Complete Newbie, Need Some Advice

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Jarod Bridge, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. Jarod Bridge

    Jarod Bridge New Member

    Hey guys! 100% new to even owning a bicycle. My car recently blew up on me and I'm looking to try out a motorized bicycle.

    Couple details about where I live first :
    West Virginia. Snow, ice, hills, all that good stuff.

    I don't have a motorcycle license, so I am stuck at 49cc or under as far as motors go.
    Considering ice and snow, I know fatter tires mean more traction, which means less bruises during the upcoming winter. Given my rural area I will more than likely be using the side of roads and occasionally going into grass and over railroad tracks. The engine I'll hopefully be using is a 49cc Flying Horse 4 Stroke (Due to pure gas convenience) which is below.

    On to the bikes :

    The first bike I found was a Mongoose Dolomite, which I've seen modified in all kinds of ways thanks to google.

    The second bike is a Panama Jack Cruiser, which is thin wheel, so less traction, more apparent death.

    My question for you guys, and treat me like a kindergarten kid here, is can a 49cc engine pull either of those bikes up and down slight grades. I only weigh ~150lbs. More importantly, can I even put the engine on either of them? If it would be possible I would rather do the Mongoose due to the tire and winter being right on me.

    I do not have welding skills/tools.
    I have VERY limited experience working on my car, but have some tools and know how to use them.
    I once put an IKEA table together by putting the legs on the top before realizing what I'd done.

    I'm trying to be as cheap as possible with this, given I need transport and quite literally only have $300 from my car. 2-stroke, 4-stroke, any bike, let me know what works for you guys; maybe even your full build I could copy.

    Throw your thoughts at me guys. Help me out here.

  2. Holly

    Holly Member

    2 stroke will be cheaper. As far as the bike you choose you will have to check the measurements of the frame or like I did do research and choose a bike that others have already had success with. Also gears, if you breakdown and have to peddle 5 miles home you will need them. Especially if this is your first build. I promise you'll be peddling a bit while you work out the kinks. I found a 7 speed cruiser at Walmart for $99. That the engine and the few tools I didn't already have and I'm still under $300 on bike.

    I weigh 145 lbs and have a few really steep hills to climb to get back and forth to town. I have no problem maintaining speed. I haven't used it in the winter, only a couple rainy days and no problems.

    My only complaint would be having to answer questions everywhere I go because people think it's cool. (Literally everywhere just about)

    This is a pic of my bike. The bike had the factory stickers but I removed them all before I left the store.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
  3. Holly

    Holly Member

  4. Holly

    Holly Member

  5. KCvale

    KCvale Motorized Bicycle Vendor

    #1 stay away from the crap kits!
    This is where you can get the good stuff
    Get a Real 4-G transfer case which is what it is all about anyway as the engines are all the same.


    Just a tip.
  6. Jarod Bridge

    Jarod Bridge New Member

    Oh my gosh I wasn't expecting this much information! Thank you guys!

    So Bike Berry has the "Cheapest Prices Around"... Heh.

    So on a bike, what is the difference between 2-stroke and 4-stroke besides the gas input? I'm assuming to beat the gas-oil of a 2-stroke, just have a quart of oil in my backpack?

    Also, what if I somehow manage to get pulled over going down the road? How do I prove I've got a 49cc engine?
  7. jaguar

    jaguar Well-Known Member

    peak horsepower on a 4 stroke is generally half of that of a 2 stroke given the same cc
  8. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Well-Known Member


    Dolomite, no modification needed with a jackshaft. I suggest jackshafting the bike, you will be able to get up the hills, and the big tires will get you across all the worst terrain. I can handle snow with my 3 inch wide tires with stock tire tread, pick up some super knobby for snow and some slicks for good days and you're set. Or pick up some mid range tires for year round use, which is what I do. Only seem to need to replace a tire once a year they get pretty good use with the crap roads we have.

    Proving it's a 49cc is as easy as saying it is, unless the motor is clearly marked as larger there is no evidence that it is larger, and therefore they can't take it for being larger unless they can get a search warrant and an impounding permit from a judge, wont happen trust me unless you got warrants on you but then you have other problems to worry about.

    4 stroke or 2, some people sway one way, others sway the other. I like my loud punchy full of pep fast small motor, others like their reliable quiet no need to hurry and easy to maintain 4 strokes, even if they suck.

    Guess it rolls out to what you want from the motor long run, lots of power but continuous (cheap) easy maintenance, or less power but with better life expectancy with slightly more expensive repairs that are usually more complicated and hard to diagnose.

