GEBE-supplied kill switch, throttle: not the best

Discussion in 'Rack Mounted Engines' started by AlphaGeek, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. AlphaGeek

    AlphaGeek Member

    Forgive me for stating the obvious, but the throttle and kill button (not even a kill switch) supplied by Golden Eagle are less than impressive. Please note that I love my GEBE kit overall -- I just think that the overall value is undermined by the low quality of the kill button and throttle parts. (My kit: GEBE w/Tanaka PF-3300 2-stroke, upgraded E/V 14ga rear wheel)

    First, the throttle:
    * spring-steel attachment strap does not firmly affix throttle in desired orientation
    * aforementioned strap causes significant scratching to alloy handlebars
    * difficult to find non-interference mount position in relation to Shimano v-brake combo shifter/brake lever assembly (aggressive downshifting pushes lower lever past throttle, where it gets hung up and fails to return)
    * flexing of throttle cable, even at a relatively large bend radius, causes motor to rev (potentially dangerous)

    Since I want to mount my motor further back to accommodate a standard cargo rack (rotated towards rear of bike, pivoting on axis of rear axle) I ordered a longer 74in throttle cable and a better quality control lever from

    The kill button. Oh, the kill button. Where to start?
    * Counting on a bike handlebars/headset/frame as a chassis ground back to the engine is not, IMHO, a great starting assumption. Bike != car/motorcycle/etc.
    * This thing scratched the heck out of my previously black-anodized handlebars during installation -- now I've got zig-zag scratches covering 5-6 inches of the upper surface. Not impressed.
    * Worked for the first day. Failed for several days after that, despite moving it to different spots (more scratches!) and trying different levels of tension on screw. Got a couple of electric shocks from it. Mysteriously started working again in the exact same position/orientation as when it failed.

    Would it really be too expensive to provide a *two* wire kill button that attached the second wire to, say, the lower mounting bracket supporting the engine? That way the user would, generally speaking, never be the preferred path to ground. I would think that would be preferable over intermittent operation and occasional shocks.

    I'm going to try for a nice, clean solution which will wire into the controller on my eBay-sourced brake/turn-signal/horn widget *and* serve as a two-wire kill button for the GEBE motor:

    I don't know yet how much I'll have to modify the above part to get it to (a) fit on my handlebars and (b) wire into everything, but at $10 plus shipping it's a cheap experiment.

    Augi, or anyone else from GEBE reading this: the kill button should be replaced altogether, and the throttle desperately needs a better attachment system. These are not expensive parts, but they're the user interface to a $600 product and should reflect that. An additional $5-10 added to the selling price to cover upgraded controls would not have affected my decision on a $600 purchase. It would, however, have made a HUGE difference in my first-week experience. Until these things are fixed I'm going to have to qualify my recommendations to others with "Well, you'll need to immediately upgrade a few things that come with the kit..."

    As I said at the start of this post, love the kit (GEBE with Tanaka 33cc) but having to replace trivial parts to make it work properly is annoying.


    PS: I *did* greatly appreciate the "secret bonus" of having my drive ring preinstalled on the rear wheel I ordered with my kit. That almost makes up for the other stuff.

  2. sabala

    sabala Guest

    I'd agree with that.

    The throttle and kill switch clamps were way too small for my handlebars. I tossed em out and picked up some hose clamps at the auto store. I read a post here that mentioned doing that, (one of Augie's posts maybe?) so I was kinda expecting that already. I would expect them to upgrade that in the future, actually I can't imagine any handlebars those things will fit on... so they must be getting complaints about it?

    I haven't had any issues with the actual kill switch though. I press it and it dies every time.

    Another small thing that would make this kit totally perfect is to be able to mount to the frame instead of axle right outta the box. I know some people have made adapters but that's a little out of my realm of expertise! It would sure make taking the wheel off easy.

    But, yeah those little things do bring down the kit grade from an A to A- and still very minor issues.

    Otherwise pretty freakin' awesome! I love mine and can't wait for the engine to break in so I can really test it out! :grin:
  3. JemmaUK

    JemmaUK Guest


    Its true that they arent the best quality in the world but they work adequately if you set them up right. This may entail thinking *before* you fit them up.

