Need help with some direction.

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by IVIaxPow3r, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. IVIaxPow3r

    IVIaxPow3r New Member

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    I really like the look of these Schwinn cruisers:
    Walmart.com: 26" Schwinn Landmark Men's Cruiser Bike: Bikes, Scooters & Skates
    Walmart.com: 26'' Men's Schwinn Landmark Cruiser: Bikes, Scooters & Skates
    Walmart.com: 26" Men's Schwinn Point Beach Cruiser Bike: Bikes, Scooters & Skates
    (They are arranged from most expensive to least - and I think the only differences are color and a few bells and whistles - also it looks like a couple people have posted pics of their motorized versions in the reviews :) )

    I am wanting something that is a comfortable ride - that I can sit upright and not have to lean much or at all. I'd like it to have some amount of shifting available in case I screw something up and need to use it as a normal pedal bike (because the area around here is somewhat hilly). The ones I picked above were because I like the style and because they all have at least 7 speeds.

    I am much more concerned about how functional and comfortable the bike would be than the look of it though. If I can sit upright and be able to handle hills if I can't use the engine - that is about all I care about for personal preference. I do like the look of the cruisers - but that is not all that important to me at this time.

    The prices for the above may be okay if I don't need to purchase much else to make them "safe" for motorizing. Would the wheels on these be the single-walled ones? And how much do double walled wheels cost?

    I've also been wondering if I would need better brakes or not - but from the sounds of it the normal brakes are usually fine?
     
  2. Tad Bit Tipsy

    Tad Bit Tipsy New Member

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    All those Schwinns are fine for a build. They all have dual brakes! The wheels will get you down the road for awhile, no need to immediately replace them, but for longevity a good set of 12g or 11g will do, those you can get from Husky at a decent price -$30/40. But a decent engine kit and one of these bikes will keep you around that $300 to get on the road. Good luck!
     
  3. taddthewadd

    taddthewadd New Member

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    The cheapest one has a review that says easy to motorize. The other plus is it has a front rim brake which is better than a coaster brake. If you are trying to go cheapest route then it seems like the cheap one will do. I can't say for sure but they probably all have single wall rims. I wouldn't fret the rims too much. Definitely double wall is best but if you can't afford them right away run the stock rims and save up for a better set. My guess is a set of double wall rims will run you around 80-100 bucks. You might find a set on ebay cheaper.
     
  4. IVIaxPow3r

    IVIaxPow3r New Member

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    Wonderful :)

    Does it matter too much where I get the engine kit from if I get it from one of these vendors on the sides?

    And what all will I need in the way of tools/supplies will I need to complete this bike start to finish?
     
  5. exavid

    exavid New Member

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    Basically a set of metric allen wrenches, a chain tool to shorten the drive chain as needed, a 8mm, 10mm and 15mm metric wrenches, an 8" adjustable wrench, pliers and a can or tube of general purpose grease will get you going. Not to be insulting but at your weight it might be a good idea to find a bike that can handle larger tires such as 26" X 2.125, at least on the rear wheel.
    These motorbikes are a lot of fun but will take tinkering to keep them going, reliability isn't their strong point. There is a bit of risk since most bicycles brakes aren't anything to brag about especially when heavily loaded and riding in the 20mph range. They don't stop fast under those conditions. You'll need to accept the possibility of a rear wheel jamming and dumping you on the ground, it happened to me when the idler sprocket loosened up and dropped the chain into the wheel. I don't want to be a wet blanket but just wanted to make sure you know some of the possible downsides as well as the fact that as long as you know their shortcomings and can accept the risk they are fun. But remember these things aren't engineered like a motor scooter, motorcycle or automobile.

    I've dealt with Gasbike, Bike Berry and Piston Bikes who advertise here and was fully satisfied with the transactions.
     
  6. IVIaxPow3r

    IVIaxPow3r New Member

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    Not insulted what so ever :) Just curious about a few things. 1. Do you have personal experience with this process when the rider weighs what I do and or do you know someone in a similar situation who had trouble? 2. Will the bikes that I mentioned not handle those tires? And do you have any examples of bikes that would fit those tires if the ones I mentioned wouldn't?

    I wasn't sure if this was 2 points or not. But about what looks like the first: do you or anyone have any good solutions for the issue about the brakes? Should I be worried about it - or am I likely to be okay?

    About the second point about jamming up: Does this have to do with the brakes? Or just a common mishap with the chain? And is there any way to make it not happen or make it less likely?

    I am okay with the risk either way - the last post what just a lot of the problems without any solutions. Is there no solution - or is it just difficult to account for?
     