    If it wasn't for all the higher speed roads and retarded drivers between me and my job I might have went 4 stroke.
    Holly likes this.
  9. Holly

    Holly Member

    Great looking bike!
    libranskeptic likes this.
  10. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Well-Known Member

    His bike is rather infamous in this area, probably not a single motorized bicycle rider who doesn't recognize it around here. Astetics also mean more to him than most, unlike me, who likes the run over by a rusty garbage truck look, also helps deter would be thieves.
  11. Holly

    Holly Member

    That's a good look too! I can appreciate the aesthetics of both.
  12. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Well-Known Member

    It must be at least half assed good looking, even if it was a lumpy ass... Get compliments on it all the time. Go. Figure.
    Holly likes this.
  13. libranskeptic

    libranskeptic Member

    Not really a reply to u sir, Just sayin, the bike snap illustrates 2 fundamentals for me:

    The motor is a tight squeeze in that frame. I would opt for less style & MORE SPACE.

    NB, u have to stop too. Caliper I could live with on the back, but on front, w/ extra speed & weight of a MB, disks with the larger disk rotor (20%+ better stopping) on front seems very wise. NB also, caliper rim brakes wear/weaken the rims in time of course. Sounds a hassle.

    Front Disks are a function of the front forks. They must have mountings etc. integrated in them. I gather its hard to find in this style bike.

    I can see this as a comfortable ride due to mass, but a recycled steel or alloy MTB would work fine and save ~10kg.

    You dont have any gears , so motor torque may trump power re hills.

    The good news is, u will be surprised at the money u save if u pass on a car. Folks dont realise the constant costs til they stop.

    Know the real enemy. Above 15mph, by far, the greatest resistance is from wind.

    If a pull start adds cost/hassle/weight, it seems mostly optional to me. Just pedal>jump start it.

    4 stroke does mean u simply fill at the pump. Mixing oil sounds a hassle.

    4 stroke may have more torque? Confirm anybody?

    Those chain drives are a vicious accident waiting to happen. Think about a guard. Think about a good joining link in the chain. maybe advantageous to easily disconect it so can pedal like a normal bike better in a jam.

    Think about a bit of electric wiring. One decent battery for all the lights sounds less hassle & cheaper than multiple packs, or at least standardise on one rechargeable cell type, like 18650, so e.g. 2 spare charged cells suffices for 4 lights, & one charger & procedure. Maybe contrive to just charge in situ where u park the bike - simple.

    An electric jacket & gloves sure sounds good to me if its cold, but i gotta get to work. Again, a single battery & wiring loom sounds good. Maybe Even a little generator for extra charge is a simple matter now.

    u can simplify by ignoring tail lights. thats easy w/ common dry cells & $2 red led flashers. Focus on the handle bar area & Worry about wired tail lights later.

    OTH, helmet lights are good too.

    Its the batteries for all this good stuff that is the expensive hassle, so my point being, if u agree, it needs thought. to make 1 good battery suit all, u gotta think about volts etc. of devices being compatible, and choosing your accessories correctly.

    Whats your plan b if u break down? Will it fit in u buddies car? Just saying, my plan b is the back seat of a cab for my ebike, so a light mtb w/ qik release front rim appeals to me. It means i dont have to stress about a repair kit for a roadside repair thats bound not to work anyway. i will simply worry when and if it happens. its worked for almost a generation now.

    Doable on a car bike rack too. Not too heavy.

    speaking of plan b, where do you see pedaling coming in? I dont think pedaling this 20km home is a plan b. On a mtb, with the motor chain removed, riding home would be ok in a jam. Pedal assist is a surprisingly handy supplement/backup at times. What it lacks in power, it has in torque. Just a little extra when motor is really grunting (lacking torque) on a hill, makes a disproportionate difference, w/o being sweat inducing.

    I have been there for many years (no car, broke, a long , regular and important commute (visit kids)). A piece of crap 25cc brushcutter motor friction drive MTB- awful torque on hills, but damn good wheels really. The only gear of the 24 gears i used was the lowest one - on hills that stumped the motor, but here is the thing, the motor still did most of the work, it was really light pedaling, it just put the motor in a more comfortable rpm range & between us, the hill was no problem.

    an important thing for many workers is to never HAVE to get sweaty. as above, pedaling a bit doesnt have to mean sweaty.

    You dont mention the distance of your commute as i recall?

    Dunno, I am a noob w/ these types of bike too, but i suspect clutch is critical. a crappy clutch will drive you nuts. the engine must disengage fully, easily operated and maintained, and reliable. Maybe hydraulic is good if it exists. Cable arrangements often seem crappy and stiff. I think others are saying the same in other terms/contexts - reduction box etc.
    Its the transmission as much as the motor, maybe more so.

    The good news mate, is i am confident u will love it.

    A big surprise i think, will be that it really is point to point transport, and how pleasant and time saving that is. U dont circle looking for a spot in the lot, park, lock, walk to shop etc. U ride to his stoop, lean it, & stroll 20 feet to the counter. U realise so much of driving is waiting and detours, almost all of which simply disappear, when u are not the size of a parking space any more, more similar to a pedestrian, with most of the options, and much faster when the coast is clear.

    personally, i would prefer innofensive accoustics. i want good vibes from folks, not annoyed ones.

    if u opt for a 4 stroke, do several qik oil changes, til no metal filings glint in the drain pan in sunlight.
  14. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Well-Known Member

    Well batteries, it depends on how big a battery you want to carry. You don't even need compatibility across several devices, just plop in a buck/booster and adjust it to your specific needs. I now have an 18 volt ni-cad bucked to 12, which runs all my 12 volt led lights, I could easily put a second one in in parallel dropping it to 5, put a female USB plug on it, and tap it for charging my phone.

