Good-bye to China/Grubee Junk, Hello To Reliable Motorized Bicycling!

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by johncy7, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. johncy7

    johncy7 Member

    I want to share with you how to build an extremely reliable motorized bicycle. If you haven't read my (very bad) experiences with China/Grubee parts, you can do so here:

    Unfortunately, but expectantly, I got burned by the last few parts from China/Grubee I was still using. The chain finally stretched beyond usability and came apart. Of course I was over 10 miles from home. It amazes me how they can engineer their junk to break when you are furthest from your destination. Soon after replacing it, the tensioner pulled into my spokes breaking several of them, and the crappy throttle they sold me broke while installing it on my new friction kit. The admin here didn't give me the last word on the thread I started (cute closing comment Ilikeabikea) but still, those who listened to my advice were rewarded and those who didn't suffered a similar fate as I did I'm sure. I'm sorry, this is not the cheap option. Cost is around $700+shipping. If I were going for the cheaper option I would probably get the Honda kit from flmotorbikes $490 or a Bumble Bee for $250. A strong tire/tube combination as I point out below would also be needed.

    Here's the RELIABLE parts list I use:
    [$325] One Honda GXH50 or other (not made in China engine)
    [$160] One Staton Friction Drive Kit 1 1/8" roller (yes, you heard me right, "friction". I went with Staton because it's made in the USA? NO! Because it's NOT made in China!)
    [$130] One centrifugal clutch adapter (I got mine from Staton also in the hopes of eliminating a mismatch with the fiction kit bell)
    [$$$] Any ole' bike frame (hopefully not made in China. Funny fact though, I'm using a old Huffy mountain bike that oddly enough has USA stickers on it. Maybe Huffy was once made in USA? hmm...
    [$10] One thorn resistant inner tube for the rear (these are heavy and thick in the $10 range)
    [$45] One semi-smooth Armadillo tire for the rear (I can't stress how important this is. This is one tough tire that you will need. I read, Continental Grand Prix's are comparable but my local shop carried Armadillo's)
    [$30] One optional larger gas tank to get you further down the road before re-fueling

    I am so impressed by this bike that I wanted to share it with you. It is hard to believe how long and how far I've gone without breaking down even one time! It's mind boggling. I'm sadden that my $300 EZM Q-matic transmission is now on the shelf, because that is a very nice part. I also still have my brand new untouched Grubee 66cc replacement engine on the shelf that I like to point at with my finger (figuratively) and laugh at as I go in/out of the shed from another long, dependable and very enjoyable ride. "you can't screw me now @#$%^&*@#$! ahahahahahah" or something like that. :)

    Helpful Tips:
    * You can rig up a good throttle cable to the Honda GXH50 easily, using the existing linkage and Staton's throttle that comes with their kit
    * Do not try saving money on tires/tubes at Wal-(China)-mart or you void this great advice and we absolutely can not be friends! :)
    * Riding in the rain is no problem but you will need to oil the friction roller bearings periodically. (I found that out when the squeaking got pretty loud)
    * You will rack up some serious miles so do not forget to change the oil and clean the air filter regularly
    * I use a plastic tire liner and and old flat inner tube inside the tire for extra tube protection
    * I always carry tools and an extra inner tube just in case. I have not had a flat since using the Armadillo tire/thorn resistant tube
    * I have a large knobby mountain bike tire on the front but don't do anything special to prevent flats on it. The rear takes the major abuse, but if you have the cash and get an Armadillo tire and thorn resistant tube for the font, it sure won't hurt :)
    * You can use any tire/rim in a crunch! (before learning the proper tire/tube combination, I had a tire blow out and a flat. Pushed it to my girlfriends and put her old rear tire/rim on my bike and road it home on the friction drive over 8 miles! no messing around with sprockets and chains!)

    For those who are the chain-drive-only types, let me say... I was one of you and really expected the chain drive to be superior. But it simply wasn't. I did not think friction was the way to go, but since I've bolted this on from the beginning, it remains untouched from that moment until now. I have been riding it 35+ miles a day to work and everywhere in between reliably without having to work on it, other than for flats until I got that straightened out. I now know this is currently the best and most reliable kit you can buy... so I'm sharing this with you so you won't suffer like I did and you will be able to reliably go from A to B without having to take the bus or waste your time and money on crappy China/Grubee parts.

    I hope this helps someone...
    bikejock likes this.

  2. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    I have had excellent reliability with the newer Chinese 2-stroke bicycle engines, fitted with the crowded needle roller big end connecting rod bearing, but i would not touch the standard single speed chain drive system with a 100 foot barge pole.

    Combine the Chinese bicycle engine with a Jaguar CDI, Rock Solid Engines reed valve intake system and a Walbro Carburettor + installation of a Sick Bike Parts shift kit and custom chain tensioners and you're on a winner; giving many miles of trouble free service!!!
  3. Max-M

    Max-M Member

    John: This is a great and valuable post. I know that many people don't have the writing skills or intellectual organization to share information as thoroughly and concisely (and even a bit humorously) as this. But I think a lot of forum members would agree that it's posts like this where the author "breaks a sweat" and takes the time to carefully compose his information that makes these forums so valuable. Bravo!
  4. occchopperfl

    occchopperfl Member

    Hey John,

    Should a, would a, could a...

    a. bought a grubee rear mount 4 stroke kit...
    (couldnt get the drive wheel concentric with the "rubber gasket" kit)

    b. bought a BMP friction drive kit with the chain and belt option.
    (couldn't be happier with the drive kit.)

    c. Last week, bike dropped on the side 2x, FIRST TIME EVER DROPPED...
    (grubee 4gt engine wont start)

    d. If I had a chance to do it all over again, I would have gotten a Staton kit with the subaru 4s 35cc? engine, as station is still in business, and subaru is a"real" engine.

