Long trip planned-- advice welcome!

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by ilyasemail, May 3, 2011.

  1. ilyasemail

    ilyasemail New Member

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    Hello all, this is my second post here after browsing about for a few days.

    I am planning a ride all the way up the west coast of the US (San Diego-Vancouver) for a few months from now. I have done almost this exact ride before several times, but never with a motor on my bicycle!!! I have also never put together a motorized bike, and am therefore a noob in this hobby.

    I want to start shopping around for a bike for this adventure, and would love to get started taking advantage of all of yours' expertise in this matter with a few basic questions.

    1.) The bike must be reliable, because I can't go spending days at a time in the middle of who knows where shopping around for new wheels because the one I have broke or mounting the engine on a new frame because the one I have cracked. SO the question: what should I look for in a frame? Based on reading many posts, I take it road bike wheels are out of the question because they are too flimsy and won't stand up well to consistent pressure from an engine. Are road bike frames out of the question? I was thinking of using a mountain-street hybrid, because these still allow for efficient pedaling (a cruiser is out of the question because it doesn't). What size wheels should I look for? What I want out of it is mostly reliability, but speed and looks would be welcome bonuses. Keep in mind I will be loading about 50lbs worth of supplies via front and rear panniers, and I myself weigh 150lbs.

    Also: the road is paved 99% of the way but there are areas where its very cracked/poorly maintained

    2.) I have read conflicting things about the cheaper chinese "80cc" engines-- some say they aren't reliable, others don't seem to have problems. I would REALLY like to do this as cheaply as possible, and was considering something like the Jet or the Grubee 66cc/80cc engine kit. This is a nearly 2000 mile, 1 month-long (maybe a bit less) journey; I would hate to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with a non-working engine and few mechanic skills (which I will certainly be learning more of these next months).

    Thanks for your input!!! zpt
     
    #1 ilyasemail, May 3, 2011
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
  2. fall_down_stand_up

    fall_down_stand_up New Member

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    Well,almost every bike you buy for around 100 to 300 dollors or more will have cheap 14 gauge rims on them and will have to be changed to 12 gauge rims or you will be stuck on the road somewere with broken spokes and bent rims....
    Now for the engine,a 66cc HT 2 stroke will never make it on that kind of trip,they just are not that reliable and ment for that kind of use....You will need to buy a EZM Qmatic 4 stroke or a GEBE engine kit with a Robin/Subaru engine or some kit of that sorts....Now the EZM Qmatic kit is 620 dollors and the GEBE kit is 629.00.... You could always buy the 66cc 2 stroke kit,but you will have to buy a couple of extra engines to pull in a trailer behind you just incase one gives out on you and you will have to change it out on the side of the road....
    Staton sells a chain drive kit for around 600bucks or so that is supposto be really reliable and that is another option....I dont know if the friction drive kit he sells would be good for a long run like that,but I hear they are good,but slip in the rain....Hope this helps....
    John
     
  3. ilyasemail

    ilyasemail New Member

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    Upgrading the wheels/spokes is fine with me, it's not too pricey. But buying the 600+ dollar engine doesn't sound so great. There's a thread on another part of the site where people discuss the total mileage on their bikes, and several people mention estimates of over several thousand on the chinese engines. What if I go easy on it, say no more than 30-40 miles per day (I can pedal rest of way). I am also open to the idea of only going up the california coast, which means fewer than 1000 miles.

    Does anyone else have an opinion on the engine bit? How far can I expect a chinese 66cc to take me (miles) before some component will almost certainly break and need repair?

    Thanks for your help btw
     
  4. Fulltimer

    Fulltimer New Member

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    Real good advise listed above. If I were doing that ride I would get a steel framed bike and have a welder check out all the welds and maybe even reinforce the welds. For rims I would go with Worksman. My guess is you already know what type of extra bike parts to have with you.

    Terry

    PS: sounds like a real fun ride!
     
  5. ilyasemail

    ilyasemail New Member

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  6. MotorizedEtc.

    MotorizedEtc. Member

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    I wouldn't just slap a 2 stroke China girl on a bike and go for a 1000+ mile journey. If it was me I'd at least have a broken in HT with a few hundred problem free miles on it first. Better than that go with a 4 stroke, which are more reliable than the HT's as previously mentioned.

    4 stroke with Q Matic get my vote, it is a very well built transmission.
     
