A split-wheeled bicycle is a strange machine where the rear wheel has been carefully cut into multiple separate rotating pieces, somehow managing to support the bike just fine. YouTuber Bikes and Beards decided to see if the concept would work just as well on a full-size motorcycle. And, of course, the results were hilarious.
The build starts with a Honda CBR250. The lightweight starter bike was fitted with an extended steel swingarm in order to mount an extra rear wheel cribbed from another CBR250. A chain was used to drive the second rear wheel from the first. As a three-wheeled bike, it rode well in testing. At this point, the real challenge began, however. The team had to figure out how to make the bike run with two rear half-wheels instead.
The big challenge here was how to cut the tires and wheels in half while still allowing them to support the bike. Unfortunately, half-circle inner tubes don’t exist, nor do half-circle rims that hold air. Instead, the wheels and tires were simply cut in two with a Sawzall. Initial attempts then involved packing the tires with spray foam, akin to the way a runflat tire works. In the end, a large-diameter flexible poly pipe was used to support the tires instead, which were then riveted onto the half-rims.
Initial testing quickly revealed a problem. The ride was bumpy in the extreme, with the rear of the bike bucking as the split wheels turned. For the split-wheel concept to work, both half-wheels must contact the ground at the same height in order to smoothly support the bike. Appearances suggest the two half-wheels weren’t precisely the same height, causing the back of the bike to jump up and down.
Of course, that was no impediment to putting the bike through its paces. One rider was able to ride the bike up to 30 mph despite the heavy vibration from the rear. The bike looks most hilarious at slow speed, though, where the periodic up-and-down motion is most evident.
The team later attempted strapping down the suspension to quell the issue, but to no avail. Filling the tubing inside the tires with rubber chips and sealing them with spray foam similarly failed to help.
Despite the issues, the bike did work. It was ridable, just in an incredibly frustrating and hilarious way. The bumpy rear end did put paid to any plans for a celebratory burnout. However, the team plans to fix the issue and put the bike through a top-speed run once the problems are solved.