Good setup for mostly manual pedaling?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Freki, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. Freki

    Freki New Member

    Hi all,

    I would like to motorize my bike in a way that minimizes issues with regular pedaling. My goal is to have something that helps me get up hills faster. Occasionally I may also use it if I'm dead tired. The rest of the time I would prefer pedaling. So I don't care at all if the engine can't move the bike super fast

    Are there any good options for me? From the light reading I've done it sounds like pedaling becomes much more difficult after motorizing the bike, so I think I may be out of luck.


  2. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    You want a true free wheeling motor set-up, one that impacts the original functionality of the bike as little as possible. IMO, best thing that fits that description using an ICE is a small 35cc 4 stroke Robin or Honda engine, and a friction drive. Total weight about 14 pounds and you simply lift it off the tire to return to pure pedal mode.

    FDs have some drawbacks, what doesn't, but one nice advantage is you can mount them on/off the bike in about a half hour and the bike is not affected in any way.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  3. Freki

    Freki New Member

    Thanks; I checked both options and the engines alone appear to be over $600. Is there any way to get this done for under $200?
  4. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Where are you located, not in AUS by chance?

    $200 is low for a kit and quality engine. You could DIY with a used weedwacker engine and, if you're handy, come up with a way to mount it for under 200 probably.

    Just one example:


    Also, there was a guy here trying to sell one recently, look in the classified forum.
    EDIT: scratch that, I see it's sold for $325.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  5. Freki

    Freki New Member

    No, I'm the the US, CA specifically. I believe that engine would require DMV regulation due to being over 1 HP
  6. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    I thought CA was under 2 HP/50cc but I don't live there. Maybe someone who does can chime in.

    Best of luck with what you decide.
  7. Friction drive requires you to raise the drive spindle off the tire to pedal freely/lower the spindle to the tire and press the spindle into the tire fairly hard to drive with the engine. You will have to stop and dismount to do these things. Not my first choice to fill your needs.

    The Subaru Robin 33.5cc and Honda 33.5cc are 4 cycle engines that would work ideally for you with little maintenence and no fuss. Both cost about $250.00 new without a drive kit to put the power to the wheels.

    There is a new Chinese copy of the old Solex front mounted kit with a 2 stroke engine that might work for you, but I know nothing about the quality, reliability, freewheel, or cost. If memory serves, it might be around $300.00.

    You could consider an electric geared motor in front or rear hub. The geared motor freewheels when not in use, so pedalling is no more effort than a standard bike. The only extra work is from moving the added weight of the motor and battery. Electric seems perfect for the assist on hills you want. Cost will be slightly higher than gas engined kits, but maintenence will be limited to taking care of the batteries.

    To the best of my knowledge, Staton's axle kit, or chain drive kit with the SR or Honda 33.5cc engine would fit your needs perfectly, but at much higher cost than you seem interested in paying.

    For $200.00 the only new kit to motorize a bike will be the cheap, low quality kits with the Chinese 2 stroke engines we call Happy Time (HT) or China Girl. You can pull the cluth lever(some kits come with a clutch lever lock) to pedal more freely, but you will still have the resistance of turning the chain, tensioner, and transmission when pedalling only. Not my first choice. Maintenence/tinkering is high with all the HT kits.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  8. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    I agree a friction drive is the best for you. I have had several with clutches, & never had to stop to make any changes when pedalling. Install in 30 minutes,,, easy to remove to repair a flat on the rear tire,, simple design.
    For $200,,, you are not getting much, though. You may run across a good used one for about that, or even a little less.
  9. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    If you are only using the assist to climb hills, an electric internally geared hub motor with SLA batteries may work for you.
    Jackshaft/shift kits are said to provide freewheeling pedaling. They cost around 150 bucks.
    The HybriPed is a freewheeling rear motor sprocket. However, you must dismount to "freewheel" the motor sprocket.
    The HybriPed is the least expensive option.
  10. Freki

    Freki New Member

    Thanks guys, sounds like I have a lot to read.

    PS $200 was not a strict budget. I can pay more; I'll just have to wait longer.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  11. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member


    Two gross brake horsepower. Right from DMV website.
    Big Red.
    San Jose, Ca.
  12. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    Sears, Bug Bike , Aqua Bug, Taz were all named kits for a front wheel drive bike kit. There were 2 models & the latter one had a clutch. Good quality motors ! You can find those used, sometimes, in your price range . This would give you added power to use occasionally up steep hills.
  13. buzbikebklyn1

    buzbikebklyn1 New Member

    Friction kit, I agree would be the easiest way to go for what hes looking for.
    The Island Hopper bicycle Viper drive kit retails for about $380.00 with a Honda GX31cc 4 stroke.

  14. tjdmobile

    tjdmobile New Member

    Another vote for the Staton friction drive with the R/S EHO35 motor. I bike 11 miles in each morning on pedal power alone. I honestly can't tell any extra weight, since the kit puts all the weight on the rear wheel. I fire it up for the ride home. I started with the 7/8 roller which was a max speed around 20, but strong. I pedal up hills at half effort now that I got the 1.25 roller at about 26. If you are willing to put some work in helping the motor (which you clearly are), you get the most options with a friction drive kit.

    I love mine. Still going through the tread "double time", but worth it for the now "enjoyable" ride back home in 95 degree weather. I wouln't dream of using the motor in the morning though. Need my exercise. Way home, different story. I have 3 big hills to conquer :cool:

  15. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    That's a classic example of what motorized bicycling is all about, bet you're staying in good shape too.
  16. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    OP needs a shift on the fly DE setup.
  17. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    Yep, I like using the motor on a bicycle as an assistant to get over the hills. It is idling & I am pedaling normally on level ground.
  18. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    The DE setup is nice, I have one. That said though I never thought it a whole lot of trouble in practice to dismount to lift the drive off the tire. Just sayin' :D
  19. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Exactly how I put it E. I tell people going up a hill w/the motor is like pedaling on level ground, lol.
  20. DougC

    DougC New Member

    Sounds like you want an electric setup.

    ALL the cheap gas-engine setups are poor at hill-climbing, but all the electric setups are pretty good at it. Electric motors deliver their maximum torque at zero RPMs, which is what you want for hill-climbing. Gas engines are the opposite, delivering max torque at high RPMs--and going up a hill, often you have the situation where the gas engine never gets into its higher RPMs, so you end up pedaling up hills, and just letting the gas engine pull you around on the flat sections.

    Also it doesn't sound like you're interested in riding dozens of miles under engine power alone, so the shorter range of a electric isn't much of a disadvantage.

    Add in the fact that electric kits are by far easier to add to nearly any bike (if you use a front hub motor) and they're a very hard combination of features to beat.

    About the only downside is that the prices for the higher-end batteries are pretty astonishing, but you can start with cheaper ones and upgrade as your budget or needs permit.