Just Chose A Kit, What I Chose and Why

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by AndyT, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. AndyT

    AndyT New Member

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    Hello all, I have been lurking here for about 2 weeks (I did make one post). This is a great forum, and you seem like a great bunch of folks here.

    I have read tons of posts and searched through threads for days (losing much sleep), including the vendor reviews trying to find out what Chinese motor kits have the best quality engine and parts. I came away confused and believing that they are all about the same, and that the quality of the typical in-frame kit is fairly poor. When it comes down to choosing a vendor that is reliable so they can replace the bad parts in the kit, I get uninspired. I read some great posts by some of the vendors and almost went with DAX for the service, but they have so little kit info on their site that I was not sure who the engine maker is, or exactly what was in the kit. Spooky Tooth looks to be fair quality with the Grubee engines, but they charge 2 x the price for about the same kit. Are they really better? I have never balked at paying a good price for top quality, but I didn't get the feeling that I could take a 50 mile ride with any of these kits and be assured of making it home without pedaling. I do some work for a company that deals with Chinese manufacturers to make computer parts, and know what the Chinese are capable of, both good and bad. If you accept junk, they will ship you all the junk possible as fast as they can without blinking an eye. If you reject several orders, you will get the best product they can produce. They will sell your rejects to someone else even cheaper.

    One thing I found odd on these forums is that no one seems to offer a real review and comparison of the various Chinese engines. I know some of you have purchased several kits from different vendors, although I have a feeling that vendors probably switch engine builders often to get the best price, so you may not know what you are buying anyway. Maybe direct comparisons are useless.

    After all my research and looking at the quality of every kit I could find, I made 4 phone calls (no one answered the phone except GEBE). Later that day I chose a GEBE Tanaka 32cc kit. I like that fact that GEBE is American owned and their kits are American designs. The price tag is not as easy to swallow, but considering my quest for quality and reliability, I feel I made the right choice. I purchased a Novara Metro from REI with a 20% off coupon to install the kit on. I paid my Chinese dues with that purchase.

    I am in my early 50's and just don't have as much free time as I used to, which is strange because I don't work a 40 hours a week job anymore. I worked for 30 years in Aerospace as a Machinist, a Manufacturing Engineer, and later as a Quality Control Manager. I used to ride and race motorcycles when I was a kid and later on raced road bicycles in my 30's. A current hobby I have is restoring and building vintage mini bikes, so I get my wrench time and feeling of accomplishment from building those. Having a 20 minute install and going for a ride sounds inviting. :)

    Oh yeah, I am a pro blues guitarist and have toured the world playing the music I love.
     
    #1 AndyT, Apr 2, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2009
  2. Creative Engineering

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    Great post Andy!

    Welcome to the wonderfull world of engine powered bikes...they are fun!

    As you have surmised; involvement is very diversified.

    There are those who like to build. Often selling thier completed creations with very little ride time. This is me...although I swear I'm not selling this time. :D

    There are those who use thier bike as a primary means of transportation.

    There are the hobbyists who like to both work on, and ride thier bikes.

    There are those who buy a completed bike, ride it occasionally, and pay to have it serviced.

    For the new guy; this can certainly create, what can only be described as, a mish-mosh of information.

    Once you begin your build you'll find all the help you need here to keep going. If the bug hits you...You will build another, and another...Today's best thought out plan will become yesterday's news...

    Jim
     
    #2 Creative Engineering, Apr 2, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  3. oylavabeer

    oylavabeer New Member

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    I too was/am confused as to whether or not I wasted my money on Grube. I will buy the cheapest kit next time to see the differance
     
  4. pedal pusher

    pedal pusher Member

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    Thank you Andy T for your informative and thought provoking post. I wish I had read it before February 04 when I ordered the cheapest $119 66cc Chinese kit I could find. The kit is probably fine, but I am not. I am pushing sixty five years old and hardly know a hammer from a screwdriver. I retired from a clerical position from a major railroad shop with many talented employees and they were always there to do the job and to help each other at lunch or off times... So I could get anything pretty much mended or made.

