Originally Posted by tyrslider
Maybe I'vbe just been lucky but all my chinettes have been good runners from the start and if I get a couple thou out of a motor I'm tickled (doesn't seem uncommon). Then get a motor only replacement for $100 and do it again!
It is not difficult to retrofit these motors w/ better bearings, balance the crank, put a real piston and rings in'em (start w/ an iron bore), etc etc. I just don't really see the value in it.
If you wanted to race or land speed or ?, I see the point, but the value to price ratio seems best to me where it is.
The price to value ratio is poor on dept store bikes, as far as I'm concerned. The steel frames (and some of the structiral parts, handlebars, stems seat, seatpost etc) seem to hold up, but the wheels gotta go, the headset bearings can be scary, the brakes can be an issue etc.
The electrical lighting has been worked out by many. After I'm done focusing all my energy on a product I have in development, maybe I'll offer up a universal lighting kit w/ headlight, signals and a brake light.
I think, w/ any business, you gotta be creative and set yourself apart. you can't expect to just start up, open your doors and have people knocking down your door to get your product.
They can be made reliable but not w/o replacing some of the kit parts w/ better designed products that not just anyone can come up w/. I can back my bikes up w/ a labor warranty and teaching them how to adjust the chain, brakes and do simple maintenance is easy once you have already taken care of the known problems. This is a good way to gauge what kind of person you are dealing w/ as well.
I should also think that someone who has no mechanical ability is not typically (there are exceptions and they prove the rule) is not a very seasoned bike rider and therefore not a great candidate for an mb.
There seems to be a bit of a myth about where people think, I'm not a very good bike rider but because these have a motor, I could ride one. These folks are a REAL potential liability. Be exclusive, be choosy, have standards for your customers. I think that is more likely to pay off (w/ much hard work, good marketing, service, etc) than just selling as many wally worlds as you can to people who shouldn't have a bicycle let alone an mb.
That's my take!