Riding Nemo Gould's Nemomatic scooter

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Photos: Grant Ray

One part art project, one part practical transportation and one part skill builder, the Nemomatic is Berkeley-based artist Nemo Gould’s first foray into bikes. Better known for his whimsical found-object kinetic sculptures, Nemo makes giant robots that ride bikes and walk and impossibly complex tiny robot worlds that exist inside old TV sets and similar. Almost all of the parts he uses to construct those sculptures come from junk yards; he keeps a hard hat, high-vis vest, steel-toed boots and generic liability waivers behind the seat of his truck. The Nemomatic isn’t any different. The front fender is street lamp shroud, the mirror-covers are the bodies of old vacuum cleaners and the swoopy taillight is a nozzle off one of those vacuums.
Nemo built the ‘Matic to prove to himself that he could make a
functional motorcycle and to give himself a practical, cheap way to get
back and forth between his house and nearby studio. It’s based on an old
Honda Elite and he didn’t do much in the way of mechanical work other
than to get it running properly. The plastic came off and about 80lbs of
welded aluminum went on. He also swapped out the clocks for a digital
speedometer made with vacuum tubes and some old fuel and temp gauges he
found somewhere. The speedo works, kinda, but the gauges read backwards.

Tearing all that old plastic off actually saved a huge amount of weight,
so the Nemomatic’s not as heavily burdened as you might think. Figure
on it being 40 or 50lbs more than the stock bike. Riding it feels like
riding any old Elite, but as if you’ve suddenly become a bit of porker.
The suspension’s damping loses the plot if  you hit a big bump and
acceleration is probably a bit blunted, but it’s still an entirely
functional, easy little scooter.

Now that Nemo’s proved to himself that he can build a bike without
screwing it up, he wants to create something from the ground up. He’s
thinking electric, but there aren’t many good lithium batteries filling
Bay Area junkyards. We suggested a really long extension cord.

Nemo Gould

  • chili sv

    It looks like cyclops-Camel Joe-borg.

  • MotoRandom

    Yeah, but he’ll never get indicaters and a plate on it. Wait…what?

  • http://see360studios.com davidabl

    Seriously, Nemo needs to meet Shinya Kimura..
    another wizard with wheels and aluminum..


    • http://Http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      That’s funny because we’re bringing you some neat new shinya stuff in the very near future.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D.

    Grant, where’d you get that photo with the 50′s cars? Are those Nemo’s, or did you luck out? Cool shot!

  • carbon

    Those are nixie tubes! For the speedo! Awesome!

  • brettvegas

    That thing’s cool.

  • http://www.nemomatic.com Nemo

    Hey thanks for posting guys! It was great to see you Grant, and to meet you Wes.

  • robotribe

    Are we not men?

    We are NEMO!

  • http://www.sweetsweetwhiskey.com Alec Boyle

    Can we talk for a moment about how bad the picture viewer is on this site? I love this blog, but the fact that the text vanishes if I click on a picture that isn’t the lead? Awful. Now that Wes is no longer with Jalopnik, I really hope he’ll take some time to fix that shit.

    • http://Http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

      Alec, we’ve discussed and explained our reasons ad nauseum for why the gallery is the way it is and what it costs to have a gallery that both is functional and actually contributes to earning income.

    • MotoRandom

      While I have my moments of waning enthusiasm for this gallery style, it’s also pretty easy to work around. Right click, open link in new window. Embiggenated version of the image opens in, well surprise, a new window. Yeah, it’s extra effort for my lazy mousing hand but I try to work through the pain.

      Wes and Grant have been doing an awesome job bringing us a lot more content since the day job at Jalop went away. I think that’s something we can all be thankful for.

  • Botswana Meat Commission FC

    Better known for his whimsical found-object kinetic sculptures…

    He’s practically a household name in the world of whimsical found-object kinetic sculpturing.