PTW PL Race Conversion
I had made the mistake of sitting in a gorgeous stainless steel buggy parked outside the BuggyBags tent at Atmosphere 09, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. It was the PTW Cheetah (Popeye The Welder) and it fitted like a glove – I was absolutely astonished; it made my battered old PL buggy seem like a very poor relation indeed!
When I discovered that Popeye made them to order I thought to myself “I wonder if he could make me a new set of forks to fit my PL?”I got Popeye’s email from his website, and got in touch. Yes, of course he could do it for me; but, “wouldn’t it be better to ditch the rest of the PL and build anew?” he asked. “But I like the suspension on the back of my PL” I replied
“You could keep the PL rear axle, build new from there forwards and have suspension all round” he said.
Thankfully I had some spare cash and so a process of planning began. First of all Popeye asked me to measure the geometry of the PL buggy I’d loved so much, then measure myself, then post him my back axle – which we’d agreed would be kept. He began work on the plans, sending me regular updates on progress and suggestions for size, seating arrangements, suspension ideas, etc etc etc… To say that progress was tantalising is to be a master in the art of understatement – I was without a buggy; I NEEDED one!
When the dimensions were agreed upon Popeye started sending me photos of the build as it progressed, each successive one whetting my appetite further. Time ticked by until the day she was ready and I dropped everything to jump in the car to collect her.
When I arrived at Popeye’s place in Lincoln I was greeted by a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of Buggying Heaven: his garage containing the sweetest collection of kite buggies you’re ever likely to see, each one a work of art – Popeye really, really, knows his stuff. And Good God that man can weld! The finish was superb; better than I dared to hope.
My buggy was waiting for me on his drive, wanting only for the fitting of my BuggyBags race seat. Once fitted I hopped in and a Cheshire Cat settled itself on my face: wow, she was, and I can say this without fear of contradiction (it having now been verified by everyone else who’s sat in her), the most comfortable buggy I’ve ever been in. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to get her to the park for her first outing.
And what can I say about that first session? Well, I hit my personal best of 25 mph (for the park, which is very small) within minutes, and went on to buggy for hour after hour – I could quite happily have carried on, but the light faded ending one of the best day’s buggying I’ve ever had. I sprang from the buggy fresh as a daisy, the normal aching limbs absence being a testament to the armchair smooth ride.
In use she’s a delight – I can hold down much more power than I ever could in my Peter Lynn, and she tracks straight and true the whole time, only drifting into controlled oversteer if I want her to. After that first session I gave Popeye some feedback, feeling that the turn circle was a little larger than I was used to and after a bit of discussion about how best to fix it, came up with a design for some footpeg extensions – because I was pressed for time (well, just impatient if I’m honest) I got a quote from a local fabricator to get them made – unbelievably they wanted over £200 each for them! A quick call to Popeye & he said he’d make them for a tenth of that – they were with me three days later. So, let’s add astonishing service to the list of Popeye’s many merits. I haven’t yet had her on a beach, but I’m sure that when I do she’ll feel rock solid as I aim for my next personal best of over 50 mph.
Throughout the build, and after collecting her, Popeye was fantastic to work with: he really does take pride in his craft – and rightly so – I doubt you’ll find anything the equal of a PTW buggy anywhere else in the world; they truly are works of art. If you’re thinking of spending Race Buggy money on an off the shelf buggy from ANY of the major manufacturers, my advice is, don’t, get in touch with Popeye instead.
I got into this sport of power kiting more by accident than design. I bought my daughter a 2 line Radsail one Christmas, soon met up with some other kiters while out flying and really caught the bug myself. I’m sure the story from there is a familiar one to many, I was hooked.
I found the forums and joined in, it wasn’t long before I heard about “Popeye the Welder” and the amazing buggies he had created, real works of art in my eyes, something I thought I’d never be able to afford or be able to justify spending that sort of money on.
I had bought myself an RS buggy and I was very pleased with it, a good comfortable cruiser that I was able to develop my skills with, I was happy. Then one day on the forums I spotted a Popeye the Welder Cougar for sale, a couple of quick PM’s to the seller DPKC who I had met a few times already (a really nice genuine guy) and the deal was done, the buggy had been up for sale for just 10 minutes.
I really couldn’t believe my luck, a quick trip up to Doncaster to collect the buggy and off back home again. After arriving home I got the buggy lined up against my RS to compare, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the geometry was very similar so I assumed it would handle in a similar fashion. The buggy lines looked so much cleaner, being about the same length as the RS but with out the extenders. The swan neck was 60×40 instead of 40×40 and the whole frame was so much sturdier and robust. The most obvious difference between the two though
was the Cougar was in nice shiny polished stainless steel, oh yes I was and still am the very proud owner of a PTW Cougar.
For one reason or another, something like new kite syndrome, it was sometime before I was able to get the Cougar out on the beach but eventually the time came for my maiden voyage and wow what a difference. So much more than I was expecting, it felt a lot more rigid and sure footed and I felt more secure at speed. Ok I have yet to crack 50mph but I have hit the mid 40’s many times and I have also towed my daughter at 40mph and I feel totally secure and comfortable in the buggy, my hat goes off to my daughter Tessa who at aged 10 (at the time)
allowed me to tow her at 40mph while she’s in the Peter Lynn XR behind. I’m sure I will hit the magic 50 at some point and the Cougar gives me the confidence to go for it.
