Before You Motorize, Think Smart

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Hive, Apr 6, 2011.

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  1. Hive

    Hive Guest

    I have long thought to put this up here.

    You are or are thinking of going biking on a motored bike. That means you plan to ride a bicycle, made for pedaling, even if a high priced MTB, powered by a gas or electric power plant.

    The motor will take you and the bike to speeds exceeding 15 mph, generally, on a bicycle made to travel at much lower average speed.

    Consider the stress on the bicycle's components and what it will take to stop you and your bike at speed...going faster is one thing, stopping fast is quite another. When necessary to stop fast, nothing else comes in to play but stopping.

    Think about it.

    So, with all the possible problems inherent with a motored bike, problems that could harm you and others, why do some people consider and actually buy cheap bicycles offered by big-box sellers for use with a motor?

    You ever wonder why (some goofy) regulations and laws come to be written?

    Think about it, before you do it.

    If you decide to motor a bike, use your brains and do it sensibly.


  2. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    I have to agree. I have stated this on here at times, too, but I feel that people are just trying to get out as cheap as possible. I remember when these Chinese motors were $89 & people bought $59 bikes to put them on !!!
  3. professor

    professor Active Member

    That is why I tell guys to have 2 "v" brakes as a minimum.
    When I rode motorcycles, I would PRACTICE panic stops.
    Try that with a coaster brake.
  4. forget the v brakes. i have them on the rear but as i have learnt from motorbikes 80% of the braking is solely done by the front brake system so therefore i have fitted a disk brake system to mine to allow a bit more braking. it isnt on my pics at the moment as i have stripped the bike for some tlc. also have some uprated tyres to allow as mountain bike tyres are not suited so some road tyres extra thick make it more stable and less chance of shredding tyres and brakes. have noticed that the rear v brake pads leave a black mark on the rear wheel so they have been uprated aswell. found racing bike pads work well aswell.
  5. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    It's a good reminder. And it should be repeated again and again and again. (Okay, with just a bit of a breather in-between.)

    Even fairly expensive bikes shouldn't be subjected to the forces that a gasoline engine is capable of producing when ridden fast.

    My answer to that is to just ride them not all that much faster than I'd ride a pedal bike.
    I might occasionally go 20 mph for short stretches on good, smooth pavement. But my average speed over several miles is about 12 mph.

    Those who must go faster really should get a motorcycle. An older, name brand, 400cc or so can be had for about the cost of, say, a GEBE kit and bicycle. I'd rather have the bicycle (this from someone with an awful lot of motorcycle miles, and no regrets, behind me). But if I just had to go faster, then I'd choose the motorcycle.
  6. Htown

    Htown Member

    Mountain bikes are designed to go much faster than 15 mph, though +25 would be a stretch unless you are talking some extreme downhill models. Cruisers I think would encapsulate your point.
  7. Skyliner70cc

    Skyliner70cc Active Member

    I disagree somewhat. Both of my shifter kit motorized bikes are from big box stores. One was purchased from K-mart and the other from Walmart (Schwinn Searcher and Schwinn Skyliner). Both have performed flawlessly no issues what so ever. Frame is steel and built well with solid welds, suspension fork is great, and brakes stop on a dime (v brakes).

    After 3 years, I did loose the factory bike chain. It broke and spit itself out while on a ride. The new Shram chain is working great.

    I caution folks to be careful about being heavy on your front brakes. Where I live, there is tons of loose dirt on the side of roads where bikers typically ride and front braking is used but minimally to avoid a spill.
  8. retromike3

    retromike3 Member

    thinking Vs. bleeding

    I am using a modified mountain bike frame and derailleurs and V brakes. As for speed my top speed on a mountain bike was about sixty chasing a Alfa Romeo down a twisty hill in Portland OR. I had set my pedal bike with V brakes and small 26 by 1.5 tires. when I pulled up to him at a red light he turned and looked at me and said "do you know how fast you were going?" he seemed amazed. For me it was just a matter of control and to look at where you want to go instead of where you hope you wont go.

    Something I do is before I hop on my motor bicycle is check my brake pads I seem to blow through them fairly regularly. I like the Kool Stop pads because they seem to work better but are harder to adjust to keep from squealing. They used to make them in Oregon but I am not sure anymore. lately I have been having to check the wear on my rear tire because I seem to skid them a bit more since I have motorized them. So far I have gone through as many rear tires as motors on my bike(I am hoping that this is the last motor for a long time.)

