Hallooo and Help!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by backazimuth, May 5, 2009.

  1. backazimuth

    backazimuth Member

    Wow, what a site and started by a brilliant young 22-year-old to boot! He has a bright future.

    In the meantime, I and my wife, Kristina, are in our future. We each are 65-years-old and are dedicated adventurers. We spent many years sailing the world in a small sailboat and for the last 15 years, have spent as much time as possible doing self-contained bicycle touring and we've been fortunate enough to have cycled much of the world. Last year we rode from San Diego to Jacksonville, Florida. The year before it was down New Zealand's North Island and South Island, then across the Tasman sea to the land of Oz where we rode up the spine of Australia from Adelaide to Darwin. The year before, we rode from Singapore to Tibet and Kat Man Du via Yunnan Province, China. The list goes on and on and on because we are nutz for all-out adventure on two wheels. But we have a problem.


    We are about to turn 66 and while my bride of nearly 48 years is a genetic freak and still is going like a wildcat, I, other the other hand, am sinking quickly. It catches us all sooner or later, the business of age, and I feel its little claws scratching at my backside more and more frequently. I thought about getting a motorcycle, but most motorcyclists have a serious weight problem. I already claim to have been called Santa Clause more than any person on earth and would just as soon not encourage that image by looking any more jolly than I have to (lol). All in all, I was getting depressed because I thought my little life of adventure was about to cease to exist and for me, nothing could be worse.

    Then I discovered little tiny bicycle engines. Those wonderful little things that help one along. Most of you seem to want to go as fast as possible. Not me. I just want to go and at a speed that allows me to take in everything. I really don't want to use the engine at all, if I don't have to, but I no longer can get up the mountains with any efficiency. I have to stop every few hundred yards to catch my breath, at least at very high altitude, which in America can get to 10,000 or 12,000 feet. I can haul 60 to 80 pounds with ease on level ground or gentle climbs, but going up the Ozarks, or the Blue Ridge or the Rockies and I find myself getting in trouble. Gasping. Resting. Sometimes popping Nitro. I don't put myself in danger but I'm at the point now where that little 25 cc engine can make the difference between a fun late-life or sitting around waiting to . . . well just waiting.

    The only problem is that I need to have my belongings with me. The tent, the cooking gear, the clothes, the tools, the medical supplies, the computer (gotta' have the computer). And did I mention my little dog? Amber. She has about 18,000 miles under her fuzzy little butt.

    I can take the belongings with a trailer. I've been everywhere with trailers in America, Europe and Australia, but I'm tired of having the extra vehicle. In addition, they are very expensive to transport over seas. We want to be light and as independent as possible and that means panniers - saddlebags - but the questions is how? I've looked and looked and looked and I have yet to find a set-up for rear panniers and a bicycle with a motor.

    Anybody with any advice will be most welcome! Also, I need advice as to which is the better set-up: friction drive or belt drive? They both have wonderful features.

    Thanks and forgive this long-winded post.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015

  2. ozzyu812

    ozzyu812 Member


    Why not make them? Your going with one the rack mounts? Take a couple of old hard suit cases and bolt them on the "struts" ( i think you'd call them ) use fender washers or better yet get flat bar and drill holes that match holes on the struts and put them on the inside of suit case.

    Just a thought. Good luck in your travels!
  3. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    25 cc's are no longer available.

    Carrying all that weight, you aren't going to be interested in speed, so I'd go with the 4 stroke, quieter and more torque. The dog might have to walk.

    One thing about potential use of the forum, if you go to the Land of Oz, you might find a way to beg/borrow or trade for the trailer, then leave it there with those fine folks when you are finished.
  4. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Backazimuth, the choices are very wide. As with everything, evry single choice involves a compromise between the ideal and the realizable. For your needs, I'm gonna suggest you look at something like what you will find here - http://www.outsideconnection.com/gallant/hpv/sgg/.

    Good cargo capacity, lots of room for pannier mount baggage on each side of the rear wheel, power assist through the gearing of the bike, so there is just the single chain run to the rear wheel, engine is low enough that if you wish you can put a riding platform for Amber above/behind it quite readily, or just put a front basket on for her.

