Enough testing the waters, I've jumped in
Hello from Kentucky,
Here is my story. About six weeks ago the Ridley 1903 came to my attention. I have an interest in early motorcycles and this looked like a fun way to evoke the spirit of those days when a motorcycle was little more than a bicycle with an engine added. I liked everything about the Ridley except the off-putting price. My interest was piqued so I thought I would look into the current state of engines. I remember Whizzers and in the early 60s I knew two boys that had mopeds, though I can not now remember the brand. The last bicycle motor I remember was in the late 60s at Michigan State where a local bike shop sold a good number of English kits that sat over the front wheel. The clutch lowered the engine to drive with direct friction on the front tire. They beat peddling, but that was about it. You can see how far behind I was. Ebay and the internet took care of that.
The price of these modern engine kits opened a door. I thought I could make myself very happy for half the price of the Ridley. I looked at the Felt 1903 the Ridley is made from and rejected it because I wrongly assumed that what looks like a tank was a couple of pieces of tin like on a sixty year old cruiser. Silly me, I guessed that the Ridley mark-up was partly accounted for by making a real tank. So I did a study of vintage bicycles. I'll spare you the math, but I figured the bike, repairs, springer forks, an appropriate saddle, beautification and a tank that didn't look like a cow patty on the top bar would cost... oh $600 to $700. Now this forum seems to be filled with guys who are given a bike and find an engine in a dumpster and end up with something nice for less money than a meal in a restaurant. I am not one of them. My wife agreeing to marry me was my last good bargain.
So as an alternative to fixing up something old, I looked at Worksman and Husky industrial bikes. I liked what I saw, particularly the Worksman, which would run $550 with what I wanted not counting tax or freight. I would still have to solve the tank problem, but I had a few ideas about that. In the meantime I had been reading this forum like crazy. What a great place, tons of useful information and friendly people willing to help. I found out that low and behold the Ridley doesn't use a new tank it seals the Felt top tube and that people on this forum have done it. I had to search elsewhere to find Hblocals explanation, but when I found it, it inspired me. Sort of a if a man can do it other men can too thing. Thanks! So I took another look at the Felt 1903. What can I say, I love it. The price $550 was the same as the Worksman. I screwed up my courage and ordered one. It might be here this week. I also ordered a Grubee Starfire 48cc kit from Kings Motor Bikes. (btw they shipped the same day I ordered)
I know I am going to need a lot of help from you all. The tank may be a long careful process and the motor mounts for this bike look tricky. I wish I was as handy as most of you but I am careful and patient and persistent and I can often get something right by the second do-over. I have been having a bad case of the blues over turning 60 and as a small business owner the recession has got me down so maybe this little project will help. I wish all of you the best and thank you in advance for the help I know I will need. I can't remember who wrote it and I am paraphrasing but when I read, "I got my bike and the first thing I did was void the warranty by drilling a hole in the frame," I knew I was among my kind of people.