    Working on putting a heavier but much more powerful 12 volt sla in place of the ni-cad, it has almost 4 times the capacity and doesn't need to be regulated to work on my lights, that leaves me with a spare buck/booster, thinking about that usb plug.

    I helped a friend once who didn't have a motorized bike but wanted to drag several 12v sla deep cycles around for powering a sound system and motorcycle lights. We cut up a kid tag along thing, you know the kind they ride and pedal behind you with so they get tired and you have to pedal you and them home. Well we cut the bars short to act as turn signal holders, then the seat removed and welded in a crate like box and reinforced it from the axle joints with bars. The 6 sla batteries and motorcycle radio sat in the box, and wire harnesses set up to be routed through an old hose from the box to the front where the appropriate wires could be diverted off. Worked crazy good and if one had a motor you wouldn't even notice the extra weight.
  15. libranskeptic

    libranskeptic Member

    A quick and dirty fix that occurred to me is to just use replaceable lantern 6v batteries, if not too hungry with headlights.

    close enough to nice, standard usb 5v.

    led dolphin lights work fine forever using them

    pretty decent bike lights work on 2.5w. What do you think? would it be practical?

    yes, i considered buckS, cool devices, must read up on them.

    The upshot Jarad, it seems, is cheap (search aliexpress etc. - scads of them, very cheap) lights work on ~any voltage u connect to, 12v-48v say. ie, they include a buck adaptor/voltage transformer in their circuitry.

    so with reasonable confidence you could get a seemingly foolishly high volt pack like an 18v power tool battery pack, & connect these lights. maybe a used battery that cant cut it on a worksite, would be ok for a few lo power lights?
  16. libranskeptic

    libranskeptic Member

    My aesthetic is bigger than yours :) .
  17. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Well-Known Member

    It doesn't take too much wattage to be seen effectively, most viewing is done from behind, white lights use the most power but tend to be the most ignored light on the road, seems like blue/green is the most eye attracting in all Light conditions.

    A strange or unique light arrangement tends to grab the eye better too, the triangular shape of my headlight I find doesn't go unnoticed. The 1.5 wide led strip of constant on red led on the back also seems to work. I also wear bright yellow with reflective white stripes, and reflective tape on helmet in a design that doesn't match up with the usual road variety of seen things.

    Not sure what my current wattage is, it can't be much though thinking about it. I use a 1.8 amp cap 18volt battery. I get a lot of use from it, I have 2,swap it out from bike to charger every ride max once a day. Picked 18 volt because for one, I could bring the voltage as much as 15 volts without damaging my lights, that just makes it brighter. Second is because I hated the drill anyways and recieved a nice li-ion drill in the 20v type for Christmas. As soon as I opened the package the 18v ended up in the back of the garage in a junk box (it was from harbor freight, what could you expect)

    The power converter I used is a drok, I had it laying around after I installed a phone charger into my grandmother's golf cart, it uses a propane tank but has a 24 volt electric system for its reverse function, I bought 2 incase one was a dud and being I would be 120 miles from home I didn't want to deal with sh*t. Also figured if it went well I would have something to toy with and I was right.

    I actually cut the top end of the drill off with a hack saw, wrapped the remaining handle and battery in aluminum foil with extra long wires on the output soldered in, then lined my case with aluminum foil, and set the battery/handle in and filled the gap with great stuff spray foam. Let it cure for a day and trimmed what I didn't need. Result was a perfect holder for the battery which just clicks into place and stays secure. And comes out just as nicely for swapping.

    Definitely go with drok, they make several kinds that can be adjusted via a small screw and are weather resistant, they also don't chew up a ton of amps during the conversion which is of course very nice.

    Never heard of dolphin led, I just use cheapo led strip lights of the 12volt variety from eBay, nice how I can pick the color I need from red blue green or any combo, I use red green no resistors to make a yellow like color for my turn signals, red of course for rear lights, and all three for white, doesn't get much more complicated than that.
  18. Frankenstein

    Frankenstein Well-Known Member

    I have no aesthetic value whatsoever it almost feels. Strong PA Dutch blood, we grew up with function over fashion. I think the aesthetic line gets drawn just after using deodorant and brushing my teeth, beyond that don't bother asking it won't happen. :)
  19. KCvale

    KCvale Motorized Bicycle Vendor

    Not bigger than mine though ;-}

  20. libranskeptic

    libranskeptic Member

    Not confusing it with "prosthetic" are you?