Sub $300 cruiser, new?

Discussion in 'Motorized Cruiser Bicycles' started by maurtis, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

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    Hi all,

    I am still in the process of planning out my first China Girl build (I am now finishing up on my first official MB build, which was a friction drive weed eater on my Mongoose XR-75).

    My original plan was to go with the Schwinn Majestic at Target, cruiser frame, 7 speeds, v-brakes. But then I got to thinking, was there something available for a little more money that would be of significantly higher quality? I scan Craigslist almost every day, but the quality bikes that show up tend to still be pretty pricey. I did pick up a nice black Huffy Cranbrook with silver fenders yesterday for $25 that I was going to upgrade the hardware on, but as soon as my wife saw it she said it was not going to be a motor candidate since we would look too cute riding our cruiser bikes together, with our son in tow, lol.

    So, what I would like to know is, is there a good steel framed cruiser bike for putting a 66cc China Girl in, for under $300 new? Single speed is fine, and a coaster brake is fine if I have the ability to add better brakes.

    I have been eyeballing the Electra Crusier 1 Bike - 2012 at REI.com. I see that a couple people have motorized them here, but that getting the mounting brackets right can be tricky. It does not look too bad, though. I am going to look at one locally today since there is an REI near my office to see if the frame has the mounting holes for fenders and side-pull brakes. Otherwise, it would need a drum brake front wheel, which looks great in my eyes, but adds about $130 to the price tag.

    Thanks for wading through my rambling!
     
    #1 maurtis, Jan 16, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  2. Cavi Mike

    Cavi Mike New Member

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    Unless you're gonna run a shifter kit, there's no point in getting anything with extra gears. Once you put the china-girl on, the bike becomes almost useless as an actual bicycle. You'll only ever use one gear just to get it moving so you can start the engine.
     
  3. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

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    Agreed. The only reason that I was originally looking at a 7 speed bike was because it had v-brakes. So single speed is definitely fine.
     
  4. biknut

    biknut Active Member

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    I'd say don't get that cruiser from REI. I have a friend that bought one, and his frame broke under the seat in only a few hundred miles. A close inspection of his frame reveled small dia tubing was used.

    A better bet is to look at webb stores online.

    I bought this Northwoods Ridgedale online for $150 shipped. It has a very strong aluminum frame.

    [​IMG]

    This Cadillac AV Sport was a close out for $269 shipped.

    [​IMG]

    I like having peddle gears. If you ride a lot you'll find that there's times when you'll need to peddle on occasion. It's nice to have a few gears at those times.

    A disk brake in the rear is nice, because there's a good adapter for disk brake hubs to attach the rear sprocket.
     
    #4 biknut, Jan 16, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  5. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

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    That Northwoods Ridgedale looks fine and I do like the price, but I thought the cheaper aluminum frames were a big no-no? Or is that model graced with an oddly stout frame for the price? I like what you did for the gas tank!

    Also, how about the lower end Nirves, like the Nirve B-1? Amazon has them for $260. It comes with a front caliper brake, but that is supposedly not the best quality brake.
     
  6. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

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    Wow, Biknut, I just read your build thread on the Northwoods Ridgedale. Very nice. Unless there is some very compelling reason to go with the Electra Cruiser 1, the Northwoods bike may be it! Lovely work you did. I really like the hockey puck engine mount.
     
  7. biknut

    biknut Active Member

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    A lot of people paint all aluminium frames with the same brush. Both of my bikes are made by Kent Bicycles. I've so far been able to compare up close to a OP Roller, and a Electra cruiser from REI. Both of my bikes have better frames.

    The Electra has a little skinny 1" neck. Both of mine are 1 1/8". The Electra also has a skinny seat post. Both of mine are bigger. The Electra 's frame is steel, but the seat post broke in two, under the seat. So much for steel being stronger.

    How strong it's made is more important then what it's made of.

    I haven't seen very many Nirves up close so I don't know about them.
     
  8. jolfstn

    jolfstn Member

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    Check out Greenlinebicycles.com. I've been very happy with mine. Just be aware, if you run a shifter kit, you have to replace the back wheel, or you'll be sorry, and possibly hurt. If you run the left side sprocket, you should be ok.
     
  9. glennbo

    glennbo Member

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    i would just get a cranbrook 89 bucks you get 12 guage spokes with the money you save you can get an expansion chamber and a sprocket adapter so the bike perfoms good.. just my opinion

    glenn
     
  10. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

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    Thanks guys, the tip about the Greenlines sounds scary! Thanks for the heads-up.

    I have decided that for this build I want to try my hand at making an in-frame gas tank. Probably fiberglass since I do not have the equipment to weld or braze on hand, but we shall see. So that means I will want a frame that suits one.

    I like the standard cantilever frame like on the Cranbrook, I just worry that I will be one of those that gets a dud and the frame cracks at speed and I eat asphalt. I was hoping that spending $100 - $200 more that I could get something that would require less upfront upgrades and peace of mind.

    BTW, this is the black Cranny I got off CL for $25 (one of the pedals was cracked badly, so I spend another $15 for a new generic set of pedals):

    [​IMG]

    But I have been forbidden to motorize that one since it matches my wife's Panama Jack Huffy, lol.

