Hi - Looking for some info

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Plekto, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. Plekto

    Plekto New Member

    Long story short - truck is costing me $300 a month in gas to get to work. I need a better option since it's only ~15 miles to work. I'm 38 and live in Los Angeles, so a bicycle alone that can't keep up with traffic will just get me run over.(heh - sorta)

    But I need to find information on a decent motor for my bike because I don't trust Chinese steel and definitely don't want to have to deal with a chain and all of that, either. I heard that there were a few Japanese engines that get silly good mileage as well - the type that are self-contained and you attach like a bicycle rack. 50-60mpg for a small motorcycle is not nearly good enough, IMO. I just need to be able to go 25-30mph. A motorcycle license isn't a problem, either. California requires it for over 25mph IIRC - really rude requirements - but I can definitely deal with a larger engine.

    But there aren't any links to retailers who sell these things here. So I'm a bit stumped as far as what to do next.

    - How much do these things cost?
    - Are there any businesses here in Los Angeles that carry these - and NOT the cheap Chinese motors? I need something that is reliable for about 10,000 miles a year of commuting.
    - How heavy are they? I know they supposedly get fantastic MPG but put the center of gravity on the bike quite a bit higher as well.
    - I'd like something that has electric start if possible and a simple method to engage and disengage it - which is why those small self-contained units looked interesting. Or are there miniature motors that are from Japan that are significantly better than the $120 kits I see all over Ebay?

    Thanks. :)
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008

  2. stude13

    stude13 Active Member

    hi; i think you are looking for golden eagle bike enginges or staton. both are first class. both can be used with robin-subaru engines which are top drawer. good luck mitch.
  3. Plekto

    Plekto New Member

    Thanks - I've been looking around. Would it be easier to buy a mounting kit and locate a small engine? These look a lot like leaf blower engines - and those online stores appear to be charging quite a hefty markup over cost.

    A few more questions:
    2 stroke or 4? Part of what got me started on this was the idea that I could replace the engine every year or so - drop in a small engine from the local lawnmower/etc shop. If I bought a small scooter or 250cc motorcycle, it would practically need a new engine or an overhaul at 10-12K per year - each year. And that's a lot more than the new miniature engine. I basically want a poor man's ultra-frugal motorcycle/scooter. So 50cc+ isn't a big deal - I already have a motorcycle license.

    But a Piaggio 250cc motor scooter is about $3500, and even a Rebel 250 is a silly $2500 on sale - out the door. I need a $500 or so 30-45mph replacement for a 50cc scooter(even those cost $1500 - ack). And they get maybe 60-70mpg. It just seems sub-optimal on every level. If I could get a 50-100cc motorcycle from one of the major makers, I would. But they just don't exist in the U.S. (talking fits an adult, too - not some miniature kid's toy)

    The only two I know of are the Derbi 50 and the Aprilla 50. Both nice, but finding one is... and they cost a lot...(and aren't 4 strokes - so NG in California) I essentially want to home-brew my own pseudo-motorcycle. :)

    Another question - bikes. I have an old road bike, but it's obviously unsuitable. I've been thinking about a recumbent or trike as this would be a motor first and second and maybe pedals in case the thing ran out of gas type setup. But most are heavy and have really poor build quality. Ideas?
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  4. Alan

    Alan Member

    There really is no comparison to a Piaggio or a Honda Rebel. Those will take you cross-country and back, while keeping up with traffic, and last years with little maintenance. The bicycle motors are a different animal. Even the best 4-stroke will need service. Oil changes, valve adjustments, etc.
    10,000 miles per year/ 30mph commute, is a good amount of travel for a bicycle motor.
    I hope it works out for you. Just get the best, and be safe.
  5. mark2yahu