  7. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    A "HT" Chinese in frame kit could very well make it, I've personally logged thousands of miles on them - the catches are the poor quality control & setup/dialing it in.

    For an adventure like this yes, I'd have a spare motor kit - but I'd leave it w/friends and bring just some basic repair items. If I ran into serious trouble having your friends send you the complete replacement motor would be easy enough & fixing/replacing these things is simplicity itself.

    The more problematic issue is the initial build, setting up the bike to be as simple & reliable as possible and logging enough miles to "prove" the motor, making sure you didn't end up w/a wonky one. In this I doubt any of the four stroke kits would be any different, even if the engine itself was completely "bullet proof" there's still the oddities involved in converting any bicycle with any engine kit...

    My recommendation would be get w/e engine suits you, your budget and your bike the best & run it a while to work the bugs out, once yer confident in your machine - then consider an epic journey ;)
     
  8. ilyasemail

    ilyasemail New Member

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    Sorry forgot to mention I will certainly be riding it around my hometown for at least 2 months before depending on it to get me that far =) So it is really the beyond-initial tuneup stage im worried about. Have been reading more and more about the reliability of 4-strokes, esp the 49cc honda imitation by HuaSheng.

    Thanks for everyone's help with these topics. I'll be posting more questions as they come in. For now if anyone has anything to add, id be very grateful.

    thanks again
     
  9. fall_down_stand_up

    fall_down_stand_up New Member

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    The EZM Qmatic is a 49cc HuaSheng engine with a Qmatic gear box....Go with what you want to,but im telling you,the chinese engine is not a reliable way to go....If you just run the chinese engine at around 20 mph at less at half throttle it will last alot longer,but still the chinese engine will be a real risky way to go,not to mention,if the engine does give out you will have to pedal with the clutch pulled in and draging all the weight and friction of that engine chain....You would need to pull the chain off and just pedal that way....
    Dont get me wrong,I love the little chinese engines(they are a blast)to run around town and make short trips on,but not for a long journey....

    John
     
  10. ferball

    ferball New Member

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    I have always thought half the adventure in a trip like this is the unknown, and having a Happy Time engine would add to the excitement. I tell my kids about the road trip me and my brother took in our old VW rabbit, that blew hose, so we peed in the radiator, and cobbled the hose together with a McDonald's cup and a shoelace, got us to the next town where we replaced the hose in the auto parts store parking lot. It would be great fun just pack some tools and some spare parts. If a Happy Time breaks down on the road, odds of fixing it while sitting on the curb with an adjustable wrench and a screw driver is much higher than if your four strokes poops out on you.

    As far as wheels a cheap why to go is swap out the rear with a 20 inch BMX tire. You will have to refigure the gearing, but the smaller diameter tire will hold up better and give you some more less expensive options. Down side is re doing the rear break and finding a rear sprocket with the right gear ratio for you. Plus you get some cool rake if you keep the front 24 or 26 inch tire.
     
  11. Nougat

    Nougat New Member

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    If you want reliability and simplicity, you should be doing a rack mount friction kit. You can save some money by using a Harbor Freight engine. This will give you more flexibility about which bicycle platform you use, since you won't need to worry about mounting in-frame. It also eliminates the complication of an additional chain and sprocket. And it won't cost too awful much more than a HT two stroke kit and all the incidentals you'll need for it, and all the hassle of fooling around with it.

    Just put a bunch of extra tires and a gas can in your trailer.
     
  12. george_n_texas

    george_n_texas New Member

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    Does the Harbor Freight bolt right up to a friction drive? If not is it hard to find a clutch to bolt up to it?
     
  13. fall_down_stand_up

    fall_down_stand_up New Member

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    Are you kidding me????Half the fun of a road trip is being broke down out in the middle of no were with no help around????Your telling this guy to buy a 20 inch tire for a 1000 mile road trip?Your making no sence man....He can go buy a 26 in 12gauge rim from his local bike shop for 36 bucks....Why on earth would you put a 20 inch tire on a 26 inch frame?the bike would ride ruff,have less speed,handle bad and god knows what else....
    This is the worse advice I have ever seen posted on this webboard!!!!The HT engines are inexpensive and alot of fun to drive around town and make 15 mile trips back and forth to work,were you can call someone if you break down,but not a 1000 mile trip with no help around to call when in need....
    You can give advice to this guy to take a HT engine on a trip like that,but I garantee you wouldnt put yourself out there and take the advice you gave this guy of having fun broken down on the side of the road....
    John
     
  14. Nougat

    Nougat New Member

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    I don't have direct experience here, but I believe all the utility engines come with a 3" clutch, and then the rackmount kit has a 3" clutch drum for that to go into. Voila.
     
