Steam bike in Indonesia – Rusnan shows the way

Posted by jerry on July 2nd, 2009 — Posted in Journal, Motorcycling, Steam

Motorbike mechanic Rusnan Erces has hand built a steampunk replica of Sylvester Roper’s steam motorcycle in Indonesia. This is his third version of the bike and it is now running well.

steam motorcycle

Rusnan has a blog devoted to his bike and it’s well worth a visit.

It takes about 15 minutes to raise steam using charcoal fuel, bringing it up to an ideal operating pressure of 50-100psi. Rusnan estimates the bike may be capable of up to 50-75mph (80-120kph). The safety valve is set to release at 100psi to keep things safe, although the boiler has been tested to 150psi. The bike can carry 10litres of water and the burner 3kg of briquettes, giving it an endurance of 3 hours continuous running in a static display. The engine appears to be a single cylinder single acting piston-valve type, and the boiler is likely a simple water tube type with a burner grate below, which can use charcoal, coal, coke or wood – it could also potentially use compressed waste paper making it a very cheap vehicle to run.

The bike is an inspiration in terms of what can be built from scrap sheet metal, some motor parts, piping and an old bicycle! This is the ultimate in appropriate technology, particularly for a developing country like Indonesia. Rusnan hopes that this will be the start of a whole movement aimed at building and running steam motorbikes – he has certainly made a good start!

Recently the bike was featured on Indonesian TV, and you can see the bike in action here



Comment by Kokoh

Hi, This a great and best Ideas from him, due to the actual job his only as Technician for AC, Good Job and Idea

Posted on July 3, 2009 at 1:23 am

Comment by jerry

Thanks for the clarification 🙂

Posted on July 3, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Comment by agus

Hidupkan lokomotif kuno di Taman Mini Indonesia Indah ya….. pak rusnan.

Posted on July 11, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Comment by rusnan

he he inginya bgitu mas agus apadaya…..cari gebrakan baru aja ah,, kapanadze gen ,everyting katanya sih posible, .

[Rough translation: building this engine… looking for a new breakthrough, it shows that anything is possible – JE]

Posted on July 19, 2012 at 12:41 am

Comment by Amit Desai

I need to know what kind of design is used for watertube boiler…..?
I am from India, and planing to build poweful steam bike…..!
Rusnan, I need information about pipe used for boiler construction, the pressure ratings of pipe….!

Posted on June 16, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Comment by jerry

Amit – I believe he used a fire-tube boiler similar to that used in stanley steam cars. He would have used readily available copper tube most likely of the sort used in water heaters – he is an air conditioning mechanic, and would have used whatever was available from hardware suppliers. Such a boiler would likely have a pressure rating in the order of 200psi. I look forward to hearing about your progress if you build this bike 🙂


Posted on June 16, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Comment by Amit Desai

Hi jerry, i dont think he used firetube boiler as the original roper steamer has.
I think that he used watertube boiler with regular GI pipe which is available at any hardware store, which is pressure rated 300psi cold.
If it used for steam it holds 150psi max if you increase pressure even more it will burst.
So, for the sefty reason rusnan fitted sefty valve at 100psi (if i imagine correctly)
The steam bike that i planned is based on 1934 field stem bike.
For that i will use my father’s 34 years old bicycle frame with some modifications, it will have watertube boiler which uses solid fuel as well as oil fuel, condenser to condense steam into water, for the engine i’l convert air compresor into steam engine, its challenging but i’l make it……!
I am waiting for what rusnan says about his boiler…..!

Posted on June 22, 2014 at 8:05 pm

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