Building their own bikes
Building a motorbike, racing it, maybe even winning — year 13 technology engineering students say their mini motorbike project was “awesome”.
The six Taupo¯-nui-a-Tia College students recently raced their creations at Manfeild in the National Secondary Schools Mini Moto GP after building their own 49cc mini motorbike and put in a creditable performance with one student, Ethan Milne, winning his grade.
The kitset bikes cost about $360 and the students have to make their bike to meet race specifications, which took about two and a half terms. The mini motorbikes are an annual school project.
The two-day mini moto GP has five races of two laps each, around four minutes long in total, per day. The bikes can reach speeds of 45 to 60 km/h and 20 schools were represented, with about 120 riders in all.
Technology engineering teacher Stephen Fowler says it’s normal for the bikes to experience a range of technical issues and the students need to get their bike to the pits and work on them together to get them ready for the next race.
“We putt around here in the carpark just to check they are running and they [the students] can take them home and ride around on them and run them in but they can’t be ridden on the road. They’re not road legal.”
Aidan Winmill, 18, says the project was worthwhile and interesting, with the class working well together as a team.
Despite some initial brake problems and a snapped pull cord, Aidan got his bike to a top speed of 50km/h. He gained an excellence grade, says he loves every aspect of engineering and plans to study mechanical engineering at Canterbury University next year.
Daniel Martin, 17, says he’s been hanging out to make a mini motorbike ever since he visited the college as an intermediate student and saw the students working on them.
“I’m stoked with it [my bike], it’s awesome. It went pretty good.
“I took my bike home over the term three holidays and I tested it at home and had it going pretty well. Some pieces fell off when I was racing though, and that made some challenges, but it was awesome.”
Daniel plans to study engineering technologies at AUT next year.
Ethan Milne, 18, who won his class at Manfeild, beating 10 riders from other schools, says his bike performed well on the first day but came close to disaster on the second when the pull cord broke. It was soon replaced. He says working on the bikes was “a really good learning experience”.
Mr Fowler says as well as improving their engineering skills, the students had to be organised, problem solve and collaborate.
“They were probably the best year 13s I’ve seen so far in their ability and willingness to work together as a team,” he says.
Taupo¯-nui-a-Tia College year 13 technology engineering students with the mini motorbikes they built and raced. From left: Jak Brightwell, Zac Johns, Ethan Milne, Daniel Martin, Ketan Patil, Aidan Winmill.