    I have always felt that if you go with a cheep bike to start with than you are asking for trouble. I have gone faster and farther on my road bikes than I have gone on my current motor bicycle. I used to do the spring century on my old Trek touring bike and when I would tour to Bend from Portland it was grate fun to bomb down the Santiam pass into Sisters.

    For me if you start with good equipment that is one more thing you don't have to worry about. I like using mountain bike equipment because it is built for the abuse that you have in off road riding. I am not referring to the Walmart, Cosco versions, but Real mountain bikes. My current motor bicycle is a old Scott frame with suntour cranks and Shimano derailleurs and V brake clones. Its strong and reliable and its fun to ride without the motor. so with the motor its a gas! Kind of like my bionic bicycle, I can rebuild it to go farther and faster than my puny self.

  9. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    I agree with you that we should put safety above style, performance and economics. However, a huge part of the appeal and success of motorized bicycles is low initial cost.
  10. Richard H.

    Richard H. Member

    True that and it's what I did for a dependable commute worthy ride and something that could be used on 40+ mph minimum speed highways. I picked up a Honda 250 enduro mc and had a hard time choosing that over an older but clean 650 Suzuki.... both in the price range of a decent bicycle and Gebe kit.
  11. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    Sorry, I couldn't find anything made that goes the speed I go, gets 150 mpg, and cost under $3,000. I guess I'm stuck with a motoredBike.
  12. Hive

    Hive Guest

    Riding and Thinking Smart

    There is a maxim used by good lawyers, "Do not create bad law."

    A subtle point here, some forget. Going 60 may seem showy and fun, pushing the envelope, but what about the rest of us if something serious happens, or you encounter a seriously conservative law enforcement person or citizen, who decides what you are doing is not to their liking?

    A motor on your bicycle is an assist, as Neon notes below...we do not want powered bikes classified as motorcycles with all that baggage.

    There are lots of conservative people too willing to tell the rest of us what to do. Next thing you know, you have a fine to pay, or a choice to fight the fine, or worse, and an ignorant lawmaker looking to make hay on your head, proposes bad law. (Think Kansas, California or Oklahoma, but there are other states with equally bad laws.)

    (These comments are just a reminder about using common sense to prevent a lot of grief.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2011
  13. Neon

    Neon Member

    I always thought that motors were originally for ASSIST only. Making them legal most everywhere. Not for full on self power. Something that makes life just a little easier for the average bicyclist. Something that would take a bicycle to no more than 20 mph. Seems reasonable and probably wouldn't put too much stress on even an inexpensive bicycle. And standard equipment was usually fine. I've always looked at the pedals on a bicycle as something to create forward motion not foot rests. But anyway if you plan to go fast you probably should make sure you can stop almost as fast and make sure everything is beefed up to the point of overkill. Probably the best choice of brakes being disk brakes. Not necessarily in the rear but in the front for sure. With front suspension forks the problems with lockup seemed to have been lessened at least they have for me.
  14. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    Dual brakes are really needed - you can't make the point enough. Look - every time you double your speed, the amount of work needed to stop is quadrupled! The amount of energy the frame has to handle on bumps, potholes, and the like is also quadrupled.

    IMO, the general rule of thumb is to get the best equipment, especially brakes, you can afford, and don't go faster than the equipment you have can safely handle.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  15. Neon

    Neon Member

    I'm sorry for not being clear enough on my last post. I think that rear brakes are still needed but they don't necessarily have to be disk. A good set of V-Brakes is usually good. The superior braking of a disk brake is not normally needed. I say this because most people i have run across use their rear brakes only. What they normally get is the rear wheel locking up and reducing the effect of brakes anyway. Perhaps some sort of ABS is needed on bicycles as well
  16. Hive

    Hive Guest

    Brains Needed to Motor a Bicycle

    Not to hijack, but it must be noted: at speed, clamping front brake can mean head over bar spills...

    Re Brains, once the idea of how to use a motored bike without creating havoc, a good plan and search here for how to information is the next step.

    It can be argued that those who think horsepower first, have the bike thing wrong way around.
  17. Neon

    Neon Member

    Yes locking the front wheel and flying over the bars is very easy to do with a rigid fork. Not as easy to do with suspension forks due to weight transfer but still not impossible i will admit.
    Rear wheel lockup doesn't usually result in great speed reduction either. increased tire wear in one spot, yes.
    Both brakes are needed to be truly effective.

    There is never any substitute for common sense when driving anything. But yet we all seem to lose it at some point or another, and that is usually when accidents happen.

    Horsepower is always nice to have, but won't make up for substandard equipment.

    I am going to shut up now .