Ok in regards to the Cranbrook, I have to defend it a little. It's actually a nice bike. Yea the fenders are a little cheap-o but most of the stock ones aren't meant to handle heavy vibrations (they're built for bicycles, not mopeds).
As far as the rims go, they're not bad. They can be upgraded to 12G spokes but don't expect it to be something easily found at a bike shop. 14G spokes are considered an "upgrade" since they make the bike light-weight, which is what most bike-riders strive for. Just get the rag joint PERFECT and AS TIGHT AS POSSIBLE and the spokes won't bend or loosen much. But that's a lot easier said than done. The manic mechanic fitting would be more than worth it ($60 with Ground Shipping & includes a sprocket) to eliminate the whole sprocket-balancing process.
There's some talk about soldering the nipples to the spokes to prevent them from getting loose. Haven't tried it myself but haven't heard any complaints.
And the gas tank? Not sure what the issue is here but I've got the copper shut-off valve (referred to as the "old-style") and it works just fine.
? Shaving the rag joint?? Haven't had that issue yet... If anything it's too close to the hub for me.
But yea, get the manic-mechanic or perhaps the HD-hub (requires respoking the wheel), which also converts your bike to a rear drum brake operable by a lever and the Sprocket is built right in.
Oh, and regards to the chain. GET A CHAIN BREAKER! Sooo beats a hammer, screw, and vice (though its possible). They sell them in the bicycle section at walmart for $5. Get 2 of them, as they fall apart after 2 or 3 uses. I think one of the vendors has a nicer one for ~$10 or $15.
Problems with the carb/intake fit? Found this:
Ported Billet Intake
Depends on the motor. Sometimes they fit, and sometimes they don't. Try the one you get first.