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Old 07-30-2014, 10:09 PM
oceanboy oceanboy is offline
Motorized Bicycle Newbie
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2
Default Which engine for a beginner??

Hello everyone.
New member here, new to motorized bicycle as well. I have actually been lurking ... reading, studying, learning from this forum ... for almost 3 years now. Just made the move into real MB. Received my friction kit from RoadBug/BMP today, and now have to get an engine...

So, I would like some opinions to help me with my decision. Two decisions actually. Keep in mind I am new at this, and may hate it and give up (hard to imagine that scenario). But... if I love it, my ideas would include a tour of the SW USA -- So Cal, AZ, NM, UT, ... who knows? I am semi-retired, have done much of the southwest using pedal-power. I have no car... I sold it last year and decided to go all-bike. For almost a year I have used nothing but my feet and legs to get around (and an occasional bus ride). Still, my dreams for the last 3 years have been to tour the southwest .. and maybe the entire pacific and mountain west ... on my bike. Thus, I finally decided to get into motorized bicycle as I can no longer pedal for 8 straight hours up and down hills and mountains....

Decision #1: cheap or name-brand
Do I get a $100 2-stroke that will be in the trash in a year? (Whether I am still motor-biking or not)? Or do I buy a name-brand which would last longer, plus have some resale value if I decide I hate motorized biking?
I have several options in the $100-$115 range, including a Mitsu TL33 clone, several 2-cycle scooter engines (1.5 to 2.8 hp), and the Hua Sheng 33cc 4-stroke. All considered disposable.

Decision #2: What brand
IF I buy a name-brand, what is the best, for touring and around town both (mostly touring, as in Phoenix/Tempe you cannot use a motor of 48cc or larger, and cannot use the bike lane if the motor is engaged to the wheel, even if the engine is off ... plus, town is mostly flat and easily pedaled anyway.)
Options are, with prices including tax and delivery if applicable:
Honda GX35 1.3 hp $251
Tanaka PF-4000 2.2 hp $324
Robin-subaru EHO35 1.6 hp $468

Which would do better touring? Most reliable? Best value for the money in my chosen application? (Please ask if I have not clarified well my type of usage).

The above info is from contacting dealers online and offline to get information and quotes. The only person I never heard back from was the Thatsdax site, which has great-sounding engines... but absolutely no spec sheets available. Since I didn't hear back and could not read specs, I eliminated their engines as candidates.

Thanks to all for any suggestions and ideas!
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:29 PM
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2door 2door is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Littleton, Colorado
Posts: 16,219
Default Re: Which engine for a beginner??

I can't offer you much in the way of help in the friction drive area but I'm sure some of our FD folks will chime in with suggestions based on their experience.

What I will do is welcome you to the forum and wish you the best of luck with your plans for touring long distance. If/when you realize that dream please keep us posted with photos of your travels.

Good luck and thanks for joining our community.

Age and Treachery Will Always Triumph
Over Youth and Skill & "Charlie Don't Ride"
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:33 PM
AssembleThis AssembleThis is offline
Join Date: May 2014
Location: NC United States
Posts: 168
Smile Re: Which engine for a beginner??

Welcome to the world of Motorized Biking. Wow you haven't even gotten the motor and from the looks of it your hooked lol. Like they say these things are addictive. I'm a newcomer myself so all I can say is take the advise of the vets here. Start small and develop your skills. Things to consider are fuel, range and available parts. I've been riding my first bike for a few months and I'm still learning, designing and fabricating. Probably another year before I can say it's totally finished. Wish I could tour with you. I wouldn't have a home to come back too so that's not an option . But good luck with your new adventure and trust me you wont ever go back to pedaling accept maybe for the exercise.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:59 PM
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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: Which engine for a beginner??

Considering you come from a heavy pedaling background, a 4-stroke clone would probably be just fine. The Huasheng (and Titan XC35 from Thatsdax) are based on an older Honda design, the GX31. They make great assist engines for people who aren't interested in speeds over 25MPH. Maintenance is easy to do on them and they are quite fuel efficient.

They'll do pretty well in taking the load off your knees. Expect an easy 20MPH cruise all day, all week.
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Old 07-31-2014, 04:32 AM
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Lightning Boy Lightning Boy is offline
Motorized Bicycle Elite Member
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Michigan
Posts: 188
Default Re: Which engine for a beginner??

Welcome to the club! Lots of helpful and knowledgable people here.

I ride FD exclusively, and built my bikes for free. I had many of my materials laying around the garage already. Using little more than old chainsaw engines, bike peg drive rollers, and brackets (are different for every mount; requiring some fabrication skills). Many other things can be used as engines for your project, for example: A weed whacker, leaf blower, chainsaw, etc. can be found easily and at a reasonable price in my area. Not sure about AZ, of course.

The DIY section has all kinds of things like this. My build threads are fairly thorough, and may be of some assistance if you decide to go that route. Keep us up to speed on the developments!
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:52 PM
Albula vulpes Albula vulpes is offline
Motorized Bicycle Elite Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: FL
Posts: 419
Default Re: Which engine for a beginner??

If you decide to go with the Tanaka 40, get it from here. It is less expensive than the price you have listed.................

Also could you post picts of your roadbug kit? I would like to see if the quality is the same as when the company was BMP.

I just picked up a Zenoah G43L from DDM. that is another good choice for motors.
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Old 07-31-2014, 10:00 PM
oceanboy oceanboy is offline
Motorized Bicycle Newbie
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2
Default Re: Which engine for a beginner??

Thanks to all for the welcome. I am totally excited about doing this....

Aleman, I was considering the smaller Hua Sheng. Wasn't sure of the quality, but elsewhere in this forum, the "clones" from Hua Sheng get good reveiws. Their 49cc gets the better reviews of the two, but not sure it's worth the extra $$ for the small HP increase.

Lightning Boy, I love to tinker on these kinds of things. As a rule, everything I do is one long process of evolution and I can always figure out how to make my projects more "likeable". But for a year now I have been living with my daughter to help out while she finished college (Just graduated!!) and have no garage or workspace -- or time. Tons of tools in a storage unit, no where to use them. So I finally decided on a kit, although it was not my first -- or even my second or third -- choice in how to do this. But we do what we have to do, and I figure for now a kit will at least get me on the road.

As I build, I will post pics and opinions of the kit.

Thanks again for the advice, and I hope to hear more.....

Albula, thanks for the links. Greener Garden is actually where I priced the PF-4000. $307 plus shipping, total of $324 to Phoenix. Best price out there. My local dealer actually recommended them since he was out of the 4000's (had lots of 3300's) and doesnt know when he will get more. I had not even thought about Zenoah. Not much about them in the forum. But they are Japanese and have an excellent reputation. I will definitely check them out.
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