Greetings, and why does this product not exist?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Impala, Apr 14, 2007.

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  1. Impala

    Impala Guest

    I'm sorry if the response to this is, "Duh, read the forum, dummy," but -

    How come there is no motorized bicycle commercially available that combines all these features:

    - Virtually the same weight as a standard high-tech mountain bike that has a full suspension, except for the addition of a tiny motor, I mean like 25 CCs or less, just enough to propel the bike at around 25 mph (40 kph) on flat pavement with no headwind.

    - A gasoline motor like the one described above. (I'm thinking chain saw or weed-whipper size engine.)

    - Transmits the power to the front sprocket of a mountain bike derailleur, probably with a clutch, so that the small amount of power available could be used in the most efficient way possible via the 15, 18 or 21 gears available. I picture a motor mounted behind and beneath the saddle, with the chain going to the front sprocket (I think chains are very efficient, if a teensy bit heavy.)

    - Has fat tires like a mountain bike, but slightly optimized to give better traction on pavement for safety. (With standard mountain bike tires an option for off-road use.)

    - Has wheels that are almost as light as those on a high-tech mountain bike, but just a teensy bit more robust to stand up to sustained speeds on pavement that are slightly above typical pedal-bike speeds.

    - (Perhaps) has a "self sealing" gas tank for safety. This is very simple - it just means a foam liner that prevents the gas from pouring out when punctured, unless is really gets smashed.

    - Has top quality mountain bike disk brakes for safety. They cost more and are a bit heavier than rim brakes, but give better, more consistent brake performance in all conditions - critical given sustained, higher-than-average speeds on pavement.

    - Has full-bicycle functionality, and even allows the user to quickly remove the motor and appurtenances.

    If the answer to this is not the "Duh" I suggest above, then I have a message to bike and motorbike makers: "Duh!" This would be the ultimate 'green vehicle' for around town use. It would not be allowed on freeways, obviously, but if you didn't mind only going 25 mph you could cross a continent with it, using less than 15 gallons of gas!

    They could probably sell around 300 million of these in China and the third world. Except it wouldn't be cheap - it only works by using expensive high-tech materials and technologies. Still, it should be possible to make this for around $3,500, given the cost of high quality mountain bikes.

    A recumbent version could have all the same features. in a slightly heavier but more comfortable and aerodynamic package.

    So - am I nuts? Is the response indeed, "Duh!" Have I just given away the zillion-dollar entrepreneurial idea? That's OK - I'll never act on it myself anyway. :cool:

    PS. With a lightweight trailer, you could cross a continent at 25 mph with the wife and kid, and still only use around 15 gallons of gas. :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015

  2. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    The two are sold seperately because of warranty and liability issues.

    Two guys over in Winston County (about 40 miles away) put over a million and a half dollars in plant and equipment, based on a marketing understanding with Wal Mart (who have major distributiion center in Cullman, 20 miles away).

    Wal Mart's attorneys pulled the plug at the very last moment, bankrupticng them. When the auction was held, there were about 100 finished bikes in the building, I've seen one (the main difference was the gas tank being part of the frame) .

    I will try and get the detailed article, it raised a big stink, and all the bike distributors (notablly J & B Importers, who had sold bike parts to the Winston County boys).

    Even if somebody tried again, knowing that Wal Mart might jump back into the game at any time, it would make investors leery.
  3. Impala

    Impala Guest

    Yeah, that all makes sense. Still, I'm surprised that nothing like what I have described appears to exist anywhere. Actually, given the likely cost, it's unlikely that Wal-Mart would be the retailer of it. Given the crazy liability environment, sadly, the U.S. is not likely to be the place where this is developed and manufactured.

    For my ideal to work it requires very sophisticated and high quality materials and components. Bike makers already manufacture high-end mountain bikes that are very close to what I've described, minus the motor and link to the front derailluer. The necessary components all exist already (except for the motor and drive, and perhaps that does also somewhere.)

    Have any individuals created something along the lines I have described?
  4. gone_fishin

    gone_fishin Guest

    hi, Impala...welcome to MBc :)

    the development of technology relies directly on demand. how do we create a demand?

    tom's concept of a centralized hub of motoredbiking information is a great start. events like roland's death race are, too. customization, the groovy new ideas we're seeing here, the trend to get the e-bikes up to speed. small but positive gatherings.

    the only way you'll ever see your dreambike hit the market at an affordable level is for local companies to want to get involved. find sponsors, offer cash purses for specialized competitions. officially organized racing of durn near anything almost always assures great exposure. it creates motivation for engine and frame innovation...

    and it makes everybody want one, too :D

    organized racing, imo, is the fastest track to the dreambike, not to mention social and legislative acceptance. we have to rise above "hobby" status & get the technology to start paying for itself.

    if you have any ideas along those lines, we'd love to hear 'em 8)
  5. gone_fishin

    gone_fishin Guest

    boy, every time i mention an "organized motorsport" the topic dies....
  6. uncle_punk13

    uncle_punk13 Guest

    Funny how that works huh?
    I've been wanting to see motored bike drag racing for years now, but the closest we've come is the dyno races at the vmbc (and other related) meet(s)...
    Perhaps we need to jump start something. If I knew anything about organizing things, and if i had the time to spare to pour into it, I would go for it, but ...
  7. one of these days...

