Getting the base bike prepped and realized...


Local time
12:20 AM
Jun 3, 2008
Chicago 'burbs
I started prepping my base bike (A Trek 920 mountain bike) for its eventual conversion to an MAB. Here's what I've done so far and some mental notes that I made or thoughts that I have.

I replaced my big a** knobbie tires with some 1.25" wide Forte' Fast City ST/K tires and what a difference it made in the rolling resistance! Like night and day! For a street-driven commuter this will make a big difference whether I'm pedaling or running on the engine. I'm guessing that this will be good for a MINIMUM of 3mph gain in speed.

1 - I bought and mounted a $15 Hurricane pump from Performance that actually works pretty well! I used it to fill my tires up to 50 PSI before I resorted to my compressor to bring them up between 80 and 90 PSI - certainly 50 PSI would get me home in the event of a flat though. When mounting this it was best to mount it on the down tube, as opposed to the seat post tube. The down tube already had a water bottle (gas bottle soon!) cage there that had to be removed, as well as screws on the seat post tube. Well, these screws did NOT want to come out! I was able to get the ones on the seat post tube out without stripping the allen heads on them, but the ones that were holding the water bottle cage were non-negotiable! I broke out my dremmel with the good cutting wheel on it and cut slots into the screws for a big slotted screwdriver. This allowed me (barely!) to get them out. When I installed the pump bracket and reinstalled the water bottle cage, I put some anti-sieze on the threads...don't want to go through that nightmare again!

2 - I need to give this bike a good going over. Here are some areas that I think need attention:

Since the back hub will be replaced with a whole new wheel when I order my Staton kit, I'm going to ignore that for now, but the front hub needs to be gone through completely. It doesn't roll the way I want it to.

I'm also going to replace the plastic pedals with something better.

I will also have to make the gearing substantially taller if I plan on being able to pedal at 35 mph with the engine. I thought about going to a crank with just one sprocket on it (instead of the 3 that are on there now) and losing the front derailer, but I'm not real sure what that would really gain me. I'm still up in the air about that.

I will likely mount some type of fenders on it, just in case I get caught in the rain (it will happen sooner or later, right?) Not sure what type, but something.

I'm thinking that I might replace the seat, but I think for sure a good addition would be a suspension seat post - might make my rigid bike just a bit more comfortable.

I noticed that the steering on this thing is REAL quick! No fast movements at speed, thank you! Completely different geometry than the road bike that I had up to 50mph and still felt pretty stable on. I should get my bike computer today and I'll mount that up and see how fast I can pedal it and how it feels at that speed. I think I'll be fine to 30mph, but probably wouldn't want to go much fast than that with this frame geometry.

I ordered some gloves and the Planet Bike Blinky Superflash Tail Light. It's gotten great reviews and should help to make me MUCH more visible. When I'm riding the bike just as a bike, I'll probably just mount it on the back of my seat, but when the engine is on there I'll get creative.

I'm also thinking that a full DOT helmet would be a great idea. I like that Bell Shorty helmet in flat black!

I need to figure out some type of storage on the bike, for a simple tool kit and my work clothes, etc. I would also like to be able to bring a bag of groceries home from the store on the bike. I'm still considering different options, but what I will VERY likely end up doing is mounting a single large bag of some sort on the left side of the bike to balance out the weight distribution and appearance of the bike as the standard Staton kit puts the engine off the right side of the bike. Even an old motorcycle saddlebag could work...just weld up some type of bracket and I'd be in business. Ebay might be a good place to check for this on the cheap.

I've also thought about disguising the engine somehow, since the local ordinances prohibit these things. I don't think it's really take on the laws is that they were written to keep kids off the sidewalks and streets with their scooters. I think a cop would have to be a major D**K to pull some 40+ year old guy on his way to work over, but stranger things have happened. I'm thinking that only the sides really need to be hidden. Something as simple and some slotted aluminum panels in the shape of a box would work even.....they would flow enough air to cool the engine, but would essentially look like a metal box on the biggie. Just a thought...don't know yet.

Anyway...those are my thoughts for now. Comments/suggestions always welcome!

Thanks guys (and gals),

Last edited:
Okay...after actually RIDING the bike for a while tonight (a little over 7 miles...all pedaling...don't have an engine yet), I realized that my initial impression about the quick steering was simply a matter of me not being used to riding a bike in general! I had it up to 27mph today (just pedaling) and multiple times up to 24 and 25 on flat ground pedaling (those tires make a BIG difference on the mountain bike! There's NO WAY I would have even hit 20mph with the knobbies on there!). So I'm not worried about that anymore.

Everything else from the previous post still applies...Hehehe.


PS - I did ALSO realize that I'm a far cry from taking 70 mile bike rides like I did 10 years ago! But it'll come with time.....
Last edited:
Consider "ape hanger" handlebars, it is good to sit more upright.

When you get the motor, you will likely decide it's ludicrous to help it at 35 mph. Sit back and enjoy. Save your boost for the hills.
Consider "ape hanger" handlebars, it is good to sit more upright.

When you get the motor, you will likely decide it's ludicrous to help it at 35 mph. Sit back and enjoy. Save your boost for the hills.

I was thinking about getting a riser stem. I did some homework on my bike and found that it was made by Trek in 1994 and has the quill type stem, so I'd have to get a quill type stem or do some conversion to a threadless stem (kind of unneccessary if you ask me). I think you may be right about changing the gearing, and even at 27mph yesterday, I wasn't "winding out"; I COULD have pedaled faster if I wanted to. I can play that one by ear though.

Thanks for the feedback!


Here's the potential list of "stuff" that I started compiling:

Rearview Mirror
Left side bar end mirror

Riser for bars
Remove neck and see size - get quill type riser correct size for forks and bars


Sunlite Cloud-9 Bicycle Suspension Comfort Saddle, Comfort Gel Men's, Tri-color Lycra - $20 from Performance


Suspension seat post
Remove seatpost and get size. Ascent Rebound Suspension Seatpost - $30 from Performance


Storage bag(s)

Rain Suit - FIND mine!

Tool Kit
Last edited by a moderator: