View Full Version : Protodie new buggy design and build FXT630

05-11-2016, 10:14 PM
Time to start a new build thread.

I was working on this design last fall when I parked the design to build the 2 seat Vegas buggy

Our MXT buggy is great for kids and fun for adults,,, but kinda small for adults and limited suspension 5-6" with the motor mounted on the swing arm which is just fine with limited travel.

I wanted a slightly larger version of this with more suspension and performance more for the dads than the kids.

this one is called FXT630

55" wide 102" long 56" tall
11" travel dual A arm front suspension
11" travel swing arm
1 1/4" dia tube roll cage and swing arm
Honda 21hp V twin
CV-tech CVT clutch set up

no reverse in this one

almost done with design, plan to start making prints, cutting steel and ordering laser plates Friday
We are building 2 full turnkey

This size model and performance has been on my list forever

couple teaser pics

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05-20-2016, 10:47 PM
FXT chassis design pics, first frame and jigs are going well.
most of the frame / rollcage is done and I dig it

Laser cut parts showed up today,,,,,we will probably be testing in less than two weeks before they go to powder coat. Building 3 turn key right now,,, then more. One for me :-)
I went fancy laser crazy in this one to increase performance, reduce weight while maintaining strength,, save build time,,, and just look cool

I'll share some steel frame pics tomorrow

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05-22-2016, 12:04 AM
Going with solid swing arm?

05-22-2016, 04:33 PM
yes, swing arm on this model.

simple and works good on our MXT buggies.
unlike the MXT buggies the motor is mounted in the frame and not on the swing arm , so suspension will work even better

I have designed and built articulating straight axles that work well , and independent dual a arm in other models , but do not see the need or additional expense in this one.
Yet I have enough room in the rear hoops to put different motors or suspension setups if someone wants that

we started cutting steel for this new model build on Tuesday, frame almost done by Saturday with building jigs and fixtures too,,, busy week.

probably test driving it in a week or so :-)

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05-24-2016, 09:03 PM
Looking good
Yes I agree solid swing arm is the simplest with the least maintenance

05-24-2016, 11:22 PM
Thanks Taz

steering, seat mounts, front A arm mounts, front A arms complete

fuel cell will be tig welded 1/8" aluminum
created cad files for fuel cells, body panels, dash , vent plates , spoiler and bead lock rings (simulated, so just beauty rings)
sending the rest of the files to laser tomorrow

more parts clutches, shocks, seats, rear hubs, axles, and engines should all be rolling in this week

more pics later this week

05-26-2016, 05:59 PM
on the rotisserie for weld

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06-02-2016, 07:17 PM
update and picture time.
current scale weight is 472lbs. projected finish weight is 550lbs

wheels and tires are just temp old ones for test drive,,,, probably in 3 days or less

nuff talk, pics

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06-05-2016, 12:50 PM
first test drive yesterday :-)
everything worked great right out of the box,
the Honda GX630 motors are sooooo much better than the Predator 670, instant start and run smooth
gear ratios are good at 7:1 with 20" tires

started the test drive with a burnout out of the shop, then drifting around the driveway loop,, then on to the race track,,, real fun

Track needed work and had to grade it before more testing,,,, plus too dusty.
luckily rain came last night and watered the track for me.

more testing today and will try to get some video footage.
it will be a few days before I can get any video edited and uploaded on line.

test days are fun :-)

06-05-2016, 01:14 PM
Hey Protodie, that looks like fun! What are you hoping to get for speed with this setup and how's the acceleration?

06-05-2016, 02:31 PM
hey Ninja,

top speed calculates 55-60 but I have not put a GPS on it yet.
my calculator was spot on with the Vegas buggy, we will see on this one

real nice low end power, drifts and does burn outs.
Test tires are not as aggressive as the ones we will be running but it slides the corners real nice with easy to control drift :-)

shot some quick in car video this morning, nothing fancy but fun

06-05-2016, 04:57 PM
Cool, sounds like fun on a dirt track. How do you think it would do for the dunes?

I think we need to send some people up to your track to help with the testing program. No worries, I would bring a cooler with me just in case it got dusty out there! :cool:

06-05-2016, 11:12 PM
oh ya, I'll get 5 built and we will have some test days. testing beer after testing on the track

06-06-2016, 12:39 AM
quick video today, grainy cell phone video for part of it,,,,, was having to much fun on the track to spend a lot of time on video :-)


06-08-2016, 10:21 PM
body work should be finished in the morning.
then got to get busy cleaning the shop for my daughters grad party this weekend.
hope to get wheels back from powder coat tomorrow and take more pics,,, everything will be finished on the first one except powder coat frame and body panels

off to powder coat next week while we build the next 2

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06-11-2016, 01:15 PM
first one complete yesterday, well,,,,other than tear down and powder coat next week.