    So, I guess my big question is this: is there a noticeable difference in the frames and running gear of single speed $100 - $150 bikes and $250 - $300 bikes? As Glenn mentioned, I can buy some pretty nice brakes and upgrades with the money saved by using cheaper starting point. It seems like it is still a matter of luck until you get into the $500+ range...
     
  11. RandyWhite

    RandyWhite New Member

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    I would just like to throw a few ideas out. I totally disagree with Cavi Mike's comment. Multi speed cruisers have a few perks over single speed

    1. Multispeed come with front and rear brakes already
    2. You can pedal past the motors top speed if speed interests you
    3. No need to modify coaster brake
    4. multispeed gives you the option of ghost pedaling with some resistance for exercise
    5. Most important to me, you don't have to worry about pedal position when you come to a stop. with a multispeed you can spin the pedals backwards. With singlespeed, you have to roll forward to reset pedal position.

    One particular bike I have personally motorized and really liked was the Fito Marina from bikebuyers. Even comes well under your $300 limit including an led light.

    Link Here

    Just my .02, nothing wrong with seeing all options.
     
  12. scotto-

    scotto- Custom 4-Stroke Bike Builder

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    My first 4-stroke build was the Ridgedale Northwoods aluminum cruiser which was $150 total for the bike.

    I also had a Ridgedale Avigo aluminum beach cruiser that was $119 plus tax that I 2-stroked and later 4-stroked.

    My latest personal build was exactly $300 , a Felt "Slant"and it sports a Predator 212cc 4-stroke engine. It has a roomy steel frame and is well built.

    URL=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/819/img0418tq.jpg/][​IMG][/URL]

    [​IMG]

    dnut
     
  13. Cavi Mike

    Cavi Mike New Member

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    Most of Randy's points are that of someone who refuses to add brakes and refuses to remove the coaster brake. I run a BMX freewheel hub in the back and a disc brake in the front. It's also been talked over many times that coaster brakes are not sufficient for stopping a motorized bicycle especially if you want to:

    "Pedal past the motors top speed." The only way I can see someone pedaling faster than 30mph is if:
    You're on a 40% downgrade
    -OR-
    You have a 50mph tailwind
    -OR-
    You're Lance Armstrong
     
  14. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

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    I definitely plan on upgrading the rear if it is a coaster brake and start with a caliper brake up front and eventually go to a drum on a springer fork (for looks, vs using a disc). So starting with front and rear v-brakes is nice, but not a deal breaker since aftermarket calipers are cheap.

    I definitely appreciate the option of being able to pedal backwards, though.

    Those Fitos look fine, but I have not found anything about them online as a manufacturer? Looks like they are only sold through bikebuyers.com? I wonder if they are rebranded Schwinns, which they match pricewise. The Schwinn Majestic is flat black, has 7 speeds and v-brakes for the same price, but without the $40 shipping.

    Fortunately I have about a month before I start ordering parts so time to think on this, but it is sounding like there is not much advantage with getting a $300 bike to put an HT motor in vs. buying a $150 bike locally that I can check the welds and tires on beforehand...

    And Scotto, WOW. That 212cc Predator build looks NUTS!!! Where did you get that layback seat post from? i am planning on running one, and it looks more finished than the Pirate Cycles one.
     
  15. scotto-

    scotto- Custom 4-Stroke Bike Builder

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    The seat post is from a forum member, kipharley, and here is a link to it: http://motorbicycling.com/f23/laid-back-seat-post-33227.html

    here's a better pic of the seat post:
    [​IMG]

    dnut
     
  16. maurtis

    maurtis New Member

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    Fantastic, thanks for the seat post link, I have bookmarked it for when I start gathering my parts. That is exactly what I was looking for!
     
  17. Ibedayank

    Ibedayank New Member

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    reason to have a multispeed when using a china doll.... easier to pedal home WHEN it breaks.
     
  18. trug

    trug New Member

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    Beware Ethanol eats fiberglass, not fast, but it does eat it so error on the side of thick 'glass, and don't store the bike with corn gas in the tank (if it is going to sit for a week or more drain the tank.) If you do get a leak, regular JB weld wont cut it, use the stuff that comes in a tube that you cut off and kneed together J-B Weld Company - WATER WELD Product Information, give the tank a few days in the sun to get the gas that has worked its way into the glass laminations a chance to get out. Put the putty on, it can be sanded, and with some bondo you can hide the repair.

    Also most tank lining compounds don't stick to the polyester resin in fiberglass very well and end up clogging the fuel line.

    Just some practical advice from someone who rides a 35 year old motorcycle with a (very difficult and expensive to replace and occasionally leaky) fiberglass gas tank.
     
    #18 trug, Jan 20, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2012
  19. chainmaker

    chainmaker New Member

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    I was talking to the owner of My LBS the other day ( He used to be the Mass. rep for Schwinn in the late 70s early 80s) He was telling Me as he sees it Trek bicycles are the closest to the quality of the Schwinns of Chicago. Alot of guys , Myself included think the Chicago schwinns are the best bikes to motorize. I do not have any expierience with Trek bikes. Im sure someone out there will pipe in on this.
     
  20. Ibedayank

    Ibedayank New Member

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    now why would you want to coat/fix the outside when the damage is coming from the INSIDE of the tank. Its like using a bandaid on a gunshot wound caused by a shotgun. CASWELL epoxy tank sealer is not affected by ethonol.

    You may own a old bike but you don't work on bikes for other people where I do and as far back as the 1920s.
     

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