Time for Upgrade: What Kit to Use?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Tinker1980, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. Tinker1980

    Tinker1980 Guest

    Soon I am going to be upgrading my MB, building a better one that I can hopefully ride to work every day, without fear of it coming apart on me. I've considered three kits, which do you guys/gals think would be best? I ride 32 miles round trip, moderate hills, I weigh about 200 lbs and might carry another 10 lbs with me. I don't need the machine to be capable of 45 MPH or anything crazy like that, I'd be happy with 25 MPH. The kits I've considered are:

    GenII grubee 2 stroke, possibly with a shifter kit. Could be the cheapest, would be a frame mount, but how reliable is it compared to a more generic chinese two stroke?

    Staton friction drive with the TLE 43 or Robin engine, this one is attractive because it could go on my EZ-1 recumbent, and Staton is located in OKC, not far away.

    GEBE with the 32cc Tanaka or Robin-Subaru engine. Everyone has such good things to say about the golden eagle kit, but they are a bit more expensive.

    I would mount the kit I chose either to a kulana moon dog that has been upgraded with alloy wheels and larger brake pads, a Trek 820, or in the case of the friction kit, to my Sun EZ-1 recumbent.


  2. mlcorson

    mlcorson Member

    I like my friction drive with a Robin engine. Easy install, quiet and reliable. Probably would do well on your recumbent. However, I would not ride it if it looked like rain or the ground was wet. Friction drive does not preform well in wet conditions. I made my choice for reliability and ease of use. I didn't want to mix gas so I chose a 4 stroke.
  3. moondog

    moondog Member

  4. Hawaii_Ed

    Hawaii_Ed Member

    I run a happy time engine with the shift kit, and it is a lot of fun, but I don't think any of the Chinese kits can come close to the Mitsu or Robin engines for reliability.
  5. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    With the concerns you mention about reliability and performance my suggestion for a dependable everyday, any-weather commuter would be the GEBE/Robin.

    I have 3 FDs from 3 different manufacturers and while they are fun and easy to install they are best suited to short hops and joy riding when the weather suits them but IMO fall short as a reliable ride for a distance commute.

    Though not on your list, a close second choice would be a Staton gearbox.
    Go with the Trek.
  6. Will Snow

    Will Snow Member

    I agree with Happy Valley. I have used several kits, 3-Golden Eagle, 4-Chinese, 2-Whizzer and a few friction drives.

    The friction drive kits I had were just fine, except when on wet pavement.

    Three of the Chinese kits I bought over the years I did not like at all. I just installed a Chinese 4cycle. It is far better than the previous kits but a lot of short comings. Had to buy some special made parts to replace some very poor kit parts. It is up and running but still I'm not very pleased with it and have more up grading to do before I would ride it very far.

    I have never owned a station kit but I know a person in town that has one, quality looks good and it has the best gear changing drive system that I have seen. This fellow has the Robin engine with the special gear changing hub and He tells me he can take it anywhere with no problem.

    I have a Golden Eagle with the Robin motor on one of my bikes and it gets used the most. The golden Eagle with the Robin motor is I my number 1 choice for good reliable transportation.

    If the hills are a concern it seems the station with the gear changing hub would be good choice.

    Good luck on whatever you choose.
  7. moondog

    moondog Member

    Hi, I like Treks too. My non motorized things are Treks.

    Why do you say that about friction drive ? Is it the wet weather safety feature ( makes you pedal or pull over in the rain ) or tire wear ?

    I have yet to break a spoke on friction drive. I do try to be easy on starts, pedal it then hit the gas.

    I have motorized bicycle kit plans from the 40's that show how to tack weld a rim without a tire on to a rim with a tire and they run a belt around the rim.

    I have never tried it.

  8. Tinker1980

    Tinker1980 Guest

    B&S Friction drive?

    I was struck by inspiration last night at work, and I may be lucky that I live in OK and can use a engine 1500cc or smaller.

    What about making a staton-style friction setup, with the big piece of channel, but instead of a 1"-1.5" roller and a small subaru or Mitsu engine... make a 2.5" roller and use one of the 3.5 hp lawnmower engines that I've modified to run on their side? I have everything for that except a smooth tire for my mountain bike so it wouldn't cost a bunch of money. And it should run me to work with very few issues. Another option, along the same line, is to replace the B&S engine with one of the harbor fright 2.5 greyhound engines, if I remember right they have a bolt pattern around the crankshaft.


