Please help with my first kit

Ima Schwinner

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Jul 21, 2008
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E. Oregon
First off, I'd like to preface this question by saying that I have searched out and read every thread I could find regarding rack mounted engine kits.

While I look forward to someday building a motorized Ratrod, I don't currently have the time to tackle a project like that. For my first MAB I'm looking for longevity, and MPG. I'm willing to use either a 2-stroke or 4, depending on which one gives me the best MPG with my final setup. I'm considering both the GEBE and Staton kits, and since both kits might require the rear wheel to be re-laced, I think the Staton's approach looks more solid. My concern however, is that the Staton gearbox and chain will consume too much energy from a small motor like the Robin-Subaru.

I live at 3400ft, and most of the places I'd like to ride will gain another 500 to 1000ft elevation. Will that create carb tuning concerns with the Tanaka or Kawasaki 2-strokes? Would going with a larger 2-stroke actually improve my fuel economy over the smaller Robin? I read in a previous post that 2-strokes give their best economy by running at 80+% of their max RPMs, so would the smaller 33cc Tanaka give better economy than the 40-43cc engines using the Staton gearbox? Will a larger engine allow me to the bike up a little for lower RPMs, and does that then equate to better fuel economy?

My hometown is small enough that I can easily bicycle from one end to the other in a few minutes w/o an engine, and I only live one mile from work. I want a MAB for toodeling through the countryside and into the mountains. Once outside the city limits, I'm not overly concerned with the sound level of whatever motor I choose. Obviously quieter is better, but for ME, I'll get the warmest, fuzziest feelings by achieving the best MPG average.

I will probably start with a mountain bike frame (a 20yr old 26" Schwinn) but for longer trips, I'd ultimately like to find/build a cruiser. I used to own dual-sport motorcycles, and loved the freedom of riding anywhere my little heart desired. I'd like to replicate that feeling (within reason) with a motorized bicycle. I'd really appreciate some specific feedback regarding what motors, gears, and mileage you all are getting out there in bicycle land. Thanks a bunch.
I.S.
 

Ilikeabikea

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Jan 27, 2008
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I read this one but I'm only familiar with center frame mount two strokes. I live at 3200 ft. and don't have any trouble with my two stroke. Of course I'm sure it would run much better at sea level......................
 

Dave31

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Mar 1, 2008
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Don't know much about the Gebe or Staton

On my Chinese 2-stroke I get between 120-135mpg...depending on how hard I ride it. I live at I think 2400 and ride up to 9,000 and have no problems.
 

Ima Schwinner

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Jul 21, 2008
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E. Oregon
Thanks guys. They're popular kits and engines, so I know there are folks out there with good experience and knowledge to help answer my questions. I just need to lure them to my thread.;)
 

Dave31

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Mar 1, 2008
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Thanks guys. They're popular kits and engines, so I know there are folks out there with good experience and knowledge to help answer my questions. I just need to lure them to my thread.;)
Yes...there is a few here with that set up...they are just not here right now.
:ride2:
 

Spunout

MB Builder Extraordinaire
Jul 21, 2008
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hi.
all my bikes are/have been 2-strokes. always good with the power.
i installed a Dax Titan 4-stroke rack-mount 50cc, on my Dad's bike over the weekend.
i must say i am fairly impressed with the amount of torque achieved.

i read somewhere that guys are having to buy a new kevlar belt for the GEBE's every 500 miles.
 

bamabikeguy

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Jun 28, 2008
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i read somewhere that guys are having to buy a new kevlar belt for the GEBE's every 500 miles.
I have at least 4,000 miles on my latest belt, not one fray....and even though I carry a few extras for my customers, replacing is a rarity.

The trick is the getting the rear wheel ready for heavy duty usage from the beginning, so you don't fiddle around later and get mal-adjusted.

I think the guys who have belt problems are the ones running over 40cc, who let a friend jump in the saddle...if you are going to go "big engine", there is NO jumping on the throttle, like you can on the smaller engine, you have to go easier on the acceleration. I was guilty, the victim AND the criminal, climbing up a long steep incline on one of the five 40cc Tanaka test engines in 2006, and when I had to peddle 15 miles home, the engine was in a box for return the next Monday. Too much engine, imo.

I tell my customers if they want to switch to a 40cc, it is better to learn on the 33cc, then trade up, since the frame-mounted setup is already there.

Simply bolting on the "40" in the future would be simple, and I'll buy back the "33" from them in a NY minute.

Set it up right, the efficiency is over 90%, and letting Chubby Uncle Frank or his Wild Child Norbert jump on your bike, take it for a spin, is THE biggest danger to a belt.

