Huffy Cranbrook questions

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by suitcasejefferson, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. Ok, the Huffy Cranbrook seems to be about the least expensive new bike around. And while it is Chinese made, it has a strong steel frame that should hold up my 220 pounds. My main concern is the strength of the rear wheel. I have had broken spokes in cheap rear wheels before even without a motor. Has anyone had issues with this wheel, and if so, does anyone know if a much higher quality wheel will fit, either one made for MB, like the one from GEBE, or a standard high quality MTB wheel. The main issue would be the distance between the rear dropouts. I realize an MTB wheel would leave me without brakes, but I'm sure I could rig something up.

    I am assuming the Cranbrook, being a single speed, is geared rather high, and the design of the stock rear hub would make changing the sprocket out for a larger one pretty much of an impossibility. I might be able to use the crankset from a cheap MTB with it's small chainring to lower the gearing a bit.

    I have read about all the problems with installing an HT engine on this bike, and have decided a rear mount friction drive would be better suited for it, while still using a China tank to increase fuel capacity. I saw some pictures here of a Cranbrook with a Dax friction drive kit, and a 49cc motor, which Dax also sells. It looked like a good setup.

    Now, here in AZ, 49cc would make it an illegal bike, since the law pertaining to MBs only allows up to 48cc, probably for 2 reasons. One is because most of the Chinese HT engines are 48cc, and two, to eliminate actual 49cc mopeds from being covered under this law. Still, I doubt anyone would notice if you kept it below 20 mph in town, and it would give you more power out on the road.

    Which brings me to my last question. Would such a setup be good for 100-200 mile road trips? Basically, would a Cranbrook be able to take the stress of longer trips over sometime bumpy roads? I appreciate any information anyone can give me on any of this. Gerald.
     

  2. TOTAL CARNAGE

    TOTAL CARNAGE Member

    I have used 2 Cranbrooks just for the parts. I used rims and tires on a 58 Spaceliner and 55 Rollfast. I took the hubs apart and greased everything, put it all together to my liking and have had NO problems in two seasons now.
    The third Cronbrook was just to nice to tear down so I stuck an engine on it!
    I rode it for a summer then sold it to a college girl to use on campus.
    You can see the Cranbrook (notice custom built book rack !) and the Rollfast here also the wife's 1940 J.C.Higgins.
    Pa. limits us to 49cc.....all mine are 60 or 66..whatever.....any ways, let them prove it as there are no markings on a HT.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
  3. toojung2die

    toojung2die Member

    Total Carnage - I like your bikes. They're very nice! I'm interested in how you made the custom exhaust pipes. What did you use for the tube and how did you bend it so smooth? What muffler do you use? I'm looking for a quiet exhaust that looks similar to the ones you made.
     
  4. Glad to here they hold up. I just ordered one, the blue and tan on currently on Walmart's site. I plan to remove the fenders and the chain guard. I have a complete one piece crank setup from a cheap mountain bike that will fit the Cranbrook, and the smallest chainring will lower the overall gearing, making it easier to get started. It has a circular chain guard on it.

    Right now I plan to mount my Staton friction drive kit with a Robin Subaru EHO35 engine on it, and see how it works with just the rear brake. Legally we are limited to 20 mph in AZ, and I will probably ride even slower than that, especially in town. We are limited to 48cc. They deliberately made it 48cc, because that's what most of the Chinese engines are, and to prevent including real 49cc mopeds, which require registration and insurance. They also can tell by looking at most of the HT engines if they are the larger version, which usually have square heads, compared to the round heads on the 48cc model. The cops here have been forced to accept MBs, but they make no secret of the fact that they don't like them, and look for any reason to harass anyone they see riding one. You have to be extra careful, and memorize the law.

    I had bought a nearly new used early '90s Trek 800 to use with this kit, but a friend of mine saw it, and begged me to sell it to him. He offered me a lot more than I paid for it, and cringed at the idea of "ruining" it by putting a motor on it, so I sold it to him, and bought the Cranbrook.
     
  5. TOTAL CARNAGE

    TOTAL CARNAGE Member

    I'm sure you will like it. Most of the problems I have seen with them are from people with.....well, less than the required amount of "know how" to be playing with motorized bikes.
    Jon. My pipes are made from plain old 3/4" conduit. Used a conduit bender to bend them. I cut the original muffler at the engine flange and move it back.
    NOTE! mufflers that have the converter in them ( I think they all do now) will not get hot enough to keep it burned clean and will soon plug up. If you move the muffler back you will have to open it up and cut the converter out and re weld the pipe. It took some practice but I have the hang of it now! :cool:
     

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  6. toojung2die

    toojung2die Member

    I'll have to borrow or buy a pipe bender. I worked for hours last night with a propane torch and a vise trying to bend some exhaust pipe. It bent but got buggered up in the process. Your pipes look nice and smooth. Your bikes are some of the nicest I've seen on here. They have the look I'm going for.