  15. ferball

    ferball New Member

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    Maybe not the best advice, but it is how I roll. The twenty inch rear wheel is loads of fun and handles nicely at cruising speed, the rake makes it less twitchy, I did mention proper gearing on a 20inch, because yes it will run slower if you don't figure out the new gear ratios, but my HT turning a 6 speed rear cassette on a 20 inch gives me a pretty nice range of speeds/torques.

    And as far as being broke down in the middle of nowhere, worse case scenario you can peddle.
    :-||
    Now I am not sure I would take my 20 inch rear wheel model on a 1000 mile road trip, but hey just thought I would throw the idea out there, not to mention if you start looking into DIY weed whacker/chainsaw friction drive stuff on a 20 inch it can eliminate the need for a gear box. Again I never said it was good advice, but the thread asked for advice, didn't specify if it had to be good.
     
  16. Nougat

    Nougat New Member

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    I'm stealing this for my sig.
     
  17. rohmell

    rohmell Active Member

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    If you go with a China engine and it fails, you could still pedal it, but you will still have the additional load from the clutch components, unless you remove the chain.
    With a friction drive, you have a choice of what type of engine to use, 2-stroke, 4-stoke, Honda, Mitsubishi, Robin/Subaru, and others. if the motor fails, you could just lift it and lock it in the up position. The only problem you would have with friction is riding in wet weather.

    Probably for the best combination of reliability and all-weather riding, a rear rack mounted chain or belt drive setup would be best. You still get to choose the type of engine that you want to use, and the chain/belt can be removed in case of engine failure, and still allow you to pedal.
     
  18. ferball

    ferball New Member

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    Glad I could help out...

    But now that I am thinking about a chainsaw bike might be the best answer for longterm reliability. Here is my twisted logic:

    If you get an "production" level chainsaw, the motor on it is designed to run all day. Logger's keep a spare saw, but a tuned and sharpened saw runs all day 8+ hours. Then it gets up and does it again the next day. If you did the direct friction drive to the wheel you eliminate the gear box which simplifies things and one less thing to go wrong. If you break down, no specialty parts needed, chainsaw can be repaired at any small engine shop with readily available off the shelf stuff, and the bike can be repaired at any bike shop. And a Chainsaw does not add a lot of weight so if you have to peddle, it won't kill you. Just a thought.
     
  19. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    My perspective on this is that I wouldn't much enjoy trying to do a major fix on the side of the road. Do your already have a bike you want to use? That might suggest what kind of engine to go with. If you don't have enough money to set up a safe and pretty reliable ride (solid frame, good wheels and tires, good brakes and I would also want good lights). I've used both HT and four strokes (greyhound and HS) and my vote would be for the four stroke and an EZ transmission. How handy are you? You can buy the transmission by itself and use a greyhound engine if you're fairly handy. Depending on whether or not you also have to buy the bike, wheels, etc. you can get by pretty low budget. I have around $500.00 in a Greyhound & Qmatic transmission, low budget 12 G. wheels on a 51 Schwinn cantilever. The bike was free and I scrounged stuff, like rebuilding an old seat, using a rear drive sprocket off of an exercise bike... that sort of thing. I don't think that spending the least possible makes good sense on a long road trip like this, although you can be frugal and get a lot of bang for your buck. Canada has banned gas motored bicycles, so you may want to turn around when you hit the border. Electric is OK (within the law), but way expensive. Have a safe and grand adventure!
    SB
     
  20. ilyasemail

    ilyasemail New Member

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    Hey everyone, thanks for the advice. Been reading your responses and other threads, and I'm pretty much convinced about the 4-stroke from E-Z. Their site says $380 for the kit, which isn't unreasonable, and they are located not far from where I live so I could save on shipping.

    A rear-mount would not work for this, because I will not be pulling a trailer (all sorts of complications I don't want to get in to), and a backpack is not an option... that leaves the back rack space for panniers.

    This means I have to figure out how to stick a 4-stroke into a mountain bike frame (like I said before, a cruiser isn't an option because I may be pedaling a fair bit of this). From what I've read so far, it seems very doable with the right frame.

    Worst case scenario (e.g. gearbox blows up), I'll stash the engine somewhere along the road and continue along pedaling manually.
     

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