A Motorized bike for ultra long distance

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Cameron Michael Whinery, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. I'm considering riding my bike from Saint Louis, Missouri to Oceanside, California and and am thinking about using a motorized bike to make it easier I'll probably be using the motor for 3 to 5 hours at a time to make the journey go by a little faster so i need a set up thats capable.

  2. FurryOnTheInside

    FurryOnTheInside Well-Known Member

    Traveling alone or with a group? Towing trailers or everything on the bike? Why so long between stops, is there nothing to see and photograph on your route? How far can you currently cycle with the cargo you need to carry? You already have a nice touring bicycle? What kind/size is it? Any special items of cargo that need to be able to fit on the bike? Can engine spares be sent ahead "poste restante"? When is this trip to take place? What are the laws in the states you will be riding through?
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  3. I'll be travelling along probably with a trailer and stuff on the bike. Theres not much to see until i hit Denver. I'm still improving my cycling ability. Right now i have a cheap giant bike. I probably will be buying somethiing like this https://www.rei.com/product/108588/cannondale-caadx-105-bike-2017 . this trip will take place in the spring
  4. FurryOnTheInside

    FurryOnTheInside Well-Known Member

    The link doesn't work for me but I found the 2016 cannondale caadx 105. It seems a light bike for serious self supported touring. Towing a trailer certainly seems a good idea for this bike. It's mainly the wheels & tyres that I would be concerned about. Any cargo or motor adds considerable _unsuspended_ weight. Although I do some cycle touring on 32mm tyres on 15/19rims.
    Electric could be cool with this bike (and mine). The alloy frame suits the smoothness. All the extra battery packs and an electric hook up can be carried in the trailer. You'll have to camp at campsites that offer electricity and charge all your battery packs overnight.
    That BB30 would be a problem if you want to fit a Sick Bike Parts freewheel crank so you can have a geared human-electric hybrid. The SBP freewheel crankset fits on common threaded cartridge type bottom brackets with the old square taper or ISIS spindle, not BB30 as far as I know.

    I haven't seen an example of a throttle on drop handlebars. Perhaps a thumb throttle could work, but it sounds uncomfortable to me. I always cycle tour with flat bars (some with bar ends,/aerobars) anyway so it's not a problem I've looked into.

    I like 4130 cromoly frames for self supported touring bicycles. Alloy is for credit card touring, IMO, and for people who had to get a cheap alloy bike while they're building up their motored bike, haha. :) Steel feels so much nicer.
    Steel seems ideal for the two stroke engine, too, which you probably still have time to get to know by researching here. It might not be legal every place you are traveling through.
    Steel is nice for comfort on a long distance touring bicycle and I think it would be great with electric motor, a nice smooth silent ride. :)
    I like 26 inch wheels. I'm using 26" on the bike I am building up to motorise. Once distance goes over a certain point, the weight of cargo and the certainty of having to ride some bad surfaces means that a wider tyre does make up for its weight in reliability and comfort, IMO, even without the motor. With 26" size I could totally overspec my wheels for durability and not pay much money for them (26" is old hat now). No need to worry about the weight of really heavy duty wheels on my build as I am building a two stroke geared bike for the difficult hills and coastal headwinds.
    But if you want to keep it light and simple, that could be great too. I wouldn't be brave enough to try it but who knows, it might be totally fine even to put a two stroke engine on a light alloy CX bike with a carbon fork.. :)
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  5. Nate888

    Nate888 Member

    that is so cool! yea I'd imagine you definitely need a trailer or else really badass luggage racks

    I'm likely biased according to the set-up I ride at home (keeping to a 20 mile range), but my first thoughts are: have a lot of towing/hailing capacity & bring tools, like a full shop condensed down to 15 to 20 pounds, a full 2nd engine's worth of spare parts (another 25-30lbs). Have it on a really reliable bike good bearings really balance and true Wheels everything set up really robust . And the key is gearing. I'd stay single speed for Simplicity and reliability. For most of your writing I used one of the sprockets the people use for setting maximum top speeds like over 50 except just ride it out at a cruise of 25 and you keep the engine right right at it's max lifespan sweet spot I'm thinking, & build a low rev expansion chamber. But I'm imagining all this for doing it with a China Girl 2 stroke motor, and come to think of it you may well pick a four stroke and have this stuff not be such an issue
  6. FurryOnTheInside

    FurryOnTheInside Well-Known Member

    Four stroke engine requires use of a very wide crank (q factor) probably wider than you can find in a BB30 as they're made for the four stroke kits.

