Build­ing their own bikes

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - News - Lau­rilee McMichael

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.

Photo / Sup­plied

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.

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