You will get adjusted pretty rapidly to the sound of the engine and the pressure on the throttle, but it is hard to communicate to somebody taking a demo ride. If you did get a GEBE/Tanaka 33, I'd say start with the #12 tooth normal gear, and switch over to the #11 hill gear when you go into really hilly territory, it only takes a few minutes.


I live at 3400ft, and most of the places I'd like to ride will gain another 500 to 1000ft elevation. Will that create carb tuning concerns with the Tanaka or Kawasaki 2-strokes? Would going with a larger 2-stroke actually improve my fuel economy over the smaller Robin? I read in a previous post that 2-strokes give their best economy by running at 80+% of their max RPMs, so would the smaller 33cc Tanaka give better economy than the 40-43cc engines using the Staton gearbox? Will a larger engine allow me to the bike up a little for lower RPMs, and does that then equate to better fuel economy?
I am just now learning the effects of "ethanol", and hopefully will arrive at my solution in the Appalachian foothills around here, but our elevation is in the 1,000+ range. In the "ethanol" thread I just found out yesterday 33 Tanakas carbs are pre-set (such low maintainance, I haven't had to worry about those kinds of things before Chevron switched blends 2 weeks ago)

But all engines are basically set for these type altitudes, 1,000 and below, because that takes care of the majority of usages. (and I was using the smallest 25cc on the Denver trip, loaded down for bear).

I remember reading a post from an engineer in some mountain country of a simple "adjustment" to the intake, iirc it involve a touch of solder and a smaller diameter drill bit.

But on my Denver run, I felt the altitude effect in reverse.

The Tanaka 33 has a chrome cylinder sleeve, will take a thousand miles to really reach full potential. However, the first 3-4 tankfuls are all important using the "break in" procedures.

What would be the ULTIMATE advise might be if there was a lower (under 2,000 feet), straightaway type terrain within a few miles of you, where you could spend one single day doing that break-in, a 6-8 hour leisurely ride, varying the speeds, stopping for 10-20 minute breaks.

In that way, you would know, in your bones, what optimum felt like, and when you returned to the high elevation, figure out if that narrowing the jet is worth it or not.

What is your daily commute or usage going to be?

I use 4 strokes for folks doing city riding, less than 20 miles, but 2 stroke is better for WOT longer distances and people wanting to spend a lot of time in the rural areas.
 
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bamabikeguy

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Jun 28, 2008
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I'm considering both the GEBE and Staton kits, and since both kits might require the rear wheel to be re-laced
Simplest works best, forget relacing.

Wheelmaster makes a steel 12 gauge wheel, order it at a bikeshop, $35-38.

Pyramid or equiv. Industrial tube $10 (esp.on rear), Tuffy Tire Liners $14 a pair.

Extra layers over the rubber gasket covering the spoke-ends (I use electric tape) and a few zip ties on the spoke intersections and you are ready for action, regardless which system you choose.
 

graucho

New Member
Feb 21, 2008
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Minnesota
I have to agree with bamabikeguy about the belts. I have 1850 mi and my belt looks new.
I have a video of both of my GEBE belt drive and Staton friction system. Its kind of dorky, but I shot it with my hand camera. The RobinSubaru 35 are not that loud, the camera amplified the sound X=2. The video shows a close up of the mounting areas. My elevation is at 1000 ft. Ive heard the RobinSubaru 35 has automatic timing which may help with elevation? Maybe someone has info on this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UZT91Dma-E
 

bamabikeguy

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Jun 28, 2008
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I have to agree with bamabikeguy about the belts. I have 1850 mi and my belt looks new.
I have a video of both of my GEBE belt drive and Staton friction system. Its kind of dorky, but I shot it with my hand camera. The RobinSubaru 35 are not that loud, the camera amplified the sound X=2. The video shows a close up of the mounting areas. My elevation is at 1000 ft. Ive heard the RobinSubaru 35 has automatic timing which may help with elevation? Maybe someone has info on this?
YouTube - Staton and Golden Eagle Bike engines GEBE
We GEBE's should set up one tips/tricks thread, unlike that lonely yearlong period on the other forum, now there are enough of us to help folks optimize right off the bat.

My problem with the R/Subaru is I can never keep one long enough to see what it WILL do, I have 2 on order, (and some Tanakas), one was pre-sold, and then another guy came up from B'ham and paid me for the second R/S, (whenever it arrives, dammit).

So, I won't have much of a chance to put major miles on it....

Anyway, if a person is going to shell out the bucks for a GEBE, (even though we are NOT the official help line), you, Jemma, me and whoever else is aboard currently, we can still get them up and running.

And the EPA volcano will not erupt from me, I can honestly say the issue/question about that has NEVER arose from a customer, the gubbmint is furthest from my considerations.
 

