Anyone Tried Motorized Bicycles?

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by Colorado CJ, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. Colorado CJ

    Colorado CJ Been here awhile

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    Not sure if this fits here or not.

    My dad and I have been riding our motorcycles together for many years now. The other day he told me that he wants to put a motor on his bicycle and take some longer trips on it. His bicycle is set up for touring and he has a bob-trailer for camping gear (single wheel trailer).

    Since he talked to me about it, I've been reading up on motorizing bicycles, watching videos and reading up on others touring adventures.

    I think I am hooked!

    I LOVE taking long trips with my motorcycle (did a 4000 mile trip last summer), and the thought of taking a cross country trip on a bicycle with a 49cc engine pushing me along at 25-30 m.p.h. has really got me excited for some reason.

    The plans for now are to build up two motorized bicycles in the next couple of months and go on some shorter ~800 mile trips, then later year take off for a cross country trip.

    We are planning on using Honda GX50 4 stroke engines and shift kits (lets you use the bikes rear casset or internal shift hub. They get between 150-200 miles per gallon and a usual day consists of ~200 miles of riding.

    It is a slow pace adventure, but I'm sure it would be a whole lot of fun.

    Has anyone tried out any of these motorized bicycles?

    This is similar to what we are looking to put together (but on mountain bike frames) and pulling a single wheel bob trailer for camping gear and photography/video equipment.

    [​IMG]
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  2. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Yes, I used to have one, and plan to build another. But there are a lot of things to consider. Do not use a cheap bike, or one of those cheap Chinese engines. It will fall apart. (mine did) Use a good quality bicycle and a good quality engine. There are several possible setups. Rear wheel friction drive, rear mounted engine with chain or belt drive, or mid mounted engine with chain drive. Then there is the one you posted a picture of. Mid mounted engine that drives the front sprocket (chainwheel) by chain, and another sprocket behind it drives the rear wheel using a standard bicycle chain. By far the most failure prone item on any bike that uses one is the chain rensioner, also known as the idler pulley. Mine got sucked into the rear wheel twice. Best to avoid designs that use those, or design/fabricate your own, like I eventually did. For long distance travel, definitely avoid 2 stroke engines.

    For all the information you need, and more, go to www.motoredbikes.com Someone there is guaranteed to have the answers to all your questions.
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  3. fullmetalscooter

    fullmetalscooter Let me take this duck off

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    Had an 1970 something 3 speed with a USA made bike engine on it. Work like a charm. Really wonder if it would be easier to take on on old 50 cc scooter and crop it into a sidecar like pusher or a trailer type pusher. Can't say I would pay what they want for cheap motorized bike now. Then again a LIfan or what ever they are called seem to be good engine to use to power stuff. THere old plans for free floating around the net of how to mount a lawn mower engine to an bike . Popular mechanic etc had them.
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  4. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Motorized bicycles can be very high quality, or they can be junk. You can get an already built Chinese Walmart bike with a Chinese motor on it for under $500, but don't plan on going to far on it. But you can also get really nice ones, that cost about three times that, that are fully capable of crossing the country. Many have done it. Honda and Robin-Subaru make the best engines. They are 4 strokes, nobody makes a decent 2 stroke.

    I just noticed the bike you posted a picture of is a shifter. At first I missed the cable going to the internally geared rear hub. The engine turns the crank through a jackshaft, and it only goes one way, allowing you to coast with the engine running. By using the bicycles drivetrain, you can also use the bicycles gears. If you are planning long distance travel, you are going to want one of those, as you will wind up climbing mountains, and just like a motorcycle, you will want a low enough gear for that little engine to climb with, and higher gears for the flatlands. That limits you to a mid mount engine, which is not a bad thing, since you have the space over the rear wheel for a rack to carry other things. You will also want to use a high quality bicycle, that won't fall apart, and you can't get those at department stores. And you will also need to check state laws on motorized bicycles for every state you plan on riding through. AZ has very lax laws on motorized bicycles, while they are completely illegal in some states.


    I tracked the image you posted to this site. Looks like they build some pretty nice stuff. http://kcsbikes.com/ They are in AZ. Due to AZ laws, we have become a Mecca of sorts for motorized bicycles. You see them all over the place. You can ride them in bike lanes, and you can shut the engine off and pedal them through parks and schools. And you can park them at bike racks (well locked of course)
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  5. Birdmove

    Birdmove Long timer

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    Just for fun, check out Derringer Cycles. They are cool looking.
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  6. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    They are cool looking, but I would have to put some much higher bars on before I could ride one. That shouldn't be a problem. But those are also expensive handcrafted bikes. You can build one that is just as reliable for a lot less, using the right parts. Riding cross country, you will need gears. A single speed will not work on both long steep climbs and flat roads. I recommend the 4 stroke shifter bikes from KC's Yes they start at $1000, but that's not much for something that will cross the country. http://kcsbikes.com/currentBuilds.asp

    Or you could look for a modern Whizzer. They are no longer available new, but I see them for sale on Craigslist ever once in a while. They are 148cc however, and are usually classified as a moped rather than a motorized bicycle.
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  7. Birdmove

    Birdmove Long timer

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    Thanks, Jerry. I wasn't aware of these. Where is KC located? Does he ship them?

