Folding Bicycle Advice Wanted

markd89

New Member
Nov 18, 2016
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West Coast
Hi,

I have a 7 speed Dahon with 16" wheels that I pedal around. I was thinking of motorizing it to get more range and found the forum.

I read some threads and found someone who said that a 20" folder was squirrely and that larger wheels were advised. If true, it's a bad idea to try to motorize the 16" Dahon.

I'd still like to end up with a motorized folding bike. I like the folding aspect because I can put it in my VW Bus without it taking up lots of space.

All advice is appreciated. I'm sure I don't know all the questions to ask but here's a start:

1. What folding bike would you recommend I start with? I'd like multiple gears for pedaling and decent quality. (Dahon is made in Taiwan but has been pretty solid, but new ones are spendy...)

2. What engine? I was thinking about one of the 1.6hp Honda 4 strokes. That should be enough to push me 20-25, I wouldn't need to carry two stroke oil and a 4-stroke honda should be reliable and economical.

3. How to mount? From the threads I found, it looks like a chain drive system with engine mounted on the rear or friction drive is the way to go to still allow the bike to fold. I would like to have the ability to pedal with the engine disconnected.

Thanks much!

Mark
 

markd89

New Member
Nov 18, 2016
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Thanks, I have been looking at their site. Another thread mentioned that their chain-drive system would allow the bike to still fold.

Any thoughts on wheel size and what bike to use if I shouldn't use my existing Dahon?

Thanks again,
Mark
 

Seabass

New Member
Oct 22, 2016
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Colorado
Never tried a folding bike, make sure you post some pics. Now I've had a few busses, what you driving? I've had a 79 sun roof and a 78 westy. I even got the fuel injection working on the 78. The 79 no because I got it cheap after it caught fire.
 

markd89

New Member
Nov 18, 2016
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West Coast
My bus is a 78 Sunroof, but extensively modified (97 Passat TDI Engine) - I have a thread on TDIClub.com if you're curious. It took a while to work out all of the bugs but it's pretty solid now - 30 mpg+ and 70 MPH+ It's my daily driver. That was lots of work and money at the time. For my bicycle, it better be simpler & less $$ ;-)

Anyone else with thoughts on folding bikes or how it would work out with 16" wheels, please chime in..

Mark
 

Ludwig II

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Jul 17, 2012
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Bianchi used their Aquilotto engine on a folder. I don't know what size the wheels are.



There was a front wheel drive Zanetti, perhaps a Velosolex could be found for the front wheel?

 
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sbest

Member
Nov 3, 2015
343
2
18
Nova Scotia
I like that electric does not spill or leak smelly fuel and it will charge as I drive. This little folder is remarkably stable and has about 10 miles range, 15mph speed. It is a Schwinn Izip 1020. I also have a full sized 7sp Schwinn Izip (made by Currie) that does 20mph for about 20 miles. Both are excellent city bikes, handle hills well.
 

markd89

New Member
Nov 18, 2016
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West Coast
Thanks, gents.

I like the electric except for two factors - range and cost. I'm not sure how far I'd go on my motorized bike, but it would be good to have the option to go far. To do that with batteries is spendy.

Any more ideas, please keep them coming. I'll update the thread with what else I find...

Thanks again!
Mark
 

Ludwig II

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Jul 17, 2012
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Why not drive one wheel from the battery, the other the way nature intended, with an infernal rumbustion engine? Both bases covered.
 

markd89

New Member
Nov 18, 2016
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West Coast
Thanks for all the input!

I spoke with Bike Bug and Staton.

Bike Bug is a 26cc 2 stroke Homelite-engine friction system. It's $300 and looks like it would work. They told me 40 mph (!) is possible, although the website says 25-30 mph. I found it strange that no accomodation is made based on wheel size. i.e. there is one size spindle only. The spindle presses down from the engine side only. There is no bearing on the opposite side. They say they have people who have run 5000 miles with their setup. My preference is a 4 stroke but am still considering this option as the cost is low.

Staton has friction and chain drive systems including one where the engine mounts near the rear axle. The chain systems can be mounted on either side of the bike which is helpful as the engine needs to be on the outside when the bike is folded. With Staton, I would go with the GX35 Honda 4 stroke. I'm still trying to find out what the options are for gearing. It'd be nice to be able to do 25-30 mph but I suspect I would be ~20 most of the time. The geared systems are about $600, more than Bike Bug, but it's 4 stroke and you're getting a gearbox, so there's more "stuff". I'm leaning towards one of these.

Other stuff - I thought my bike was 16" as the wheels are about that size. I looked at the tires and they say 20x1.5, so I guess that 20" is the correct size. This should allow me to use one of Staton's gear systems if I want. I'm still thinking of getting another folder with more modern brakes and perhaps a little lighter weight.

Comments?

Thanks!
 

markd89

New Member
Nov 18, 2016
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West Coast
I picked up a new bike - a Giant 20" Folder. It's a few pounds lighter than the Dahon as it is made of aluminum and has more modern brakes which was my main reason for upgrading. I got a good deal from CL and will sell or give away the Dahon.

