and whiteroofradio). I’m becoming more and more regular on WRR and in fact one of my recent episodes was the most-downloaded automotive podcast episode ever on iTunes. Now that’s not because I was on it, but still, it’s pretty awesome. Working with Bluecat Motors is also giving me really awesome opportunities to expand my mechanical skills and have access to their expertise in customizing motorcycles. So there are a couple of motorcycle projects I’d like to see happen this season and that’s going to take up both time and money that might have otherwise been used on the Streetliner.

Thing the second
I’ve really come a long way in this past year in understanding this project and what it’s going to take to complete it. I’m actually very, very confident in my designs and in the feasibility of a vehicle of this type. Unfortunately that deeper understanding has some unpleasant realities. The design has evolved into something really, really strong, but unfortunately the improvements to the design mean that I’m not going to be able to meet my price criteria of $10,000 or less in materials. I’m looking at more like $15,000 before it’s all said and done. Now that’s not bad. That’s the price of a really good motorcycle or a really cheap car. But it means that my original criteria are unrealistic. That has a domino effect on my timeline as well. The biggest thing that keeps me from starting construction isn’t interest, it’s money. I don’t have the cash to buy parts. So my 2012 debut deadline is pretty much out the window.

So is it dead?
No. Not at all. I still want to do this. However, the scope of the project may change drastically. That, or it may simply be years before I get around to it. I’m thinking about doing a recumbent trike velomobile with a tilting front end and an electric assist. There are great bike paths here in the Twin Cities and I can get basically all the way to work on them. So that’s an option. I’m also thinking about a Streetliner-style custom-built entry for the scooter Cannonball cross-country race event. We’ll see.

Either way, thanks so much for everybody’s support and everybody’s interest. This project (and the site) aren’t going anywhere, they’re just not going to have my undivided attention for a while.

3 thoughts on “So here’s the deal”

  1. Don’t worry man, some projects don’t respond well to deadlines, just keep at it. Scaling it back to a NEV w/ bicycle tech might make and interim version cheaper/quicker if that would handle your commute… and Piaggio MP3 500s are now available used, a feet-forward re-body job would certainly save time… I guess too many options is a problem, may you continue to have it…

  2. Thanks Cam! Actually there’s been some energy in the project lately as my boss (a crazy talented Industrial Designer) has started modeling the exterior shell of the Streetliner in CAD and one of our engineers is going to render the chassis. So soon I’ll have cool looking renderings to share.

    The project will continue, like you said, just not under a tight deadline. It’ll keep going forward.

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