    Re the kill switch - it needs a good contact to ground and that is not gonna be provided for if the bars or whatever you affix it to is covered in paint. Either replace the bars with non painted ones or accept that there is paint you will *have* to remove to make it work. More to the point on any vehicle fitted with such - the kill switch will earth the ignition through the electrical earth mass of the body/frame/chassis because that is the only method available.

    If I had the money to spare I probably would replace the throttle assm, but I will only do that if it breaks on me - its perfectly fit for purpose so far as I am concerned and I have had no problems with it with either of the bikes I have fitted up using the GEBE kit.

    Jemma xx
  4. rossfree

    rossfree Member

    I agree that the parts are on the cheap side but they have worked well enough for me.

    A note on anodized aluminum... Anodizing creates a layer of hard aluminum oxide on the surface of your part. By it's nature, aluminum oxide is a lousy conductor and this is what you have likely experienced with the kill switch.

    Scratching off the anodized area below the switch may solve the problem though it assumes that the mating components elsewhere that may also be anodized have resolved to create a good conductive path back to the engine. I know that scratching off the anodizing is not high on your "happy list."

    Thus you are left with finding a two wire momentary switch that will weather ok and coming up with a way to mount it. That or finding another off the shelf kill switch that fits your needs. There's probably something out there if you look hard enough.

    Frankly, I don't know how ANY bike engine manufacturer can claim universal fit on the staggering number of bike models on the market. That the GEBE fits most bikes is impressive in itself.

    One can argue that the placement of the GEBE engine eliminates the possibility to put a rack behind your seat for carrying things. But the kit is simple enough that modifications are reasonably doable with a little inginuity and time.

    If you find something of better quality please share your results with us. I too would like to make the improvements if the price is right.

    Happy trails,

  5. augidog

    augidog New Member

    i don't envy those who have the complicated "cluster" of shifters and such...locating the throttle can be a real pain. since i don't have anything in my way, i cut a 3/8" wide by 3/4" deep groove in my right-hand grip to accept the throttle body, & slid the strap under the grip. cable-routing is important,'s action is so smooth that steering will flex it if ya don't get everything set just so.

    kill-switch: huh...compared to what i've seen on other offerings, i find it to be of good quality, but it admittedly isn't ideal for every situation. to make a "2-wire" switch out of it, put a "grounding wire" under the switch strap before mounting it, then run it to your frame, bypassing anything like coatings or bearings that may be affecting conductivity.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  6. flyer1

    flyer1 Guest

    I understand you're desire to move the engine back to fit a carrier, but would not recommend it, I don't think the motor will run properly.I know the manufacturers say they can run in any position, but not full-time like that.
  7. AlphaGeek

    AlphaGeek Member

    A few things to think about:

    GEBE has at least one (and possibly more) pictures of bikes with exactly this setup on their website.

    GEBE, by my understanding, originally shipped the Tanaka kits with the motor oriented straight up, which made it difficult to completely fill the 22oz fuel tank. They now ship the Tanaka motors with the cylinder 90 degrees forward (pointed towards bike seat) to ease fueling. It's probably safe to assume that the motor works fine in both orientations.

    Swinging the mount down towards the back of the wheel on my bike will result in a roughly 50-degree change in the orientation of the engine relative to the ground. This just about splits the difference between the original and current cylinder angles, which should work just fine.

    If the desired mounting position had ended up with the fuel tank sloping down towards the filler end, I would be planning to unbolt and rotate the motor 90 degrees on its mounts to compensate. However, as this is not the case, I do not anticipate any issues with the fuel pickup running dry.

    I'll be sure to post before/after pictures when I change my setup this weekend.

  8. AlphaGeek

    AlphaGeek Member

    Only so many ways to skin a cat, I guess -- that's the setup I'm using with my current (original) Giant grips that I didn't mind cutting up. However, I'm not satisfied with the amount of flex at 100% throttle -- there's no definitive stop to the travel that tells me I'm at WOT, especially with gloves on. I'm going to upgrade to Ergon grips this weekend ( at which point I am definitely going to have to come up with a much more secure mounting system for the throttle.