    I envy your lifestyle. If you haven't done it, I have a long ride suggestion for you. Buenos Aires to Punta Arenas. Incredible diversity of terrain, gloriously beautiful mountains to see, great friendly people - it's all there and more.
    Last edited: May 6, 2009
  5. 350zdrftr

    350zdrftr Member

    a frame mount setup would leave you plenty of room for a rear rack and plenty of space for bags. You are pretty much going to have to fabricate something for your needs.
    good luck on your build
  6. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Really, pretty straight forward if you are prepared to do some basic wrenching. Buy a tandem bike, frame mount the engine in the second frame opening, run the power through using the second bottom bracket as a jackshaft. Pull the seat, use the seat tube as the primarey mount point for a high strength rack system for a pair of motorcycle cruising pannier cases, plus a rack top case of whatever size works best. Heck, I'd likely make a dummy tube or pair of dummy tubes that clamp to the riders seat post, run horizontally to the second seat post, and on back to above the rear wheel.
  7. echotraveler

    echotraveler Member

    sounds like your should get a back tire mounted 4-stroke around 36cc

    the real advantage on the rear mounted kits is the better burning 4-stroke, the wheel turns with roller, the engine donesn't add another chain, and also it really easy to install.

    i think the frame mounted kits look cool and have a bit of more raw power.
  8. backazimuth

    backazimuth Member

    Thank You!

    Thanks a bunch to you all for the thoughtful responses. It really is nice to find something I can get excited about. Who woulda' thot it would be a motor assisted bicycle?

    Ozzyu812 -- Making the panniers is a definite possibility. What I am looking for, though, is the configuration of the mounting hardware you mentioned . . . someone who already has done it. I've studied a lot of pics on line and have a few ideas, but I would just as soon use another person's clever approach rather than to try and re-invent the wheel.

    SimpleSimon: Your name is a fraud. You are anything but simple as one quick look at your various building projects will attest. You have built some incredible machines and it makes me itch to see them in action. But they are much to complex for my legitimately simple mind. But I thank you for the thoughts.

    350zdrftr -- The frame mount is the obvious solution and I will indeed build that one day, but only after I cannot really pedal myself any longer. My goal is to keep pedaling as long as possible -- to use the bicycle motor as it truly is designed, to be a motor "assisted" bicycle. My primary need is help getting up long and/or steep hills that I no longer am capable of cranking through. Speed is a relative term here. My idea of speed is to go up a six per cent grade (and that is pretty steep) at 8 or 10 mph with me assisting, if necea

    I want the motor to be as small and as unobtrusive as possible. The frame mount would, I think, impede the bicycle pedaling and introduce drag while pedaling, even though it may be a small amount.

    Echotraveler -- I think you hit the solution squarely on the head, but not quite. Engineering pannier mount on the left side would be relatively simple (many seem to have done it), but putting one on the right side of the rear wheel, where the engine is presents the greatest challenge to me. I know there are guys out there who can figure this out -- have figured this out -- and I simply have to find them.

    The bottom line solution, so far, seems to come from the inveterate and prolific bamabikeguy. We are kindred souls, he and I are, and a search of this site has shown he not only has the insatiable drive of a real adventurer, he figured out how to do some complex stuff to accomplish his mission as well.

    Rotating the engine back on the wheel to what looks to be about 40 degrees appears to solve the problem of creating enough space to put a rear rack onto which saddlebags can be mounted. The only real question is: will the engine's attitude -- not being level -- hurt it in any way? The solution also demands the more complex belt drive marketed by Golden Eagle.

    Bamabikeguy -- Your wrote that you didn't think 25 ccs were available any longer. Stanton sells a Honda GX 25 (23.5 ccs) and a Robin-Subru EHO 25. Both are four stroke engines, which I will probably go with because of the higher torque mentioned by several of you here.

    I will do what I can to contribute to the site, but right now it will have to be in the self-contained touring (how to cut down weight, etc.) department as I am not real experienced with mechanical things. I have a tough time just adjusting my bicycle!'

    Thanks again for all your thoughtful responses.

    Wayne Carpenter

    PS -- I kept an on-line journal of last year's ride from San Diego to Florida at:


    This site is for bicycle tourists and has a ton of info on packing light for those of you interested in doing something similar.
  9. MotorBicycleRacing

    MotorBicycleRacing Well-Known Member

    Forgive? That was a great intro.....:grin5:

    Friction drives are OK but I like belt drives better....
    Are you dealing with rain or hills?

    how did you like NZ?
  10. robin bird

    robin bird Member

    I will be doing 800-900 miles starting monday pulling a single wheel bob trailer thru b.c. canada mountains 50cc happy times 2 stroke

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015
  11. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Backazimuth, I want to be sure you are not working with a mis-apprehension here. The site I linked you to for the grocery getter bike isn't mine. I wish it was.

