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Old 01-30-2008, 10:29 PM   #46
ferrix
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At one stage I experimented with a power-assisted bike, the assistance coming in the shape of a two-stroke engine.

The executive summary: neat idea marred by its execution that promised much but completely failed to deliver.

On with the story: My venture into this field took place some eight years ago and lasted nearly a year. Not much has changed since then; the model I had continues in production basically unchanged. Apart from the trick wheels seen here and using traditional bicycle brakes, my bike looked pretty much like this one:


It's basically a standard mountain bike; the custom parts are the handgrip with the throttle, fuel tank and the back wheel assembly (this will be important later) with the engine driving the hub directly. I chose this design largely because of that fact; I saw some alternatives driving the wheel by means of a roller pressing against the tire, but I thought that would be a horrifically inefficient and rubber-unfriendly way of delivering power.

The engine is rated at a whopping 197 Watts of power. This is because to comply with our regulations, any power assistance must not deliver more than 200 Watts if the bike is to remain a bike, that is, not require any registration or driver's licence. Which is of course a large part of the appeal of such a contraption - if it required registration there would be absolutely no reason to get something like that instead of a regular scooter or a small motor bike.

It promised much, and while it worked, I must admit it was excellent. The freedom of a bicycle combined with effortless progress was wonderful! However, in practice I found all too often it just didn't work. Most annoyingly, it kept popping the tire - always the back one. I tried to use different tires and better tubes I even tried to reinforce them with protective stripes bicycle shops sell for this purpose - all to no avail. One reason was surely the massive weight of the engine and petrol tank pressing on the back wheel, but I think the other reason was the very poor finish of the rim, which had large bumps and protrusions in the metal work I could feel when running my hand over it.

Changing the tire was a complicated affair, since it required taking the engine off as well as the wheel - not a huge job for a mechanic perhaps, but mightily off-putting for someone like myself, who had no patience, inclination or tools for such tinkering, so most of the time I ended up taking the bike to the shop I bought it from.

The other problem I found was the carb was very sensitive to dirt in fuel, which is fair enough, I suppose - except I have no idea how this dirt would get there. This required some more trips to the mechanic on the occasions when I failed to clear it myself.

After nearly a year of ownership I did the sums and discovered that although the running costs were nearly zero, thanks to the frequent trips to the workshop I actually spent more on this bike than I did on my car in the same period. Which obviously wasn't the result I was after...

... and then came the clincher: after another trip to the mechanic he had to take the engine apart and discovered the inside of the cylinder was severely worn out. The mechanic described it as looking as if the engine did several hundred thousands of kilometers. It hadn't - it did less than 10 thousand kms at that stage. Remember: this is a 50cc, two stroke engine. By any rights it should run practically forever! But as it turns out, though their design was originally by Sachs, these bikes are built by some el-cheapo Taiwanese manufacturer, which probably explains most of the quality problems I encountered.

Faced with the cost of repairs that would pretty much double the already high initial cost of this bike, I finally gave up.
That's the end of my story. I still regret it didn't work out better than it did, because it could've been the solution I was looking for.

ferrix screwed with this post 01-30-2008 at 10:44 PM
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:17 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckklr04


450 watts
That looks interesting. How does it work? Chain drive? Does it have rear suspension?
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Old 01-31-2008, 08:32 AM   #48
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ferrix.

Thanks for the post. I've never seen anything like that. I can only imagine myself kicking the spark plug wire with my foot with every revolution of the pedals.

Something to consider is balance. You mentioned all the weight of fuel and motor on the rear causing tire punctures. My stupid electric bicycle feels like it has a good balance of weight front to rear. The front wheel with the motor weighs 12 US pounds without the studded tire. The battery pack weighs about 20 pounds, maybe a little more. Time to pull out the scale.

Its also time to ride to work. An inch or so of snow fell overnight.

Adventure.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 02-04-2008, 10:37 PM   #49
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Here's an option

This is the third bike I put it on figuring if I wasn't going to pedal much I may as well be comfortable

It's a four stroke so no oil mix trouble and it cruises on the flats at ??? 25 - 30 mph

Lots of funny looks that's for sure.

Golden Eagle www.bikeengines.com

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Old 02-04-2008, 10:42 PM   #50
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A better pic

Here is a friend of mine trying her out

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Old 02-05-2008, 12:17 PM   #51
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I like the Golden Eagle setup. From what i've read they seem to be very reliable and well made. Its clearly a smart design. I came close to pulling the trigger on a GE kit. If I ever build a gas bike GE would be the way to go. That looks like the Subaru Robin version.

