Re: Motorized bicycle setup for long distance riding
If I hadn't gone hybrid that would have been about the cost - electric drive systems aren't the least expensive way to go heh. I prolly could have kept it under a grand easy if I hadn't gone hybrid and fully suspended.
Check the local ads & scrapyards, CRF50/clone based ATVs are very, very common - if ya dig around a bit you can prolly find a new/used kiddie sized dirtbike or four wheeler for pretty cheap, used really cheap. While it may be a used engine it'll get ya started and you'll get just about everything else ya need for motorization (taddy or bike) for pennies on the dollar, once built you can always get a new engine & bolt it in there... doing this you may well get everything except the bike for about what just an engine costs.
As for fabricating a frame, if you can cut steel you can always have someone tack/weld it up for you - it's the fabrication & fitting that's so time consuming & what ends up costing the most. If you can take your time & do that bit, you can then find someone that welds well (try auto exhaust places for example). If you've done all the prep & fitting it shouldn't cost much at all as welding is actually pretty easy & quick w/experience & the proper equipment. A basic, unsuspended cruciform tadpole once cut shouldn't cost a lot more than a hunnert or so to zot together, if ya know a guy & it's all ready to go.
I know it's messy, long & difficult to read, but if you dig around in the T3's build thread I tried my best to reference every part with links, alternatives & the reason why I went that route with as much comparison shopping as possible, trying to get quality without the price tag usually associated. Recumbent parts cost more just because they say "recumbent" on the package - for example 20mm axles for BMX/freestyle are inexpensive ($15-20 or so, mebbe less) but the exact same 20mm axle (quality, material, finish & fit) for a recumbent will cost twice that at a minimum - the difference being only the fad/fashion of recumbents lol, so shop around & avoid recumbent bits, it makes no difference if the part is the same.