You may have already read the first part of this but I saw it as a good way to start my Eco Exo build thread so I'm reposting it here:
I'm recently retired and I've been looking for something to build, something useful. A fun vehicle that gives me a reason to get out of the house. Something that gets good gas mileage and something that won't fall over or throw me off. I've always been a big fan of the reverse trike concept for all its advantages but wasn't sure how to make it happen. Then I ran across the Eco Exo … love at first sight.
So as far as MEV owners go, I guess you could say I'm born to clan exo. And I'm looking forward to getting started. I bought a 2003 AN400 yesterday. Spent today checking the oil and coolant, cleaning the air filter, checking tire pressure. Getting it ready for the road. It has 15,000 mi and is in excellent shape. Looks good runs good. Seems like a real nice scooter and serious transportation at the same time. I don't recall ever seeing one on the road and probably wouldn't even consider owning one if it wasn't for this project. But I have to say that would be my loss because I'm impressed.
I plan on riding it for fun this summer before it goes to slaughter sometime this fall. I have the feeling already that its going to be hard to tear it apart when the time comes.
Looking forward to hearing from everyone in clan exo.
Congrats on the new donor bike. It seems like a good start for the Exo project! Which version did you order? The An400 didn't please me a lot. The engine runs great but the helmet turbulence on highway use and fork stability made me dissasemble the An400 in about 30 miles or so (did this with my R1 donor after 0.5mile testdrive LOL!!).
Thank you Edward for the warm welcome. I have decided to build the Eco-Exo R. My plan is to order sometime in the next 2 months. Meanwhile I have enjoyed reading thru all the build posts.
I may be the rare one that actually takes Scott’s K.I.S.S. advice. My build will be bone stock. I like the rounded nose of the original design. Simple curved surface flanked by exposed large tubing. Very nice. And a super solution to what can be a difficult thing to get right. It definitely works for me. In fact was the first thing that attracted me. It must go back to that ride in a sidecar that a childhood friends Dad promised 50 years ago. The ride I'm still waiting for.
And thanks for posting your build, in that sense you have helped me already and I look forward to any future advice you may have.
I do think I'm off to a good start with the Burgman I bought. Too good maybe, its so pretty. Other than the fat ass, eventho they seem to be hot at the moment for some reason. Its still too pretty to die.
As for the colors. Probably grey frame and red panels or black frame and white panels. All black always looks cool. Knowing me I'll flip flop till the day I order.
I think I build my Exo as simple as it gets but if I'd build an other one I'd definately build the battery, regulator and key switch in front of the bike like the An400 loom has been designed for. This will simplify the loom conversion to a very short experience. i'd even reconsider the Eco-Exo version instead of the -R and install a recumbend bike styled steering bar to use the original bike controls and switches. eliminating the steering column creates good useable space for gauges under the front cover and storage space in front of the seeat.
I'm with you on keeping it simple. To blend the two vehicles with as few mods as possible to existing components. Using the stock handlebars with all that brings is definitely an option. And would work for some but not for me. There is a third steering option that I would consider ... have you seen this Yamaha Trike on YouTube ?
Don't ask me how it works or how well it works but perhaps the best of both worlds.
Yeah the R really is the way to go for me, too. With Roger on the road and you very close to being there, I feel like I'm in a good position. I get to take full advantage of the early pioneers. So, of course I will welcome all comments and advice along the way.
While we're on the subject … Do you know how many builds we have? The reason I'm asking is Roger mentioned a local motorcycle gathering that he is planning to attend. I think it was on May 16th. I'd like to go to that to get a look at his project. But can't make it. I do want to see one so I asked Kevin Patrick but he doesn't have one in Atlanta. So I thot why not a roadtrip to visit as many of the builds as will have me.
So, can I make this an open call to all Eco-Exo builders. If you don't mind a visit from a future builder please let me know. I'll be making the rounds later this month. It would be a shame to find out later I drove right by one.