    mark2yahu Member

    You can keep the bike you already have if it can accomodate 26 x 1.75" or 26 x 2.125" tires. But the best type of bicycle to install a motor on is the "beach cruiser" type frame with narrower tires. As far as being able to pedal it, that's a must.
    You'll need solid axles, the 5/8" ones if you purchase a rack mounted engine.
    4 strokes are better overall.
    The best 4-stroke motors are Hondas and Robin-Subarus. Both brands are significantly better than Chinese-made engines.
    The best 2-stroke motor is the Tanaka.
    I don't know of any Japanese engines that are not good quality.
    None of the bike kits I'm aware of have electric start. It's either a pull cord, or pedal-start.
    The best kits come from Golden Eagle Bike Engines, Staton-Inc, and That'sDax. The links to retailers are here in this website. These "things" cost anywhere from $630 to $900.
    I don't know of any L.A. or O.C. stores that sell bike engine kits of the quality I'm used to. You could check scooter stores or lawnmower shops.
    How heavy are they? My Golden Eagle with the "miniature" 25cc R-Subaru is 13 lbs with gas in it, plus the bike I have is 33 lbs. Gets me going to 26 mph.

    Finally, I've lived in L.A....since I was 7 yrs of age. I know how it is. There are places where if they see you with a bicycle or motorized bike, and they want it, they will tell you to get off of it and give it to them, or you get beat up, shot or stabbed. There aren't enough police to keep the citizens safe. If I still lived in L.A., I would buy the cheapest bike there is, because chances are it'll get stolen or vandalized anyway. My point is, it's worth spending 300 bucks a month to drive your truck to work, because it keeps you alive and your chances of staying safe is greater. L.A. isn't like Europe or Asia where you can tool around in a little bike. Some parts of L.A. are safe enough, but they're isolated.
  6. Plekto

    Plekto New Member

    I'll of course keep my truck, but my commute is basically from one end of Pasadena to the other and is perfectly safe, if slow. 20 miles to work slogging through traffic and back. You'd think that 57 miles every day(measured it yesterday) wouldn't cost so much money... I'm just looking for a more reasonable way to commute that doesn't cost me $3000 up front.

    Another option would be electric, which has the advantage of being able to be taken onto the buses and trains/subway/etc. But nothing that I've seen is faster than a snail or gets nearly 30 miles a day(claiming 50 miles with a 10mph speed is a bit silly). Unfortunately nobody makes an electric motorcycle - at least not that I've seen. Lots of plans for DIYing it, but nothing approaching a decent kit that isn't either hideously overpriced or uses 20 year old technology(can't believe they still use lead acid batteries).
  7. augidog

    augidog New Member

    you'll definitely wanna do your homework on making a bicycle safe for this...you can start with the bike you like, then beef it up...

    at the least, the cheapo steel "105G" wheels are doing it for us. front brake a MUST, drum being best and cost-effective because it's a universal solution.

    lights, DOT helmet...as you say, this ain't no kid's toy.

    the kits using japanese engines are by far the highest quality, higher cost comes with it, tho...most 25-40cc epa-CERTIFIED engines (2- or 4-stroke) will give you a 25-30mph cruise at well over 150mpg. when treated right, they will do that for several thousands of trouble-free miles.

    a quality kit paired with a minimally-safe bicycle will come in under $1000. do your homework, take your time, it'll be worth it :)

    welcome aboard :cool:
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  8. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    Hi Plekto --- That's a lot of miles per year - you plan on riding - rain and all ? If you end up buying a motor for your bicycle - it would seem best - to buy the best that you can find --- and as mentioned - good old LA - I would want to be fast moving through there !!! Happy Riding from - Mountainman
  9. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    I'm not sure about riding a trike in city traffic, but it is doable. I spent $250 for a motor (including shipping), about $400 on various parts, and about $1800 for my trike. There are trikes for sale on ebay for $500 - 700. So it could be done for under $2000 total.
  10. motor scooters are an option

    Here in Thailand everyone has a motor scooter. They get 65 to 100 mpg and will do well over 60 mph. Will last for years with proper maintenance. There must be dealers in LA and definitely you can buy them used in ebay. My last Yamaha 125cc second hand scooter cost me $850 and was perfect. Street legal and safe. I took it on several road trips with my girl on the pillion over 300 miles and had no problems. At what you are spending on your commute with your truck you will pay for a used scooter in 3-4 months including the gas. Give it a thought as an alternative to a motorized bicycle.