    I'm thinking about tapping a couple of small holes into the bottom of my brake/shifter housing and fabricating an angled bracket to mount the throttle housing, eliminating the strap. I'll post pics if I end up doing this.

    Yes, I'm capable of doing that -- but my point was that I shouldn't have to. Also, getting a nice AC shock from the kill switch would certainly not pass any reasonable consumer-equipment safety test. To reiterate, I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that a $600 kit ship with a two-wire kill switch that doesn't include *me* as a likely path to ground.

    Realistically, though, I recognize that GEBE is motivated to keep parts costs down. Therefore, I submit that the following would be a superior alternative to the current metal-bodied kill button, and could be sourced at low cost from overseas just like the current unit:

    Note the waterproof housing which keeps the user out of the ground path.

    Mine just has to keep working long enough for me to design my turn-signal and lighting system, then I'll install the control cluster referenced in my original post and do away with the GEBE kill/shock button. :)

  9. augidog

    augidog New Member

    just checkin' something: adjustment, engine off. when idle, throttle should be sitting on idle-screw, housing slack should be adjusted to almost snug. while wot, pull on the cable-housing where it enters the carby-adjuster...if there's movement, you're losing out on some topend.


    ok, i'll tellya why i'm i had more gebe riders join me here in town, we started joking about that very thing. i was squeezin' that trigger so hard i was actually bending the bracket at the carby...gotta have my WOT!!! then we noticed everyone was doin' it, hehe...

    but, take a minute to watch the trigger/throttle ratio to see that all you need at any point is the lightest of i ride around with maybe one finger or my thumb (i can rotate/reposition the grip/throttle on the fly) just layin' on the trigger, another finger on the brake-lever...once i lightened up, i could feel the whole range of travel, the trigger will be WOT when it's almost parallel with the bars, look at the throttle plate to see. no need to be scrunchin' down any harder on it...after you find the way you want to mount the throttle, give this some time and let me know what you think.

    now, this one here isn't ever gonna be a sticking point for you and i, i agree that improvements come from feedback, yours has been honest and fair, therefore it's also valid.

    i'm going to be asking about the source of the current switch, and don't wanna say anything about it until i'm sure. but, as far as kill-switches go, it truly is a dependable one by the numbers, and it also is the best 1-wire ks any of us here have seen in a any mb-kit from anyone. i'm not sure if you have any other kits as reference, so i'm just sayin'...

    i think gebe isn't about prioritizing "keeping parts cost low" so much as configuring a combination of parts that contains the highest percentage of highest quality components...i'm sure you've noticed by now that the made in usa mounts and drive-components are much stronger than they appear, made with pride, and obviously more costly than similar parts of other kits. so, i guess it's a matter of going for the best switch they can offer, but prioritizing the switch itself as one item that doesn't have to be top-shelf, making room for more quality in higher-priority components.

    but i don't see a problem with always being on the lookout for new upgrades at a cost the buyer can bear, or that can be added when volume can keep the cost the same. a 2-wire switch that's at least as good as the 1-wire we offer surely isn't a bad idea...consider this tho...assembly of all the loose parts takes place in the lansing shop, notice that someone did a nice job of integrating the switch into the kit, pretty much easy to understand, with sturdy wiring. if the kit was upgraded to a 2-wire ks, i'm sure you realize gebe would install a grounding "pigtail" on the mount, and it would be nice, too, with the proper terminals. this would prolly double the amount of time needed to install the ks. point being, labor is an oft-forgotten issue, and there's never a realistic way to NOT add the extra labor onto the total cost.

    over time, you'll come to really appreciate dennis' way of thinking...4000 miles from now, when everything's still right where you installed it, and you've not replaced anything but maybe a belt, yer gonna be so forgetting about the switch that didn't quite do it for you on your particualr build ;)

    convenience & aesthetics aside, the reader should note: as this topic illustrates, each build presents different conditions, but if installed electrically properly, (i.e. conductivity is allowed from bars thru coating thru bearings to frame) the current KS has been statistically a good performer, and noone has died :)

    the tanaka 2-strokes will run in ANY position. the robin-subaru 4-strokes MUST be level or durn near.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2008
  10. Hive

    Hive Guest

    Engine Position

    Curious now.