PTW Wildkat & Dominator 2
Buggies WildKat and Dominator 2
Rick Stead aka Rivertay
I bought the completed buggies but Carl helped to set them up nicely for me when I collected them. including fitting new wheels and all the necessary adjustments to achieve this
The hand over to you Perfect and always a nice cuppa with Carl’s missus
Your thoughts about the buggy, ie workmanship, quality, looks ect, how the buggy performs and so on. I have two very different buggies. The Wildkat is a relatively small buggy and I use it for inland grass field flying. It is impossible to tip this buggy over. It looks brilliant and is remarkably responsive to arse movement and steering. The Dominator 2 is a huge cruiser. Nothing better for blatting up and down big beaches. Holds down power remarkably well and without it i would not have beaten the 50mph mark. And what a looker!!!
PTW Maloo Buggy
I also wanted weight in the buggy so all the tubing was make with thick wall Stainless Steel.
hi all and welcome to the review of my PTW COUGAR buggy.
the buggy – awsome build quality, made from stainles steel featuring a swan neck, deep side rails and a 1500 rear axle.
the swan neck is made from 60 by 40 box section finished with a wedge under the seat, all highly polished.
the rear axle also highly polished, this is very heavy duty at 48 o/d tube.
side rails – these are made from 33mm tubing at 3.5mm thick, again making it very strong and as before, highly polished.
the seat is a chameleon model which is super comfy and with a stiffener in the back to keep the shape.
the wheels. – on the front i have a bigfoot light and on the rear i have black cadkats with duro tyres, these have 9 grooves in them which makes them very good on grass as well as sand.
the buggy is finished off with a buggy bags tsg splash guard which follows the contours of the swan neck and looks the business.
the ride – upon sitting in this buggy i knew straight away it was going to be good, as i ready myself with handles in hand strop connected to harness i was ready to launch, now this day was a good wind day. constant wind of about 22 -24mph with the odd gust to 34mph so the kite to do the job was my trusty 2m ozone samurai, but that’s another review.
so…. here we go then i thought to myself, i pulled the handles, up she goes and were off straight into a fast run, which did’nt feel that fast due to the big tyres but most of all the build quality, very smooth ride without a hint of that… i best slow down feeling that you get in freestyle buggy’s at speed, this buggy holds a very straight line.
instantly i felt more confident than i ever did in my old pl buggy so the 2m was packed away and my 2.7m yakuza was released.
again an amazing ride, fantastic turning with power slides made super easy,
that day we was there for 5 hours, i was in the buggy for 4 hours.
as i said this is one comfy buggy.
thanks for reading my review.
The PTW COUGAR II
Like waiting for your first born
To do a buggy review I feel you do need to have ridden in a few before making an in formed comment. I started out borrowing a Flexifoil-didn’t like it. Then bought a Peter Lynn Competition- great beginners buggy, then got myself a Libre V Max II with midi wheels- then got rid of the front end and added a Windragon front end and bigfoot light and two BF lights on the back. Although the V max was amazing (so I thought) I felt as though something was missing…………
Well, where do I start? I have wanted to own a PTW buggy since seeing Popeyethewelder blasting across Mablethorpe beach on Youtube in 2007. Then, twelve months on, I find myself sat in one…grinning from ear-to-ear, not wanting to give it back. I never thought for one moment that I would actually own one!
You don’t just buy a buggy from Carl…..it’s a whole experience in itself! After a couple of conversations on RK and bouncing back a few emails, I said “..go on then, I’ll have one, but I don’t want it shiny”…….”No problem” Carl said. Then he threw a load of questions at me and totally took me by surprise…
What sized axle do you want?
What types of wheels do you need?
What length do you want?
What width side rails?
What width forks?
Do you want a backrest?
…errrrrrrr…….hmmmmm…eeerrrrrrrrrr……..If you want a PTW make sure you have at least some idea of the answers to these questions before contacting him.
The buggy, I was told, would take about 2 months to build. It actually took no more than 2 weeks….but by his own admittance- he put in some extra time that he can’t always do.
PTW sent me pictures of the buggy every step and stage of its build, keeping me informed of the progress.
When the buggy was ready I went to pick it up and dismantled it to put in my Suzuki Swift. Carl commented on how he never takes the buggies he builds to pieces once they’re built!
Windwelder supplied the wheels from ‘the other side’ and the seat and the covers were made by Jon and Helen at www.buggybags.co.uk
– Axle 1630mm
– Buggybags race seat and rail covers and TSG (Total Splash Guard)
– Asymmetric wheels on Duro Bigfoots- on the back- 20mm bearings
– Over sized Bigfoot light on the front on a barrow- 20mm bearings
– Front forks wide enough to take a Cadkat wheel if I decide to change
– Stainless steel GPS holder-with my name on…lol
After getting the wheels and the covers I took the buggy out to Pontefract Park. My first day in it and I managed to beat my personal best! All you can hear when your sat in the buggy is the whirling of the bearings and on grass, there are no bumps to be felt- unlike the other buggies I had ridden.
On The Beach
The PTW Cougar II loves the beach! Even with the wide axle it is easy to manoeuvre although the turning circle is a little bigger than its smaller counterparts. On the smooth stuff it is like gliding across ice. On the rippled sand there is very little vibration as there is just enough flex in the frame to absorb it, keeping your feet firmly on the well designed foot pegs.
The buggy is a fantastic cruiser and racer and is a credit to its creator. Carl has designed a buggy that would be more than worthy of commercial production, beating the better-known manufacturers with his attention to detail, customer service and engineering expertise combined with his hands on knowledge about what buggying should be about.
Long may he reign!
By : The Bibbler