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Old 03-11-2011, 09:32 PM
breezy breezy is offline
Motorized Bicycle Newbie
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Long Beach
Posts: 3
Cool Ahoy from Long Beach!

Building a motorized bicycle is EXACTLY the kind of project I think I'd love.
I was a bicycle commuter for about 11 years until I got the kind of job that I "had" to drive to. Now I have a spare tire that doesn't fit on my bike (or in my jeans) and I've recently gotten back into bicycle commuting. I love the freedom and the exercise and especially the $avings! I estimate that driving to work costs me about $200 a month... more if you count insurance.
BUT my new commute is 20 miles each direction. Definitely do-able, but maybe not EVERY DAY; if I do it every OTHER day then that's a big achievement.
But now that I'm thinking "outside the box" I really don't want to HAVE to drive the days I'm too exhausted to bike.
I looked into mopeds and vespas, but I really want to get my hands a bit dirty, not just buy a prepackaged unit. Also most commercial motorized scooters seem to get in the neighborhood of only 80 or 90 mpg. If I'm sacrificing the speed and convenience of my car, then I want the trade off benefit to be extraordinary gas mileage. I want 150-250 mpg. And I'd like to have "clean" emissions, too, to whatever extent that's possible.
I'm thrilled to have discovered this forum. I plan to refer to it a LOT.
I'll do my best to research whether questions have already been asked before posting them.
Where should I start?
It seems like there are a lot of options. Is there a good recommendation for type/style/brand for a beginner to build?

Thanks, Members!
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:59 PM
The_Aleman's Avatar
The_Aleman The_Aleman is offline
Motorized Bicycle Elite Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: el People's Republik de Kalifornistan
Posts: 2,658
Default Re: Ahoy from Long Beach!

Welcome to the forum, breezy

For figuring out how to do your first build with your criteria, I recommend looking in the 4-stroke or e-bike section and reading a bunch of threads. Research, research! If you use the custom search box above the forum header, that will give you lots of thread search power if you haven't already used it!

We all look forward to seeing your first motorized bicycle ride come together!
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Old 03-12-2011, 04:18 AM
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bairdco bairdco is offline
a guy who makes cool bikes
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: living the dream in southern california
Posts: 6,260
Default Re: Ahoy from Long Beach!

looks like you've been doing your research on craigslist.

every motor bike for sale always says "150mpg, 45mph, no license required!!!"

realistically, expect between 75 and 100mpg on average. a well tuned motor will give you more, a poorly tuned motor, less.

speedwise, stock out of the box is about 30-35mph.

and you DO need a license in California. check this thread:

and this one:

don't let any of that scare you off, though. these things are super fun...
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Old 03-12-2011, 06:20 AM
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chainmaker chainmaker is offline
Motorized Bicycle Elite Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Ma USA
Posts: 2,597
Default Re: Ahoy from Long Beach!

Welcome to the forum !!! Out there on the west coast you should be able to easily find a nice older bike for a reasonable price.
__________________ - The Ultimate Users Guide
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:49 PM
breezy breezy is offline
Motorized Bicycle Newbie
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Long Beach
Posts: 3
Default Re: Ahoy from Long Beach!

Well I decided I'd do things "the easy way" for my first attempt, so I went on BikeBerry (thanks to their helpful banner ad at the top of the page) and I was delighted to see I could get the whole kit-- engine, hardware, exhaust, and bike all together! That might be cheating for a "do-it-YOURSELF" project, but I don't mind taking baby steps. No sense reinventing the wheel.
Anyway it turns out they can't ship to me (or let me pick up my order) because of some California law. Or something.
So I had to cancel my order and now I'm trying to figure out where to start again.
As far as my "craigslist" expectations; I honestly don't see why 150 mpg on a bicycle would be terribly unrealistic if my pickup truck can get 22 mpg at 60 mph hauling around a heck of a lot more weight than just me and a bicycle and a little tiny motor.
Okay, so now I gotta figure out how to start. What do most Californian motorized bike builders do... tear an engine out of a leaf blower?
Thanks for all the welcomes!
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:55 PM
breezy breezy is offline
Motorized Bicycle Newbie
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Long Beach
Posts: 3
Default Re: Ahoy from Long Beach!

Oh, and thanks for the links on the law! It's always nice to stay legal.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:23 AM
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Venice Motor Bikes Venice Motor Bikes is offline
Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Los Angeles, CA.
Posts: 6,019
Default Re: Ahoy from Long Beach!

Welcome to our addiction!
There are a few places to buy your engine kit if you look around here, & we also have a So-Cal motorbike club with monthly rides once you have your bike built!
For motorized bicycle sales, service & engine kits in Los Angeles, please visit us at-

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beginner, brands, fuel efficiency, where to start

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