Issues with Spooky Tooth's HD Wheel.

Discussion in 'Spare Parts, Tools & Product Developement' started by hms-one, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. hms-one

    hms-one New Member

    Reposted from the Intro forum:

    I have built 2 Motored bikes before, my latest is a slant head 66cc grubee skyhawk($160)on a single speed Schwinn and costing about $6oo all told. A big chunk of that cost was $110 dollars for Spooky Tooth's HD wheel. Since reviews for this thing seem few and far between I figured my info would be useful.

    The HD wheel seems nice and sturdy, and I like that the Hub kit doesn't mount the sprocket through the spokes. I had it on my bike for a couple of days w/o the engine on and it sure seems beefy. However, upon installing the kit and having the drive sprocket linked to the engine i found problems.

    The clutch on my engine was on a little tight and didn't seem to disengage no matter how tight I adjusted it w/ the cable, so I Loosened the star nut on it and fixed my issue. But while I was trying to get my alignment right I noticed that the drive sprocket was threading off the hub allowing the wheel to turn and the bike to move with the clutch engaged. I rolled the bike backward and It seemed to snug right up.

    Once I had the clutch disengaging like it should I went out for a quick start-up run, after afew tries and a few adjustments, I was turning the engine over, but I never really got the thing started. After throwing the cluch 3-4 times I noticed that I was free wheeling and that the clutch had no effect. I looked closely at my HD wheel and tried to hold the sprocket while spinning the rest of the wheel to tighten it up, since the sprocket mount seemed to have come loose on it's threads again. The sprocket was spinning free, and would not thread onto the hub.

    I removed the wheel from the bike and after removing the brake I can see the problem more clearly. I am slipping the sprocket and bracket in and out over the threads with little resistance, and can spin it freely w/o grabbing any threads. I got stuck in getting the inner 'drum' portion of the strap brake off the axle, the thing is really snug.

    Roland @ Spooky Tooth agreed to replace/fix this once i get the drum off and get a closer look @ the threads. So far, despite my initial satisfaction with it's beefyness, my overall HD Wheel experience has been rather dissapointing, especially considering the cost.

    Update: attatched pics of hub and sprocket bracket mailed to spooky after I removed the brake drum

    Attached Files:

  2. hms-one

    hms-one New Member


    After some correspondence with spooky, and mailing the wheel and sprocket back to them, they resolved my problem by sending me a whole new HD Wheel. They were very professional and helpful.

    I will update this thread again with a product review once I have resolved my other engine issues and put some miles on this new wheel, just in case anyone cares.
  3. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    I care! Hope it goes well. It looks like the axle has threads for a freewheel and threads for a lockring/locknut. Why doesn't this kit use a locking device? Strange.

    Good to know Spooky is living up to their rep of good service though.

    Maybe the smaller threaded portion is for the band-brake?

    Have you tried any loc-tite thread locking products?

    On the next wheel you get, perhaps you should use a chain whip to tighten the cog down before mounting the wheel on bike (for the fat motor cogs, you will have to either put wider chain on your factory made chain whip, or make one from a piece of flat bar, or even screw a piece of chain to a 2x4. )

    Prime the engine and use a spritz of rubbign alcohol or shot of start fluid, so the bike starts easy on first run. The torque of the motor should tighten that sucker down hard and should not be any more problem.
  4. hms-one

    hms-one New Member

    The smaller threaded portion of the axle is for the drum of the hand brake. There is still a little room on the back threads after the mount screws on tho. Maybe enuf room for a locknut.

    I had to ship my broken wheel back to spooky at my cost, which I wasn't happy about, but that's a minor complaint, really.

    I had thought about some loctite and securing the sprocket really well, but using a locknut or set screw seems alot more permanent. good Idea about the chain wrench. The wheel I've got now is still fine. I just have to find a way to fix this problem so the hub doesn't get stripped out like the last one.
  5. hms-one

    hms-one New Member

    review as promised: GLARING design flaw..

