Important Choices - Please Give Me Your Opinion

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by Catfisher, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. Catfisher

    Catfisher New Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm 'gearing up' to build my first gas powered bike. I have been reading posts and threads on the forum for several weeks now; it's informative and also a little overwhelming. I will be riding this bike about 20 miles a day to and from work, and will need it for 3 to 5 years. It's very important that I build something both reliable and durable. I really need to order my components within about a week, so it's decision making time. I'd like to get your input on the following questions to help me narrow down the field.

    I will be buying a new bike, probably this Motobecane Jubilee Deluxe.

    Save up to 60% off new Motobecane Jubilee Deluxe Comfort Bikes from bikesdirect.com

    If it's a bad choice, let me know now.

    1: 2 cycle or 4 cycle engine? I know it's less expensive to begin with a 2 cycle engine, but I have to view this long term. In the engine descriptions on Supply Bicycle Engine Kit, Motorized Bicycle, Bicycle Motor, Motor Bikes, Moped. it states that the expected life of a 2 cycle engine is 1 - 2 years, and also says the expected life of a 4 cycle is 4 - 6 years. Is this correct? At 125 miles a week X 32 weeks = 4000 miles a year - how long do you think a well maintained bike can last with either motor?

    2: Brand and Quality of Engine? I know there are dozens of manufacturer's in China producing very similar looking engines. But similar looking does not equate to similar quality. I've read the entire thread on Find a Dealer and Review, and many, many more. Often, especially on sites like ebay, you can't even tell who the manufacturer is, let alone what quality the parts are going to be. I've also read about new stock made with flimsy bolts, weak chains, cheap bearings, etc. I need to build a bike with the least potential for failure. Please tell me what brand engine you believe is best, if it is 2 cycle or 4 cycle. What are the best type of bearings and what brands use the good ones? Can someone please explain the difference between a dry friction clutch and a centrifugal clutch --- and which type I want for reliability and durability? From what I have read I am leaning toward a Grubee engine, but I need verification or education to what is better.

    3: Size of Engine? When I have called some of the sponsors about engines I may purchase they mostly tell me that the external size of the 49cc engines are almost identical to the 66cc engines. This is important because Illinois technically restricts engines to a maximum of 1 HP. All of the engines I see produce more than 1 HP. But we do have some steep hills here in the river valley. So if the 49cc and 66cc engines look the same, I prefer the higher power. Mostly the police want you to obey the state bike speed limit of 20 mph. Do the two sizes look the same or way different? I cannot afford trouble with the law. Also - do the 4 cycle engines look larger or about the same as the 2 cycle engines?

    4: Are there specific aftermarket parts I need to invest in no matter what motor I choose? If no motor kit is adaquate by itself, tell me what aftermarket part I want to beef up from your supplier. I would love a kit to be complete and all well built, but if that's just not the case, please tell me where to strengthen it for higher reliability and durability.

    I really appreciate the time you spend helping me work this out!

    usflg
     
  2. taddthewadd

    taddthewadd New Member

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    Please don't take this advice too strongly because I have limited experience here, but if I was in your position I would look into a kit with a Honda 4 cycle 49cc. I only have experience with the 66cc two strokes. They are pretty reliable but I wouldn't trust it for transportation to work. My mb is just for fun. I would think that a Honda 4 cycle would be more reliable.

    I think this hobby is awesome but when I hear about people relying on these 2 strokes for reliable transportation to work it makes me cringe. Maybe its because I am very punctual and wouldn't want to take chances with my livelyhood. The only way I would ride my bike to work is if I left early enough that if my bike broke down I could still make it on time by walking the rest of the way. There is a lot of drag in the drivetrain when trying to ride the bike with the engine off so an idea is if your engine quits on the way to work take a chain tool with you so you could take off the engine chain and ride the bike the rest of the way to work. Or maybe your boss is really laid back, I don't know.
     
  3. azbill

    azbill Active Member

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    a 4cycle will definitely last longer/be more reliable over the long term
    I have almost 4800 miles on my HuaSheng 142F with an EZM drive, and have never done a thing to it but change the oil/fill the gas :)

    I have had 2smokes that lasted 4000 miles, but by then they were hurting/ready to retire ;)
     
  4. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    Howdy Cat. I agree with Tad and Bill on all accounts. I was going to say that you would go threw a few 2 smoker engines in that time, but in a pinch, much easier to peddle then a 4 smoke if you do get into trouble far from home/work.

    Given your states laws and requirements, have you thought of a rack mount? You can get many different higher end engines that will serve you well. Folks will say center of gravity and cargo. But they ride surprisingly well. The sound and fumes are behind you and down wind. For store runs or cargo, can use saddle bags, front basket and/or back pack.