I did more looking at the engine kits and I see problems: In order for the bike to fold, the engine has to be on the right side. This has several implications:

1. Friction drive isn't going to work as all of those systems mount the engine on the left. Am I missing something?

2. Staton's axle mount isn't going to work, as it would need to be on the left. It can't be on the right as the sprocket for the pedals is on that side.

3. This sems to leave me with the only option of Staton's chain drive that mounts above the seat. I lose the rack, which would be too bad. Also it looks like the Staton system, while nicely engineered, weighs 32lbs. I'd be doubling the weight of the bike. Running with the engine that's fine, but seems annoying when pedaling. The friction drive is better in that respect as those all seem to be about half the weight.

Have I forgotten any other options?
 

Ludwig II

Well-Known Member
Jul 17, 2012
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It's possible to find old European roller drivers that fit under the bottom bracket, but I don't know if the cost would put you off.



Berini (Dutch) and Velovap (France) are alternatives to the Velosolex for front wheel mounting. Berini:

 
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curtisfox

Well-Known Member
Dec 29, 2008
5,198
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minesota
Thanks for all the input!

I spoke with Bike Bug and Staton.

Bike Bug is a 26cc 2 stroke Homelite-engine friction system. It's $300 and looks like it would work. They told me 40 mph (!) is possible, although the website says 25-30 mph. I found it strange that no accomodation is made based on wheel size. i.e. there is one size spindle only. The spindle presses down from the engine side only. There is no bearing on the opposite side. They say they have people who have run 5000 miles with their setup. My preference is a 4 stroke but am still considering this option as the cost is low.

Staton has friction and chain drive systems including one where the engine mounts near the rear axle. The chain systems can be mounted on either side of the bike which is helpful as the engine needs to be on the outside when the bike is folded. With Staton, I would go with the GX35 Honda 4 stroke. I'm still trying to find out what the options are for gearing. It'd be nice to be able to do 25-30 mph but I suspect I would be ~20 most of the time. The geared systems are about $600, more than Bike Bug, but it's 4 stroke and you're getting a gearbox, so there's more "stuff". I'm leaning towards one of these.

Other stuff - I thought my bike was 16" as the wheels are about that size. I looked at the tires and they say 20x1.5, so I guess that 20" is the correct size. This should allow me to use one of Staton's gear systems if I want. I'm still thinking of getting another folder with more modern brakes and perhaps a little lighter weight.

Comments?

Thanks!
I think Duane at Thatsdax used to sell a rear mount kit, with a 49cc 4 stroke. Wouldn't hurt to give him a call and see if he may have one yet, less money than staton..................Curt
 

sbest

Member
Nov 3, 2015
343
2
18
Nova Scotia
I picked up a new bike - a Giant 20" Folder. It's a few pounds lighter than the Dahon as it is made of aluminum ... SOME SNIPPED
Have I forgotten any other options?
If weight is important, it is hard ignore the 2 stroke motor.
There are other 2 stroke, some with better reliability than the Happy Time.

Ludwig has tons and tons of pages of wonderful ideas of how others have hooked a motor onto a bicycle.
Thanks Ludwig, inspiring. Is there nothing new under the sun? Has it all been tried before?

Remember too, the 2 stroke can be mounted in any position and even be made to rotate backwards. Stand it on its end behind the seat if it fits!

Steve
 

markd89

New Member
Nov 18, 2016
11
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0
West Coast
re: Weight. I'll zip tie a milk crate on back and ride around with some weights to see how annoying 30 lbs would be. That should give me a good idea.

I think Duane at Thatsdax used to sell a rear mount kit, with a 49cc 4 stroke. Wouldn't hurt to give him a call and see if he may have one yet, less money than staton..................Curt
Thanks Curt. I will call Duane and talk to him too.


If weight is important, it is hard ignore the 2 stroke motor.
There are other 2 stroke, some with better reliability than the Happy Time.

Remember too, the 2 stroke can be mounted in any position and even be made to rotate backwards. Stand it on its end behind the seat if it fits!

Steve
Thanks, Steve. That's interesting and I didn't know that. A little googling told me that the timing needs to be adjusted, the starting method (if it is a rope-pull) and the timing needs to be set to advance when going the "wrong" direction. Probably more adventurous of a project than I want right now, but if there's someone selling reverse rotation parts that are already dialed-in, please let me know.

P.S. What's the Happy Time?
 

sbest

Member
Nov 3, 2015
343
2
18
Nova Scotia
In the early days these motors were advertized with interesting Chinese derived names like "Happy Time". Those of us who really love them also like the term "China Girl".

Reversing is a matter of cutting another keyway in the rotor, especially if starting is by bump start.

So far I have 3 folders I use for traveling in my van. 2 are electric and 1 is a Dahon 3 speed. When I am traveling, I don't need a huge range, just to get around a city or into or out of town in a country location. I have been quite pleased with the limited speed and range.

I have also mounted the full sized gas bike on the back of the van on a cheap light trunk mount bike rack for long trips. The fuel fumes are outside and the weight of the 2 stroke HT motor does not stress the rack. The fullsized bike handles speed and gravel roads better. $50 old bike and an inexpensive motor, not the end of the world if it gets stolen or damaged.

Steve
 
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