    I have been thinking several designs ways to build something like the bike described.
    The starting point is to make the bike modular.
    This is if you can buy the frame first, maybe barebones or dressed with the basics only.
    Then chose the kind of shocks and/or forks.
    Wheels. Brakes, etc.
    And so on separately, but that fit together like a glove. And at different price levels. So there is an option for everybody. The engine is just one more upgrade as all the other choices are.
    I mean, the frame should come already with the engine mounting holes on a plate welded as integral part of it. So no brackets are needed. The trick to escape liability issues is to sell that frame with lets say a basket bolted there instead of the engine. So in theory is not a motorcycle frame. Just a bicycle. You could go shoping and place your sodas and a sandwich there. But to upgrade it you just throw that basket away and place an engine in its place. The other components like suspension front and rear should work as integral part of this bike. And always keeping the laws of newton in check. Since aceleration is proportional to weight. Some carbon fiber approach would be a good addition to save some weight. I might build it. Yeah that full suspended mountain bike approach is the way to go...specially off-road and using all those gears. An approved spark arrestor would be a thought. But still been able to assist the engine with pedaling. This could be a neat sport. And races, yes in dirt tracks, with some nice berms and a few jumps. Nothing extreme. I think all the motocross thing has gone to a point where kids today are getting serious injuries. This new sport should never be allowed to go that circus direction. 25 years ago, MX injuries were not what they are today. Paraplegics is not the way to point a sport direction to. But the excitment of well designed tracks and organized racing could take this sport to the moon. If the rules of competition are writen that way; to let the best win by ability, dedication and sportmanship, not by a Kamikaze disregard for life.
    A sport that can be practiced on most backyards and open dirt spaces.
    A family sport as well. A 20" wheel version could be an interesting option as well.
    Anyone follows my train of thought?
  8. drimpact

    drimpact Member

    Welcome to MBc

    Interesting discussion. Sounds like you have envisioned the perfect MBc. Light strong and dependable. I hope your vision turns into reality.

    Augie, I like the organized race idear. That would raise awareness in the curious non-MBc'ed public
  9. One of the reasons we enjoy legislative indifference is that these bikes are power/motor-assist bicycles. Meaning the bike started out it's existence without an engine. From what I understand, when a bike is created with the intention of being motorized it is considered a moped and is subject to more scrutiny than our motoredbikes receive.

    I'm not saying a modular bike would be a bad thing, I would love (if I could afford it) to buy a well tuned bike with all the bells and whistles. Part of the reason I love motoredbikes however is their rattiness, or their home-made look.
  10. I have been thinking along the same lines too....Only thing is so far I have not been able to find a suitable full suspension bike to start with (I started a separate post on this on this site).....Truthfully, I think a high quality motored bike would be beyond what most people would want to pay (esp if you use a real high quality mtn bike as a starting point).....I have made a few bikes locally (using the Road Master Mt. Fury mtn bike from Wal Mart....definately not high end quality....but at least it is readily available and cheap enough to get the motored bikes out at a reasonable price....Also, I could not afford to
    have a bunch of expensive mountain bikes just sitting around) I will even have one displayed in a local store but I think the main selling point of the motored bike will be its lower price when compared to a regular scooter or moped.....I am not sure what price most would be willing to pay for a ready to ride motored bike of decent quality but so far the quality weak point in my opinion would have to be the engine (well at least for the center frame mounted engines).....that issue would have to be addressed for any mass production scenario could take place...

  11. The frame shape of the Sunbeam and Ace model from Hawk:
    is on the right track= plenty space for engine so it sits low on the frame.
    And space to place a 3 speed hub transmission just behind the engine and a Jackdrive with 3 sprockets. One is a freewheel conected via chain to the pedal's crank. The second is fixed and conects to the engine. The third one conects to the rear wheel sprocket(also fixed, for clutch start). All sprockets selected so that the right ratio is achieved at the rear wheel, with a max speed of 40mph, but with good pulling power and acceleration from the low geraring to start.
  12. Dockspa1

    Dockspa1 Guest

    Heres a thought, why don't we all form a company and invest, become incorporated, build bikes that we decide are the cheapest and the best for the cost then sell with a complete liability release with each one that goes out the door.
    MBC Inc.
    Ps, I second the motion.
  13. adding to my previous thread and answering Dockspa1

    It is an idea Doc. There could/should? be more than one option:
    To begin, the cheapest alternative; and options for higher end versions with more performance or/and final intended use not achieved with the the basic model.
    But the key again I want to put emphasis on the modular concept. Upgradable from the base model. So you can reach whatever level your needs/hobby/mind takes you. And it could be addictive in a good way. A hobby.

    To finnish my previous thread:
    One detail that I forgot to mention:
    The Jackshaft actually consists of a Sram Dual drive with disc brake mounting holes.
    The sprocket(3rd on previous thread) conecting via chain to the rear wheel goes mounted where the disc would go. The other two (one sprocket conecting to the engine and the other sprocket conecting to the pedalcrank) would mount on to this internal hub on the cassette side, but with the freewheel canceled on the one conecting to the engine. There is some work there, but would yield 188% change from low to high gear.
    Another option would be to use the new "Sram I-Motion 9 disc brake" rear hub with 340% variation from low to high gear, instead of the 3 speed (188%). Again modification on the freewheel side has to be made so engine can be started by releasing the clutch, but with sprocket conected to pedals still able to freewheel. I think Staton sales something like that for the rear hub.
    One of the reason forhosing Sram: is efficiency vs. other. I think is well build. It is not Rollhoff, but for what they cost I think you get enough reliability and ratio range. One last option would be to use the NuVinci(I don't know reliability, but no bad news so far sounds good); Staton sales it. I don't know if it has disc brake capabilities though to mount the output sprocket to the wheel via chain.