    Jon
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  8. Ken OBSC

    Ken OBSC -6.12, -7.64

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    I had a Monarch Twin back in the late 50's. Belt drive to a large (~20 inch) pulley on the rear wheel. It was mounted on a Schwinn bike with the spring front fork.

    Not mine but very similar.

    [​IMG]

    My friends mostly had Whizzers. A few had Travis' that mounted on the front wheel and used a friction roller on the front wheel. My Monarch left everyone in the dust. Cubic inches count!

    They were illegal in NYC for anyone under 18 so we often had to run from the cops. :D We'd dart up driveways, cut across backyards and come out on the next street. :ricky
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  9. topless

    topless Been here awhile

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    The first time I ever saw a Whizzer motorbike, I wanted one. I know you can buy kits and do it yourself, but Whizzers are the bomb. http://www.whizzermotorbike.com/

    The problem is, cops don't know what to do about them. Sme give tickets for unlicensed motor vehicles, others just tell you to get off the street. Motor vehicle laws really don't cover them is they are 49cc motors and won't go faster than 30mph. There are big motors that will fit into them. Making them a legal motorcycle.
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  10. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    I wish I had bought a Whizzer back when they still made them. They qualify as a motorcycle in my state. I do have a VeloSolex 3800, but it is not legal as anything in my state. It is not a legal moped because it is not DOT approved as such. It is not legal as a motorized bicycle since it is a full 49cc. I had to give up riding it anyway, after destroying 2 rear wheels on it. Apparently I am to heavy for it. It was designed for someone of 165 pounds or less. Plus the roads around here are horrible, and it has no suspension.
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  11. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    I built one in a reasonably good frame -- a Trek. The brakes were inadequate for the speeds it developed. You want some serious brakes! It was fun, but when I got the impression that it was going to kill me, I traded it to a fellow that's far crazier than I. He's put several hundred hours on it, including trips of close to 100 miles in a shot.

    It's fairly easy to exceed 35 on one that has a little self-respect.
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  12. muskieken

    muskieken Been here awhile

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    i had one ride by my house , wow i thought some was walking down the street with a chainsaw ,, it was loud
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  13. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    The highly modified 2 strokes with expansion chambers are loud. They are ridden by the same kids who used to ride modified gopeds. These are the same kids that usually get into ricer cars when they get older. Most of them are not legal. A good 4 stroke engine is very quiet. Not good for racing, but they will reliably take you across the country, at about 30 mph on flat level roads.
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  14. ndavis

    ndavis Adventurer

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    I built a couple of the cheap 2-stroke ones, they are JUNK, most of the bolts are grade butter, they vibrate bad, drive the rear wheel through the spokes, I wouldn't count on going across town on one those.
    4 cycle is the way to go, an a shifter will make it much nicer.
    I got a Honda cl-70 which can be ridden as a moped in Ct., (less than 5hp) and its like a Cadillac. have fun:1drink
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  15. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Since all small bikes seem to be called "mopeds" now, you might actually consider a real moped. Check out the new Tomos Sprint. It is around $1000, and will take you back and forth across the country many times. It will climb anything with it's centrifugal transmission (NOT a CVT) And, it is legal in all 50 states. I've owned 3 of them, put thousands of miles on them, one was run over by a Suburban, and I rebuilt it fairly easily and rode it several thousand more miles.

    Here's a story about a guy that took an 11,500 mile trip on a 50cc pedal moped in 1978, through Canada and Alaska. http://www.mopedtrip.com/
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  16. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod Red Clay Halo

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    I grew up with this..

    [​IMG]
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  17. Dabears

    Dabears --------------------

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    I gotta admit, I'm with JerryH here; taking a bicycle and putting a motor on it is cool if you're going to putt around the neighborhood.

    If you're going to get out with traffic, I sure would want a vehicle that was designed to handle the speed, stopping requirements, lighting, having a motor requires.

    Bicycles get no respect in many places, doing 25 mph pulling extra gear is not my idea of a good time. A scooter? Sure! A moped? big maybe. A bicycle with a pull start engine and a series of chains and jackshafts- not this boy; I'll stick with my old 2 stroke Vespa. :D

    That said, I will definitely follow your ride report if you decide to do this!
    #17
  18. Sidecar Jockey

    Sidecar Jockey Been here awhile

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    I have two motorized bicycles, and built both myself. I built both using the SD Stinger 2-stroke motor kit, if you google it its should be easy to find. Yes, its a made in China motor... but I took one comlpetely apart and it actually looks pretty well made. It has good looking bearings in it and high quality castings. I have many hours and miles on them, with no problems.

    The only issue I have is that the plastic throttles that come in te kits are junk. The metal inner cable quickly cuts a groove in the plastic housing and causes the throttle to stick or bind. Just use a good metal motorcycle throttle.