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06-21-2016, 08:30 PM
first one back from powder coat
probably a bunch of pics the next few days during final assembly

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06-22-2016, 12:09 AM

06-22-2016, 01:07 AM
had to look it up

expressing a lack of interest or enthusiasm.
"Meh. I'm not impressed so far"

no worries,,,,, I know what I'm doing :-)

06-22-2016, 01:17 AM
had to look it up

expressing a lack of interest or enthusiasm.
"Meh. I'm not impressed so far"

no worries,,,,, I know what I'm doing :-)

LOL! That's funny that you found that!

You know I be playin'!

Actually ,I think this is my favorite frame design so far.

06-22-2016, 01:31 AM
Looking great! I love the choice of colour for the power coat

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

06-22-2016, 11:20 AM
meh, its ok LOL :D

Thanks guys

this will have black body panels with holographic flake

more pics later

06-22-2016, 03:25 PM

06-23-2016, 01:44 AM
been working 80 hours a week for the past 2 months,
good thing I love what I do and second shift is a rock concert with cold beer :-)

sexy pics

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06-23-2016, 10:30 AM
[QUOTE=ProtoDie;318449]been working 80 hours a week for the past 2 months,
good thing I love what I do and second shift is a rock concert with cold beer

Sounds exactly like the last couple of months around here.

Very neat lil car dude ,with a couple of nice design flares here and there to set it off . Good one.

06-23-2016, 10:44 AM
Thanks Talon,
glad to hear your busy too.
this is the hottest summer in Michigan in years, I hope to find time to take a break and get my boat out soon.
gonna be 88 and sunny Saturday,,,,,,I'm taking the day off, I'll make up for it and work sunday

06-24-2016, 12:09 AM
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06-24-2016, 12:10 AM
<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/e819Pm3MK_0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

06-24-2016, 12:14 AM
re posting the test drive video,,, figured out how to do it right now

<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LH3t48iVgtE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

06-24-2016, 01:06 AM
I get an error on the post 28 video.

06-24-2016, 01:14 AM
hmmmmmmm I don't know. works fine on my computer, I'll check settings on youtube
Thanks for the heads up

06-24-2016, 10:03 AM
could not find anything wrong with video in post #28
works on 3 of my computers and my phone

06-24-2016, 10:46 AM
Buggy is looking good
No problem with video here

06-24-2016, 12:50 PM
Must be me, doesn't work on my work puter either.

06-24-2016, 04:27 PM
maybe your work computer knows it's not work and won't let you ;)

06-24-2016, 07:17 PM
lol, could be.

I can see the second one (and watched it again) but not the other. No problem. I know I like this thing, don't need no stinkink video!

06-29-2016, 12:22 PM
more pics

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06-29-2016, 03:52 PM
Looking great! Photos like this give me motivation on my own build.

Good job Proto

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

06-29-2016, 06:21 PM
Thanks Linden
going to take some higher quality outdoor photos this afternoon

06-29-2016, 07:11 PM
Super clean! Love the red color.

06-29-2016, 11:16 PM
outdoor pics. I wish I had the graphics on, but dig it even without
holographic flake shows some color in a few.
it was brighter than I like for pics, to early in the day, oh well
I'll get the better pics of the next one next week. Pearl white and candy red

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06-29-2016, 11:32 PM
Front view photos look mean. The graphics will make that thing pop!

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06-30-2016, 01:08 AM
Thanks Linden!

herman pahls
06-30-2016, 03:46 PM
Your builds are the epitome of a "mini buggy".
The features of a full sized buggy scaled down in very clean packages.
It appears you are pleased with the Honda 630/CVT combination.
They are also readily available.
I was considering using a KTM 525 quad engine with reverse for the next build but the simplicity of the Honda V-Twin is very appealing.
Wheels is switching from a Quad engine to the Honda and you did a 450 Quad build a while back.
Do you mind comparing the performance differences between using the Honda 630 and the Quad 450 engine since you have been down both roads.
I am sure the Quad engines are more powerful, but is it worth it to deal with the radiator and packaging the exhaust?

