Getting started


New Member
Local time
5:51 PM
May 1, 2008

I'm so grateful for this forum and so many others interested in motorizing a bike. We're just getting started in this and could use a little advice/direction.

We both have mountain bikes but we're wanting to trade those for something more comfortable. I particularly like the crank forward/flat foot style bikes because I want the stability to be able to fully stand at stops etc, especially with the engine attached. This would mean we're looking at the likes of the Electra Townies, Trek Pure, or Giant Suede. Is there any reason these wouldn't work with an engine - particularly a GEBE? Most have some sort of alloy frame. Would this be strong enough to add a motor to?

Secondly, I'd like to be able to haul a little gear. I'm not talking hundreds of pounds or anything but enough to be able to make a moderate grocery trip or to be able to go camping. What would be my options for hauling on a motorized bike? Front panniers? Could I use a trailer with a GEBE?

Last question is probably a dumb one and has to do with shifting. Do you still use the bike gears and shift when you're using a motored bike? I'm guessing that this could be dependent on the type of drive (chain, belt, friction). We live in a hilly area and I was figuring on getting a standard 21 speed bike (I read that the Nexus internal shifters/automatic shifters are a no-no for motored bikes) but if for some reason a 7 speed would be better, I could look into those instead.

I know there are several questions here and if they are answered already somewhere else, I'm find if you prefer to post links to the answers. I did searches but many not have known the correct terms to search for to find the answers. Thanks so much in advance!

Any American made bike will be great for your project.

I dunno if you've seen this link, but I'm gonna give it to you anyway:

The trailer all depends on what you have to work with.

As for the gears, some people use derailers on their engine chain. Most seem to keep it on their pedal chain, so they can.... you guessed it, pedal. So obviously, if you wanted to shift while pedaling with the engine, you're more than welcome. You're more than welcome to mount the engine on the front with a rear hub & derailer. Anything's possible if you put your mind to it. And yes, most hubs with internal gears don't work with the engine chain. You could keep the pedal chain on and assist to a certain point, but it can't handle the constant torque apparently. The NuVinci CVP hub is what you want if you're putting this together from scratch with quality parts. It's got dual freewheels for both your pedal & engine driveshafts. It's like a CVT in that it has no gears, but you do still have to shift, but it's smooth... check out that link I sent you, there're videos there! G'luck in your search!
One advantage of having gears on the pedal side; These engines are generally not strong enough to both takeoff from a stop by themselves and still provide good top end performance. So it's handy to have a low gear to pedal when you start, and it's handy to have a good top gear so you can pedal when going up hills.

On my GEBE RS35, It is on a 21 Speed MTB. I keep the back gear on the highest setting. I only need to use 2 of the front gears. 2 to start and 3 for cruise.
As long as it is the standard type gears (ie not internal gears) is it OK to use a chain guard on a bike with an engine? I'd like to not have to worry about getting pants caught in it, etc, etc.