    [​IMG]
    This is a Huffy bike that I added front brakes to. Its a decent quality, good welds, decent bearings... but I wouldnt ride it across the country.

    [​IMG]
    This one is a late 1970's Schwinn varsity bicycle. I restored the bicycle with top quality components, and I have complete confidence in the old Schwinn made in the USA frame. I would ride this bike anywhere.

    If you go with a china 2-stroke motor, get a Grubee or an SD Stinger. Both are very popular, good quality, and easy to get spare parts for. Most others are junk. Also, pay extra for a metal clutchlever that LOCKS in, so you dont have to hold it in while your stopped or want to pedal. Also get a good carb. I'm very happy with the NT carb. Its also a Chineese piece, but its nearly identical in operation to the old Mikuni VM's, and seems to be built well.

    I will soon be upgrading one of my bikes to a Schwinn style springer front end... you will get a LOT of vibration and road feedback through a rigid bicycle fork. Also, buy the nicest spring seat you can... even tiny bumps in the road feel like they will break you back when hit at 35 mph on a bicycle.

    So not try to otorize a full suspention mountain bike... the rear shocks compressing might re-rail your drive chain and tear things up. It has not happend to me, but I ahve heard horror stories.

    Also, stay away from aluminium framed bicycles. Again, it has not happened to me (both of mine are steel frames) but I ahve seen many photos of cracked aluminium frames. The motor vibration + hitting bumps faster than the bicycle was ever designed to go seems to bust aluminium frames quite quickly.

    I put an electronic bicycle speedometer on each bike. I weigh 150 lbs, and was able to get the bikes up to 40 mph with a slight tail wind. They will comfortably cruise at 30 mph or below, anything above that is really pushing it... in terms of vibration, stability, and the ability of the brakes to stop you. Anything above 30 mph takes a while to slow down, and you will urn up brake pads really fast. I'm only comfortable riding them for 30 mins at a time (and I'm 26 years old and 150 lbs). After 30 mins, your butt, back, and wrists need a break. You will also need to pedal them to ssist the motor when going up any sort of hill, if you want to maintain speed.

    The motors I used have 6 volt magnetos/alternators and have a wire coming off of the stator for lighting... so you could add a 6 volt headlight and tail light... but I have never messed with it. There are a million battery powered bicycle lights out there that would probably be cheaper and easier.

    A good quality 2 stroke motor kit can be had for $200. A decent 4 stroke kit will be $400+. This does NOT include the price of the bicycle. For the price of a 4 stroke motorized bicycle, you could buy a 'real' motorcycle or moped. The 2-strokes are much cheaper, especially when installed on a used quality bicycle.
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  19. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    The neat thing about using a motorized bicycle for in town transportation in AZ, is that they are legal in bike lanes, at 20 mph or less, so they are as safe as any bicycle. I rode mine like a regular bicycle, except no pedaling other than to get it going. You could ride for miles without pedaling, and unlike electric bikes, it has unlimited range (until it falls apart) If you want a high quality setup that will not break down, get a good solid bike (from a bike shop, not Walmart) and put a Golden Eagle engine setup on it ( http://www.bikeengines.com/ ) These are highly regarded as the best single speed setup available, and people have taken long trips on them. I don't know how they would do in the mountains.

    It's getting nearly impossible to find a high quality steel bike anymore, even the low end mountain bikes from bike shops are aluminum. The good old reliable Trek 820 still has a steel frame, and would be a good candidate for a rear mount motor conversion, like the Golden Eagle. It would likely need a better seat and higher bars for long distance riding. Electra, Felt, and Phat still make some decent steel framed cruisers, and then there is the king of the hill, the Worksman commercial bicycle ( http://www.worksmancycles.com/ ) they are not cheap, but they won't break either.


    As far as I am concerned, a motorized bicycle is a lot safer in town (at least in AZ) than a 50cc moped or scooter, because you do not have to ride them in traffic lanes. You can ride them in the bike lanes where the spandex wearing Lance Armstrong types ride (even if they don't always like it) They do have the right of way, and if you come up behind one, you have to hang back until there is PLENTY of room to move out of the bike lane, pass them, and get back in. DO NOT get close to them. They have a lot of political power here, and would love to deny motorized bikes the right to use the bike lanes, making them pretty much worthless in town.
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  20. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    I have an early '70s Schwinn Varsity 10 speed, but it is a collectors item. Steel frame and steel rims. It weighs a ton. Plus it has a bump stop for a seat, and drop bars. I couldn't begin to ride it. It's hanging on my garage wall.


    The 2 biggest issues with both those bikes are the rag joints that connect the sprockets to the rear wheel spokes, and especially that tensioner mounted on the left chain stay. I had one of those rotate into the rear wheel, destroying the wheel, and another where the cheap plastic pulley actually broke (they are similar to the rollers on sliding screen doors) and let the chain snag in the rear wheel, destroying the second wheel. I finally built my own "rubbing block" out of a rubber compression plug and some 1"x3/8" aluminum stock attached to both the chain stay and seat stay (much like what dirt bikes use to keep the chain off the swing arm) and then shortly after that the engine blew up.
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