06-30-2016, 05:15 PM
Thanks Herman
the 450 quad engine was 45 hp with reverse and clutch and gear shifting.
if you want to shift, go with quad engine.

the Honda 630 puts out nice power , plenty to have fun and the cvt set up is nice because anybody can easily drive it.

our new buggy drives and handles sooo good that I have had women and kids drive it and it was instant fun for them without learning how to drive a clutch.
just focus on the fun.

perfect motor and clutch set up in this size buggy

but everybody eventually wants more power .
the Honda has electronic and mechanical governor.
you can bypass the mechanical portion but I guess there is not a good way around the electronic portion of the governor.
because of this there are not many performance parts to turn the Honda into a race motor

so I am also looking into the Briggs & Stratton Vanguard 23 hp engine

talkng to a professional engine builder whos whole business is these motors,,, the Vanguard 23hp engine with mods these can make 32-40hp and still be reliable

07-01-2016, 12:41 AM
32 to 40 hp race motor and 5000 plus rpms,,, it will do 80

got pricing finally figured out with final powder coat bills

as shown with graphics stickers and Outerwear shockwear covers and air filter screen $10,500 turn key with Honda 21 hp stock engine,,, Honda = run forever

with 40 hp race engine and clutch upgrade to handle the race engine $12150 turn key with race engine, almost run forever but you get there faster :-)

07-07-2016, 10:47 AM
designed up the FXT graphics package for Vegas customer.
the original roof line was for people up to 6'4" , but customer let me drop the roof line 2" for a meaner look.
This is what I was planning for my personal one.
I'm 6' and still have over 4" clearance with my helmet on with the lowered roof

first 2 FXT buggies the customer wanted to do there own graphics so I will not have actual photos for a couple weeks when we finish the first FXT for Vegas.
that one is going to powdercoat today (third FXT build)
we start on another for them tomorrow and that one is supposed to have the race motor,,,, I will get better video when we test the one with the race engine



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07-19-2016, 12:42 AM
Red White & Blue

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07-20-2016, 01:02 AM
forum seems pretty dead lately, must be summer, I'm going boating :-)

07-20-2016, 03:41 AM
forum seems pretty dead lately, must be summer, I'm going boating :-)

Yup, just got back from a week of ripping it up at the dunes, only casualty was a chain. I guess 70 mph for minutes on end gets them pretty hot?

07-20-2016, 12:02 PM
new chain or one on it's last leg?

back when we raced 1/4 mile circle track we ran high speeds for long periods of time and only changed out chains once a year
that was with a live axle set up 15T front and 55T rear with 520 chain
shorter chain and smaller sprockets on the RPM gear box runs hotter and shorter chain life

07-20-2016, 05:57 PM
Rpm box, close to 500 hard miles on it already this year. I don't mind swapping them out once a year, and I always have my spare.

07-20-2016, 07:55 PM
yup, that's not bad at all

and nice! 500 miles this year , fun seat time

my only seat time the past couple years is testing new models I design.

Next year it will be different and I will get back to racing and hitting trails more

we are expanding my track and making it wider to race this new model plus I can drive a few hours and race another track with customers who also have this model,,, can't wait
in the mean time,,, I am enjoying my time with the john deere working on the track at night

07-20-2016, 10:44 PM
shipping these two out Monday

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07-21-2016, 08:55 PM
Looking good Jody,

I was planning on the reddish frame and dark gray panels for mine. The suspension components are all light silver to set them off from the body. Finally got the roof panel done, hood and side panels should be done by next season.

The white frame looks nice, I wonder how it would look with a charcoal metallic frame with the red panels?

We try to spend a full week at the dunes twice a year, then a couple weekends in between. Need to justify the toys somehow.

07-21-2016, 10:07 PM
the white frame was customers choice, i convinced them to at least do pearl white.
IMO: pure white frame is to industrial looking
I was worried about the color combo when we first started putting it together but it grew on me.
the white is real clean to see the details in the chassis and rest of the buggy
I think the right graphics package and it will finish it off nice

I have done silver with the red panels and loved it, I think your color scheme charcoal metallic frame and red panels will be sharp for sure

07-21-2016, 10:44 PM
Those look good. I definitely lean towards the darker frame, as I can't get anywhere near anything white. I look at it and it gets dirty, much less touch it.

07-21-2016, 11:53 PM
I went with a red/copper metallic frame, panels will be charcoal. Trying to keep it somewhat low key.

07-22-2016, 12:12 AM
really nice. like the black red myself, but that's a great little package.