    I have fixed the problems that I had with the HD Wheel by scavenging a lock ring from a second wheel, and threading it onto the inner threaded portion of the hub after the sprocket mount and behind the drum of the strap brake. I have gone 30 miles and it is looking good so far. There was easily enough threads left for the locknut, and spooky clearly has them on hand because I scavenged this one from a 4-stroke HD wheel. Given these facts I can't see why the fixed sprocket HD wheel comes without a locking device.

    A coasting sprocket mount for a pull start engine only ever gets tightened on because of the counter clockwise threads. But on a pedal start, a fixed sprocket setup encounters an unthreading force when starting the engine. The wheel has forward momentum, and the sprocket encounters resistance in turning the engine over. With no locking device, and a new engine, the force required to turn the engine over was more than that required to unthread the sprocket mount. Simple.

    A jam-nut, a set screw.. even some loctite would probably be enough to hold up to forces that are only encountered when pedal starting the engine. Both of the fixed sprocket HD Wheels I got from Spooky were built without ANY locking device on the sprocket mount.

    This is a relatively new product that only Spooky is building and selling. I suppose early adopters always have to deal with these kind of bugs. If you plan to buy a fixed sprocket HD Wheel, or build a wheel with an HD Hub Kit make sure to lock the sprocket mount to the hub somehow. I'm sure spooky will build you one with a lockring/locknut if you ask them nicely.

    I'll update again about durability when I have put a few hundred more miles on the wheel.

  6. adb140275

    adb140275 Member

    how does the band brake work?
  7. hd wheel

    The HD wheel is built in china. Its from grubee. Bicycle engines .com sells the exact same wheel. What they do not tell you is the wheel [pedal start version] drive sprocket either has to be locked in with the drum brake assy or the optional lock ring is used if no drum brake is used. Look closely at grubee's link that I am providing. scroll down to view the pedal start or the free wheel rope start version. The lock ring can be clearly seen. spooky and bicycle engines need to be more informed about what they sell. Neither one of these [spooky or bicycle engines stocks the lock ring[from what i can see] the drum brake part that threads on to the hub does the same thing as the lock ring. Been there done that. I laced up a HD axle almost two years ago when the HD axle first came out and no laced up pre built wheel was available Look at the below link Rear Axel kit.htm
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2010
  8. How does it work

    The band is clamped around the brake drum when the brake lever is pulled in.When brake lever is released the band that surrounds the drum springs back and allows the drum to turn freely. look at the link below and the exploaded views will make things more clear Rear Axel kit.htm
  9. adb140275

    adb140275 Member

    ehh... i should have worded that better. i know how a band brake works, i meant to ask how well it worked
  10. band brake

    the brake is a supplimental brake to be used with the rear rim brake. By itself the band brake is a no go
  11. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    re: Band brake supplemental
    Has anyone used it with the v-brake by employing a dual-cable lever? That might be useful.
  12. dual cable

    The dual pull is what grubee recommends for use with the band brake. It's what he uses on his gt1 & gt2 HD bikes that his company makes . it's what I used on my cruiser before I went the shift kit route. When adjusted right the two brakes worked good with my drum on the front. 3 brakes are better than 2
  13. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    The threads on that hub appear to be standard, right-hand threads. The natural effect of the drive will try to unscrew the sprocket from the hub. A brake assembly, on the other hand, will self tighten on RH threads when you apply the brakes.

    As recumbentbill mentions above, a brake assembly will act as a locking ring for right-hand threads (it's like double nutting a bolt.) If you haven't installed the brake assembly yet, you will HAVE to either install it, or use a locking ring to keep the sprocket in place.

    BTW - I've seen a thread-on adapter for a disc brake rotor that could be used also. Of course, you would still have to get a caliper mounted in that case...

    Staton's thread-on hub uses left-hand threads and left-hand freewheels. With his approach, the motor action serves to tighten the sprocket/freewheel, not loosen it.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010
  14. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    Thanks. I thought about using a dual lever for Front and Rear caliper brakes (with v-brake shoes. Works good 1 to 1 on the front, with machined rim)

    I have a coaster brake in the back wheel.

    Do you think the brake should be biased hard toward the front brake? I had a friend who broke his arm on a motorcycle because it had an automatic rear brake that would kick on when the front lever was pulled hard enough. Never heard of full size motorcycles which did that , before his accident.

