Huffy Nel Lusso - 1st build by a new guy

Discussion in 'Motorized Cruiser Bicycles' started by Three-Wire, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. Three-Wire

    Three-Wire New Member

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    After watching motorized bikes in the campgrounds at Oshkosh for several years, I finally decided I had to build one of my own... Did some research, found this forum, opened up the purse strings and ordered some parts!

    For a list of stuff I bough to build this bike, see this post later on in this thread.

    I'm not the most disciplined when it comes to documenting my work, but I wanted to make this thread a decent description of things that tripped up a first-time bike builder. For you experienced guys, I'm sorry about the excessive prose but I'm hopeful it'll help someone down the road.

    I ordered a 2010 Grubee Skyhawk 66cc kit from gasbike.net, mainly because they had a coupon that covered the shipping cost. Turns out they have a pretty good recent reputation as well - I was very happy with the service I got.

    I settled on a Huffy Nel Lusso because I like the frame - the welded-in luggage rack was a big part of the decision. I've never been a big fan of coaster brakes anyway, and with the extra weight of the engine I just didn't feel comfortable with them in principle. I ordered a dual-pull brake handle from SickBikeParts.com. With my left hand working the clutch, my right hand will have to handle the braking chores and this way I can get both brakes working. Should have no trouble stopping...

    The Huffy cruiser frames have the right sized seat tube for the rear engine mount, but the downtube is oversized and slightly oval where the front mount will have to go. I ordered the universal front mount kit from SickBikeParts.com, and it looks like it will work well.
     

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    #1 Three-Wire, Aug 25, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  2. Three-Wire

    Three-Wire New Member

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    Step one...

    First step was to lube the bearings in the bike. I made a point of getting an un-assembled bike so that I could build it up the way I wanted it without having to disassemble the whole thing first. Now I dont' know a heck of a lot about bicycles, so I've found some pretty good tutorials online that go into great detail about overhauling various parts of the bike. My current favorite is AtomicZombie.com, but the Park Tools website has great maintenance tutorials as well.

    My bike had very minimal lubrication on ALL the bearings... The headset bearings and the crank bearings were easy - they were also only lightly oiled on installation and really needed some more grease.

    The rear hub felt ok but after seeing what was inside the headset I decided to tear it down as well. It was well lubed, but both bearings on the sprocket side were dry. Took a few tries to get it back together but once you figure out what order the parts get installed things fall into place nicely.

    The front hub was my first real hiccup... :rolleyes:
     
  3. Three-Wire

    Three-Wire New Member

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    Front hub

    My front hub was very "crunchy" and tight out of the box, practically screaming for some lube. Word of caution for the next new guy, you NEED a 13mm cone wrench for this...

    Park Tool Website

    I didn't have one and decided to try anyway. I could not get the lock nuts loose from the cones and mangled one of the dust covers in the process... I don't think the dust cover is critical for holding things together but it does protect the balls from the outside world so it's important. My local bike shops all tell me it's okay to ride the bike in its current condition but I'm not too sure.

    Regardless, I can't get parts locally. The local shops all plead ignorance of these "cheap bike parts" and none were willing to install a new brand-name hub or order a new wheel. Huffy claims to have all parts you might need, just a phone call away - so I called them. The don't sell component parts, only components. So I can't get the dust cover from them, but they will sell you a front wheel assembly... Except they're out of stock for the next 4-6 weeks.

    In the mean time, I'm going to work on the brakes, fender reinforcement, and engine mounting. I'd like to paint the tank and some of the components too...

    I guess a set of new wheels is on my list... Anyone have experience with the pair from Custom Motorized Bicycles?
    Custom Motored Bicycles - WHEELS HEAVY DUTY BICYCLE
    Or these from Amazon?
    Amazon.com: Wheel Master Rear Bicycle Wheel 26 x 2.125 36H, Steel, Bolt On CB, Silver: Sports & Outdoors
     

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    #3 Three-Wire, Aug 25, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  4. Kevlarr

    Kevlarr New Member

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    The wheels I have are basically the same as the wheel master set, made in USA (out of Chinese parts) and they've held up really well to a lot of abuse. I picked up mine at my local bike shop, just asked for a 26" coaster brake wheel and those are all they stock.
     