    They are pricey but will last ya. Just a thought. Lots of folks look at em and just say nope. lol.

    I really like the sound of the 35s. When they go past you, makes a pleasant sort of hum. Results Page

    But best advice I could give ya is ask folks near ya if you can ask questions and maybe try what your most interested in. MB folks are really amazingly friendly and enjoy talking about their babies.

    What ya gonna do in the winter?
     
  5. Buddy

    Buddy New Member

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    Look at Staton chain drive kits. They aren't cheap but they are top-of-the-line build quality. Their custom hub is FAR better than the stupid rag joints most kits use. I ride my Staton all over town without ever having to worry about breakdowns.
     
  6. Nougat

    Nougat New Member

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    The IL law regarding low speed electric and gas bicycles doesn't say anything about horsepower or displacement. The only limiting factor is that the machine needs to have a top speed of 20 MPH on a flat road with a 170 lb rider.

    So technically, the gas kits are not legal, unless you gear your sprocket for high torque and low speed. But the law it written so sloppily that it's highly unlikely that you'd be ticketed unless you're going faster than 20. Get a speedo and watch your speed when the cops are around. Carry a printout of SB0236 with you at all times, and be prepared to explain it to any officer.

    There are some municipalities that have stricter laws prohibiting these vehicles, so do your homework.

    If you're going to get a two stroke, and want to ride it regularly for a long time, it might not be a bad idea to invest in a second engine only and another CDI, just to keep on the shelf in case of horrible failure. They're cheaper to buy whole than it would be to wait for and install specific parts when something breaks. Maybe a carb, too. Really, for that price, buy a whole second kit.
     
  7. wildemere

    wildemere New Member

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    My advice for work travel when using the HT solution. Disregard as required…

    I ride 16 miles to work 5 days a week. 8 miles each way. I've walked the last 3 or 4m or called in sick only a few times.

    Get a nice steel bike. Get three or four of them. From thrift stores or otherwise. Motorize at least two of them. Alloy bikes are nice but soft.

    Here is a tip, mild steel bikes just "thud" when tapped with a screwdriver, high tensile frames ring like a bell. There are other better methods for determining.

    That $350 Motobecane is nice but a bad choice for a HT motorizing, might be OK for a rack mount engine, but a HT set up will allow for a rear rack for cargo, slabs 'o beer, furniture ect.

    The top tube has exposed cable runs- It’s a fuel tank mounting nightmare or time consuming reroute of everything.

    Bottle mounts will probably need grinding for motor mount.

    Down tube is probably too fat for an easy mount.

    No discs or fenders.

    You will need both in the rain. Lights also.


    Get an old school high tensile steel mountain bike or 10 speed fitted with 26 x 1.5" road tyres and HD tubes. Slimed if you insist.

    The HT fits perfectly on these old school steel frames.

    Run a disc brake at the front, with suspension. No fade in the rain and bumps don't rattle your wrists.

    Get 3 happy times, mount 2 keep one for spares

    Get motorcycle grade wet weather gloves, jacket and boots. A proper helmet with visor or at least safety glasses and bike hat.

    Having two bikes lets you decide when repairs/maintenance are done, having only one can mean midnight stints fixing stuff, or ride the backup bike and fix it Saturday.

    Be prepared for flats; carry a spare tube, pump and toolkit.

    Carry a spare ignition set-up, plug, coil and CDI.

    The "rag joint" sucks. Get a better solution on at least one bike, Disc hub, HD hub or clamshell adapter.

    Run a 36t rear sprocket, cruise at 30mph at low revs.

    Use Synthetic oil at 30:1. I add 10% castor for performance and the nice odour.

    Tune it up after you feel confident with the set-up. Big carbie, High compression, Exhaust mods, ect...

    There are other choices, like rack mounts or 4 stroke in frame.

    My best choice would be a Morini in a Hardtail MTB or a Lifan 110cc in a stretch cruiser.

    Both would outlast a Happytime x 5 times or more.

    You'll need two bikes for the job.

    Others will disagree but, its less drama at the end of the day.
     
  8. rockhopper

    rockhopper New Member

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    Catfisher:

    You need a 49cc scooter. Not a motorized bike. Just an opinion.

    Look on Craigslist for a good deal on a name brand.
     
  9. Nougat

    Nougat New Member

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    The 49cc scooter will require you to have plates, insurance, and a driver's license. As long as none of those are dealbreakers, it will be more dependable for you.
     
  10. taddthewadd

    taddthewadd New Member

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    If you get a scooter rockhopper is right about getting a name brand. I bought a brand new 125cc scooter from china. I was ok but had electrical issues right from the beginning. Honda, Yamaha, etc. is the way to go for reliability to work.
     