07-22-2016, 12:35 AM
I love the dark one too, might do it for my personal one.
assembly on the white,, smudged ALOT :-)

sorry K lol

color combo sounds cool plk

07-22-2016, 10:28 PM
Vegas race buggy assembly

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07-22-2016, 10:34 PM
That's what I'm talking about!

Black and blue baby!

07-26-2016, 10:41 AM
noticed the starter solenoid was damaged in shipping when we were wiring it up
waiting for a new starter to finish.

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07-26-2016, 03:57 PM
I really like the size of this! 55" wide. I wonder how this would do up on the Little-O trail. I know of a trail worthy test pilot. LOL


07-27-2016, 03:49 PM
when I build mine I plan to find out.
race and trail ride is my plan
buddy of mine bought a cottage up there and you can drive on all the roads right to the trails.
he may have one too by next year

herman pahls
08-01-2016, 05:58 AM
It appears if I am counting correctly on your post #16, 4th to the last photo, that you are using a 10 tooth sprocket on the driven shaft.
You said you were going with 7-1 reduction so the rear sprocket must be 70 tooth.
Are you using #40 chain and sprockets?
Do you expect the 10 tooth sprocket to live long or is it considered an inexpensive service item?
Are the chain and sprockets industrial grade and higher quality?

I like the simplicity and and appearance of the exhaust system.
Does the Super Trapp knock the sound down to a tolerable level or is ear protection suggested?

From your build photos it looks like you are not using front brakes.
My build weighs 425 pounds and only has rear brakes which can be locked up easily with 20" knobbies.
I wish for front brakes when in the dirt and and with paddles in the sand rear brakes only is very adequate.
I am curious what your thoughts are regarding front brakes on the 630?
Thanks for all the great ideas.

08-01-2016, 10:39 AM
we are using 420 motorcycle chain and sprockets 10T 70T 7-1 ratio
yes, they are service items and I designed them to where the sprockets are easy to remove when needed.

super trap sounds great, not too loud. you can always take discs out if you want it real quiet

with our front design, I can bolt in uprights and hubs with brakes or without so you can always upgrade.
at this time I do not feel we need front brakes on this model, but down the road with more speed and more power,,can always add front brakes for enough braking to stop safely

herman pahls
08-01-2016, 05:53 PM
Thanks for the info..
I just picked up a used 16HP Vanguard that I hope to replace the 13HP Predator if it will fit the engine cage.
If not it will be the start to another build.
I want to use the same exhaust design you came came up with for the 630.
So simple yet effective.
Do you have any idea if your header for the Honda will fit a B&S Vanguard?
It would be nice to bolt on a chrome finished piece and not have to make it.

08-06-2016, 12:47 PM
whoops missed this post.
can't say yet on the B&S exhaust ports matching Honda, but would guess highly unlikely.
everybody does things just different enough to where you need a different part for every motor

if you want to ship your motor here, I can build one to match

herman pahls
08-09-2016, 03:08 AM
Thanks for the offer to build a custom exhaust.
The shipping cost would be an issue.
I spoke with Performance V-twins and they offer aluminum adaptors which come with steel flanges to get a head start on building a header.
If I build the the header like you did for the V twin Honda I may not need the adaptor.
They suggested using tubing with 1-1/16 I.D. for the 16HP B&S.
I am not sure what tubing would have that I.D. , 1-1/8 with .030 wall thickness?
What OD tubing does the Supertrapp you sell fit.
I looked on your website and did not see the tubing size.
I want to order one from you.
The B&S exhaust currently uses 2 bolt flanges with the bolts on 1.700" centers and 1" O.D. tubing.
If you have flanges in stock that are close to those dimensions, I would be interested in them also.


08-09-2016, 10:49 AM
Honda flanges I make are 1.968 centers for 1 1/4 OD tubing
Big block briggs gaskets look like 1.925 centers
Super trapp mufflers fit 2" OD tubing

08-17-2016, 07:48 PM
some finished pics last night and today out on the track
average speed on the track was 36 mph, took it out on a longer straight away and topped out at 55 mph,,, fun!
Son turned 16 today, he is 5' 11" in the car for comparison

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08-18-2016, 01:30 AM
Yeah, i just read this whole thread. Could have quoted 5 times... but anyways. This build is awesome! For the longest, i couldnt stay out of the two seater rental build thread... i guess i will cling to this one now. Lol. Blue and black is awesome combo... same i am going with, i think. I didnt see mention of the beadlocks... what kind are they?

EDIT: forgot to mention that I'm glad to hear the gear ratio and tire size produce 55mph AND good torque... I'm basically using the same ratio and tires.

08-18-2016, 01:49 AM
Fantastic job all the way around!