    I have put the engine on my Kmart Huffy cruiser, taken it off, put the sprocket on, take it off, put it on, take it off, etc. It sure is hard on these carpal tunnel, arthritic hands, and here I am now back to the starting point with a sprocket with a hole bored off center that will not fit the hub of the bicycle, and when it was mounted the chain would not line up with the drive gear. Where does one go from here with limited tools, limited knowledge, limited everything? Maybe start working again on my 1972 CB750 Honda, at least I have a Clymer manual for it, or just ride my 50cc MotoFino Scooter, which is a great little scooter?

    My retirement income puts me at or just below the poverty line but I would gladly have paid the money to get a quality kit where the parts fit. I recently read in KitPlanes Magazine about a guy who essentially built his airplane four times by having to redo parts over the building process. I hope I don't have to do this; it is a bicycle for heavens sake, not an airplane. My advice to anyone who is not mechanically adept and thinking of building a bike is to follow your advice, save you money if you have to, but get something that will work. I have some friends from work who, I am sure, could put this thing together in five or six hours and be scooting down the street. I just can't do that.

    I plan to try to get the sprocket rebored and centered and start anew. If I fail again I will concede this kit is beyond my (very low) skill level, and sell the kit at a very low price, or donate it, shoot it, or something.

    I earned my private pilot license on my 33rd birthday but haven't flown in twenty one years. I have four acoustic guitars, a bass fiddle, fiddle, and mandolin, but am not much of a musician. The doghouse bass was the most fun. I went to many bluegrass and gospel music festivals over the years in the eighties until 19191. I was working with a great guitar teacher about six years ago and was at a beginner plus level. Fell in love with the wrong woman, became depressed and put them all away. But I'm getting the back out now. I hope I can complete the bicycle kit and enjoy it some then perhaps give it to one of my friend's grandkids.
    Thanks again for sharing your research.
    Pedal Pusher aka D. J. Price
     
  5. AndyT

    AndyT New Member

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    Thanks for the nice posts guys.

    Creative Engineering, I understand what you are saying. Some of the posters sound like they are in business making some money off their hobby, and that's great. Some seem very enthusiastic about building and just love the ring ding rattle and piston slap of these 2 strokes. Although I heard plenty of them running on youtube, and they can sound pretty bad. Then there are certainly a good share of us that are just getting going and are totally confused about what to buy. Maybe I'll have to build one of the Chinese kits to get familiar with them, so I can help others here and lend what engineering skills I have left to others. :)

    oylavabeer, did you buy a Grubee kit? How was your build, and is it running?

    pedal pusher, I'm sorry that you are having a rough time with your build. We might be able to find a sprocket that will bolt right on without having to modify it. I saw a few when I was shopping and they were not all that expensive. They even come in aluminum and and in nice colors. I'll see what I can dig up later and maybe others will have an idea. Hang in buddy! We'll do what we can to help.
     
  6. gavmiester

    gavmiester New Member

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    Heaps of fun on the chinese motors handy if are good with spanners though,much better balanced than the motor up high near the rack.
     
  7. AndyT

    AndyT New Member

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    Right, there are advantages to lowering the weight on the bike. I'll try to offset that by carrying water and extra gas/oil mix in my water bottle cages.
     
  8. oylavabeer

    oylavabeer New Member

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    Hi AndyT
    I have bought 2 Grubee kits ( 50cc,66cc ) both were easy builds and both are still running, the 50 is better Im 95kg . For ease of build it depends what frame you choose I build mountain bikes and a main concern of mine is the width of the tubes I will be using as engine mounts
     
  9. AndyT

    AndyT New Member

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    That's great info and good to know. Thanks
     
  10. Ardilla_Loca

    Ardilla_Loca New Member

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    Which 50cc Grubee kit was it? Was it the slant head with the steel cylinder (genII)?

    What did you like about the 50cc better than the 66cc? Right now I'm contemplating the gen 2 48cc (slant head w/ steel cylinder) vs the 66cc (center plug head with chromed Al cylinder I believe). I do have a few hills so the torque of a 66 would be nice but maybe the slant head and newer design of the 48cc gen ii makes up for it. In addition I'd expect the steel cylinder to be of higher quality and last longer.

    Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated!
     
  11. oylavabeer

    oylavabeer New Member

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    It wasnt a slant head just know it was a skyhawk .Basicly it has more power and torque. The 50 revs quicker and smoother , goes faster, I weigh near on 100kg and the 50 pulls me up hills better and faster without holding the throttle wide open. I do believe there is a problem somewhere in the carby of my 66 ( its in bits at the moment )
     

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