The Staton kit has held up unbelievably well. In fact, the kit/engine survived a bad accident whereas my bike didn't. So, I installed it on a do4now mtn bike until I absolutely need a better one.
Since the accident, while healing up, I collected the tools needed to make friction drive kits- milled out a few 1/4" thick aluminum channels (almost exactly like Staton's etc.), ordered the small components from various places, and 2 Mitsubishi TLE43 engines.
It's exacting work and takes much patience. But I've stuck with it, and through much trial and very very much error, I've made a FD that's acceptable to my standards. I've never ridden a friction drive before (only my chain drive), so I tried to make my FD feel 'solid' like the chain drive. -That- took some doing... a lot of tinkering then testing, over and over again for months.
My advice to anyone making their own FD, that U-Bracket HAS to be very rigid and strong. I skimped on the thickness of my first one, and it was causing the kit to 'shift' and made my steel drive roller 'angle' on the tire instead of being perfectly horizontal on TOP of the tire.
Also, the drive roller needs to be knurled. I was using a piece of 1" OD cold rolled steel, but after the first couple of miles, it started slipping and didn't have traction to get me up hills. So add to that the U-Bracket problem, my kit was pretty worthless. So I took an old rear peg (about 1 1/4") and secured it TO the 1" drive roller, then tapped/threaded it, screwed it back onto the clutch drum and took it for a test run. WOW. Even with a windy day, it was hauling at 32+mph. It really feels like it'll last for quite some time. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy the Youtube clip of yesterday's test run.
YouTube - Bicycle engine/Friction drive movie Memorial Day '09