Hello all, I have been lurking here for about 2 weeks (I did make one post). This is a great forum, and you seem like a great bunch of folks here.
I have read tons of posts and searched through threads for days (losing much sleep), including the vendor reviews trying to find out what Chinese motor kits have the best quality engine and parts. I came away confused and believing that they are all about the same, and that the quality of the typical in-frame kit is fairly poor. When it comes down to choosing a vendor that is reliable so they can replace the bad parts in the kit, I get uninspired. I read some great posts by some of the vendors and almost went with DAX for the service, but they have so little kit info on their site that I was not sure who the engine maker is, or exactly what was in the kit. Spooky Tooth looks to be fair quality with the Grubee engines, but they charge 2 x the price for about the same kit. Are they really better? I have never balked at paying a good price for top quality, but I didn't get the feeling that I could take a 50 mile ride with any of these kits and be assured of making it home without pedaling. I do some work for a company that deals with Chinese manufacturers to make computer parts, and know what the Chinese are capable of, both good and bad. If you accept junk, they will ship you all the junk possible as fast as they can without blinking an eye. If you reject several orders, you will get the best product they can produce. They will sell your rejects to someone else even cheaper.
One thing I found odd on these forums is that no one seems to offer a real review and comparison of the various Chinese engines. I know some of you have purchased several kits from different vendors, although I have a feeling that vendors probably switch engine builders often to get the best price, so you may not know what you are buying anyway. Maybe direct comparisons are useless.
After all my research and looking at the quality of every kit I could find, I made 4 phone calls (no one answered the phone except GEBE). Later that day I chose a GEBE Tanaka 32cc kit. I like that fact that GEBE is American owned and their kits are American designs. The price tag is not as easy to swallow, but considering my quest for quality and reliability, I feel I made the right choice. I purchased a Novara Metro from REI with a 20% off coupon to install the kit on. I paid my Chinese dues with that purchase.
I am in my early 50's and just don't have as much free time as I used to, which is strange because I don't work a 40 hours a week job anymore. I worked for 30 years in Aerospace as a Machinist, a Manufacturing Engineer, and later as a Quality Control Manager. I used to ride and race motorcycles when I was a kid and later on raced road bicycles in my 30's. A current hobby I have is restoring and building vintage mini bikes, so I get my wrench time and feeling of accomplishment from building those. Having a 20 minute install and going for a ride sounds inviting.
Oh yeah, I am a pro blues guitarist and have toured the world playing the music I love.