Kit builder or fabricator.......which type are you?

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by scotto-, Mar 26, 2012.

?

Are you a kit builder or a fabricator?

Poll closed Sep 22, 2012.
  1. I use kits exclusively to build a motorized bike....

    3.9%
  2. I fabricate builds from the ground up.....

    25.5%
  3. I do a little of both (kit and fab)......

    66.7%
  4. What......I just ride these things....

    3.9%
  1. scotto-

    scotto- Custom 4-Stroke Bike Builder

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Messages:
    6,530
    Likes Received:
    6
    It seems that most members of this forum like to build motorized bicycles and many are interested in at least riding them. What kind of builder do you consider yourself? Do you just put a kit on a bike or do you build from the ground up? Is building a challenge or just another "build"?
     
  2. The_Aleman

    The_Aleman New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,658
    Likes Received:
    1
    I don't do a lot of fabbing, considering I have limited tools and can't weld. I've been known to draw up something and laser-cut it tho.

    I voted a mix of both, although I'd feel guilty calling myself a fabricator in the face of many of the builders here! :D
     
  3. 2door

    2door Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    16,308
    Likes Received:
    30
    I typically start with a kit which gives me most of the parts I'll need but I like to design and build my own engine mounts, fuel tanks and do custom work to the frames and painting is always necessary. I've only had one bolt-in kit bike, my first, and the rest have been semi-custom creations. No frame up builds yet but I'm thinking of some designs.
    Tom
     
  4. Dirt Road Cowboy

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2011
    Messages:
    296
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd have to say 'both' too.

    I started with a CG kit, and wasn't happy with it, so I just started playing around with building my own stuff.


    .
     
  5. Goat Herder

    Goat Herder Gutter Rider

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Messages:
    6,251
    Likes Received:
    3
    There is seams to me no perfect kit... Some fab work is always necessary. IMHO there is no such thing as a perfect kit. . Its the old adage that if you want it done right some things you will have to do yourself...

    That being said it takes a special breed of M.B.er to thrive!
     
  6. bairdco

    bairdco a guy who makes cool bikes

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,398
    Likes Received:
    49
    i usually start with one part and build a bike around it.

    my little racer came about because i found some moped wheels at a swapmeet for 40 bucks. dug through my pile-o-crap and built the bike.

    my first copper tank i built came about because i found a bunch of cool tecumseh petcocks. then i had to find a bike, get all the parts, and build a tank.

    that's kinda how i work, start with something simple, and then compulsively obsess over it till it's done. (but i don't have OCD, i'm just bored.)

    i've been learning to weld, and it seems like i'm always coming up with some new way to make something work right (which i like to think of as "inventing" :), and except for my first bike, they're only loosely based on a "kit bike."

    as far as motors, it's been the kit motor, but almost all the rest of the parts just go in a box somewhere. but that's about to change, too. since the only widely available motors are the skyhawk's, i'm not gonna build them anymore. i'm sick of wasting my time just to have them self-destruct.

    (but i ain't gonna start building any 4strokes soon...;))

    i'm currently scheme-ing up a 50cc land speed racer. if i can get the time to start building (entry's have to be in by early june, i think) i'm gonna try to make it to bonneville this year.

    definitely not a kit builder. we'll see what kinda fabricator i can become...
     
  7. msrfan

    msrfan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Messages:
    1,779
    Likes Received:
    36
    I'm a fabricator because if you really want something exactly a certain way, well, you have to make it yourself. I like the kits, they're quick and easy, but too generic for me. I'm getting a lot of ideas from all the other fabricators on this forum. Some really talented, artistic and above all, thoughtful people willing to share.
     
  8. andrewflores17

    andrewflores17 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Messages:
    479
    Likes Received:
    0
    im not realy a fabricator more like re purposer if it was meant for one thing i like to use it for soemthing else on the bike ammo cans lights etc all kinds of things can be made to do something else with a little creativity or bike will all a test to that
     
  9. thegnu

    thegnu New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    982
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just love to work with steel , an let the imagination run wild . but generally a kit / fabber is me .
     
