Tech students create unique Strider bike at Haas Innovation Center – all for a great cause

A few months ago, Pine Bush High School Principal Aaron Hopmayer called tech teacher Ken Marshall with “something cool” he might be interest in. Mr. Hopmayer asked if he had ever heard of Strider. Heard of it? Mr. Marshall was standing in front of his two-year-old son’s Strider!

There was a competition at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota for a customized Strider bike. Pine Bush High School was invited to compete! PBHS would be up against up to eight of the best motorcycle builders in the world. Best of all, the bike they build would be auctioned at the Flying Piston Benefit Breakfast with all proceeds being donated to All Kids Bike, an organization devoted to teaching kids in kindergarten classes to ride bikes.

Mr. Marshall and his students were up to the challenge!

“I thought this could be a great project to showcase all of the innovative equipment in our Gene Haas Innovation Center,” said Mr. Marshall.

This was truly a labor of love, taking more than 150 hours of programming, design and machining to complete. Aside from the wheels/tires and hardware, everything was custom made at the Gene Haas Innovation Center, the majority of which was during teacher and student off periods and before and after school. About 95 percent of the build was made on the CNC Mills and waterjet out of previously donated material. The hubs, headlight surround, neck, and grips were all 3d printed.


A close up of a metal part made for a bike.


This project started as a stock Strider balance bike. Strider bikes are small lightweight bikes for young children focusing on the skill of balance. The issue with the stock Strider was that it limited creativity.

“In working with the students and sketching out ideas, we quickly realized the stock Strider was not going to cut it,” said Mr. Marshall. “I made the choice to completely push the ideas we had rolling to the side and take on a different approach.”

With a little trial and a lot of error, they broke the Strider into five sections: front end, neck, backbone, seat post and tail. This allowed them to approach the build in a modular way.


A toddler boy wearing blue shorts and shirt, smiles as he sits on a metal bike with large rubber wheels.


The next challenge was to make a design that would be sculpted around Hoosier tires and rims donated by Bobby Tersillo, owner of Rapid Tire. These tires are rear racing tires for a go cart. Custom hub assemblies were a must because they couldn’t get the rims without an offset.

Once the design was hashed out,  they immediately went into mockup with the laser cutter and cardboard. Then it was off to the mills, and after three tireless months, this unique Strider was born. The result is 100 percent straight off the machines and bolted together. Creative toolpaths play with the light that makes it a hologram on wheels. There is no paint, no bondo – just raw aluminum and ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) from the printers.

The build of the “baddest Strider on the planet,” as Mr. Marshall calls it, is now complete, thanks to the students at the Gene Haas Innovation Center at Pine Bush High School and their teacher.


A small metal bike sits atop a large wooden case.


The bike was outfitted with a custom shipping crate that doubles as a display. It left the shop on June 30, on its way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which begins on Aug. 4.

For more, visit the Flying Piston Benefit website, click here.