    Just my thoughts.

    I hope this too, helps newbies who are looking for a reliable, "commuter grade" gas MB.

  5. johncy7

    johncy7 Member

    Thanks Max-M

    Too bad an admin over at would not agree. I made two threads there. The first was closed by IlikeaBikea and the second one is the exact one you read here. However, the same day I posted it, it was deleted without any notice or explanation. I asked admins why and got no answers. So of course I posted it again. And again it was quietly deleted. This site and theirs show a good contrast between communism and freedom. I'm tired of, Grubee, China, Walmart and spending my hard earned money on junk that works one or two times. Fortunately, I'm old enough to know what it was like before the markets got flooded with the planned obsolescence age. What used to last years might last week now. It's pretty sad.

    I don't hate, I'm justifiably mad. :)
  6. Quadranut

    Quadranut Member

    Hi John

    I have to agree with you on the friction drive and a Honda motor ( 35gx/w 1 inch drive roller). Never had a chain drive so I can only say that the Staton FD is tops as far as simplicity and reliability. No major problems, and the ones that do crop up are easily fixed. BTW Bell kevlar rear with a slime tube ( did not know about the Armadillo tire. Made in the USA ? )

    Keep ridin

  7. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    @ johncy7

    Don't feel too bad about things over on the other site because i received not only a lifetime ban over at, but a ban for 3 future reincarnations, retrospectively enforced from my previous spiritual life, simply for posting a satirical link that one of the moderators said was """a political statement""", of which it clearly """was not""" a political statement; being just a bit of good'ol'fashioned witty humour.

    I have no idea what's going on but it's a bit messed up when other moderators (who don't have an issue with the post) are overruled by a higher power.
  8. johncy7

    johncy7 Member

    looks like made in the usa... cool
    Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc.
    15130 Concord Circle
    Morgan Hill, CA 95037
    United States of America
  9. johncy7

    johncy7 Member

    lol... 4 life-time bans... that's pretty funny lol
  10. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    I have been a member here for many years. From day one, I have always stated , " You get what you pay for !"

    I prefer friction drive to anything else.
  11. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    How does friction drive work when you are climbing muddy mountain trails, or in the snow, or fording a river crossing or in loose sand or climbing a 30 degree slope whilst hauling a bicycle trailer loaded up with 140 lbs of gear; over terrain as previously described?
  12. jaguar

    jaguar Well-Known Member

    I was always under the impression that friction drive was hard on the tire and wore its surface down quickly. With the higher power I am getting now from my 55cc engine I am pretty sure chain and sprockets are essential. But it sounds like you are onto something for those preferring reliability over everything else.
  13. johncy7

    johncy7 Member

    That's a lot of hauling...

    including your !#@$ that would 300lbs give or take, to push . I've read where fat people road friction drives no problem. But if I were hauling 140lbs up muddy mountain..snow..river..sand I would probably go with a 4 wheel drive model :)
  14. johncy7

    johncy7 Member

    Yes, ordinary tires won' last too long. In the future if I have the desire to fix what ain't broke, I've considered giving my bike a chain option to the friction kit. That way if the roller or bearings go bad, I can switch it to chain drive. Have the friction kit pulling upwards to tighten the chain and pushing downward to engage the roller would be a cool. I've seen something like that once online, but it didn't look universal enough to quickly switch from one to the other. Maybe I'll just go ahead and buy the bearings early to be on the safe side. :)
  15. johncy7

    johncy7 Member

    including your !#@$ that's about 300lbs give or take to push. If I were hauling 140lbs up a muddy, 30 degree slope mountain, snow, river, sand... I might go with the 4x4 model :)
  16. Lee_K

    Lee_K Member

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I have been one of those chain only types, and after lots of tweaking have been able to get that to work reliably. I am now thinking about a second bike and was leaning to a rack mount with chain drive. After reading this, I am starting to work on friction drive concepts and can see how that could work for me too.
  17. johncy7

    johncy7 Member

    happy to help...

    I would like to thank for allowing me to vent my frustrations in this thread from my bad experiences and share my good experiences (while still venting) as well.

    My ride to work and home are big highlights in my day and yours should be too. I have the excitement of a motorcycle with the safety of a bike. The freedom of the open road... it's pretty special.

    If you need any advice or tips, I'd be happy to help.

  18. johncy7

    johncy7 Member

    I would like to point out that the admin I was referring to is IlikeaBikea from where this thread originally started and kept getting deleted by admin 2door. I'm sure the admins here are too cool to behave like that.
  19. Anton

    Anton Administrator Staff Member

    It's no secret that cheaper kits have potential problems. It's good that you are pointing out the problems while also offering helpful solutions.
  20. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    Cheap kits + cheap WalMart bikes = still equals CHEAP. && problematic. Some people like to tinker with their kits a lot, but not me. I don't ride on muddy hills , snow , etc., & friction drive works great. Learn how to " correctly " ride a FD bike, & the tires will last a long time. People who compalin about chewing up tires, don't know how to ride FD powered bikes.