    I am an idea guy more than anything else, along with being a smart-arse. I'm in the midst of my first build of a motorized bicycle, which is a trike conversion of a 24" ladies huffy. I cannot ride a two-wheeler anymore because I can't feel my legs from the knees down, and our balance is mostly in our lower legs. So, I'm building a trike conversion which I am powering with an HT 2-stroke.

    I do have a bunch of designs I've drawn up, and wish I had a shop space to work them up in. Building in the middle of a small living room floor kinda sucks.
  12. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

  13. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    I was thinking of the old Red Max Zenoah 25 cc 2 stroke, which I used primarily from 2005-07 on a lot of "fully loaded down" road trips.

    I've installed the Honda 35's and RS 35's, but have not heard any report of a 25 cc-4 cycle being able to pull any weight, esp. up the steeper grades.

    Specifically I've heard the RS 25 is fine for a lightweight rider puttering around a 10-20 mile radius, but I can't remember reading a forum member using one, much less in a strenuous application.

    The small difference in shipping weight of the units versus the ability of the 35's to move 250-300 pounds of bike/rider, I wouldn't chance it on the smaller versions.

    On the apples versus apples, when you look around, the Robin Subaru beats the Honda, on "footprint" and cylinder construction, imho.
  14. backazimuth

    backazimuth Member

    Forbisher -- Things are looking more toward the belt drive for me. When we do a major ride, it often will last two to four months, so yes, rain is a factor at times. More of a factor are the hills and mountains. I'm losing my strength which is why I want the motor to assist up those long hills. A 10-mile climb can take three hours of very hard work. A motor will cut that by two thirds with pedal assist.

    New Zealand is wonderful. The North island is very hilly and very steep. The people are very hospitable. You will like it.

    robin bird -- That's a terrific looking rig. Did you design the muffler system yourself? It looks like it would be quiet. Good luck on your ride. Will you be doing the Rockies?

    SimpleSimon -- Yep. I'm guilty of my worst fault . . . not looking carefully enough. I did think you built those machines. Good luck with the trike. And I happen to know Shreveport. I went to the first grade at Metarie Grammer School at New Orleans. I have family ties down there.

    Happy Valley -- BINGO! I dunno how you found this link, but this fellow has put into writing exactly what I am attempting to achieve. He wrote:

    The idea of power assist for a bicycle is to add a motor while retaining the functionality of the bicycle. A power assist is for use on steep hills where it is most needed and turned off where pedal power alone is adequate. It differs from traditional mopeds which are small motorcycles and can't be reasonably pedaled without the motor.

    He is an engineer whose hobby is a machine shop (!). He built his own recumbent bike, actually two of them, and then fabricated his own power using a 22cc weed wacker motor (Honda). He geared it for heavy-duty climbing, hence the top speed is only 10.2 mph and the most efficient speed is 8.8 mph at 6,000 rpm. This is perfect for me, but I have to find this commercially available. I'm leaning toward GEBE although I prefer the simplicity of direct drive.

    I thank you truly for your efforts in finding this link!


    bamabikeguy -- I will most likely follow your suggestion and go with the more powerful engine so long as weight and size don't become an obstacle.

    No one commented on my concerns about engine attitude, so I figure the engines will run at just about any angle.

    Once again, thank you all for all the responses. This is a great site, but I think I already have violated a rule by staying on the intro page too long. I'll move to one of the more appropriate forum areas.
  15. MotorBicycleRacing

    MotorBicycleRacing Well-Known Member


    There is another guy up in the North West that makes/made the bike you are looking for......
    His website is hard to find and I haven't talked to him for a long time,
    the scooterguy may know who he is.

    He tucks a 35 cc Robin Subaru behind the seat and it drives with a chain down to the BB
    he is a cyclist so he designed the bike to be motor assisted. I don't think
    you can use the motor by itself so I was not interested
    It sounds exactly like what you are looking for as friction has rain limitations
    that his bike overcame by using chain
    Go with the 35 cc over the 25 cc as it only weighs a hair more....

    PS: The South island is the mountainous / hilly island and I liked it so
    much that i left, way too many sheep for my liking :devilish:

    It turns out that Staton has been spreading bad info....
    The Robin Subaru does NOT have an iron lined cylinder. It is chrome lined aluminum like the Honda which is actually a superior construction.
    Also if you are travelling overseas the Honda would be much easier to find parts for.

    Wayne, if you are ever up in North Orange county you are very welcome to stop by to check out the new EZ motorbike and talk motorized bikes. :grin5:

    I also carry Grubee 2 stroke kits and have a Robin Subaru Staton friction drive you can test ride.
    Last edited: May 7, 2009