Idiots' guide to building a MAB

Discussion in 'Photos & Bicycle Builds' started by SilverHeels, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. SilverHeels

    SilverHeels Member

    Hi Guys,
    I'm new new to the MAB scene (stated many times). I'm reading through the various forum topic sections, gathering insights for a "do it right the first time" method to build a motorized bike from scratch. That is, the choosing of a frame (obviously has to have a large enough opening), this seems pretty straight forward. I have a vintage Hiawatha frame, a regular fork and neck, OEM HD fenders, seat, chain guard, OEM "skip-tooth" pedal crank assy.
    I'll need wheels, hubs, tires, tubes (prefer period size W/W), brakes, handle bars, would love a custom tank style fuel tank.
    The questions arise for the following.....
    1. single speed hub vs. multi speed hub>>>>
    >>>>> if multi speed...internal vs derailleur. (why one vs. the other)
    3. Disc brake rear w/ disc front or drum ?
    4. straight (regular fork) vs. springer or some variation of springer, >>> the triple tree?.
    5. 2 cyc vs. 4 cyc? I realize one makes speed the other make more TQ?, one you deal with mixing the other, no mix. one looks more bike-like, while the other looks like you re-purposed your lawn mower engine LOL!
    6. answer the question "Do I have a lot of hills.....?" (multi-gearing consideration)

    I can imagine some of this can be personal preference, but too, it seems there are the basic "DOs and Dont's"

    What are they for the idiot building his first MAB......?

  2. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I'd say that most of what you listed falls in the personal preference category.

    Though I would say that in most cases having front suspension is better than not.

    Coaster brake vs multi-speed? There's pros and cons both ways. With a single speed, coaster brake rear wheel you can have two hand operated brakes plus the coaster brake. That's a big plus. With a multi-speed you can adjust your 'pedal resistance' to conditions. That's a big plus, too. Especially when pulling away from a stop in traffic.

    I've had both and I'm not sure which I prefer. Maybe the multi-speed. But that's with the understanding that two hand operated rim brakes are not quite as much braking as I'd really like and the bike must be ridden accordingly.
  3. LR Jerry

    LR Jerry Well-Known Member

    My preference is 4 a stroke with a shift kit. 4 strokes are much more reliable as long as general maintenance is maintained on them. Changing oil and cleaning the air filter. As for derailleur vs internal hub I/H means no lateral movement of the chain. Disadvantages is the more gears in them the less torque they can handle. Very expensive to replace. With a derailleur you can vary the sprockets. I use 34, 28, 24, 20, 16 this is a custom 5 speed freewheel. Good alignment is a must or things will break. Cheaper to replace a freewheel.

    Hills depends on grade and weight being moved. Steep hills large person needs a low gear in their shift kit.
  4. SilverHeels

    SilverHeels Member

    Thanks for the reply.
    Regarding brakes, in the front, It'll be either disc or drum. In the rear, I'm guessing it'll be a disc, especially, if I go with an internal mutli-speed. In the case of an internal multi-speed, I'm just sure of the "robust-ness" with respect to either engine. Need more input on this.
  5. LR Jerry

    LR Jerry Well-Known Member

    The 3 speeds are the strongest international hubs. If you use a Shimano Nexus 3 speed a Kilduff auto shifter can turn your bike into a multi geared automatic. There's two kinds of Kilduff shifters a rim driven one and a belt and pulley one. My preference would be for the belt and pulley one. The shifter can be adjusted for what speed you want it to change gears at. It's a mechanical shifter. I use an automatic shifting mechanical derailleur. Multi geared automatic bikes are a legal loophole around the restriction of no external manual shifting device to the engine's drive system many states have. Not having to shift is just one less thing to think about. Automatics give you the performance of shifting without having to manually shift.
  6. SilverHeels

    SilverHeels Member

    Hey LR Jerry,
    Thanks for your input. I like the idea of the auto-shift. By definition, in Maryland it makes my build classified as a Moped.
    I have no idea how/why they classified my Vespas as scooters when they "shift". I guess this is one of those "check" with your local MVA Rep.


    "Moped" means a bicycle that:

    Is designed to be operated by human power with the assistance of a motor.
    Is equipped with pedals that mechanically drive the rear wheel or wheels;
    Has two or three wheels, of which one is more than 14 inches in diameter; and
    Has a motor rating of 1.5 brake horsepower or less and, if the motor is an internal combustion engine, a capacity of 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement or less.

    "Motor Scooter" means a non-pedal vehicle that:

    Has a seat for the operator.
    Has 2 wheels, of which one is 10 inches or more in diameter;
    Has a step through chassis;
    Has a motor, (i) With a rating of 2.7 brake horsepower or less; or (ii) If the motor is an internal combustion engine, with a capacity of 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement or less; and
    Is equipped with an automatic transmission. "Motor Scooter" does not include a vehicle that has been manufactured for off road use, including a motorcycle and all terrain vehicles.

    Note: For special or unusual circumstances, the work can be processed at any full service MVA office.

    Motor scooters that are built for road use and have greater horsepower and cc's may be titled and registered as a motorcycle. Note: A person may not operate a motorcycle that has a rating of 1.5 brake horsepower or less or a capacity of less than 70 cubic centimeters piston displacement, on a roadway where the posted maximum speed is more than 50 miles per hour, or on an expressway or other controlled access highway.

    Situations may very when purchasing a Motor Scooter or Moped. If you do not meet the above criteria or require assistance, please contact the MVA by e-mail at You will receive a response back within three (3) business days.
  7. LR Jerry

    LR Jerry Well-Known Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015
  8. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    That's a great looking system. How does it cope with heavy mud caked on the sidewall of the tyre?
  9. LR Jerry

    LR Jerry Well-Known Member

    Fabian I personally don't like the rim driven one. Brian does have a belt and pulley driven one. You have to contact him and ask for that video. It looks a lot like the LandRider derailleur drive system.
  10. SilverHeels

    SilverHeels Member

    Hey Guys,
    Thus far is looks like, I'm going with the Shimano Nexus 3 sp coaster hub with a Manic hub adapter. I like the idea of the belt and pulley drive auto shifter. Will this work with an EZM ngine kit? Or am I mixing wrong ideas? I don't yet know what gearing might be needed. I don't want or need to go fast, just steady and finish the race LOL!
    Oh, a Happy and healthy New Year to all!