    I thought all of these engines, that is, the mini Honda, Tanaka, Robin type four- and two-stroke motors, were/are trimmer (and pump) motors, designed to be run in any position, as some seem to be.

    The further back the engine is mounted, meaning tilted rearward from perpendicular, the greater is the effect of sway or reaction against the gyro effect that keeps the rig upright and the greater the instability cornering or when deviating from straight path?

    More to the topic. The spring tension in the switch can cause it not to function properly, at least that happened to me. Also, using a stainless hose clamp requires a bit of bending to get it to operate properly ...
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2008
  11. AlphaGeek

    AlphaGeek Member

    Actually, I'm looking forward to lowering the center of gravity of my bike, as it's a bit top-heavy with the motor mount oriented straight up. Swinging it down and to the back will help with that quite a lot, with the result being some small amount of weight off the front tire, but not enough to matter.

    The gyro effect is from the mass of the wheels spinning -- unaffected by the position of the motor other than its energy input into the system. I doubt that tiny piston & crankshaft spinning at 8Krpm constitute a significant gyroscopic force on their own. :)

    Stock switch is, for now, working OK. (Translation: hasn't shocked me lately and generally turns off the motor on demand.) Still planning to replace it with something better, but planning to do so in conjunction with a complete electrical system build including proper headlight(s), LED turn signals, etc., all selected for compact size and high efficiency.

  12. Hive

    Hive Guest

    Motor Angle

    It, destabilization, occurs when you move off straight line travel.

    Even with engine in vertical drive position, if you zig-zag down a paved road, the bike will tend to destabilize a bit due to the engine position which moves the center of gravity rearward, at least it did for me, particularly if you have a spring front or shock fork - a sort of delayed whiplash effect; moreover, it can be "wiggly" enough to cause some very serious handling problems. Optimum is close to rider between wheels.

    Then too, you have to consider filling the gas tank and checking the oil, if a 4-stroke.

    Now, it time to go fishing...
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2008
  13. vegaspaddy

    vegaspaddy Member

    i was wondering were you had been for the last couple of weeks....
  14. oldguy

    oldguy New Member

    I agree that the kill switch and throttle do not live up to the rest of the GEBE set up. The kill switch band snapped when I first tried to install it. An easy fix for that was to replace the band with two small zip ties. That has worked well and I have moved the set-up to another bike and it works fine. I am still trying to find something to replace the throttle set up. I get thumb cramps trying to hold it for long periods. Also the clip does not hold the throttle well. Will continue to look for a good replacement.
  15. Hive

    Hive Guest

    Throttle and Kill Switch Clamps

    I replaced the GEBE supplied clamps immediately with appropriately sized SS hose clamps.

    Then I bought a throttle which would stay at speed, but decided it was not effective for emergency stops, so I switched to a sprung Sinz brake lever that is pictured here

    It requires hand pressure but shuts down when released to brake etc.

    If you want the former, I sent it free to a member and if he is not using it, maybe he will send to you. It does require the rider make a deliberate move to shut down, so it could be a liability.
  16. AlphaGeek

    AlphaGeek Member

    Nice build.

    When I upgraded my grips to Ergon GP-L's last weekend, I went ahead and solved the throttle problem at the same time -- using the stock GEBE throttle, if you can believe it. (I'll post pictures at some point.)

    I started by determining exactly where I wanted the throttle to mate up with the handlebars. Then (after removing the spring clip from the throttle) I used a scratch awl to mark where the hole in the bottom of the throttle assembly lined up with the handlebars while holding it in my preferred mounting position. I then drilled and (carefully) tapped the hole for a fine-thread metric bolt. A matching short bolt was used to secure the throttle assembly to the handlebars.

    I am about 1000% happier with the stock GEBE throttle now that it's firmly mounted. I find that I've largely gotten used to the slight interference between the throttle housing and the thumb shifter on my right v-brake/shifter cluster -- limits me to downshifting two gears at a time, no big deal.

    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008