Re: Making an efficient commute, and living to tell the tale
Modern mountain bike brakes or disc brakes will stop you very well. Rear wheel coaster brakes are not recommended, but some folks are happy with them when combined with a good front brake.
Cantilever brakes as used on many bikes in the past are borderline sufficient. They will struggle to do a panic stop.
The cheap 2-stroke chinese engines are fun and short lived unless you get a very nicely upgraded one from Pirate Cycles. Those cost more but the upgrades are worth the extra price, and the various upgrades are available in stages.
Friction drive kits are quite possibly the easiest to set up, but lack ability in wet weather.
Belt drive kits are very good, and most think chain drive kits are better.
Surf the various threads here and you will quickly get a feel for what I am saying.
"It's a chinagirl. It's a sometimes fun little engine that often will break your heart. It's disposable.
Does not come with a fortune cookie."