    Single speed left side (2 or 4 stroke engine) drive on a 32 spoke, 11 speed wheel with disc brake requires a "top hat adapter" for the disc rotor mount, plus spacers for the disc rotor and caliper. Some fabrication might be necessary for the caliper spacer.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  7. JunkyardDog

    JunkyardDog Active Member

    Getting any bike, rider, and trailer up long steep hills is going to require a seriously low gear. Too low to be any good for flat roads. You are going to need a shifter bike. You are also going to need a quality 4 stroke engine. Those Chinese crap engines wouldn't come close to lasting that kind of distance. And that Cannondale is not suitable for such a setup. I recommend building the bike, starting with a cromoly steel mountain bike frame for strength, a super strong rear wheel 26x2.125, and a disc front brake if possible. Doesn't matter about the rear, the front does 90+% of the braking. The reason for the strong front brake is going downhill. Check the laws of the states you are going through. Unlike concealed carry permits, there is very little reciprocity between states with regard to motorized bikes. In some states they are not legal at all. Many states allow bicycles to be ridden on the shoulders of freeways, but that does not include motorized bikes. So trying to follow bicycle routes will not usually work on a MB.
  8. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

  9. AquaManAndy

    AquaManAndy Member

  10. AquaManAndy

    AquaManAndy Member

    Get a setup like mine and just use one engine for most of the trip. If you ever need extra power or something happens to you first engine you can run the 2nd engine as backup. And they're 4 strokes so they are reliable.
  11. butre

    butre Well-Known Member

    see if you can build something that'll average 42 and do the bun burner 1500 while you're at it
  12. Steve Best

    Steve Best Well-Known Member

    Ummm, 70 lbs of motors,and where would I put my gear?
    One good reliable motor is always a good way to go.
    If you start with a light motor and good bike you can always pedal.
    My Grubee Skyhawk will haul me and 40 lbs of backpack up any hill in this county with minimal effort pedaling.


    I am a fan of the 2 stroke China Girl, light and powerful with only a few mods.
    Simple is always better so single speed and a 44 or more tooth sprocket to get up the hills.
    Widen the exhaust and intake ports slightly, drill out the stock exhaust flange 3/4" to port match it and cut some squish in the head at 0.030" gap. Use high quality synthetic or a true castor oil at 32:1 and keep your rpm under 8000 to keep the engine reliable. Bring a spare plug and some tools. Replace the chain tensioner bearing with a good brand of bearing. Check the bike over and gear grease and chain lube daily. Spokes, brakes, chain tension and every nut and bolt, every day for all day riding.

    Use the pedals at all time and shut the motor off in towns. For hostile states you can cover the motor up a bit and only use it in remote areas. Stick to secondary roads for your safety and better views. I did a few 100-200 mile runs this summer. The Grubee did it with ease. With motor off pedaling on the easy parts I was getting over 100 miles to a tank of fuel.

    Sounds like a great trip, wish I could join you!
  13. KCvale

    KCvale Motorized Bicycle Vendor

    Easier than what, walking?
    That's a long way in a car on the freeway over the rockies, one hell of a journey on the backroads, especially pulling weight.
    I do happen to build bikes capable of it.

    4-stroke 5-speed internal shifters.


    Gears to help you get up hills and go fast, dual disc brakes to slow you down going down the other side, and you can run them all day long.

    Plan your entire route out including stops with fuel and supplies, I think you'll find it tough when you can't use the freeway.
    Good luck!
  14. FurryOnTheInside

    FurryOnTheInside Well-Known Member

    The spare engine can stay at home or with a friend who can mail it out to the nearest post office and you can pick it up.
    I don't know if the caadx bike with light alloy frame and carbon fork would hold up to the weight and power and clamps of the two stroke or even fit the four stroke engine.
    The caadx isn't a touring bicycle anyway though.

    The OP never told us the budget or how much cargo / rider weight the bike will have to carry / pull.

    Would a walbro style carb be an advantage in crossing over the mountains?
  15. LRSimons

    LRSimons Member

    In my opinion, I'd say to carry an extra engine if you're going the china girl route. For me at least, wrenching on the side of the road with an uncertain outcome is annoying. You can throw the other engine on in ~10 minutes and tinker with the first one when you've made camp. With two engines you should be able to have one going constantly.

    A four stroke would probably be okay with just spare consumables, but could be difficult with your fitment situation. A GEBE/rack mount setup might be worth looking at. Somewhat high cost of admission for the GEBE at least however.

    Sounds like an awesome trip! Is the plan to primarily pedal and use the engine when necessary, or use the engine most of the time and pedal the nice bits? If you're going to be mostly pedaling you'll want some sort of freewheel function for the engine to limit frictional losses. Pedaling with a single speed china girl sucks for more than a mile or two. I pull the chain when I need to pedal somewhere. A centrifugal clutch on the four stroke would take care of this.

    Keep us posted!