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Motorized Cruiser Bicycles The beach cruiser has always been great bicycles to motorize. They just look good with a motor. Use this section to share and discuss about motorizing this classic.

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Old 10-17-2010, 07:03 AM
Motorbike Wanabe Motorbike Wanabe is offline
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Default The costs of building from a free frame

Someone mentioned in another thread about the varying amount of money that you can sink into one of these things. I love a bargain as much as the next guy and when I found a 24-inch cruiser frame for $5 at a yard sale, I was on it like stink on a monkey. Then, I started to do the math.

I've been trying to decide whether it would be best for me to build up this bike for an engine or, just go with one of the new Cranbroooks or one of the other "near $100 bikes" from Wally World. For someone just building a bike, not a themed "let's make it look like something cool" type of bike, the Cranbrooks can be an excellent start--if you do your homework. I've got a $5 frame in my shed that I thought of putting another motor on. Then I started thinking about it. $5 frame, $65 dollar (with shipping from Husky) rear wheel, new handlebars ($15) + grips and a new seat, and, new tires ($15-up, x2) and tubes ($8 x2). Unless someone is going to build something entirely unique and needed to purchase these items anyway, they'd be better off to go and purchase a Wally World bike and start with all new. Of course, EVERY bike needs grease and preparation and typical safety checks. Just my .02 and I'll be handing out change at the end of my rant.

Anyone else find themselves in the same conundrum or am I over-thinking this with faulty math?
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Old 10-17-2010, 07:20 AM
hurricane hurricane is offline
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Default Re: The costs of building from a free frame

I personally have never seen the benefit of just purchasing a frame. Too many extras a person needs to make it even just a bicycle. Plus if you buy just the frame you wont have all the cool left over stuff for your inventory of bike parts. And generally speaking it is cheaper to purchase a complete bike vs a frame.

Ive built two builds using complete cheap walmart bikes,one was a roadmaster the other a cranbrook. Im happy with both builds and the costs involved.
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:10 AM
joabthebugman joabthebugman is offline
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Default Re: The costs of building from a free frame

I recently bought a tandem frame only

If I were to buy the stuff to build it up it would cost me more than it would to just buy a good used one

It will make a nice receptacle for the extra parts off the other junk bikes I buy or find dumped in my yard

Ima build a truck bike
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:02 AM
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jbcruisin jbcruisin is offline
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Default Re: The costs of building from a free frame

I started out with just a frame. It cost me much more than buying a complete bike. BUT, I wanted everything heavy duty. Heavy spokes, comfortable seat, front drum brake, Shimano rear hub, wide rims, 2.125 motorbike tires ($6.00 more each) etc, etc. I might have over $800. in the bike without the engine but it never breaks down & I ride hard. Remember the old saying "you get what you pay for. I'm amazed when I ride with people how often some of their bikes break down and they consider this the norm. Build a sturdy bike & ride for many miles & years.
EZ Motorbike Dealer

Last edited by jbcruisin; 10-17-2010 at 09:05 AM.
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:17 AM
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GoFastBicycles GoFastBicycles is offline
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Default Re: The costs of building from a free frame

I have 700 in a build and the frame was free.

Socially Distorted
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:47 AM
msrfan msrfan is online now
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Default Re: The costs of building from a free frame

I guess I'm lucky because I started collecting bikes and parts in the 60's. I can probably put 20-30 complete bicycles together with all those parts. You know how it is. When people know your into this hobby, bikes and parts just appear in your yard or truck. I still buy Wal-Mart bikes to chinese motorize, and use the old pieces for Whizzers and homemade rides. When I hear on the forum that someone has to buy a chain or a wheel or other parts, I realize how valuable a pile of junk can be.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:06 AM
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Venice Motor Bikes Venice Motor Bikes is offline
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Default Re: The costs of building from a free frame

Here's the trick... Buy a complete GIRLS bike, & swap all the parts onto your frame!
For motorized bicycle sales, service & engine kits in Los Angeles, please visit us at-

