Huffy Cranbrook. To motorize or not?

Discussion in 'Motorized Cruiser Bicycles' started by monturacer3, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. monturacer3

    monturacer3 New Member

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    So the other day I bought a Huffy Cranbrook on impulse because it was a good deal. I've heard people say that it is a strong frame, and others say it is weak and worthless. I want to build another bike, but I don't want the frame to break on me. Should I sell it and get a better frame, or just go ahead and build it?
     
  2. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    Yep. You'll hear both yes and no. There are some knowledgeable folks here who won't touch a Huffy. But there are some others who think the Cranbrook is just fine.

    I have a Cranbrook that I've ridden many, many miles motorized. It's been in retirement for the last 9 months or so. But it's soon to be resurrected with a new motor. Plus one or two other improvements.

    That frame is strong. So are the wheels. It was those 12 gauge spokes, as a matter of fact, that sealed the deal for me. I'd been looking that bike over for a while. Then I noticed those spokes and bought the bike on the spot.

    The Cranbrook does have one weak link; the rear hub. They're really not all that good. And that's important, of course. I toasted a few bearings and small internal parts before I learned how to keep that hub in good working order. But it's not all that hard. In a nutshell, be prepared to take that hub apart, regrease, put it back together and keep the bearings adjusted regularly. Seasonally, say, on the re-greasing. As often as needed on the bearing adjustment.

    So I'd urge you to start looking right now along curbsides for single speed bikes that have been thrown away. You're likely to want those hub/brake parts.

    I'd also urge you to take that brand new hub apart right now and become familiar with the parts inside plus how to put them back together properly. Not hard at all. But it's a little difficult if you're unfamiliar. You'll want to become familiar immediately.

    Add two hand operated rim brakes to the bike. This'll allow you to take some of the braking load off of that coaster brake. Besides, the coaster brake alone is not enough.

    I'm 180 lbs. And while I do ride rather slowly, I get off the road as much as possible. This means that I ride rough shoulders and such a lot. My bike does take a bit of a beating. Yet the Cranbrook frame has not shown any sign that it's not up to the task.

    Take care of that hub. Add some handbrakes to take part of the load. And while you're at it, reinforce those fenders. (This is important! On any bike. Not just the Huffy)

    If you do that, then I'd say that the Cranbrook is likely the best $100 bike you can buy. I'd bet that you'd have to get into multiples of that amount to see any real improvement.
     
  3. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    I've never owned a Cranbrook but simply judging from the number of builders here who have had them, rode them and put lots of miles on them, I certainly can't say anything bad about them.
    Yes, they are one of the most inexpensive bikes out there to choose but the popularity and their success rate speaks for itself.

    I just typed in, "Huffy Cranbrook" into out search feature and got this > http://www.google.com/cse?cx=partne...ch#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q=Huffy Cranbrook&gsc.page=1

    Lots of reading on that popular bike.
    Good luck and keep us informed on your build.

    Tom
     
  4. Greg58

    Greg58 Well-Known Member

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    I have a cranbrook that I built about 3 1/2 years ago and haven't had any problems. Remove the fenders and add good brakes to assist the coaster brake and it will do OK. Be sure to grease the bearings in the wheels, especially the rear because mine had very little grease from the factory.
     
  5. xseler

    xseler Well-Known Member

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    I also use a 'Cranbrook'. As stated above, the rear hub is the weak link. I've got about 300 miles on this "service" (grease, adjust, etc).

    I've had this bike on some fairly severe trails in NW Arkansas and northern New Mexico. While I had some damage (cracked my tailbone on a fire trail in Arkansas), the bike had no issues. The success rate depends on how you maintain your equipment.

    Good luck in your decision! .bld.
     
  6. YesImLDS

    YesImLDS Member

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    My Huffy Cranbrook has taken a beating. Other than the pedal brakes being worthless, it's been good to me and has seen many miles and many modifications. Also been off-roading a couple times with it.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. monturacer3

    monturacer3 New Member

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    I have already started taking apart hubs and the cranks greasing the bearings and all the internals. I do that on every bike I buy. I will take apart the rear hub tomorrow and grease it up. Should I use any certain motor mounts for it?
     
  8. frank66

    frank66 New Member

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    i have one aswell. its ok but a quality Del Sol or GIANT for about 250 dollars seems a much better starter point.
    its finished but all the things im not happy with are the bikes fault due to the brand and price range.
     