  5. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 New Member

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    I like that welded cargo rack too. I had an idea- to support my cargo rack by bolting supports into the rear canti brake mounts, rather than the rear wheel dropouts. It would look similar to yours but require no welding.
     
  6. corgi1

    corgi1 New Member

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  7. Three-Wire

    Three-Wire New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback about wheels! I like the looks of the Husky's with 11ga spokes... Haven't made a decision yet.

    Here's where it sits this morning - I got the engine, carb, and exhaust mounted up last night for a fit check. The air filter has just enough give to it to flex away from the seat tube, but rides the tube pretty hard. I'm tempted t just leave it, since I'm not sure I could put a little bend into it without destroying the part or restricting the airflow. There's always the aftermarket option - offset intake manifolds...

    Piston Bikes Offset Manifold

    Engine mounting is solid with the universal front mount from SickBikeParts.com, so I think I'll leave it mounted the way it is. I used scraps of an old intertube between the frame and engine mounts to cushion things - this makes engaging the rear mount nuts a bit tricky. Hopefully the reduction in vibration will be worth it.

    The crank hits the muffler a little bit. This new Grubee kit has some sort of heat shield on the front side of the muffler and that's what's rubbing, but I don't really want to remove it. Options are a new wider crank or some slight exhaust modifications. I'm leaning towards "reshaping" the exhaust manifold...
     

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    #7 Three-Wire, Aug 26, 2010
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2010
  8. r00t4rd3d

    r00t4rd3d New Member

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    Just bend it ! Take it off the bike first though. Looks like you only need to bend it out away from the engine a touch.

    Huffy Tip : Their seats look cool for about a week then start falling apart. Get a new one coming ! Also the peddles fall apart too.

    I would remove the rubber between your frame and mount too. It will just lead to problems.

    Where is your coaster brake arm ? Looks like its not even on there or hiding very good.

    :)
     
    #8 r00t4rd3d, Aug 26, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  9. darkhawk22

    darkhawk22 New Member

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    Thanks for the thread, I'll be building up one soon and all this information is helpful!
     
  10. corgi1

    corgi1 New Member

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    you must have the coaster brake arm,,,,and you will get more power too the rear wheel if you use the chain



    lol
     
  11. Venice Motor Bikes

    Venice Motor Bikes Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles

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    Don't ride that without the coaster brake arm!!!!! (It will snap the axle in half when you pedal backward!)

    Just bend the arm to clear the sprocket bolts. ;)
     
  12. Three-Wire

    Three-Wire New Member

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    I needs to be bent forward a few degrees to clear the lower motor mount and towards the center of the bike a few degrees to clear the crank. I'll go to work on it tonight...

    Coaster arm, drive chain, and final truing/tightening of the sprocket are pending a decision on wheels. I'm sorely tempted to just order the heavy duty Husky wheels and be confident in the knowledge that they're up to the task. Didn't see alot of point in modding and mounting all of those parts if I'm going to take 'em all off again anyway!

    Thanks! When you get started, post some pictures and your experiences as well.

    The agenda for tonight is: paint the fuel tank and chain guard, work out the exhaust, order some more stuff! (offset intake manifold, brakes that fit, wheels, etc...)
     
  13. Kevlarr

    Kevlarr New Member

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    That has got to be about the longest intake I've ever seen! That came stock with the kit?

    A normal stock intake should leave plenty of room for your air filter. Also get rid of the rubber in the mounts, it'll just degrade and make your mounts loose which leads to broken studs.

    You could gain a little more room by putting something between the rear mount block and the motor then sliding your front mount higher up on the downtube.
     
  14. kipharley

    kipharley New Member

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  15. Chalo

    Chalo New Member

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    A barely maintained coaster brake can skid the rear wheel every time-- which is as much braking as you can get on the rear wheel anyway. The main problem with them for the purposes of the usual motor kit is that the included rear sprocket can interfere with the hub torque arm, dustcap, or both; an inexperienced mechanic can easily cripple the brake or make a self-loosening rear hub in the course of resolving this mechanical interference.

    In my observation, most long reach caliper brakes (like what you plan to use) do not have enough braking power to skid the rear wheel under a seated rider without a front brake helping to unload the rear wheel. Under those circumstances, that's still all the rear wheel braking you can get, though. It's the effectiveness of the front brake you want to be most discriminating about.

