1 of 326: 1980s Pulse Autocycle

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Although the Pulse Autocycle looks a lot like an airplane, it’s technically a motorcycle with three wheels and (usually) a Yamaha drivetrain. Only a few hundred of these were built during the 1980s and it’s likely just a few survive today (when did you last or ever see one?). Now a parts vehicle in disarray, this one is languishing in a field in Brazoria, Texas,  and is available here on eBay where four bids have raised the ante to $1,075. What would you do with it once you got it home?

The Pulse Autocycle was developed by aircraft designer James Bede, who may be better known for coming up with a variety of kit airplanes. One of his kit plane designs was the Bede BD-5 Micro, the smallest jet plane in the world that was featured in the 1983 James Bond flick, Octopussy. The Pulse borrowed from that design with a much smaller wingspan, so it doesn’t fly. It became categorized as an autocycle because it combines design elements of both automobiles and motorcycles. Production took place in Michigan between 1985 and 1990 and they were dubbed Ground Cruising Recreational Vehicles (GCRV) although the concept never really caught on.

The purpose of combining the car and cycle into a single vehicle with aerodynamics borrowed from aircraft was to provide for greater fuel efficiency as these things were said to deliver at least 80 mpg. Perhaps the most noticeable example was one built for Coca-Cola which proudly wore its company colors and we understand it’s still in their marketing mix today. We don’t know about the seller’s long-lost Pulse, but they were typically powered by motorcycle engines with displacements of 400 to 1100cc.

There doesn’t appear to be a lot left of this autocycle, so using it for parts would mean you already own another of the 326 that were built.  There is no motor, although finding a Yamaha replacement shouldn’t pose any huge problems. Perhaps the best course of action is to fix it up cosmetically and use it for advertising or as the ultimate man cave decoration for those who already have everything else. There is no title, so proof of the exchange of ownership will have to come in the form of a bill or sale.

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  1. Mike

    Looks like you’re just buying a shell. Everything inside it will need to be replaced. Would be cool to load up the interior with actual jet fighter equipment and instruments.

    Like 5
  2. sakingsbury20

    must of been a fine line between thrilling and scary if it was Yamaha XS11 powered……

    Like 8
    • Derek

      …or a ported RD400…

      Like 1
      • jwaltb


        Like 0
    • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

      I owned a Yamaha 1.1 for about 3 weeks before selling it as I figured that this was the original “Widow Maker.”

      Like 5
  3. Howie

    Sold $2,510.

    Like 3
    • Bob

      I actually saw 1 of these at a gas station The gentlemen driving it had just finished filling it up and it was getting ready to leave so I didn’t get a very good look at it But from the outside it was pretty cool. A little too much work for me but I’d like to see somebody Get it back on the road.

      Like 1
      • Lee

        The driver was probably changing his underwear. Unless you have the outriggers adjusted perfectly, you’ll have your hands full. So I’ve read.

        Like 0
      • FHJ

        Yeah, driving one of these things down I-35 in Dallas @ rush hour….. No thank you!!!

        Like 0
  4. Troy

    First picture I was interested, the following pictures changed my mind its already sold don’t know what it would take to get it back on the road or if its just a parts rig now

    Like 1
  5. Naptown Mark

    This project is going to get three things: 1) a case of Busch Light. 2) a Harbor Freight Predator engine. 3) never finished.

    Like 3
  6. Louis Rugani

    Apparently there’s an owner’s club, because at a 2005 microcar meet in Crystal Lake, Illinois there were perhaps a dozen of them.

    Like 1
  7. CeeOne

    I wonder what kind of mileage they got?

    Like 0
  8. Dave

    Perfect base for land speed racing.

    Like 0
  9. Kenn

    Naptown Mark, your first name says it all re: “never finished”. Please don’t judge others by yourself. Lots of folks tackle projects like this with energy, enthusiasm and ambition and get the job done.

    Like 5
  10. Denis

    This is a cool mini project. Basic box frame, Easily attainable motorcycle parts. I think I would rebuild it with BMW boxter motor and drivetrain.

    Like 0
  11. Denis

    PS. The outriggers should be spring loaded to tilt as needed.

    Like 0
    • Lee

      What’s it like to drive a Pulse?

      The first thing you will notice is the steering. A Pulse has a very quick steering ratio. Mine is less than one turn, lock to lock. It feels like a fast go-cart. Don’t mess with the radio and expect to keep going straight. It steers quick! The brakes are excellent. Nothing unusual about the clutch or gas pedal.

      The fun starts when you make that first turn. A Pulse leans to the outside of a turn unlike a motorcycle. It feels a little strange at first but its not unpleasant or scary. A Pulse does not ride down the road on 2 wheels. It rides on the 2 main wheels and one outrigger wheel. When you change direction it will sort of flop over from one outrigger to the other in a gentle manner depending on how high the outriggers are set and how hard you move the steering wheel and how fast you are going. If the outrigger wheels are set about one inch off the ground at rest, this transition from one outrigger to the other is hardly noticeable. You cannot drive a Pulse without at least one outrigger in contact with the road.

      Like 1
      • Terrry

        It’s basically like the outrigger trike setup found on some Gold Wing motorcycle trike conversions-a motorcycle with training wheels, in effect. I rode one of those once. Unusual at best, I prefer a real trike conversion or a trike itself.

        Like 0
  12. Wes

    I wonder how wide the PULSE autocycle is ?
    Have quit hauling my little cars, and motorbikes in a trailer.
    Prefer using my van.

    Like 0
  13. Terrry

    With a set up like that, they made about 326 too many of these in my opinion. You haven’t “lived” until you’ve ridden a motorcycle with outriggers.

    Like 0

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