Enough testing the waters, I've jumped in

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Old Tom, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. Old Tom

    Old Tom New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    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.

    Warmest regards,
    Tom
     
  2. Bikeguy Joe

    Bikeguy Joe Godfather of Motorized Bicycles

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Messages:
    11,529
    Likes Received:
    1
    Tom- You have come to the right place fo'sho'!

    Welcome and enjoy.
     
  3. Dave31

    Dave31 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2008
    Messages:
    11,207
    Likes Received:
    13
    Welcome Tom, glad you joined us.
     
  4. Cabinfever1977

    Cabinfever1977 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    Messages:
    2,290
    Likes Received:
    1
    welcome to the forum.
     
  5. SAVAGE

    SAVAGE New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    welcome aboard there , TOM .
     
  6. TerrontheSnake

    TerrontheSnake New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    720
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey Tom This place is heaven for most of us like minded individuals. Welcome to the club, be warned that if you build one you may spend your retirment working because one is never enough!! lol I already have three more project bikes in mind.
     
  7. PatMcLJr

    PatMcLJr New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey, lots of folks from Kentucky in here! I'm in Louisville. I don't see that many MB out there, but lots of scooters.

    See ya on the street!
    Pat Jr.

    just took a peek at the Felt 1903, WOW that is going to be a very cool ride!!!
     
    #7 PatMcLJr, Jun 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
  8. Clotho

    Clotho Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    1
    Welcome Tom!

    Haha, I think you are paraphrasing myself there. The exact quote is on my blog and is "First thing I did was take it apart, cut a hole in the tank and void the warranty!"

    I think you have found the right place! If I were you I would look to increase the budget a bit. First thing you will want to do to that 1903 (Great bike!) is improve the brakes. A coaster brake all by itself isn't really good enough in the opinion of most of us here.

    Let me know if I can help.
     
  9. 2door

    2door Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    16,301
    Likes Received:
    25
    Tom,
    Let me be among those to welcome you to the forum. You'll have fun, guaranteed. As for turning 60; nothing to it...many of us have done it, lived through it and have discovered that it just might be the best time of your life. Just wait for the looks you'll get when you get that bike running and people see this ol' guy, enjoying life like it's supposed to be enjoyed. This is a great hobby that has no age barriers. Have fun and post some pictures of your Felt. By the way, that was an excellent choice for a motorbike.
    Tom
     
  10. Old Tom

    Old Tom New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2009
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey: Bikeguy Joe, fairracing31, Cabinfever1977,Savage and TerrontheSnake, thanks for the warm welcome!

    PatMcLJr: I'm in Bowling Green. I haven't seen any MBs here, but my wife has. I did see my first electric car last week, sort of a saloon car version of a golf cart. It was quick and quiet.

    Clotho: I thought you were the source of the quote, but I couldn't find it again when I searched. Thanks for the link back to your blog I have looked at so much stuff I can't always remember where I saw a particular item. Love your Felt. I am with you on the brakes. I'm thinking about a Sturmey Archer front hub brake. The budget isn't so bad. My guideline is half the cost of the Ridley which is about $2700 delivered according to their web site, so I am looking at $1350. I've spent $600 on the Felt and $200 on the Starfire kit, so I have room for improvements. I know you will be a big help.

    2door: Thanks for the warmth. Good name. It's only when I am standing with two other guys named Tom that someone yells, "Tom."

    Everyone: I heard a little story today that was so good I wanted to pass it on. There is a waitress at a local restaurant who is pleasant, friendly, helpful and interested in other people. You know the kind of person who pays attention and remembers people because she is nice and likes people. Customers will wait to get a table in her area. An older couple particularly liked her and when she learned that they lived close to her she started checking on them. Sometimes when she cooked she would make extra and take it to them, just being the good neighbor. Well, the couple is in their nineties and have no children, so recently they gave this hard-working nice waitress their six year old Cadillac and a house. That's right, a house, a rental property they thought they were getting too old to mess around with. Moral: Sometimes when you try to make the world a little better a bit at a time you get a better world.
     

Share This Page