Hey ya'll, I am completely lost, and completely stressed out right now...

Discussion in '4-Stroke Engines' started by 6tyTen, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. 6tyTen

    6tyTen New Member

    **(My complete apologies if this is not the right place for this!)**

    I want a 4 stroke, (NC) street legal, reliable motorized bicycle.

    A bit about my situation: I am in the process of selling my truck because I would like to get out from under it, and I want to start using a motorized bicycle to get around (I don't have too much of a commute in any regard), to save up some money for a more reliable vehicle, and reduce my footprint a little bit in the process, without rendering myself immobile.

    The only thing is that I am not very mechanically inclined, and I don't think that I know anyone that is anymore inclined than myself.

    If I were to buy a kit and a bike and assemble:

    I have my eye on the HuaSheng 4-stroke Kit. Is this a good, reliable kit? Any other kit recommendations? Also, what bike recommendations would you have for this kit (looking on the cheaper side of things/$70-$150) ? I see a lot of Cranbrooks, and they look nice, but I am open to other styles, too.

    What are some good guides and videos for assembly? Tools required?

    Would you recommend assembling yourself to someone with zero mechanical experience? My main worry is that I am going to order the bike and the kit and not be able to put the thing together. Which brings me to my next scenario...

    If I were to somehow buy a bike that is already assembled or have someone assemble it for me:

    How... how would I go about doing this? This is my ideal scenario. I have checked Craigslist, and while there are a couple good looking bikes on there sometimes, they are always at least 2 and a half hours away, and sometimes a bit pricey.

    My main thing here is, does anyone know any way that I can get a new kit and bike, but avoid putting it together myself? Would small-motor shops do this kind of thing for a price? Any other ideas? My stress is basically not letting me trust myself enough to put one of these together without ruining it somehow, but... I really, really want and need one, hah...

    Sorry for the ridiculous, rambling post. Thanks for reading and thanks a ton in advance for any and all advice.

  2. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Well, let's see here.......

    To start, your post was not rambling or ridiculous. You described your situation and how you want to proceed. No problem there.

    One way or another, you could buy a pre-built bike. There's a member here named KCVale who builds four strokes for sale. I don't know for a fact that he'd ship it to a long distance customer. But it would surprise me if the answer is 'no'. Venice Motor Bikes (Venice CA) also comes to mind. I think he's a member here. They both build nice stuff.

    But I wouldn't recommend it. The reason is that even if you buy a bike that's ready to go, you're going to need to maintain it yourself. This is a solitary hobby. And if you've just got to do your own maintenance, then you might as well get a head start by familiarizing yourself with your bike by building it.

    Maybe you can be the lucky one who finds someone nearby with the knowledge and willingness to be your mechanic. But no one can count on that.

    But here's the good news. Unless you, literally, have two left feet and no hands at all then you can do it. It's really not all that hard. A bicycle is a pretty simple machine. An engine and drive line doesn't add very much complexity to the situation.

    The bike will surely frustrate you while you're learning. You'd be wise to have back-up transportation during that time. But there'll come a day when you say to yourself, "I think I've got it!"

    And the rest is gravy.

    My first two bikes, some years back, caused me enough trouble that I sometimes wondered if it was worthwhile. Bike number 3 did as well. But it was during the life of that bike that I, one day, realized that I had found the 'feel' of it. And I proceeded with confidence after that.

    It's been a long time now since I've had to lock my bike to some object and walk the rest of the way to work.
  3. 6tyTen

    6tyTen New Member

    Thank you so much for the detailed answer! Yes... you are probably right. Well, you are right, ha ha. I am just always super anxious about pretty much everything...

    Okay, well if I have my mind set on the HuaSheng 4-stroke kit from GasBike (what are your thoughts on this kit?), what would be the best and easiest bike to put it on, in your opinion at least? I've seen a lot of conversions using the Huffy Cranbrook, is this a good one?

    If I were to order the kit and bike soon, could you point me in the right direction to a good video manual, and other crucial resources? Thanks so much again for the help.
  4. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I really can't tell you much about four strokes since I've never built one. But the guys who like four strokes seem to like them an awful lot. And the Hua-Sheng does seem to have a good reputation.

    I have a high opinion of the Cranbrook. You will find folks who don't agree with me on that. But there've been a lot of successful Cranbrook builds and I doubt if you could get anything better without spending, maybe, four times as much. My bike #3 was a Cranbrook. I'm rebuilding it right now into a 'showpiece'. It'll be bike #5.