Ima Schwinner

New Member
Jul 21, 2008
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E. Oregon
Thanks a huge pile for your reply BBG.

My folks live on the other side of the state, and are sitting near sea level I think. There's lots of county roads to enjoy, and ways to keep away from most of the hills.

I appreciate your perspective on the 2-stroke vs. 4-stroke. I work 1.1 miles from home, so I can actually WALK if I want some exercise, otherwise I peddle. I want a motor bike for enjoying the beautiful countryside, Eastern Oregon has some wide-open space (visualize Montana). It sounds like a 33cc Tanaka would be a wise choice in my situation. I didn't realize that the cylinder was chrome lined, and would take a thousand miles to really break in. That's VERY nice to hear. I also like the idea of having the 11 tooth mountain sprocket with me in case I get a whim to take off for some steeper terrain.

I completely understand what you're talking about with getting a "feel" for the system. I'm naturally one of those guys anyway, and it drives me nuts to ride shotgun with someone who doesn't have a feel for their vehicle. My '97 Tacoma with 161K miles still has 50+% of it's original factory brake lining, if that give you an idea of how I treat my equipment.

The fact that you've got 4K on your latest drive belt really encourages me to try the GEBE kit. I'd love for someone to hook a rear wheel dyno up to a GEBE and Staton using the same motor, and to see just how much energy is lost through a gearbox. I know it's more than just a theoretical concern, and I'm afraid that it would rob a small motor's efficiency. If I wanted to really pour the power from a 40+cc 2-stroke, then I'd pick the Staton because losing a little power would be worth having a bullet proof gearbox and chain driven sprocket.

If re-lacing a rear wheel, what gauge spokes do you suggest--------12ga? Would the old REAL Schwinns like the Heavy Duty need to be re-laced? My dad has an absolutely gorgeous red one that I could borrow indefinitely. I'd like to keep the original rim on it though.

I'm just home from work (yeah, a night shift:( ) so I'd better hit the hay.
Thanks again for your advice, and feel free to hit me with some more!
I.S.
 

bamabikeguy

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Jun 28, 2008
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If re-lacing a rear wheel, what gauge spokes do you suggest--------12ga? Would the old REAL Schwinns like the Heavy Duty need to be re-laced? My dad has an absolutely gorgeous red one that I could borrow indefinitely. I'd like to keep the original rim on it though.
Sure, if you know how to relace, go for it.

I'm a bike idjut on those detailed derailleur questions. "Spacing?"-add more washers. I can get brakes close enough to stop the durn thing. When a customer brings me a cheapie Wal Mart Next bike, I tell him to put a ribbon on it and gift it to his nephew Norbert.

Start with a nice cruiser, and Schwinn cruisers are easy to adapt. My motto is get the thing running straight and ride the dickens right out of it, no worries about air and road debris.

But it is learn as you go, the last 4 builds I did, after I finally broke down and purchased a drimel, I took the spoke ring and bored out the "resting" snap-on spots, making for a smoother, snugger install.

And it was just three weeks ago when a customer suggested some rubber washers in 3 key areas. I tried it and it works.
 

Ima Schwinner

New Member
Jul 21, 2008
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E. Oregon
Thanks Bama. I noticed that the guys on this website who are hotrodding their 40cc+ 2-strokes for top speed are still using the GEBE drive system rather than a chain drive, so it must be more than strong enough for "normal" use. Is it your experience (and your customers) that the factory spokes that come on the imported cruisers are strong enough with the 33cc Tanaka kits? I don't want to spend the extra money on having someone re-lace a rear wheel, but I also want a clean, trouble-free installation the first time. I'd read about tying/soldering the spokes together where they cross, or using heavier spokes. Is this really only needed for the 40cc applications?

Regarding the dremel modification to the drive ring that you mentioned, are you talking about the notches that the spokes lock into, or the spots where the unlocked spokes rest against the ring?

I'm understand what you're saying about learning as you go, and addition new modifications that improve the kit. Beefier brackets and strategic rubber washers makes a lot of sense. I'm not afraid to get carried away with streamlining the mounting system as long as I've got a solid place to start with the original GEBE kit. The whole thing sounds very fun and exciting. Now the only downside is waiting until August to place an order, and September to receive it. I DO understand that the owners of Golden Eagle are in a tight spot due to the increased demand and limited engine supply, and hold no ill feelings there whatsoever-------------it's just the little kid in me being impatient while waiting for Christmas morning.:)
 

bamabikeguy

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I'll be building some as soon as the kits arrive, will show the "drimel/notch", rubber washers, etc.

This row of rear wheels on my fence is now twice as long, useless 16 gauge.

