One possible solution to the delimma would be to use a
motorcycle engine incorporating a shaft drive. The are
many mid-displacement bikes (approx.500cc's) out there
in wrecker's or breaker's yards available cheap,
especially if the bike has been pranged in the front
end. The cycle would supply the engine, integral
transmission, and shaft drive. The shaft drive has a
universal joint already engineered in, that pivots at
the swingarm. Once the rear wheel and hub is removed,
it would be simple to fabricate a shaft extension,
either in a direct drive or z-drive configuration. For
a mere pittance you also get: factory engineered
lubrication, fuel and electronic ignition systems, a
fuel tank, electric start, elementary guages and
warning lights, etc.
While most of the bikes have a manual gearbox, they
use in-line shifters, so it is simple to make a shift
lever arrangement ( a dual lever throttle quadrant
would work, with a T-handle or pushbutton/electric
solenoid actuated clutch). Alternatively, just modify
the shift mechanism so that only two gears are
available, top gear and neutral. A small geared
electric motor attached to the shaft via a cogged belt
could be used for reversing, with the transmission in
neutral, or Jeff's Kitchen rudder system could be
employed. Some of the larger bikes are water cooled,
using a closed system, which can be used as is,or
adapted to lake water cooling via a water-to-water
heat exchanger. The beauty of it is, it's all designed
to work together as a unit, and parts are cheap.
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