LEPHALALE — Resegofaditswe Tebogo Matlaopane, a student at Lephalale TVET College, has recently built a motorbike.
Matlaopane, who is a motorbike fanatic, told Mogol Post he didn’t have a lot of material to use when he began the project. He used classroom table metals for the overall frame of the bike, an old lawn-mower engine, its rear wheels, the petrol tank, the material used at the college for National Certificate Vocational (NCV) students where he created an exhaust pipe after shaping it, whereas the front wheel came from his own old bike.
The motor-bike’s speed is lower than the original one of the lawn-mower as there were changes in the pulley structure. He says he will improve its speed by modifying the pulleys soon.
When the motorbike is ignited, a fascinating sound similar to that produced by turbo injector vehicles is produced. This process uses normal 93 and 95 petrol in a 5 litre tank as well as a motorbike battery.
“I started this project in June 2015 after I documented the first drawing. It was a tough journey as I initially didn’t have the parts for ignition. With some creative thinking I created the current one from my old bike. It has two cables, one from the starter, the other from the battery and when you switch it on, a circuit is created from the battery to the starter and at that stage the starter runs the engine” he explained.
According to him, 70 % of the project has been completed. He still plans to make it stronger and with a maximum speed of 110 km/h.
“I’m trying to avoid having a malfunction in the streets while using it. So far I’ve only done 5 km with a top speed of 15 km/h.
From my experience with motorbikes, the prototype will be risky to drive if it reaches speeds above 110 km/h, so for now I’m modifying ‘The Beast’ so that it can safely reach its maximum speed. That is when the speedometer will be permanently installed” he said.
He calls the motorbike ‘The Beast’, because of the loud engine sound and says its nature is unique. The orange colour was inspired by a welding expert.
‘The Beast’ also has high fuel consumption, so he has only been riding it within the college premises. It is also still a prototype product and more tests are required.
Matlaopane studied Engineering Fabrication for three years before completion in 2015.
He encourages students to do NCV courses so that they can acquire necessary skills that will make them competent in a skilful environment.
Matlaopane was also a member of the Students Representative Council (SRC). He says the reason behind the construction of this bike is that in 2015, in the academic office, there was a concern with students dropping out from NCV because apparently they didn’t want to do three years.
“Government has invested so much in the three year courses and I thought of starting this to attract more people to do NCV so that they realise its importance. One of the additional benefits of NCV is that you get the skills that can help you do things by yourself.
‘The Beast’ is a great example of the practical skills we learn during the three years of schooling. Now I can use this in my personal CV” he said.
He thanked his mentor, Kamogelo Radipabe, NCV HOD Paul Mochaki, for letting him use the workshop, Campus Manager Rina van Jaarveld, Head of General Workers, Marnus Pretorius, who provided the engine and his lecturer Martin Schoeman, for making his project a success.
His message to students is that it is possible to turn your world around.
His big wish is to have a firm where he builds motorbikes. He also admires fabrication engineering companies like Actom.