08-18-2016, 12:41 PM
Thanks guys!
This one ships out Saturday to Vegas
Finally get to step back my hours for a couple weeks,,,, kinda
have 2 other customer buggies I am working on in the shop and a 77 Harley Ironhead sportster I am designing and building independent trike suspension with RPM gear box for.
so backing it down to 50 hours for a few weeks and try to quick get some summer fun in
then hopefully we start building 5 or 10 more FXT buggies for Vegas in September

08-19-2016, 12:11 AM
this customer wanted bigger tires,
22" tires , 12t front and 80T rear

08-19-2016, 12:15 AM
this customer wanted bigger tires,
22" tires , 12t front and 80T rear

08-19-2016, 01:59 AM
Yeah, yeah...we heard you!

08-19-2016, 08:49 AM
Lol @ bull

08-19-2016, 12:11 PM
Yeah, yeah...we heard you!

LOL, meh :D

08-19-2016, 02:32 PM

08-20-2016, 02:59 PM
put together a short video
had problems with external video footage on the track,,,, bummer
oh well, you'll get the sense of speed from in car

steers and handles so good even at high speeds,, watch how smooth the steering wheel is


08-20-2016, 03:00 PM
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cvHaf-HQMWk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

herman pahls
08-22-2016, 03:49 AM
Was your son under strict orders to not roll/crash the customers FXT?

You mentioned the customer wants 22" tires and sprockets 12t and 80t. 6.67 to 1
Were you running 10t and 70t on the first cars with 20" tires? 7 to 1
Seems like you would gear lower for taller tires unless you are finding the Honda V-twin has plenty of torque.
Seems like the 12 tooth front sprocket would hold up better than the 10 so it is a win,

08-22-2016, 10:52 AM
yes plenty of torque

12T has quite a bit more meat than the 10T
did not want to put 80T rear to the 10T
thought it may be over the line of performance / durability

08-22-2016, 07:00 PM
Great looking machine!

08-23-2016, 01:41 PM
Thanks Daaboots!

This one is on the road to Vegas
pictures with dirt bikes really shows this one really is a mini-buggy

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08-25-2016, 02:32 PM
Ah man, now that's a trailer I could drool over :cool:

10-13-2016, 05:23 PM

Having experience with this style of drive-line, how have you managed to not bend that rear swing-arm? The construction on its own resists twist of any kind, but landing sideways off a jump bent the first one I built very easily (of very similar design).


10-13-2016, 06:04 PM
I have a very non mechanical buddy whos tells me he seen a buggy exactly like mine on craigslist,,,
it was an old buggy with a VW beam front end

There can be a lot of differences in things that look "similar"
like material used

without seeing pics of your bent swing arm , I can't say what, why, or where your point of failure is.
post a pic in your build thread and send me link

10-13-2016, 07:05 PM
I'll send you a PM!

10-13-2016, 07:42 PM
I didn't think I was arguing lol

but there are a lot of differences between your cad drawing and the swing arm I designed and build.

round tubing is a lot stronger than square tubing.
many buggy race classes do not even allow square tubing in their rules
I am using 1 1/4 DOM with laser cut plates designed in for supports and strength
I cnc machine my own adjustable billet aluminum bearing retainers

3 FXT buggies have been out there beating and banging and good results
Vegas is done testing and beating on theirs,,,,they are very happy and ordering more next week

10-13-2016, 11:07 PM
Glad to hear they are working well! I was just out in Vegas and now that I think of it I did see a bare chassis go by on top of a mini van on the strip advertising for it...

10-14-2016, 12:18 AM
Glad to hear they are working well! I was just out in Vegas and now that I think of it I did see a bare chassis go by on top of a mini van on the strip advertising for it...

you must have seen something else or I am confused, no bare chassis's out there other than in the entertainment district :-) like them bare chassis's

10-14-2016, 02:13 PM
I may borrow a few design ideas, hopefully you don't mind! - I like the way the swingarm wraps around the back to act as somewhat of a bumper, protects the sprocket & brake, and reduces the number of welds required! There are a few instances where I have had the chain fly off, but that is from extremely hard side hits that get the vehicle up on 2 wheels... I'm also not using a tensioner (I simply adjust the swingarm at the heim joints to tension it properly). I would imagine running the tensioner gives the chain a little tighter wrap on both sprockets, may be something I'd consider adding in the future. I will be building a V-twin version and an electric version next! Does this version not have front brakes? I've noticed that the single disk in the rear provides plenty of stopping power.