    The Cranny is not without weaknesses, though. When you're looking one over be sure to have a good look at all the welds. Some of them look as though they really should have been rejected by an inspector on the line. The wheels are surprisingly stout. But that rear hub is not much good. I have doubts whether anyone can make that thing work for a very long time on a motorized bike. It's a cheap copy of a Shimano CB-E110 hub. Those are pretty good. The good news on that is that it's not hard at all to replace the stock hub with the Shimano. They only cost about $25 or so and lacing a wheel back together is surprisingly easy. How-to videos can be found on Youtube. I did that with my Cranbrook rear wheel.

    But I've since taken a different tack. I buy heavy duty 24 inch wheels from www.niagaracycle.com or www. huskybicycle.com. I think I've bought these wheels from both. I'll never go back to 26 inch wheels. The bike doesn't feel as if it sits any lower. There's gotta be some difference, of course. But it's not enough to notice. The smaller, heavier wheels make my bike much more stable on the road and I no longer fear 'tacoing' a wheel. Also you get more frame/wheel clearance. That can be handy.

    This adds to the expense of the bike, of course. But it's doubtful if any standard 26 inch wheel is really up to the strains that a motor will give it. I'm overstating it a bit. There are a lot of 26'ers out there doing the job every day. But they are, all the same, taking a great deal of strain and they are one of the weak links in the motorized bicycle. Upgrading the wheels is a good idea.
  5. HeadSmess

    HeadSmess Well-Known Member

    please, spend SOME sort of money. all i saw was "cheap"...

    cheap usually means "easily broken". but so does "gutwrenchingly expensive".

    not all 4 stroke kits are equal... the huasheng may be a nice engine for the price, but some of the boxes/mounting gear is woeful.

    any post by KCvale will lead you in the direction of a DECENT kit. be prepared to pay!

    as for frames... you just want something strong... with good brakes. ie, ignore things with single piece cranks, other than one set of takegawa bmx racing ones i have, they are all similar to spaghetti... ignore pressed steel brake arms, or sidepull/caliper brakes.

    no, you dont need disc, they are just bling. decent v-brakes or cantilevers are the way to go.

    gears, no gears...personal choice.

    "cruisers" may look" cool and retro" but arent exactly pleasant to ride WHEN something goes wrong...

    steel frame, alloy has issues... some will say thats BS but alloy does and will snap!

    cro-mo beats "hi-ten" any day.

    preferably offroad, mountainbikes rather than hybrid or "racing 10 speed"

    a large spacious frame can reduce vibration, and has plenty of room... depends on if you got stumpy legs or not?

    dont expect to pay less than say, $600 or so for the whole lot if you want to be fairly reliable and maintenance free

    you have no mechanical skills...because you TELL YOURSELF you have no skills. your post sounded like you have some semblance of a brain...use it! dont be so negative!
  6. skyash

    skyash Active Member

    $200 for my 4 stroke kit and it was the hardest kit the pedals hit the motor only fits a beach cruise frame every thing was bad. But the motor is reliable. 66 cc if you can do up a nut it's pretty easy it will get you from a to b but don't expect to much and with eny of them when they breakdown it's not fun walking
  7. 6tyTen

    6tyTen New Member

    Thanks so much for all the replies! I am trying to extract all the info I can from them. Ya'll have (mostly) swayed me into doing the conversion myself, although I do check CraigsList from time to time. The thing now, is, deciding which kit, and which bike, to get.

    One important update:
    I have sold my truck and have opened my budget up a little bit. I would like to spend in between $400 and $550, to get going, and I definitely don't mind maybe a couple smaller purchases a bit down the line to make it better and more reliable, but nothing too over the top.

    I want to make this bike my main form of transportation (everyday use, a couple small trips a day), until I can save up money for a reliable vehicle, and I would like to keep the bike even after that, just to have. That said, I want to try to do everything in my power to do everything right and have this go as smoothly as possible.

    I have a very, very hard time making decisions and pulling the trigger on purchases like these. I would like to get the HuaSheng 4- stroke kit from GasBike, because I have read some pretty good things about it, and it seems like it may be reliable. Unless, someone here has any other recommendations. I realize I am kind of repeating myself here a little bit ha.

    The bike, however, I am still mulling over. I had the Cranbrook in mind, mainly though, because it was the one I had seen the most conversions done on. I am not really in any way worried about the "look" of the bike (although it never hurts to look good!), only the functionality. I read that the Cranbrook is pretty nice for conversions, but not really the sturdiest of the bunch, and has some pretty big problems you may have to look out for.

    Using the HuaSheng 4-stroke kit, could I get some bike recommendations? I might prefer to order the bike through a bigger site, like Walmart or something in that vein, but I am open to all suggestions.

    Well, I thought I had more time than I do, unfortunately. I will be back on later to finish up this post and answer any questions ya'll might have for me. I know I mostly just reiterated what I said before, but I am still having a tough time making a decision.