    How did you achieve the tight bends? The pipe bender in your photo is a much larger radius than some of your bends.
     
  7. TOTAL CARNAGE

    TOTAL CARNAGE Member

    Thank you very much!
    All the bends shown are bent with the tool you see. If a very tight bend is needed I would start it with the bender then cap one end of the pipe and fill it with sand. You have to pack it hard then cap the other end. a wood form in a BIG vise mounted solid. I have been able to get some nice bends without kinking using this trick but then again, I have wasted allot of pipe too!
    All the bending I have ever done has been cold bends. I have never been able to do it with heat, it always kinks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  8. Sgt. Howard

    Sgt. Howard Member

    Isn't conduit galvanized? Seems I remember something about poisonouse fumes when galvanised steel gets heated... but if they sell it ungalvanised, that could make all the difference... or do you strip the zinc before you chrome? Also, should you create a wind breaker for the front of the muffler and mount it closer upstream it WILL get hot enough, only take a bit longer to do so. These cat converters actually make sense on these rigs IF allowed to do their jobs... besides, the powers that be will get even nastier should they learn to differentiate an altered muffler. My son and I have been drooling over your pics, DEFINATLY thinking of doing similar here-
    the Old Sgt.
     
  9. TOTAL CARNAGE

    TOTAL CARNAGE Member

    Thank you again. Yes, galvanized metal will give off dangerous fumes when welded. You have to strip it off to get a good weld anyway. The rest of the pipe will not get hot enough to off gas any fumes. Remember, zinc is hot enough to be liquid when the steel is dipped. The fumes aren't good for you then, but not deadly.
    I don't chrome the pipes I make. If the chrome is good on the muffler, I'll save it but just paint the new pipe with high temp silver. I have also just painted the entire thing with high temp black. It can be a nice look on some bikes.
    The converter will not get enough heat if you move it more than a few inches from it's stock location. I have tried it just under the crank and still, not enough heat and plugs up.
    I know you should keep it there but it just won't work. When the atmosphere collapses and the world ends, blame it on me and my tiny motor! :ack2:
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  10. TOTAL CARNAGE

    TOTAL CARNAGE Member

    I forgot to tell you that I am going to pick up a forth Cranbrook tonight.
    I have a 40's style Salt flat racer in my head and think it will work well with the cranbrook's parts. I'll post pics when done.
    I have added a few pics to my album. the red one is my wife's 1940 J.C.Higgins.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  11. TOTAL CARNAGE

    TOTAL CARNAGE Member

    Well, just got back from Wallyworld. Have a nice blue Cranbrook sitting here just waiting for something to happen!
    BACK TO Suitcasejefferson's question about the wheels. I can no longer vouch for the wheels as they are different from all that I have had. The rims from the two older Cranbrooks are about 1 3/8 wide and have a step in them on each side. This new one has 1 1/2 wide smooth rims. The hub is black, not chrome but looks the same (no markings) and spokes look the same. Tires are the same but look different on the rims. Man, these things are just begging for a set of Fat Franks!! Well, before I like this bike to much I'm going to tear it down and start hacking the frame. After all, that's why I got it! I'm going to start a new thread about the build so I guess we'll see what I can come up with :idea:
     
  12. Sgt. Howard

    Sgt. Howard Member

    Hmmm.... so if you move the muffler, the cat don't cook, eh? What happens should you tag a tailpipe onto the muffler and shoot THAT under the bike just to get the noise away from your ears?
    the Old Sgt.:army:
     
  13. TOTAL CARNAGE

    TOTAL CARNAGE Member

    I'm sure that would work. I don't like the look of the muffler where it's at so it wouldn't be for me. If I was worried that much, I would cut the cat out of the muffler (it's only about 1' to 1 1/2" around from what I remember) put that in the pipe just out from the motor then still put the muffler at the back.
     
  14. Sgt. Howard

    Sgt. Howard Member

    That might be the ticket... A little experimentation should be in order here... BTW, poked around in your pics.. you've got some supercool builds going on there
     
  15. TOTAL CARNAGE

    TOTAL CARNAGE Member

    Thanks Sgt. Howard. I had to check yours out also, nice!
    That is the exact bike I picked up today.....well I guess it's yesterday now. lol.
    Wait till you see what I do to the poor thing. :devilish:
     
  16. I just got mine today. Rims are blue, very large diameter spokes. The rims are smooth, kind of curved from side to side. I already removed the reflectors, fenders, and chain guard. Still mulling over what to do next.
     
  17. Sgt. Howard

    Sgt. Howard Member

    Just finished downloading more propaganda, including shots of the shop itself. Ya gotta admit, this hobby is good for eye candy- otherwise, these posts would be quite boring.
    Suitcase- get a motor kit! THAT would be the next move... meanwhile, browse for ideas in the pics section and see what tickles yer fancy
    the Old Sgt.:army:
     
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