  7. taddthewadd

    taddthewadd New Member

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    You asked if those bikes can handle the bigger tires. You probably won't be able to know until you see it in person. You have to measure the chain stays (the tubes that go from the pedals to the rear axel) where the tire is to see if there is clearance. If and when you buy a beefier tire make sure to buy a good quality tire that can handle a higher PSI so you can inflate it higher to handle more weight. Just like the rims you should be ok for a while on the stock tire and upgrade when you can.

    As far as the brakes you will be ok. I rode a friends cruiser that only had a coaster brake in the rear and no front brake. I would say that was a little scary and I weigh 180 pounds. The bike you are looking at has front and rear brakes and they are v brakes which are better than coaster brakes. Just make sure the brakes are adjusted properly. Also be a defensive driver and always be scanning ahead for traffic.

    I have heard of people's chain tensioners moving into the spokes. There are two good fixes. One is to wrap a thick rubber band around the frame where the tensioner is so it will grip the frame better, the best rubber I have found is what they use in the medical field as disposable turnacates. you can also use a couple of broccoli rubber bands. The second way to solve this is to mount a better type of tensioner. There is a sticky thread in here that shows pics. Just look up chain tensioner. Some guys have drilled a small hole through the frame and tensioner and put a screw through them. This is not the best because it weakens the frame.
     
  8. taddthewadd

    taddthewadd New Member

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    Thats the thread I was talking about
     
  9. exavid

    exavid New Member

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    IVIaxPow3r it wasn't too many years ago when I weighed in pretty close to what you say you do now. I took up bicycle riding as a way to help get the weight off so can tell you that losing a hundred pounds made a big difference in the way my bicycles performed. Thin road type tires and even the 26"X1.75" tires need maximum inflation to avoid a lot of flattening at the ground contact points. The larger 26"X2.125" beach cruiser balloon tires will handle heavier loads better. As for brakes, yes the V type brake works better with less lever pressure but it's simple physics, the brake pads convert kinetic energy into heat. The more energy that needs to be converted the longer it takes with a given sized brake pad and pressure. I'm not saying that a larger person shouldn't ride a motorbike just trying to point out that caution needs to be used as these vehicles are basically experimental in that each one is somewhat different due to variations in installation, kit and bicycle quality and the daring of the rider. I think you'd probably enjoy installing a motor kit and have fun riding it. The only thing I wanted to bring up was a couple things to think about when selecting a particular bike. Look for one that can handle two inch tires and has V brakes. That will give the best handling performance with a China motor. Before installing the engine be sure to clean and regrease the wheel and crank bearings if the bike is used, it's even a good idea on a new bike as they are rarely well lubricated. Make sure the brakes are adjusted properly. There's lots of information on installing an engine here and on other forums and you can find lots of information on bicycle maintenance and adjustment on the internet. Good luck on your project and keep us posted we all are interested in these things.
     
  10. IVIaxPow3r

    IVIaxPow3r New Member

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    I was just looking at one of the side vendors here - and I saw a "friction" engine - do those have any benefits or problems? Do they wear on the tires? I am just curious about that option now.
     
  11. exavid

    exavid New Member

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    Friction drives are simpler to install but do wear tires faster and tend to slip on wet roads. They do have the advantage of being able to be lifted with the clutch lever so there's no drag when pedalling. They do take up the space where saddle bags or a carrier would go. There are riders who prefer chain drives and those that like friction drives.
     
  12. IVIaxPow3r

    IVIaxPow3r New Member

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    Thanks for the info :) I don't think that is the direction I'd like to go with my first bike - I may try it out at some point - but I was just curious about them.
     
  13. Nougat

    Nougat New Member

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    All three bikes are identical, except that the grey one comes with fenders, and the Point Beach comes with fenders and a rear rack, and they're different colors. You can add a rear rack for less money than the price difference, so forget the Point Beach.

    Now the difference is fenders. I can't tell you whether the fenders that come stock on the Schwinns are good or not, but I know the ones on the Huffy Cranbrook (also a Pacific Cycles product) are weak. If you can visit a store and look for yourself (on any Schwinn cruiser they have), you'll be better informed. I can tell you that you can probably add good fenders to the orange Landmark for about the same cost as the price difference between the two models, if you keep your eye out for good deals.

    After that, it comes down to whether paint color matters enough to you to spend an extra twenty or forty dollars. It doesn't to me.
     
  14. IVIaxPow3r

    IVIaxPow3r New Member

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    I am right in there with you. I don't really need the rear rack or the fenders at this point. The rack might be somewhat useful - but not 40 bucks useful ;) The fenders (from what I can tell) are more of an aesthetic piece rather than functional - and at this point I really just need something that functions like I want it too.