To have this in the Eco-Exo might be quite simple as there are already 2 bottom pipes (in front of the seat with no purpose) to attach a pivot plate for steering bar onto. A pushrod to the steering linkage can easely be made. the original grips and switches can be used. One could do a similar mount underneat the front bonnet but this may cancel out the gauge cluster to be mounted under the bonnet and cancel out the An400 windscreen assy. The 1st version of the Exo would be very suitable for this IMO. The good thing is the drivers seat can be placed more forward which makes a 2 passenger version reality. If you go this route and leave the fiat steering column out of the chasis I recon all electronics, regulator batterie AND starter key switch will stay at the original An400 area (a lot of electronics are located under the steering bar). Modifying the loom would only result in cutting the loom through in the middle and a simple extension of about 30 wires and you're done with the main loom. I think this route would be the shortest one could wish for. Don't get me wrong the Exo-R is a very nice kit but it is clear adding the steering column and pedals into this design is very nice but the fiat stalks and ignition adds complexity not needed to he loom. if I were to build a new one I'd seriously reconsider the Recumbent bike style steering construction.
Having a tr1ke with bike switches on the road showed one downside of the bike switches/steering wheel combo: the turn signals need to be switched off manually as on the bike. The don't turn off automatically as like on a car which makes the steering bar with switches a good alternative.
Erik, I like your idea of using the original grips and switches on the Yamatrike side-mount steering. I'd like to see the throttle and brake levers included as well. I haven't seen an Exo in person so its hard for me to picture the changes needed. It is fun to think about tho. I'm sure we'll see it on the road with all the details worked out before its all said and done. Its too good of an idea not to.
Edward, I'm sold on the R. The closer to the standard driving experience the better for now. As time goes on I might experiment with the side steering but thats for later. Heres a question. Does the R come with the rack and pinion, the steering shaft and the top part where the stalks live?
Yes the steering column and stalks come with the kit. However, the connectors for the stalks are not included and need to be obtained at a breaker, which I failed to find one to cut them out the main loom which seems to be too much work with too little value. The stalks do feel of poor qty when actuated and I didn't want them in my build. The original switches feel much more durable and are designed to cope with rain which the stalks aren't designed for. When you open the stalk mechanism it looks like junk IMO. In the tR1ke forum many don't use car stalks for simplicity and weather proof. You don't need to add a hazard switch to the column as well because it's already in the bike switch. sensorless keys and key switch need to be obtained from a Fiat dealer. Just drop off the column and they can source the correct ones for you but they rather would have had the license plate numbers which you don't
I don't think one can convert the R version to the original Eco-exo. The steering linkage is different. Download both manuals and see yourself: mevowners.co.uk/Build_Manuals.html Don't get me wrong the R version is fine but you will notice the steering wheel is close to the driver and the throttle pedal consumes some feet area and doesn't allow the original starter key switch to be placed in front of the steering wheel. For this reason I placed mine next to the tank which makes 4 anti theft devices in m kit (steering column lock+ engine cut off, original key switch and batterie cut off switch. Integrating the car starter switch to the An400 loom seemed to me more of a loom conversion waiting to fail. I placed the fiat starter switch in series with the engine cut off switch which is a no brainer and very effective. No additional solenoids needed at all. In fact, building the rear light cluster loom (very simple), placing the fiat key switch in series with the an400 engine cut off switch and extending the hand lever switch to the brake caliper (rear braking light+ needs to be pressed in when starting), loop the saddle and standard switch are the only loom modifications I made. integrating the stalks and Fiat switch and removing the an400 key switch is a bigger can of worms to digest than relocating some items which is just labeling and splicing the loom. if I were to build a new kit i wouldn't relocate the regulator, batterie , starter solenoid and key switch and keep them in front of the chasis which is quite a challenge on the R-version.
My donor AN400. Bought on April 30 2014 for $2100. Sold by a local dealer who buys at auction. Not a salvage title. All paperwork in order, currently waiting on registration from DMV. Too pretty to slaughter.
TIP: The VIN is on a metal plaque below the center of the handlebars. This plague can be moved from bike to bike. The real VIN is stamped on the frame. Suzuki gives us an easy way to check it. Lift the seat, find the window cut in the right hand side plastic above the frame and the stamped VIN. Check it against your paperwork before buying. All 3 should match.