It's a non-starter. I buy the steel 12 gauge, simplest/cheapest, and if the customer wants to upgrade later to a high dollar aluminum equivalent, no biggie. All bike shops can order them for you, (Wheelmasters), and if you take your old wheel with you, they will probably swap out the cassette for you, instead of having to buy that special socket.

We'll get a decent thread started somewhere on the forum, rear wheel reinforcement is pretty much a universal to all the systems. Then we can hit the GEBE specifics, step by step.

As to the 40, it isn't that you can't go WOT, but you have to be careful on the acceleration. Jack puts TWO belts on his GEBE/PocketRocket (46?/48?cc) builds, the second belt duct taped out of the way inside the mount, so if something happens in the learning period, simply cut the old one, and the replacement is right there, ready to wind around the spokering & gear, back on the road in moments.

Anyway, we're here to help.
 

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bamabikeguy

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p.s. MODERATORS

I haven't been here long enough read many threads, are there any other GEBEr's who've logged on but haven't posted? Jemma has a Lonesome Rackee thread somewheres, and theres Groucho & Torques & Detonator.

We could build one neat/tidy thread, not have postings all over the place.

Could you tell me who else is on board?

Thanks.
 
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Ima Schwinner

New Member
Jul 21, 2008
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E. Oregon
Thanks Bama for the additional info. Did I understand correctly that EVERY cruiser you buy and install kits on get a new Golden Eagle wheel?

In the last day or so, my mind has wandered from Mt. bike, to cruiser, to stretched cruiser. The Schwinn/GT Dyno Roadster looks very cool to my eyes, not in the same way an old original Schwinn does, but still cool in it's own way. It also looks very comfortable for a taller person like me, but I've never ridden one, so I'm just guessing here. That particular bike has been discontinued, so it got me thinking about ordering just a frame, then adding the components I want, such as heavy spoked wheels. Since I've got at least six weeks before I can get a GEBE kit, I have plenty of time to build a bike if I want.

Not to hyjack the tread here, but does anyone have strong opinions about a good source and/or brands to stick with if building a stretch cruiser with a springer front end, and front drum brake? I'm not interested in a full-blown lowrider with "bling," just a stretched cruiser similar to the Dyno Roadster Schwinn/GT used to sell.
Thanks.
I.S.
 

bamabikeguy

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It is IMPOSSIBLE to hijack the thread you started !! In fact, this might become one of those super-threads, 100 entries long, if you keep us up on your search and build.

Sun bikes are generic Schwinns, my fave is Sun Retro 7 speed cruiser, with the half fenders. Steel is cheaper than aluminum frames, and the Retro is alum.

I don't upgrade front spokes, just ziptie them together.

As to your future bike, my top 3 rec's are:

Cruiser- wider tires and curved handle bars
multi speed w/handbrakes
12" saddle

Some tall guys could chime in on front suspension et al.
 

Ima Schwinner

New Member
Jul 21, 2008
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E. Oregon
Thanks again for the advice Bama. Another brand I've considered is Electra. Apparently they've got a lifetime warranty on their steel framed models, and they're made in Taiwan, rather than China. The Deluxe Relic looks especially nice IMO.

I KNOW what I'm about to say could really hijack this thread, but what the heck.:D I just got off work and have spent the last 30min on Youtube watching old board track racer footage. Guess what kind of bike I'd like to build now!! I want my first bike to be reliable, hence a GEBE kit. But after watching the boardtrack bikes, I've got a serious itch to clean out my garage and start bending tubing. I know for a fact that I can't afford a real antique bike, I'd love to copy the design as closely as I can. It's strange. It's not that I was unaware of those old bikes, but something just "clicked" this morning.

Time for bed. I'll bet I'm riding laps in my dreams.:)
 

Jemma Hawtrey

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Dec 29, 2007
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Thanks again for the advice Bama. Another brand I've considered is Electra. Apparently they've got a lifetime warranty on their steel framed models, and they're made in Taiwan, rather than China. The Deluxe Relic looks especially nice IMO.

I KNOW what I'm about to say could really hijack this thread, but what the heck.:D I just got off work and have spent the last 30min on Youtube watching old board track racer footage. Guess what kind of bike I'd like to build now!! I want my first bike to be reliable, hence a GEBE kit. But after watching the boardtrack bikes, I've got a serious itch to clean out my garage and start bending tubing. I know for a fact that I can't afford a real antique bike, I'd love to copy the design as closely as I can. It's strange. It's not that I was unaware of those old bikes, but something just "clicked" this morning.

Time for bed. I'll bet I'm riding laps in my dreams.:)
Have you had a look at the simpson racer S10? pricey but a wonderful look to the machine and it uses a Whizzer motor, not the here today, blown into little bits tomorrow HT/Chengines..

Jemma xx