    Ya'll are awesome. Thanks so much for all the help, and any future help!
  8. skyash

    skyash Active Member

    Iam from Australia we got a k mart bike for $60 mtb not bad and the 66cc kit was $140 pretty cheap. One did 9000km before it broke. Little things like cdi or the magnito whent now and again. If you can get a 4 stroke get one I think know it's better but eny of them will get you from a to b
  9. 6tyTen

    6tyTen New Member

    Thank you for the reply!

    Would you say it is bad enough to steer you away from the kit itself? Do you have any other suggestions?

    Do you have an opinion on the "Schwinn Sidewinder" ?
  10. 6tyTen

    6tyTen New Member

    Thanks again for the reply! I am still kinda torn about the Cranbrook. Basically, I've heard an equal amount of good and bad things about it. The price is nice, but I have also opened my budget up a bit so I've been looking at some other bikes. Have you seen any conversions done on a Schwinn Sidewinder?

    If I do go the Cranbrook route, though, I will definitely be coming back to your post here and following that advice.
  11. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

    Have you tried cruiser style bikes before? I have always done mountain bike, straight bar styles and tried a cruiser style bar last night. It wasn't for me; needless to say I felt like I was gonna crash into a tree... Also, I would look for a bike that has disc brakes.
  12. 6tyTen

    6tyTen New Member

    Nope, I've actually never done this before at all! Just trying to soak up some info ha.

    I am not entirely sold on one style of bike over another, although I do live in the mountains. What I am most concerned about is the integrity of the frame/bike/parts. It will be a mode of transportation for me, not just a side project, so I'd like to spend a little extra, so long as it means the bike will not be constantly falling apart and breaking down on me.

    I see a lot of Cranbrook conversions, and I think they look nice, and I suppose that there has got to be a reason there are so many of them? If I could get a Cranbrook, and take some extra precautions, and make a few extra purchases, to make it reliable, I would definitely be willing to do that. But I am not sold one way or the other yet.

    Is there a specific bike that you would recommend?
  13. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

    Wait, you said 4-stroke. Typically, 4-stroke kits are larger than 2-strokes and will fit most cruiser style bikes but not many mountain bikes. Make sure you ensure that your 4-stroke kit fits the bike.

  14. 6tyTen

    6tyTen New Member

    Oh wow ok! Shows how much I know haha. Thank you so much, that's an incredibly helpful video. So I suppose I'll probably be getting a Cruiser style. Are there some popular ones other than the Cranbrook?
  15. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

    Err, it might still fit the mountain bike that you are interested in but I would confirm with the video guide above. I guess one thing is that a lot of the cruisers have a built in rear rack and some don't (like the cranbrook). I would opt for one with the rear rack if everything is comparably priced.
  16. HeadSmess

    HeadSmess Well-Known Member

    yes, cheap kits are cheap for a reason. you pay for what you get.

    nope. just, before laying out the cash, try riding it with NO engine at all.

    is it actually rideable? or do you end up pushing it up every hill?

    can you stand up on the pedals when necessary or are you forced to take every jolt and bump through your butt, and therefore your spine?

    can you jump it off a curb without damaging something?

    the reason i say get an MTB. and not a cheap nasty kmart/walmart thing.

    my avatar pic...a shogun trailbreaker, cro-mo frame. found at a scrapyard, for $20.

    so far, unbreakable. its a real bike, for real riding...well...a midway entry level bike, at least.

    was better than the giant i had at one point ;)
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  17. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

    I think the Walmart bikes are fine but do test them out at the store. Again, I tried out a cruiser style bike and felt really uncomfortable on it going 3 mph... imagine going 30 mph+. What is your budget on the bike? I saw a $59 mountain bike with a cruiser style frame and rim brakes at Walmart. I might grab that just to replace my old mountain bike.
  18. skyash

    skyash Active Member

    Well a good 4 stroke kit with pedal exstender and better gearbox not a pocket bike one like I got is $350 and I find the take off is not as good as a 66cc or the top speed but that's with the cheap gearbox. unless you have a shift kit which is $200. I don't see how a 66cc can do you wrong just get a better chain and warter proof the magnito you get your money back out of it for sure I rode one for 3 years to work and back 13km up and back rain or sun. Best thing was a self tensioner for the chain for eny bike
  19. Old Bob

    Old Bob Member

    Mountains? I would be looking at a Honda Rebel or similar
    OTP likes this.
  20. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

    Yeah, the 2-strokes are reliable too if you put good care into them and upgrade some parts. But, unfortunately for him, NC street legal is 50cc or less though would the law really know... LOL. He should just get a better transmission than the clunky chain one and I think he will be fine. Also get a speed sprocket for good measure.