  10. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Messages:
    5,105
    Likes Received:
    3
    I do a little of both. If I can get a pre-fab part that can save me alot of time at a reasonable cost I will not try to make it from scratch. If I can re-purpose a part from some gizmo that will save me time, and again the cost is reasonable, I will do that.
    If I need to make a part from scratch I greatly enjoy doing that too.
    Time is what I seem to be the shortest on. Money is not easy either. I will spend as much time as I find necessary to complete a build as it does not come out of my bank account. Most of my builds take alot of time. I am still trying to find a money tree....
     
  11. camlifter

    camlifter Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,034
    Likes Received:
    0
    i do both. if someone wants a $400 bike, theres not going to be much custom fab work if any. if there buying a $2000 bike then it's mostly hand made with everything they want.
     
  12. scotto-

    scotto- Custom 4-Stroke Bike Builder

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Messages:
    6,530
    Likes Received:
    6
    Alright then. Myself I don't consider a full-on fabricator as I don't own or have access to a CNC mill, plasma, laser or water jet cutters, a TIG welder or tubing benders and the likes.......but give me an engine and a bicycle frame and I will build a quality motorized bike that will be as custom you want it. I only do kits if it's must for an entry level person that doesn't want to spend jack diddly on a build. And preferably a 4-stroke kit at that....

    dnut
     
  13. Allen_Wrench

    Allen_Wrench Resident Mad Scientist

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,787
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think I'm like a lot of others in this thread: I'm a blend of both. For my current ride I started with an engine and an old WWII-era cruiser that was very much the worse for wear, but structurally sound.
    I fabricated the mock carbide headlamp and its tank, also the custom gas tank, the little "oil tank" that hold batteries for the tail lights, the vintage-looking ignition housing, and probably other stuff that wasn't on the top of my head. Additionally, I restored the whole bike frame right up to the new coat of red paint.

    I think if I learn to weld, I would likely start doing serious frame fabricating.
     
  14. thegnu

    thegnu New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    982
    Likes Received:
    0
    Allen, even I can hear the voice in your head whispering " get the welder , get the welder ".
    Gary
     
  15. RicksRides

    RicksRides New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    864
    Likes Received:
    0
    Custom Baby from the ground up, even when starting with an existing frame its never what I want and must be modified, rake, trail, strech etc....and no china girl kit motors, they are a crap shoot at best. when I go 2 stroke, I use 2hp tecumseh's out of snowblowers. They are reliable and have good a power band, also they can use aftermarket carbs. Ive not tried any 4 stroke kits. I simply find more enjoyment in MAKING not just assembling. However a man can only do what tools and budget allow. If one has more equipment More fabrication can be done. I say do what you can and ride the rubber off of it.
     
  16. killercanuck

    killercanuck New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,749
    Likes Received:
    0
    Cool thread.

    I put 'Kit builder' as I'm nowhere near the level of some of the fabricators around here. But there's always little brackets and whatnot's that need to be made or modded. Just little things. Oh and of course port/polish and port-matching, rebuilding S'ploded HT's, but anyone can do that :p
     
  17. Venice Motor Bikes

    Venice Motor Bikes Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,215
    Likes Received:
    25
    I voted 'both'... The majority of what I do every day is installing kits onto bicycles for people who don't have a lot of money to spend... But even then, there's a lot of extra work that goes into those bikes to make them reliable that people don't think about, like beveling the sides of the rear sprocket, making shims & engine mounts to properly install the engine & customizing the exhaust pipes (that always seem to be in the way of the frame or pedals).

    Then you get into the $2000+ bikes... I have to start from a old 1950s frame & build up from there. I have to reweld the fork, relace the wheels with better hubs, build a full custom fitting expansion pipe, disassemble & port the engine... & the list goes on. For some reason, even though I build BTR bikes that look similar, they never bolt together the same way. :/

    I'm so busy building regular bikes these days that I don't have any time to build the full custom choppers that I used to... I think I'm going to have to hire someone to help out in the shop pretty soon. Anyone need a part time job?
     
  18. thegnu

    thegnu New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    982
    Likes Received:
    0
    meeeeee! lol
     
  19. scotto-

    scotto- Custom 4-Stroke Bike Builder

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Messages:
    6,530
    Likes Received:
    6
    That would be a reeeeeeeally long ride to work everyday........3,000-4,000 miles. You'ld spend more on gas each way then you'ld make in a year laff

    dnut
     
  20. andrewflores17

    andrewflores17 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Messages:
    479
    Likes Received:
    0
    just take your gas sipper of a bike may take awhile to get thier though
     

Share This Page