I just ran across this site when searching for info on my soon-to-start DIY moped project. It won't be a powered bicycle as it won't have any pedals, but it's close enough as I'll be using a lot of bicycle parts anyway.. Besides, there aren't any communities for DIY mopeds that I know of.
Surprisingly, many moped forums aren't really all that helpful at all. They all seem to be overrun by 16 year-olds questioning my sanity to build a slow and 'ugly' bike when apparently I could have one made of recycled tupperware that will go twice as fast and make 10x the noise for half the money.
Some people really just don't get it, no? I spent some time reading various topics on this forum and I'm sure there are more kindred spirits to be found here.
So here's what I intend to build; I love the simple, minimalist look of early motorcycles from the 1910s and 1920s. I also like the elegance of some of the post-war European mopeds. My plan is to combine various design elements from these periods and mix in some contemporary elements as well.
So far, the frame is the only component I am absolutely certain about. I'm afraid I lack the skills and equipment to fabricate my own from scratch, so I'll be using an off-the-shelf bicycle frame. (told ya there was a bike connection somewhere!) The frame I'll be using is a Basman 346, in my opinion the best looking cruiser on the market today;
The bike will be running on relatively fat tires. If I can legally get away with using bicycle tires they will be 20x4.25 front and back. If I have to use motorcycle tires they'll be of a similar width, set on 18 or 19 inch wheels. If I have to use motorcycle wheels/tires I'd probably run drum brakes front and back. If I can use bicycle parts I'd be runnign dual 160mm disks up front and a single 160mm disk in the back.
I'll be using a springer or girder front fork. I am hoping I can use a fork designed for bicycles - they are a lot
cheaper than motorcycle forks, and motorcycle forks are also too long, too heavy and too stiff for a light moped. I might end up having to fabricate a front end from scratch, but I'm hoping I can utilize a modified Monark look-alike;
Once I have a rolling frame the fun can really start. Engine selection, fabricating mounts and trying to make it all work. I definitely think the looks of the engine itself play an important role in a project like this. I am very tempted to go with a 1960s vintage JLO 50cc engine. Though I would also like modern reliability..
Ideally I am looking for an air-cooled 50cc engine with three-speed transmission. JLO and Sachs are some of the vintage contenders. Among new engines I'm looking at Lifan - it doesn't look nearly as good, but those come with an auto-clutch making it somewhat easier (and marginally safer) to go for a 'suicide shifter' mounted next to the fuel tank.
So right now I'm focusing on engine options. I find it pretty difficult to reconcile vintage looks, modern reliability and a three or four speed transmission with automatic clutch.. I'm open to suggestions at this point!