I like the trailer also. I bought a trailer off of Craigslist for $10 but I never use it. I have a cargo bag for the handlebars like that too. It has a clear pocket on top like a map pocket on a Motorcycle tank bag.

Your dog or cat or Chupacabra or whatever that creature in the trailer is kinda looks like Nachtflug.

Nice setup. I give it five Naomis.

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Old 02-05-2008, 12:47 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoCat
This is the third bike I put it on figuring if I wasn't going to pedal much I may as well be comfortable

It's a four stroke so no oil mix trouble and it cruises on the flats at ??? 25 - 30 mph

Lots of funny looks that's for sure.

Golden Eagle www.bikeengines.com
Hey, so how loud is that engine? Does it sound like a friggin' leaf blower?
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Old 02-05-2008, 03:58 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by RLK
That looks interesting. How does it work? Chain drive? Does it have rear suspension?
450 watt currie motor with chain drive,and suspension front and rear.
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Old 02-05-2008, 07:31 PM   #54
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Not so loud

Quote:
Originally Posted by DriveShaft
Hey, so how loud is that engine? Does it sound like a friggin' leaf blower?
It's not bad at all becuase it's behind you but it ain't no electric!

Generally kids hear you coming about 50 - 75 feet away and they really get a kick out of it especially if they are on a bike. You get a lot of "hey thats cheating"
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Old 02-06-2008, 01:09 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RLK
Your dog or cat or Chupacabra or whatever that creature in the trailer is kinda looks like Nachtflug.

Nice setup. I give it five Naomis.

Didn't notice the Chupacabra until you pointed it out.
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:10 PM   #56
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There's another kind of interesting set-up developed by RevoPower - the whole (2 stroke) engine is contained within the front wheel hub:



... I love how self-contained this set up is, although there's something that worries me a bit. According to their website, no idling is possible - the engine just stops when you do, and starts when you do. It seems to me this would be seriously limiting in city commuting use, when even on a bicycle you find yourself come to complete stop rather often...

Still, it looks kind of interesting, and it's a pretty new entrant into the field - would anyone have any personal experience to share?
I don't think they are actually being sold yet, but maybe you've seen them displayed or demonstrated somewhere?
http://www.revopower.com

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Old 02-08-2008, 12:35 PM   #57
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Didn't notice the Chupacabra until you pointed it out.
...and where exactly does one purchase a Chupacabra? I already have a big, violent ex-feral cat. I swear he's some sort of hybrid offspring from something at the zoo down the street (think cross between jungle-camo colored tabby & Pakistani fishing cat). He could use a playmate; they could roam around & terrorize the neighborhood together.
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Old 02-08-2008, 03:55 PM   #58
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Quote:
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...and where exactly does one purchase a Chupacabra? I already have a big, violent ex-feral cat. I swear he's some sort of hybrid offspring from something at the zoo down the street (think cross between jungle-camo colored tabby & Pakistani fishing cat). He could use a playmate; they could roam around & terrorize the neighborhood together.
The Chupacabra would probably kill and eat him. Kinda like cagers on a I-10W out of downtown L.A. Both are quite messy.
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Old 02-08-2008, 04:40 PM   #59
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I like the RevoPower Idea. I see the non-idle as a benefit rather than a hinderance as long as the motor starts soon after the rider starts to pedal. Idle time= wasted fuel. Similar to 4000 pound Hybrid cars; The motor dosen't need to run if you are sitting still.

Its not a new idea. In olden times like the 30s-50s there was a motor-bicycle avalable that had a 2 smoke inside the front wheel. The fuel tank was inside the wheel as well. I can't find the web page where I read about it. When I find it again I'll post a link.

Untill then... A page about the history of the Whizzer.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:53 PM   #60
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I see the non-idle as a benefit rather than a hinderance as long as the motor starts soon after the rider starts to pedal. Idle time= wasted fuel.
Yes, idle time = wasted fuel, but we are talking about a 25cc 2-stroke. How much fuel is it going to waste?

On the other hand, no idle = poor acceleration just when you need it most. Not only do you get no engine assistance just when it would be most helpful - after all, pedalling requires most effort when you're taking off! - but even worse, the energy to start the engine has to come from somewhere and since there's no battery I'm guessing it has to be provided by YOU... making it even harder to get going. Not to mention the weight of the engine does nothing for the ease of getting the move on either.

Personally I would happily waste this one drop of fuel to avoid these issues, but I guess how much of the problem they are depends on your pattern of use.
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