Making an efficient commute, and living to tell the tale

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by Dragoblade, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. Dragoblade

    Dragoblade New Member

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    I am a welding student at the local community college. Until now I have been less than happy making the expensive (to me) commute to and from my place of education. It turns out a project designed by a fellow student was all that was needed to turn my thinking around. We were asked to make around town bike racks from scrap... Bikes I thought? Is that even feasible for me? No way, unless... And long story short, I have come to you, all of you, in search of answers. I have heard that a motorized bicycle can reach 35-40 mph, this is easily believable, but how is the handling at this speed? While not a land speed record, 35 mph is a little fast to be without breaks, do the stock breaks work better than one would guess? If not, what do I need to install to fix this, um, hazard? So Ive(hypothetically) gotten a big ol engine installed on my bike, does it even function with pedals anymore or are they purely an artistic display of my nonconformity? Can I still pedal and coast as before? What I would like(and this may just not exist) is a bike, ridable under human power, that can be propelled by an engine to the blinding speed of 35 mph without throwing me like an overeager bronco throws a small child expecting a pony ride, able to stop with relative ease, and still be able to fill up at the local gas station. What do I need to reach the goal of my dream transportation? You all have been a great help. Yes even you "Anonymous" calling me dumb, even you.
     
  2. civlized

    civlized New Member

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    Sounds like a 4 stroke kit might be your ticket if you don't want to mix oil with the gas. The performance and handling is better than you would think, on most bikes. The brakes work well, depending on the type of brakes you have. All of them work, but disc brakes and drum brakes are deemed better, by most users. Depending on the install, the bicycle is still 100% bicycle. Pedals function like normal. Freewheeling is an option on some kits, not on others. It can be added if the kit you pick doesn't come with it.
     
  3. Dragoblade

    Dragoblade New Member

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    Thank you for the blazing quick reply, I, for one am impressed =)
     
  4. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

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    Modern mountain bike brakes or disc brakes will stop you very well. Rear wheel coaster brakes are not recommended, but some folks are happy with them when combined with a good front brake.
    Cantilever brakes as used on many bikes in the past are borderline sufficient. They will struggle to do a panic stop.
    The cheap 2-stroke chinese engines are fun and short lived unless you get a very nicely upgraded one from Pirate Cycles. Those cost more but the upgrades are worth the extra price, and the various upgrades are available in stages.

    Friction drive kits are quite possibly the easiest to set up, but lack ability in wet weather.
    Belt drive kits are very good, and most think chain drive kits are better.
    Surf the various threads here and you will quickly get a feel for what I am saying.
     
  5. civlized

    civlized New Member

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    I was just sitting here waiting on you!lol
     
  6. civlized

    civlized New Member

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    Freewheel Sprocket & HD Axle Kit w/Brake - $49.99

    4-Stroke Engine Kits

    Just to give you a starting point, this is one of the sites that has a fairly good priced and quality kit with the freewheeling gearbox and also a great upgrade is the heavy duty axle kit with the freewheeling sprocket. Some like it, some don't. I like it, but it removes the possibility of the engine and gearbox slowing you down when decelerating. One thing you want to consider is upgrading the wheels if they have the standard BB looking ball bearings to the sealed bearings. A lot of new bikes have these. This is the type of bearings in the axle kit.
     
  7. Dragoblade

    Dragoblade New Member

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    I seem to be well taken care of. It seems that chain drive is a better way to go, and a 4 stroke is also seemingly a must. Thanks again guys, keep em coming, the more the merrier, ill be here, watching NCIS and making/eating mac n cheese
     
  8. Dragoblade

    Dragoblade New Member

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    civlized, you have easily lived up to the word coincidentally similar to your name. =)
     
  9. bairdco

    bairdco a guy who makes cool bikes

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    i've got to disagree with Gearnut on a few points.

    Coaster brakes (back pedal brakes) will work fine and last a long time, if you have a good hub and maintain it. my first bike i rode for months with nothing but a rear coaster brake and had no problems stopping. i think it's the cheap dept. store bikes that are giving coaster brakes a bum rap. a shimano or bendix (or a velosteel, if you can find one) are great hubs, and have been around forever, and have lasted the test of time.

    that being said, couple that with a front drum (or disc) brake, and you have more than adequate stopping power.

    i think the key thing to realize, is a rider moving at 35-40mph needs to rely less on his brakes, and more on his ability to avoid obstacles. Newton's Laws of Motion apply. mainly the first law. "Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it." basically, if you're moving along at 35+ and a car cuts right in front of you, the brakes may stop your bike, but not you.

    obviously, you need good brakes, but you can get the best brakes in the world, and skid right into an accident. that's what i mean by "avoidance." you need to think that every car on the road is going to cut you off, every pedestrian will step out in front of you, and every dog wants a piece of your leg.