  11. Catfisher

    Catfisher New Member

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    Thanks for all the great input so far, I will respond in more detail soon. I cannot go the scooter route because of my stupidity - a DUI is the root of these new choices. Otherwise I'd keep riding the Goldwing, lol.

    Being a motorbike newbie, I need a few slang and acronym definitions. What do HT, slimed and happytime actually mean?

    Time to catch the bus - grrrh.
     
  12. TerrontheSnake

    TerrontheSnake New Member

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    an HT is a happy time, they are the china 2 stroke kits. Slime is a green substance which some choose to fill their tubes with for preventing flat tires.
     
  13. rockhopper

    rockhopper New Member

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    Are 49cc scooters required to be licensed in IL?
     
  14. Nougat

    Nougat New Member

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    Yeah, scooters and mopeds are treated like motorcycles for purposes of registration, but under 50cc you don't need a motorcycle license, just any driver's license will do.
     
  15. rockhopper

    rockhopper New Member

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    Oh. Got it. That sucks.
     
  16. Catfisher

    Catfisher New Member

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    Actually, up until this January 1st only electric assisted bikes up to 750 watts were allowed - no gas motors. And you did have to have a valid drivers license. Starting this year they added gas engines with a supposed limit of 20 mph with a 170 lb rider. Equally important - for me - they dropped the requirement of a valid license. Now it's just 16 & older.

    I stated in an earlier post that Illinois law restricts the bike to 1 HP or less, the equivalent of the 750 watt electric motor. Most guys have only heard about the limit of 20 mph on level ground with a 170 lb rider. So here is the amended paragraph of the new law; it's too lengthy to print it all.

    (625 ILCS 5/1-140.15 new)
    Sec. 1-140.15. Low-speed gas bicycle. A 2 or 3-wheeled
    device with fully operable pedals and a gasoline motor of less
    than one horsepower, whose maximum speed on a paved level
    surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an
    operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 miles per hour.

    Of course, no gas engines are really rated at <1 HP, so I want to be careful and unobtrusive. If they hadn't dropped the drivers license requirement I would be unable to build a bike because I got the DUI. At least the state did something good for me, haha.
     
  17. rockhopper

    rockhopper New Member

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    Can you take back roads all the way to work? If so, get the little scooter.
     
  18. Catfisher

    Catfisher New Member

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    I want to thank everybody again for all the great help you provided, but I got some bad news today. I met my attorney at court and he informed me that even though a regular guy does not need any license to ride a motorized bicycle; as a convicted DUI offender I will be prohibited from operating any form of motorized vehicle - including a riding mower out of the yard.

    Well, I knew you couldn't drive a mower down the road, but I had no idea that I could be ticketed and sent to prison for riding a bicycle that specifically does not require a license to operate.

    So for now I guess I'll buy the bike I referred to earlier and pedal, pedal, pedal. In the back of my mind I am still considering a possible electric rear hub and batteries if it could all be concealed by big saddlebags. I believe I could pedal and use the electric as mostly a hill assist; never attaining any speed to be noticeable. But with the threat of prison, I don't now. Certainly not for now.

    Thanks again for the input. Any thought on an 'invisable' electric are welcome.

    :-||
     
  19. civlized

    civlized New Member

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    May be bad advice on my part, but I would probably be looking into electric. You could always go with the "play dumb" role, if you get caught. That law sucks. I don't see how it could restrict you from riding if you don't need a license anyway, but I'm not a lawyer.
    Note to self, don't drink and drive!
     
  20. Nougat

    Nougat New Member

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    IANAL either, but I think your lawyer might be wrong.

    If you want to pursue this, I would actually get a second opinion from the State's Attorney, as they'd be the ones dealing with the prosecution. Bring IL SB0236 with you, because it clearly states that apart from the speed restriction, a low speed gas or electric bicycle is to be treated in all other ways like a bicycle. You can legally ride a bicycle. You can also receive a DWI if you blow .08 riding a non-motorized bicycle. Address it as, "if I can legally ride a bicycle, doesn't that also apply to this kind of vehicle, which the law states is treated as a bicycle, and if not, on what grounds?"

    This is probably a situation that hasn't come up very often in IL yet, since MBs just recently became officially legalized. If it were me, I would pursue it out of sheer curiosity.

    In any event, since the law is new in IL, some cops are going to pull you over whether you're doing anything wrong or not. You'll have to explain yourself. Even if it is completely legal, I wouldn't be surprised if you ended up with a confiscated bike, flat feet, and another court date to sort everything out, where you'd win, but not even get a "sorry" from the legal system. By the time you got your bike back, you'd probably have your license back anyway (presuming this is a first time, 90 day suspension).
     

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