    Bicycles have worked well with dual brakes though. I saw a guy with a damaged hand who used one on a road bicycle.

  15. JunkyardDog

    JunkyardDog Active Member

    Too bad about the Spooky Tooth wheel, I almost bought one once, glad now I didn't. It should be a piece of cake (with frosting even) to design and build a wheel with a rear sprocket that will not come off. Since it came from China, I guess that explains it. They can't seem to get anything right.

    I would definitely NOT use that band brake, nor would I connect the front and rear brakes together. Doing so is just asking for a crash. Honda has built several motorcycles with linked brakes, including my former '95 Goldwing. These things are dangerous. When you apply the brake hard, the weight transfer takes almost all the weight off the rear wheel, making it super easy to lock up and put you down. When I have to make a panic stop on a motorcycle, I do not even use the rear brake. If the front brake is held on the verge of lockup as it should be, there will be no weight on the rear wheel, and just touching the rear brake will lock it up. The rear brake has it's purpose, during normal riding, several maneuvers cannot be done properly without it. But don't touch it in an emergency. Bicycles seem to be a little more forgiving, probably because of their much slower speed. Still, if you lock up the front wheel, the rear wheel is going to come off the road. Not that I'm recommending locking up the front wheel, and enjoying the almost immediate crash that would follow, but if you are hard on the front brake, it's better not to touch the rear one.
  16. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    Yes, I'm very familiar with bicycle braking, and somewhat familiar with heavy motorcycle braking procedures. I think dual brakes are generally a bad idea except for cruiser or cargo bikes that won't be going more than 20mph.

    I agree that dual-activated brakes on heavy mopeds or full motorcycles is a very bad idea.

    I think the systems using the rear v-brake and rear band brake in combination at 1 lever is probably not a bad idea, if there is something to adjust or regulate them to compensate for wear or cable stretch.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
  17. hms-one

    hms-one New Member

    $100+ waste

    In the end I found that even with a lockring the sprocket would tend to slip aprox a quarter turn. That bike was eventually stolen w/ the HD wheel not on it.

    I do not generally recommend the HD Hub Kit for pedal start engines because of this problem. If you do buy one, at least be aware of the problems and be sure to use loctite and a lockring. The band brake seems to take up much more space, be more complicated, and no more effective than a backpedal brake.

    If anyone knows of a better sprocket mounting system than the Grubee Hub Kit I would be interested. Otherwise I'm just gonna go with the standard mount kit on a 12 ga. wheel with a backpedal brake for my next build.

    Since no-one seems to like the dual pull idea for front and rear vbrakes, does anyone know about the quality/ease-of-use of the combination brake/clutch lever or the throttle clutch. Both ideas seem rather clumsy to me on first inspection.

  18. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    I like the idea of the v-brake/shifter-as-clutch mechanisms.
    I agree it seems awkward though, but looks like a tidy way to use 2 v-brakes on your mb. I guess it depends on what machine you are used to.

    If you are used to a bike with a left hand throttle lever (auto clutch), or a bike with left hand rear brake, it might be ok. If you are used to a left hand clutch, it will probably be funny at first (lot of rear tire skids when you are going for the clutch hahhaha).

    If you don't drive in heavy traffic much, it's probably cool, but I think it would get old if you have to thumb the clutch all the time.
  19. arkives1

    arkives1 Member

    I have the same HD wheel but I have a freewheeling sprocket on it along with the band brake. My engine has a pull start and centrifugal clutch. This works well except when reducing speed. Sometimes I'd get a bit of a jolt when the sprocket caught up with the wheel if accelerating while moving after slowing. Cannot pedal start mine due to the freewheel. So far no problem with the starter. The only other problem I have is that the wheel sprocket doesn't line up with the engine sprocket. The engine of course is fixed in the way it mounts to the frame so there is no lateral adjustment there. I need to shift the rear wheel just about 3/8 of an inch and I don't see a way to do that other than spreading the frame and using spacers on the right side of the wheel. As is, it rides ok but I can feel and hear the chain dragging on the teeth back there as I start out, obviously the engine noise soon makes it impossible to hear the sprocket anymore. I have not had a chain pop off yet but it feels as if it might go at any time.