    also, 2 stroke kits can be very reliable, no matter where you get it from, as long as it's maintained and set up properly. you'll have to pre-mix your fuel, which as you stated, you want to fill up at the pump, so a four stroke may be the thing for you.

    i have no experience at all with four strokes, so i can't comment on them, except to say i think they're ugly. same goes with friction drives.

    as a general rule, the better the bike, the better the ride. the difference between a $100 bike and a $500 dollar bike is night and day. and a $500 bike found at a yardsale for $50 is even better.

    but maintenance is still key. if you ignore your bike, it'll let you know what it needs. usually in a disastrous way. the term "a squeaky wheel gets the grease" is meant literally in this case.

    one of the joys of this "hobby" is how inexpensive it can be. but it still has to be done right and taken care of.

    and everything you need to know is available right here:Bicycle Motor Forum - Motorized Bicycle, Engine Kits, Manuals, And Help
     
  10. civlized

    civlized New Member

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    No problem, Dragoblade. There really is a wealth of information here. Someone here can help you with any question or problem you may have. Thanks for the compliment. Civlized was the tag I had on my pimped out Honda Civic years ago('95). It just kind of stuck with me.

    Oh yeah, enjoy that mac and cheese!
     
    #10 civlized, Mar 11, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010
  11. Dragoblade

    Dragoblade New Member

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    Thanks for the insightful response bairdco, you make a good point and had some good tips. I hope my uncanny ability to avoid objects detrimental to my health will come in handy.
     
  12. bluenosegoat

    bluenosegoat New Member

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    I always carry a small pack with tools with a little bottle of 2 stroke oil in it just in case i forget to gas up before i leave home. It doesnt take much oil to mix a tank at the pump if you need to in a pinch!
     
  13. Dragoblade

    Dragoblade New Member

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    You guys have been wonderful, keep it coming! Taking oil along with me would allow for a two stroke at the pump. What, besides size, are some advantages of a two stroke? Which is better and why: a centrally mounted engine or a rack mounted engine?
     
  14. bluenosegoat

    bluenosegoat New Member

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    I havent tried one of the four stroke kits, yet. I like the two strokes based on personal preference. I grew up on dirt bikes first off. I love the sound of a two stroke pinging through an expansion chamber and the center mount engine just looks cool! I imagine the four strokes are more dependable but with routine maintenace I dont have any real complaints with the two stroke engines. I have 600 miles on my first bike and it is doing fantanstic I ride everywhere but I do have a second bike just in case. These bikes are my main form transportation. For me its based on looks I'd say , and it doesnt hurt that the engines are cheap!
     

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  15. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    I've a 2 stroke bias as well - although 4 strokes have the advantage at the pump, are somewhat quieter and a touch more torque, ya just can't beat a 2 stroke for simplicity, power to weight, size & fit, and best of all - price.

    Honestly - it all depends on how much the motorhead ya are, a 4 stroke kit ya pretty much bolt it to the bike and (hopefully) forget about it - unless ya wanna make it look groovy, in which case you've yer work cut out for ya as ya deal with trying ta make it look like something other than a lawnmower (the blasted recoil start mostly).

    Whereas with the 2 stroke, for the same effort and money you avail yerself of the plethora of aftermarket performance parts and build yerself a screamer. It starts out lookin' like it's meant to be there - so the time is spent makin' it stronger... the poor 4 strokers haven't the selection of performance parts.


    Not to say you can't have an awesome lookin' 4 stroker - there's quite a few on this forum, but again - it's all about what you want outa it ;) With the above choices, they really do end up costin' about the same and just about the same amount of "work" heh, unless ya leave 'em stock - in which case the 2 stroke costs less than half the price of a 4 *shrug*

    General rule of thumb;

    4 stroke = torque - pulling power
    2 stroke = horsepower - speed


    As for inframe vs rack mount... tho rack mounts are by far the simplest installation (usually), in frame "mid-engine" mounts have the advantage of better weight balance as they're lower and in the middle of the bike. While rack mounts are awesome too - there's a reason motorcycles have their engine where they do :D
     
    #15 BarelyAWake, Mar 12, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2010
  16. Earthman

    Earthman New Member

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    35 mph is very fast on a bicycle in traffic. You're going faster than you should on a bike, but slower than the cars. You can't see the cars (unless you have eyes in the back of your head), and they don't respect you even if they do see you.
     
  17. Nougat

    Nougat New Member

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    If the cost of a four stroke is too high, you can get a two stroke, and then bungee a gas can to a rear (or front!) rack. Keep a little oil with you in a seat bag, and you can mix your fuel in the can at the pump before you pour it in the tank. Plus, the extra fuel on board will give you more range.
     

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