The Mantis is my most advanced vehicle so far, and the build plans are the most comprehensive. It features a 16 horsepower engine, combined with a CVT, and a custom transmission of my own creation. The transmission utilizes a roller chain reversing jackshaft design, with a pivoting v-belt idler mechanism to transmit power to each side of the vehicle. The transmission has forward, neutral, and reverse. With the reverse feature, the Mantis is able to execute a true zero radius turn, and operates exactly like a zero turn mower. It also features 4 independent suspension arms. Each arm has an air spring to set the ride height, accommodate riders of different weight, and provide a smooth ride. A small amount of suspension is also designed into the seat. Each “mini-track” features a pivoting trunnion to allow even greater mobility. To tackle this build, you must possess an expert level of metal-working skill and be ready to invest around $4500. A lathe would be helpful for this build, but not necessary, as I built the prototype you see lathe-free. See the slideshow for photos, and see the demonstration video.
- Four independent suspension arms utilizing adjustable air spring with pivoting trunnion.
- Designed for off-road use.
- Welding required to build.
- Difficulty: Advanced