Mitch Pearce owns two Harley Davidsons and seven other motorbikes but his most recent machine is a little different – it’s a home-built e-bike.
The New Plymouth man has created a bike without pedals that charges at the wall, something he’s never seen before.
“It’s not really a motorbike, but it’s not really a push-bike,” he said. “I’d say it’s a motorbike if a cop were to pull me up.”
Pearce, a welding and fabrication tutor at the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (Witt), said he’s done plenty of work on petrol-powered bikes in the last decade, but nothing like this.
“Things with motors are usually my preference,” he said.
It all started when he was given an electric bike motor, that can be fitted on a bicycle, from a family friend.
It inspired him to try something different.
“I thought, how do I get something low and long that looks cool.”
He drew his original plans on a small piece of paper, before drawing it in full size on a piece of cardboard on the ground.
“It’s been a project for a year-and-a-half,” Pearce said. “Everything I designed worked out, which is surprising.”
There’s a few problems – like his shirt getting stuck in the wheel, the seat being a little uncomfortable, and the fact he uses his foot to slow more than his brake, but he’s happy.
Other than the gifted motor and wheels, which he got off a mountain bike he bought for $200, he made everything else himself.
The project came at a cost of $600 – $400 of which was on paint.
He took it to Electricarna, a show for electric vehicle enthusiasts, at the weekend, and got a lot of positive feedback.
“I’m stoked with how it turned out, it’s exactly how I thought it would be.”
Pearce finished the e-bike just after Christmas and has been cruising along New Plymouth’s Coastal Walkway ever since.
When Pearce is driving he low-rider bike in his black sunglasses and helmet it may appear as though he’s going to cause trouble on the walkway, but he doesn’t.
“I go just a little bit over walking speed.
“It only goes cruising speed.”