    It is nice that I like the look of the bike though - I can upgrade it as I get more money to do so and already have a look that I like to start off with. :)

    I am looking for recommendations for a number of other accessories as well:
    Head light
    Helmet - would a normal bike helmet work or should I go for something like a moped helmet?
    Bike pump
    Speedometer
    Bike lock
    Mirror

    Am I forgetting anything? Is anything unnecessary? I will be riding this bike to work 5 days a week at least and may need to ride at night sometimes. I would like everything to function well but be as cheap as possible. (So I wouldn't want to only pay a buck for a light if it doesn't illuminate the road ;) )

    Thanks for the help!
     
    #35 IVIaxPow3r, Mar 24, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  15. exavid

    exavid New Member

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    I had a four stroke kit (Gasbike $199) on my Point Beach but decided to take if off after riding it a few times. The vibration was too annoying mostly from the high engine rpm. The included sprocket was way too big, it was a 50T and on that bike a 36T would have worked better. One other problem was the kit came with a wide 3 piece crankset that wasn't wide enough. The Point Beach has a single piece crankset and even that wasn't wide enought for this engine and chain reduction. I had to head and bend the cranks out another inch or so on each side. I did like the brakes on the Point beach and it's light weight due to the aluminum frame. I'm installing it on an old steel framed mountain bike now because I can weld on a better engine mount and brackets for the tank, etc. I will say the Point Beach is a nice riding bike though.
    Pros: Beach Point, Nice riding, light weight good looking cruiser. Aluminum wheels, good V brakes comfortable.
    Cons: wheel and crankset bearings poorly lubricated, fenders flimsy for motorized bike.
     
  16. taddthewadd

    taddthewadd New Member

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    A bicycle helmet is bare minimum. They aren't designed for the speeds you will be going. I am sure it would help though. That is what I ride with. I am sure everyone here will agree you should go with a DOT motorized helmet like for cruiser motorcycles or street legal scooters.

    I wouldn't use a light that runs off of the white wire because it drains energy going to spark. They make great battery powered head lights. Since you said night riding will be minimal so the batteries should last a while.

    You can try a mirror but my guess is with engine vibrations you won't be able to see it well. Best thing is to glance over the shoulder. I have ridden regular motorcycles and the mirriors help but don't give as good of a view as being in a car. I imagine the bike mirrors would be smaller and worse visability. Rely on your instincs and make a quick glance over your shoulder when you need to.

    bike pump is self explanitory. Although you may not know they now have a co2 cartrige set up for cycle packs or your pocket. So if you get a flat you hook up a co2 tank and it inflates the tire. These are the same tanks you put in a pellet gun. Nice for while you are riding.

    There are bike locks that come with insurance. They will reimburse for your bike if it is stolen while locked up with thier lock. Ask about it at your local bike shop.

    Be careful about speedos. Some get interference from the engine. There are links on here that can help you with that.

    Any more questions?
     
  17. IVIaxPow3r

    IVIaxPow3r New Member

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    I have some good news - I just found a craigslist listing for the Schwinn Point Beach Cruiser - it has only been ridden 10 miles and only needs some minor adjustments. They are only asking 100 for it! that saves me a few bucks and gets me a few extra features: fenders and a rear rack. I'm pretty excited - supposed to pick it up tomorrow.

    About the bike pump - I just don't want to get a crappy one - and I notice that there is a pretty major price jump between some models. It looks like you can get a pump for around 10 bucks, and then the next ones are all around 40 or higher. Are there any pumps to avoid?

    About the CO2 stuff - how much do those things run? That sounds like it would be useful on the road!

    Do you recommend any specific lights? Or what should I look for in a good light? And would one of those generator lights work? or Would that give it too much juice?
     
  18. taddthewadd

    taddthewadd New Member

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    I bought a 40 dollar bike pump. It is a specialized. It will do both regular valves and presta valves. It has a built in analog psi gauge. I like it and think it will last a long time. I do a lot of cycling and my mountain bikes have presta valves and that is why I bought it. I think for a beach cruiser you would be ok with the 10 dollar pumps. Others on here might say something else but they should work fine. I can't say for sure because I haven't ever had one.

    The Co2 setup if I remember right was about 15-20 dollars. It consists of a little valve that you screw the co2 into and then you put it on the valve of your tube to air it up. they say one co2 will fill two tubes. I carry the valve and two co2's with me.

    I have never had a light so I can't help you there. Just thinking about it, the generator type might blow the bulbs at higher speeds but maybe you can modify it and put a larger roller on it.
     
  19. Bikeguy Joe

    Bikeguy Joe Godfather of Motorized Bicycles

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    I had a TAS Spitz (Bike Bug) and it never slipped once set up properly. The old guy (80++) I got it from used to ride it on the trails in his woods, no problem. If you do go with one, use a 2.25 tire, and follow the manufactures suggestions for pressure.
     
    #40 Bikeguy Joe, Mar 27, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010

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