|Steam Power Restoration
Restoration of the Hubbard Steam-Powered
This project involves restoration of a rather rare breed of machine.
Very few steam-powered motorcycles are known with the majority of
historic "steamcycles" residing in museums (e.g., the "Field" steam
motorcycle). There has been very
little commercial exploitation of applying steam power to two-wheeled
vehicles, so most "steamcycles" that come to light are one-of-a-kind
prototypes built by hobbyists and steam enthusiasts. The
steamcycle restored here is no exception. It was custom built by Arthur
"Bud" Hubbard of Monroe, CT during the early 1970's.
The motorcycle frame is a 1956 Maico of East German
manufacture. The powerplant was hand built over about 4 years
starting in 1969.
A closeup of the handmade powerplant. This is the left side with most
of the feedwater handling components.
Right side of the powerplant with most of the fuel handling
components. The steam engine has successfully run on compressed
air since the restoration.
The steamcycle prior to restoration. It had been stored in a chicken
coop for many years, and the ravages of time and oxidation are
|Specifications of the Hubbard Steamcycle
- Two cylinder, single acting steam engine
- 3 cubic inch displacement for each cylinder (6 cu in total
- Theoretical HP - ~6
- Transmission - direct drive - roller chain
- Boiler - triple coil - flash style - superheating loop
- Operating pressure - 400-700 psi superheated steam
- Burner - vaporization style with throttle - alcohol
preheating of vaporization coil
- Fuel consumption - less than 1 gal per hour.
- Fuel - originally designed for kerosene, also used gasoline
- Water capacity - ~2 hours with planned condenser
Issues Remaining Prior to
Operation Under Steam
- Boiler was perforated due to rusting during storage.
Must be rebuilt.
- During initial tests of the vaporization burner in the
early 1970's, this key component never operated well on kerosene.
Operation using gasoline was inconsistent and harzardous.
Another pre-restoration photo. The Hubbard steamcycle was purchased
from Dick Greene. It is owned and restored by Jim Anderson.
The steamcycle engine will be demonstrated on compressed air at the
Spring Power-UP on May 6, 2006.
Mr. Hubbard built this steamcycle in the
early 1970's. He was however following a two-part article
published in The Model Engineer and Electrician published in April of 1918! This
article is entitled A Design
of a Steam Motor Cycle and was authored by Thomas Hindle.
The paper described in detail the construction of a steam motorcycle
and included drawings and construction data. From a careful reading of
the paper it is apparent that Hindle never actually built this
motorcycle himself! It appears to be a paper exercise. More than
50 years later, Bud Hubbard turned this design exercise in
reality. Therefore, all of the post-construction
troubleshooting was left to Mr. Hubbard himself. It is a
testimony to the skills of Arthur "Bud" Hubbard that he 1) built this
in the first place and 2) did extensive testing and improvements to his
design to actually get it running on steam. Mr. Hubbard kept a
notebook that chronicled both the construction of the steamcycle and
it's later testing and modifications. His notes exemplify
inventive spirit and clearly show the interative process involved in
building anything mechanical.
This page was prepared on 9/1/06 by Jim Anderson