Will building and selling motorbikes be profitable? and/or easy?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by bballstar1297, May 9, 2013.

  1. bballstar1297

    bballstar1297 New Member

    Hi! I just built my first bike, and I had the brilliant idea of building and selling mb's! I found the build pretty easy and quick, and everything runs well, so i figured why not do it again! But anyways, I bought a brand new Kent La Jolla from Walmart for $100 (http://www.walmart.com/ip/17206784?w...l5=pla&veh=sem), and although some said it would be a difficult build (In previous threads), I did it with ease and it runs great! I figured I could buy a new/used bike for $100-$200, a motor for $150, and about $50 of accessories if necessary (brakes, offset intake manifold for carb, ect.), and sell it for $100-$200 more than what I have invested in it for a $100-$200. I'm just hoping that my bikes will sell if I do decide to get into mb building because I have noticed Craigslist has a ton of mb's for sale which intimidates me I would really appreciate all and any opinions about my idea! Thanks guys! hope to hear from you soon:grin5:

  2. Barry

    Barry Member

    Hey bballstar,
    I too had a similar idea. I'm getting ready to retire from my third career and thought it would be a hoot (and keep me outta the bars) to build these as a small business. I built a Walmart beachcrusier with a 4 stroke set-up for just under $500. I put it on Craig's List and at least 10 other guys in my town did the same thing! A day late and a dollar short. Oh well, maybe I can turn a buck repairing them..
  3. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    The words profitable and Chinese bicycle engine should not be used together unless you're the manufacturer of these engines, because selling a continuous stream of replacement parts and replacement engines is a licence to print money.

    For the paid motorized bicycle assembler, it is the most direct route to bankruptcy because your finances will be driven into the ground with warranty work.
  4. crassius

    crassius Well-Known Member

    depending on the size of the market where you are, 10 or 20 guys could find buyers on CL

    I do mostly repairs here, but will sometimes do a complete build. I find that complaints go way down if I run the motor in for 150 miles or so to get everything stable before selling a complete bike. Even then, some folks will mix fuel wrong or let things vibrate loose and complain a lot.

    New walmart bikes are the worst, in that chain guards & fenders lose nuts/bolts in first couple days or break cheap mounting tabs right off. Also, their brakes are often assembled wrong.
  5. LR Jerry

    LR Jerry Well-Known Member

    Let me first start off by saying running a business involves much more than building bikes. Since the laws vary greatly from state avoid terms like "Street Legal". What's legal in one location may not be in another. It would be in your best interest to know and understand the laws of the locations you plan to sell to. Do you know how to do book keeping? Do you plan to advertise? There's lots of things to consider.

    I'm not trying to discourage you; just making you aware operating a business involves much more than building bikes.
  6. grinningremlin

    grinningremlin Active Member

    I too had that idea a while back, here's what stopped me:
    1) People who want a prebuilt MAB aren't likely to want to tinker.Even a straight bicycle needs tinkering.
    2) You can't really charge enough to make money, for a good set-up I'd need to charge $1000, most people would rather buy a scooter for $1000 as they can't see the benefit of being able to pedal.Those same people see an adult on a bike and they think one of two things (DUI or a few bricks shy).It's either that or pump out crap product, and that won't build a business.
    3) And the biggest killer of all,... the more MAB's on the roads the more likely they are to be outlawed, taking your business AND hobby/fun/transport.

    The best way to get a little $$ with these is make a business where they are the utility vehicle, as in Fabians hauls; after biking so much again and seeing all those aluminum cans in the ditches I decided to build up a MAB for gathering scrap metals.I look at it like I'm getting paid $2.50 an hour to work out and have fun.Find ANY gym that will pay you to stay in shape.
  7. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    Trailers and trikes are for grandpas, I ain't no grandpa yet!
  8. dougsr.874

    dougsr.874 Active Member

    Don't do it.....it seems many people in this area had the same idea.....Now on local Craigslist you will find these same people trying to sell what's left of there bikes & kits.....you simply cannot sell the finished bikes for a profitable amount....you may get lots of lookers and gawkers, but few buyers....Of late I get lots of calls for service on bikes that were built wrong to begin with or have been severely abused, there again you can't make a profit even on service ....cause it takes parts inventory and lots of time to fix these things that someone else screwed up, and people don't want to pay you a fair amount for all of the time spent..
  9. BigBlue

    BigBlue Active Member

    Don't listen to the naysayers! I encourage you to participate in this low profit margin industry. You'll then get the experience of what it feels like to work long hours for a low wage - just like the persons who build and assemble the Happy Time/China Girl engines. On top of that, you'll get the experience the low customer satisfaction when they mix their fuel wrong, break down 10 miles from home or prematurely wear-out the engine by riding it full-out 24/7. Finally, you will get the experience of wasting your time talking to a Lookie-Lou who'll spend hours of your time, asking questions, but won't buy a thing from you or brag how he bought it cheaper on Ebay/Craigslist or indirectly suggest that you should sell it to him at your cost.

    Good Luck,

    AKA: BigBlue
  10. crassius

    crassius Well-Known Member

    maybe it just depends on your age and circumstance

    I'm old, sick , and disabled and within a gnatsass of being homeless at any given time - I enjoy having this to do and a bit of cash coming in helps a lot.

    I've built a bench that keeps them at a nice height for me to sit down and work on them, and since I can't ride them, I can get on them while on the bench & start them up just fine.

    If you haven't much else to do, these are at least enjoyable to tinker with.
  11. jaguar

    jaguar Well-Known Member

    If I ever get around to making/selling them I am going to bypass the chinese unreliability jinx completely by getting rid of the vibration and tendency to overheat (w/lighter wrist pin and Jaguar CDI), and putting on a good carburetor. That increases the cost and narrows down the number of prospective buyers but there are always people around ready to spend more for quality.
  12. geebt48cc

    geebt48cc Member

    That would be so nice, considering!!!!!! In order to make these engines close to running right, thoughs are two BIGGies one would need to do.

  13. Old Bob

    Old Bob Member

    You guys forgot the manufacturers license and without product liability insurance you could lose everything.
    I got lucky I got my old MB back before the owners stupid kid did something that would cost me money.I saw him fly by my house at 1 am no lights, one phone call to his pop put and end to that.
  14. geebt48cc

    geebt48cc Member

    TRUE................It sounds like a working idea at first, but when you roll out all the red tape, one starts singing another tune!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  15. jaguar

    jaguar Well-Known Member

    I highly doubt that any of the places online that sell complete rides have insurance.

    As to doing it right, I myself couldn't sell a non-modified engine in all good conscience knowing what I do.