  9. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    You can get the Staton friction with the Honda50 which produces 2.5hp in kit form. Or you can search 5-7 heavens GP460 friction drive if you want even more power. Thing sounds crazy.
  10. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Hi Moondog. My comments were posted in general but particularly considering the context of the OPs question IE getting to work on daily basis:

    This is all opinion here but I usually try not to chime in unless I've had direct experience on something. Started with a HT but jumped to the Japanese engines for reliability and was pleased with FDs 'cause they worked pretty well when I rode and I rode in good weather with short hops of a few miles.
    That has changed for me now.

    Never had much of an issue with tire wear that some (many) talk about. I think if a FD is set up right and with constant attention to tire inflation psi it's not a problem.....until the weather gets really hot.

    A couple of months back I had the need to commute again, not 32 mi. RT like the OP but around 20 mi. RT. This has been a wet summer here to begin with and now it's gotten hot. As a dependable commuter bike the FDs just don't cut it for me with that distance. The steel rollers slip in wet weather and the steel rollers (and tire) get intolerably hot in the 90+ degree temps at that distance....to my observation in fact speeding tire wear (I'm using a 'sticky' slick) and creating excessive heat in the bearings and engine crank area.

    A GEBE drive came my way at the right time and it has since proven commute worthy and I ride in ALL weather without concern. I still have the FDs (for awhile) but use them less and as I said more for short joyrides. I also think the belt drive would be far more suitable for distance touring than any FD ever could and that's something I hope to be doing later this fall.

    BTW, I'd be really interested to see those plans, any way to get a peek?
  11. Tinker1980

    Tinker1980 Guest

    I hadn't thought about tire temperatures with a friction drive. Seems obvious though! In OK I would be running a MB in temps closer to 110 than 90 in the summer. (Although this summer is weird... it's august and 60 degrees outside.)

    Tire flex would contribute to the heat buildup, and of course, to get your friction roller to work right, your tire must be deformed by the roller.

    Speaking of rollers... a solid steel roller would get hot rolling on a tire for 16 miles. What about a hollow one, made from a pipe nipple and some round bits of 1/8" plate? What about aluminum? I think I have also seen pictures of wooden and urethane rollers. I have an engine I am going to be experimenting with for a friction drive, and it has a much lower RPM than the 25-50 cc engines normally used. I will as a result need to make a roller with a ~ 2 1/2" OD. How would lower RPM affect heat issues?

  12. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    I never promote or suggest any one dealer over another. That way, I stay neutral, at least I think so. BUT, I will say that for your needs, a Japanese motor is ALL that I would suggest, whether you use it friction drive, chain, or belt. I like friction drive, for the simplicity of it, & the motor is behind me so I can hear better & don't smell gas, or fumes. Change out knobby tires for much smoother tires.
  13. moondog

    moondog Member

    Hi, Yes my roller does get hot.

    I am in serious search mode. I can't find those plans. I bought them on eBay a couple of years ago. I might have loaned them out.

    They removed the pedals and put a B+S type motor in the frame.

    There was a foot operated lever that moved a roller that would make the belt tight when pushed down with the foot. (clutch)

    They tack welded a rim on to the wheel and ran a belt around that rim.

    They also had to cut and weld the leftside chainstay to move it out and make room for the double wide rim and belt.

    I will send a P.M. when I find it and send you a copy.

  14. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Guest

    I live and die by friction drive.:whistling:

    This New Year's resolution was to commute to work, rain or shine. If it's raining or the roads are wet, I just suck it up and pedal to work on my FD bikes. Odds are that it'll clear up at day's end, so I can motor home.

    If the roads are dry, I ride 5 miles over two moderate hills. If roads are wet, I pedal-assist 6 miles, of which 2.5 miles are dry and under the overpass.

    I wouldn't recommend this method, unless your commute is short and you're a diehard FD fan.

    I MIGHT build another bike with gears and sprockets soon, but only because I need more low end torque to conquer hills and headwinds.