Teen pushes clever pedal with chain­less bi­cy­cle idea

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - SAM SMALLBONE

MOSS­MAN State High School stu­dent Joshua Riccio has in­vented and de­signed a “chain­less” bi­cy­cle and is gear­ing up to open his new busi­ness Rock Solid Bi­cy­cle En­gines in Craiglie.

The 15-year-old from Ade­laide has strug­gled with se­vere dys­lexia all his life but has pi­o­neered an in­ge­nious de­sign to cre­ate the Rock Solid chain­less drive sys­tem, to cre­ate a chain­less bi­cy­cle and as well as a road-legal 200-watt mo­torised bi­cy­cle en­gine kit.

“I de­vel­oped a love for me­chan­ics from my fa­ther when I was in Year 6 and to­gether we de­vel­oped a bike which has sim­i­lar qual­i­ties to a nor­mal push bike, but when it comes down to the cranks and gears there is no chain or sprock­ets,” he said. “And ev­ery­thing is to­tally sealed. “Many rid­ers find the chain to be very an­noy­ing when rid­ing down hills or when wear­ing long pants so I thought why not get rid of the whole thing.

“So I have built a chain­less bi­cy­cle and a four-stroke en­gine kit which al­lows rid­ers to at­tach the en­gine to their push bike.”

The young­ster strug­gles to read and write but has an ex­ten­sive knowl­edge for mo­tor assem­bly af­ter work­ing af­ter school un­til 1am each night on his projects.

He un­der­took Year 12 me­chan­ics in Year 9 and com­pleted a TAFE course for a Cer­tifi­cate 1 in en­gi­neer­ing, while de­vel­op­ing his busi­ness and at­tend­ing school five days a week.

His pas­sion and hunger for drag rac­ing and work­ing in the tool room was handed down by his fa­ther Tony, who has a life­time ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with drag rac­ing teams such as F &M Cylin­der Heads in Ade­laide.

Joshua spe­cialises in build­ing mo­torised bi­cy­cle en­gine kits and sin­gle cylin­der al­co­hol mo­tors des­tined for ju­nior drag­sters, along with blue-print­ing many ti­tle-win­ning go kart en­gines.

In his first year of rac­ing in 2010 Joshua took out two club cham­pi­onship ti­tles and fin­ished third in the SA Fes­ti­val Cup Se­ries.

“He started the de­signs for the bikes by just play­ing around with parts - that’s how he does things,” Tony said.

“He finds it hard some­times to write down his ideas but he knows ex­actly what he wants in his head so he builds his ideas out of balsa wood first and then ma­chines his pro­to­types us­ing acrylics on the ma­chines, be­fore cre­at­ing his jigs for pro­duc­tion.

“He comes up with all the de­signs and in­ven­tions and then I as­sist him with what needs to be done to bring those in­ven­tions to life.”

In the last three years the young­ster has de­signed two bike mod­els and de­vel­oped a two and four stroke en­gine kit so clients have ev­ery­thing they need to con­vert their reg­u­lar bi­cy­cle into a mo­torised pedal-as­sisted bike if they wish.

“He had de­signed his very own four-stroke en­gine kit that does 64km/h on 650mL of fuel,” Tony said.

Rock Solid Bi­cy­cle En­gine kits are be­ing sold glob­ally to cus­tomers in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Europe, Sin­ga­pore and even Abu Dhabi.

Joshua’s love for the ma­chines has en­cour­aged him to save enough money to build 40 chain­less bikes in Port Dou­glas to rent out to the lo­cals and tourists.

He has also saved his money to buy an en­gine dy­namome­ter which was es­pe­cially made for Rock Solid en­gines in Amer­ica, the only “dyno” to be used in Aus­tralia.

Joshua is ea­ger to ex­pand the busi­ness when he com­pletes Year 12.

Photo by SAM SMALLBONE

Top spot: man­ager Kevin Rynne pol­ishes off the Moss­man Bowls Club’s lat­est awards

Photo by NEIL WEAVERS

No more squeaks: Joshua Riccio hard at work on his chain­less bi­cy­cle

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