  9. mapbike

    mapbike Active Member

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    I also have a Huffy bike, its the same frame as the Cranny, mine was bought through Amazon and is called the "Huffy Karaoke" I build mine into a motorized bicycle in 2010, since the bike has seen 1000+ miles of hard fast riding on rough dusty dirt roads and several 40-50 mile round trips in the Texas heat at 32-36 mph with an engine that has horrible vibrations above 34mph, never a single failure related to the bike itself, the engine on it now is the second engine this bike has had since it was built up.

    Mine has the Falcon-SHA rear coaster hub, I just tore it down for maint. yetsreday for the first time since 2010, still had lots of grease in it, bearings and races look like new, brake shoes show very little where also, I'm not sure if all of them use the same Falcon-SHA hub or not but judging from what I have seen with mine, I'd put mine up again the Shimano E110 hubs I have as far as staying in good condition after 1000+ miles, the Shimano E110 has better brakes but the Falcon hub has held up great in mine.

    plenty of grease and correct bearing tension is critical for any hub to give good service, bearings tight enough not to have any slop and plenty of good tacky high temp water proof grease and you should have good service from the hub if it's in great condition from the start.

    Blow are pix of how good the internals of my hub were yesterday when I took it down for cleaning and a fresh packing of water proof green grease.

    The hub shell itself also looks like new metal inside, no cracks in the races or rough spots.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    #9 mapbike, Mar 25, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  10. monturacer3

    monturacer3 New Member

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    I just tore into my hub yesterday. I cleaned out all of the old grease from it and packed it and the bearings with hi-temp wheel bearing grease. I got the tank and engine mounted yesterday on the frame and I'm currently waiting for my billet sprocket adapter to come in. Then I'm completing the build.
     
  11. mapbike

    mapbike Active Member

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    Thats great..... hope you share some pix of your bike with us after you get it up and running, we l9ve to see a project come together on here.

    Im currently in the process of changing tires and the engine on my Huffy, Im also fixing to make me a laidback seat post to set my seat about 4 inches farther back to give the bike a bit of a longer frame feel, Im not a tall fella at only 5'10" and 215lbs ut the Huffy bikes just feel a little short even for me so after almost 5 years of riding this bike Im gonna finally get my seat moved back a little to make it a little more comfortable.

    Best wishes on your build and keep us up to date on it.

    Map
     
  12. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    A little semi-on topic rambling;

    Over the years I've seen Huffys that had components that just didn't look all that good. Does anyone remember the straight, all plastic brake levers? And those reallly were bad. (But they're easily replaced.) Stuff like that leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I've noticed that there're folks who'll practically shudder with disgust when you mention the name, "Huffy". It seems to me that these few rather crappy components might be blinding them to the fact that the rest of the bike is pretty good.

    I have no hard and fast data to prove that Huffy frames are stronger than others in the same price range. But they certainly don't feel weak to me.

    And for those who like speed, Huffys tend to be geared 'high'. Though this doesn't apply to the Cranbrook, of course.

    Back when I had enough youth for this type of thing, I'd put Huffy front chain rings on my pedal bikes during the summer. They tend to be a bit bigger than others. When I didn't have to deal with slush and snow and mud, then I'd just fly around during the summer. Then I'd go back to lower gearing in the winter. I've still got those Huffy front chainrings.

    The bike I'm riding right now is an old Huffy. From the looks of it, it comes from the tail-end of their Dayton, Ohio days. Frame strength simply doesn't worry me. It can take a beating.
    Current Huff.JPG

    My old Cranbrook will soon be cleaned up and re-motored. Maybe my wife will get my current bike and I'll ride the Cranny. Or maybe my wife'll get a brand new 24 inch Cranbrook. I'm kinda leaning toward the new Cranbrook for her.

    Earlier in this thread I gave the Cranbrook a pretty good review. But I was careful not to be too enthusiastic.

    But I was being over-cautious. The fact is, these are great bikes!

    To anyone who's wondering whether or not to go for it, I say "Yes".
     
  13. monturacer3

    monturacer3 New Member

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    UPDATE!
    So I went ahead and got the kit for the bike. This is my second build, so I'm still kind of in the learning process of putting these bikes together properly. With approximately 30 miles on the bike, it's doing pretty good. I need to re-spray the head gasket though because I didn't do it thick enough the first time and it is leaking a bit. I torqued the head nuts down to 100 inch pounds. Should I go higher or leave it at that?

    [​IMG]
     
  14. xseler

    xseler Well-Known Member

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    Be very cautious of the Huffy's front fender. The motor's vibration can easily crack the supports.........very bad things happen at that point. Also, add some front brakes. You don't want to rely on the Huffy's coaster brake.



    Clean look'n build, by the way!
     