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Old 10-17-2010, 11:40 AM
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silverbear silverbear is offline
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Default Re: The costs of building from a free frame

The question posed has as many answers as there are forum members since it is a personal thing. There are so many variables from a person's size to where you live, what riding conditions, how often and of course budget. We can each speak for ourselves and we each have our reasons and justifications for what we do. And so one person may build a Wallyworld bike that takes a day from buying the bike to installing the motor and riding off into the sunset all for as little money as possible. I have more time than some of you and come from another era when things were made in America from better quality materials and with some pride. When I work on an old Schwinn and see the decal "Made in Chicago" it means something to me. I've been to Chicago and know where it is, what it looks like and have an idea of who those middle class folks were who made the bikes. The old American model from the 60's was a declaration of fact. Everything on the bike was made in the USA. I spent this morning stripping down to bare metal of a 1949 Schwinn straightbar frame as used on the Panther. While I was stripping away the old paint and a bit of rust here and there I thought about 1949 when I was four years old and I wonder about the boy who got that bike. Was it a birthday present, Christmas? Or did he earn the money for it on his paper route? For me these old bikes are time machines and I take real pleasure in making them better than when they were new. My friend will invest close to $2,000.00 in this build when all is said and done with Worksman wheels, a suspension front fork, top notch tires, a four stroke HS engine and the 2 speed EZMotorbike transmission as soon as it's available, a custom gas tank from Sportscarpat, some of my custom leatherwork in seat and grips and possibly harness leather saddlebags (as soon as I figure out how to make them), custom copper jewel running lights. He gets to decide what color the frame and fenders should be and choose handlebars, center kick stand, headlight... all the things which go into a build of this kind. And he has to compensate me for my time and skill in putting things together for him. You might well think that's crazy to spend that kind of money on a motored bicycle. He doesn't think so and neither do I. It is beyond my budget and is no small expenditure for him. No doubt he could save a lot of money with a lesser bike and enjoy the heck out of riding it. Or he could take that 2 grand and buy a scooter or a used motorcycle of some kind. But this is what he wants. He saw my 50 Schwinn Motorbike, saw me start a cold engine with one easy pull, listened to the exhaust and knew what he wanted. He likes time machines, too, and he was 5 years old when this old bike of his was brand new. No doubt the boy who had the bike put playing cards on the spokes, pretending it was a motorcycle. Pretty soon it will be.
Someday when I grow up I will probably lose interest in toys with wheels, but until then...
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:05 PM
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bairdco bairdco is offline
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Default Re: The costs of building from a free frame

if you've read any of my other posts, you'll know i have a real hatred for china-made, junk bikes. on this forum you'll see hundreds of posts about the quality of a cranbrook. one of the most common is the exploding rear hub. so there goes your $65 for a rear wheel from husky.

frame breakage is a problem, too. luckily, you have a $5 one...

now, didja get the upgraded bike that has front brakes? no? well, after you cooked the coaster brake, you're probably gonna want them. depending on what set-up you want, it can be 20 bucks or 200 bucks.

i could go on.

my hatred for the cheap china bike is pretty obvious. i do realize that for some people, like the tinkerer, or the guy who wants to build one just to get away from his wife and spend some time in the garage, maybe take a little ride once a month, then the Huffy's the bike for you.

it's also a great bike for people who have short attention spans and jump from one fad to the next. you can just dump it on craigslist for a couple hundred after you grow bored of it and recoup your money.

but if you're looking for a reliable means of transportation, something safe, and something that can last for years with only minor repairs, you need to spend a lot more.

i think cheap china bikes are the main thing that holds this "hobby" back. when the majority of bikes that the average person sees is an oily, smoking mess with bent wheels and half-assed repairs, they're just gonna keep thinking how stupid we are for making death-trap toy motorcycles.
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:10 PM
msrfan msrfan is online now
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Default Re: The costs of building from a free frame

I'm with you, bairdco, I make them for my friends or to sell. I only keep and ride my homemade bikes with American frames and motors.
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