    Tektro C324 brakes are fine quality items, but they are for a very specific application. They are for braking 24 x 3" wheels and tires retrofitted to 26" size frames. 26" wheels require brakes with shorter reach. BMX caliper brakes usually have the right amount of reach for cruisers with 26" wheels.

    Get dual pivot calipers if you can. They have better mechanical advantage and stiffness than single pivot calipers, and they don't have the inconsistent centering of single pivots. But if you use dual pivot calipers, keep in mind that one pad will swing almost perpendicularly towards the rim, and the other approaches the rim in a curve that reaches up towards the tire. If you adjust them both to the same height on the rim, the short arm's pad can wind up scraping on the tire as the pads wear. So adjust that pad a little lower on the rim.

    Yep, that's one of the characteristics of a traditional cruiser frame that makes it a questionable choice for a motorized bike conversion. Most other kinds of traditional bicycles have straight round downtubes that are easier to mount things on.

    Chalo
     
  16. Chalo

    Chalo New Member

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    Re: Front hub

    You can probably improvise an effective shield from a rubber washer or fat O-ring from the hardware store. The stock dust shield isn't really all that effective anyway. A dust cap is not a common individual item-- my shop salvages them for later use, but many shops don't. The usual replacement item would be something like a Wald front axle kit, with a new axle, cones, locknuts, dustcaps, and axle nuts for about $6 or $7 last time I checked.

    If your local bike shops can't support you with parts for such a common traditional style bike, that doesn't speak very well for your local bike shops. I can understand them being a little contemptuous of a famously shoddy bike like a Huffy (really, Huffy's reputation is richly earned), and I can see why they would much rather you had bought a bike from their shop if you are going to be calling on them for help. (On both these points, my professional opinion is that they should suck it up and just tell you what they can offer.) But to feign ignorance or worse, to be ignorant, about replacement parts for old-fashioned shoddy bikes is just incompetent.

    I'm going to take just a moment to go off on a closely related tangent:

    The reason that many bike shops won't work on Huffys or other department store bikes is that it's so often a huge waste of time and a money-losing proposition for the shop, while being a waste of money for the customer. They never just need one thing, as you have observed. But because the bikes are usually screwed up from the get-go, their owners are used to that, and don't bring them for service until the bikes are completely inoperable. By then, setting them right would cost a lot more than the new cost of the bike. It's a recipe for frustration for everybody.

    But they should certainly get you whatever parts you need to do the work yourself!

    A bike shop that will agree to work on department store bikes is either a really good shop, or one that hasn't yet figured out what a losing game it often is. There is a very old-fashioned and now rare business model of things like "Billy Bob's Lawn Equipment and Bicycle Repair", and junky bikes will never be turned away there-- but the quality of bicycle work at such a place is even more of a gamble than at a real bicycle shop.

    Chalo
     
  17. Three-Wire

    Three-Wire New Member

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    Yep! I've got a more normal aluminum one on the way now... Glad you said something - I haven't seen enough of these to know that the kit intake was unusually long. The aluminum manifold is half the price of the steel offset manifold and this way I can keep the carb centered in the frame.

    Thanks for the advice on the caliper set-up. I've got a different set on the way and will heed your advice when it's time to set them up. I plan on having the coaster brake be used as primary and the hand brakes for auxiliary braking, so there shouldn't be much trouble getting stopped...

    Off to do some painting, bending, and re-mount the engine without rubber... :)
     
  18. Kevlarr

    Kevlarr New Member

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    Actually I started out with coaster brake only and now that I've added V brakes I rarely use the coaster.

    As far as using lock up power as a judge of how good a brake is, a locked up skidding tire has less stopping power then a slowed tire. The main thing I've noticed since I switched is I have way more control with the V-brake then I did with the coaster. The coaster has too close of a line between hard stopping and a full lockup.
     
  19. FLSTC4ME

    FLSTC4ME New Member

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    Hey Three wire....bought the same bike yesterday to be my first build. How do you get or find a free shipping coupon for gasbikenet? I could sure use that. Thanks.
     
  20. Three-Wire

    Three-Wire New Member

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    Welcome!

    I signed up for their e-mail list, and I got the coupon codes... It ends 9/1, so you should still have time to get one if you sign up now.
     

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