  15. monturacer3

    monturacer3 New Member

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    Thanks! I built the bike for one of my friends and I'll be selling it to him. I already took apart the rear hub, cleaned it out, and packed it wuth a lit of car wheel bearing grease. I'll be sure to put a front brake in before I sell it.
     
  16. KCvale

    KCvale Active Member

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    You can re-grease and re-adjust the crap low grade parts in that back hub 'till the cows home' but it's not going change anything.

    More expensive bikes are not for a larger profit, it because better material parts cost more money.

    Those Huffy's have low grade cheap crap in that rear wheel and sell them with flashy paint to people that are just going to leisurely pedal them.

    Lance Armstrong can put out about .2 HP, your engine puts out ~2HP.
    Little on a $100 bike is going to take even 20mph abuse for long.

    Sure, plenty of people defend the frame and such and I agree, much of the Cranbook is solid, and like you throw $80 at a mount sprocket and still have to dick with the hub and certainly get new tires and tubes to be happy as I'd bet the huffy's have paper thin tubes and $2 tires to boot .

    Costs cuts are somewhere to make a $100 bike.

    At least set yourself up with a pair of C-brakes for both wheels.

    For those of you contemplating the absolute cheapest way to build a motorized bicycle please try to think ahead a bit...

    Staring as cheap as you can is like a payday loan, you just keep paying forever to 'fix' all the stuff you could have got good on a bike to start with for much less.

    I build a lot bikes and simply won't build on crap.
    I also don't get many service repairs.
    Get the connection?
     
  17. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    Extra credit to xseler for remembering to warn about that front fender.

    This is very, very important.

    If that thing breaks loose and gets wound up in your front tire at speed, then you're doing a face plant literally before you know it. Right now I can't think of anything your bike needs more than this. Brakes on the rims come in at second place. That's pretty important, too.

    And KCVale makes some valid points. I only happen to disagree with the notion that these reservations totally disqualify this particular bike. Yup, the tires are bottom of the barrel stuff. But no serious rider intends to just keep on using those tires anyway. They'll do for a month, or a season, while the rider gets ready to choose and get some better tires. And the rear hub is poor. As has already been discussed. But it's not so bad that it can't be used at all. It just needs to be used with care.

    By the way, what about the non-serious rider? The one who can't get his head around the fact that he must be his own mechanic? Those tires will last him until he has his tantrum and gives up. The hub might or might not last that long. But none of that matters. The bike, as a whole, will only last about one season.
     
    #17 bluegoatwoods, Apr 3, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015
  18. KCvale

    KCvale Active Member

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    I agree blue, it can be a decent bike and not a 'start over' thing.
    He just needs to be aware that all the money saved needs to be put back in with a motor on it.

    One cheap easy tip is just get a small L bracket and screw it to your fender on the other side of the pos top fender bracket on your front wheel, upgrade your back wheel, and put some brakes on the ting.

    My point is most people don't buy cheap but still have the money to do needed upgrades before they cause a problem.
    You can buy an already good bike and not turn a wrench for the same money or less and you don't have to dick with it.

    Just my thing to warn those that think they can build a new motorized bike that will run great and be safe for $250 and put it together in a couple hours.

    Just an OK bicycle base outfitted with brakes is that much.
     
    #18 KCvale, Apr 3, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015
  19. mapbike

    mapbike Active Member

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    Ditto.......


    wise to loose that front fender or build some very strong supports, and yes at least get a caliper type front brake on it for safety reasons, some of us have had good service from the Huffy coaster hubs and other fail in a very short time or require steady maintenence to keep bearing tensioned right, 8 hope you have a good one like the one I been running since 2010, but who knows mine may crap out soon also...lol But I hope not.

    Nice looking bike though and we suggest these thing for safety reasons not to be critical since many of us have been there done that on some of these issu3s that can create safety issues.

    Happy Riding.....
     
  20. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods New Member

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    "Just my thing to warn those that think they can build a new motorized bike that will run great and be safe for $250 and put it together in a couple hours." --KCvale

    A very succinct way of stating a fairly common issue. One that often gives me a bit of worry when reading the posts of some newbies. There are folks out there who seem to think that they ought to get Honda or Yamaha quality and reliability on a $250 build.

    I've seen a few where I've been certain that this was the issue. I've seen a whole bunch of others where I suspect that this was the issue.

    It can be done with money up front. Or it can be done with sweat equity plus modest and occasional upgrades.

    But the buyer has to choose one or the other.

    I do kinda disapprove of those who want a 'bad' machine at skinflint prices. Because I think that, on average, they're the ones who are making the rest of us look bad.
     

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