long distance motor bike

Discussion in 'Travelling, Commuting & Safety' started by colby, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. colby

    colby New Member

    Hello Everyone,
    I would like some advice on purchasing an engine for a motorbike build on a standard cruiser frame. I am planning on riding from Southern California to Oregon. I need something reliable, something that can handle approximately 50 miles a day, something that can handle weight as I will be traveling with a surfboard and basic camping equipment. Recommendations, thoughts and ideas will be greatly appreciated. I plan on leaving late spring.

  2. PatrickW

    PatrickW Staff Member

    Welcome to MBc, Colby. I would go with a Robin Subaru EH035 4-stroke with a
    Staton gear box. (but I might be a little biased) <grin> I love mine and it has run great for a year now. I got it from Dave Staton at http://www.staton-inc.com/home.shtml
  3. colby

    colby New Member

    Hi Patrick,
    Thanks for the response. I just checked out the engine that you recommended which looks nice. So this engine has worked well for you? I am willing to spend the extra dollar on an engine or modifications to insure a peaceful ride. Since I will be traveling distance a comfortable ride will be crucial. Any more suggestions and ideas will be greatly appreciated. I am also currently seeking a skilled assembler in the San Diego area.
  4. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Doable but a few questions:
    How much weight, rider gear and bike?
    How will you carry the board, will you use a trailer?
    Why a cruiser?
    How much pedaling do you expect or want to do?
  5. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

    Yahoo! Road trip!

    I'd recommend a high-quality Japanese engine, be it Robin/Subaru, Mitsubishi or Tanaka. I'm partial to the Scooterguy chain drive and shift kit.

    Fifty miles daily should be a piece of cake. Is it a flat route, or hilly? If hilly, more than one speed is recommended.

    I also question the single-speed cruiser bike choice. If it's because you like the cruiser frame, you can choose one with 7-speed cassette. Pedal-assisting will help the ride. Pedalling while shifting also makes for a smoother transition between gears.

    Are you carrying your board alongside, on the right of the frame?

    Enjoy your ride!
  6. backazimuth

    backazimuth Member

    Definitely Get Gears!

    Absolutely get a bike that has gears. You will have plenty of climbing going up the coast and will need to pedal assist. Besides, there is the chance you will not be able to use the engine. Also you might run out of gas or the engine will break down.

    I have the Robins Subaru engine with the Staton drive and have worked very hard to try and break it down. Usuccessful so far and that includes an 800-mile round trip from Orange County to Mammoth (10,000 feet) last year. I have no doubt that you can get to Oregon with ease, but do pedal when you can for both the engine's and your sake.

    You will have a blast plus there are plenty of hiker biker camp sites along the way. You can get full route maps from an outfit called Adventure Cycling. They have maps for routes all over the U.S.

    By the way, I have a log of the first half of the Mammoth ride somewhere on this site.

    One caveat, though . . . I'm a little suspicious that the Robins Subaru is no longer available in the 35 model. Small Engine Warehouse now carries only the 25 cc version. I checked many places on the web and could not find it. Golden Eagle Bicycle Engine is even out of stock according to their web site.

    Good luck!

  7. colby

    colby New Member

    Thanks for the response. I have not estimated an approximate weight yet. I weigh 170, how much weight do you think a strong build can handle? I prefer to carry the board using a side mounted rack, something similar to these http://www.carversurfracks.com/csrmini.html however this is a bolt on system and I want my rack to be welded to the frame so I don't have to worry about someone snagging it. This is why I want to get in touch with a builder/assembler, someone who will sit down with me to discuss what it is I need. I will also be needing a rear rack for wetsuit, sleeping bag and small tent. I understand towing a trailer would be nice but I think I would rather stay compact if possible. I do not necessarily need to build on a cruiser frame I was just under the impression that this is the most widely used frame. Another member has suggested a bike with gears so possibly a mountain bike will best suit my needs. A road bike might be nice but I am not sure how those 27 inch and 700c wheels will ride with the weight I will be carrying. I would like to do as little pedaling as possible. I know some might be asking themselves why I just don't go with a motorcycle or a car. Well I just want to try this.
  8. colby

    colby New Member

    Hello 5-7 and thanks for the response. Yes I plan on carrying the board on the right side of the frame. As I mentioned to Happy Valley I would like to have these racks welded to the frame. In my last post I pasted a link to a popular set of surf racks that are actually attached to the seat post. They are an interesting and logical setup and they might just end up being what I use. I am starting to realize that a cruiser frame may not be suited for my needs as the path I will be taking presents many long and steep hills. However I am not sure if a road bike with 700c tires or even 27 inch tires will be able to withstand the weight I will be carrying so I'm almost thinking that a mountain bike frame is what I need. Patrick recommended a Robin Subaru EH035 4-stroke with a Staton gear box. Staton is selling them for $318 which is right around what I wanted to spend. I'm unfamiliar with a Scooterguy chain drive, can you give me more information on this. Thanks for the help.
  9. colby

    colby New Member

    hello backazimuth and thanks for the response. Wow you rode from Orange County to Mammoth on your motorized bike last year? Yes! That is awesome! Its great to hear from someone with experience. So what type of frame should I get, since I imagine a frame along with the engine should be my first and second purchase? And you are not the first one to recommend the Robins Subaru engine with the Staton drive so I think I will go with this engine, especially since you have already made the trek with it to Mammoth. I know that road has numerous hills, what percentage of your trip would you say you spent pedaling? I'm not sure if this is the exact engine you were talking about but Patrick recommended http://www.staton-inc.com/store/pro...ank_Double_bearing_clutch_housing-246-11.html Another question I had for you is can you recommend an experienced assembler in the Southern California area? I need to work with someone who will be willing to take the time and explain me how this small engine is working and what I must do for maintenance and to insure a safe and solid ride. Thanks for letting me know about Adventure Cycling, I'm going to check it out right now. Let me know if you come across the 35 model in the near future. I am not in any hurry to make a purchase. Thanks for the help.
  10. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

    Think strongly about installing an auxiliary tank, or replace the existing tank. I make it a point to remove the existing tank under the engine. Then I install a 4-liter peanut tank. I usually mount it on the top tube. That gives me a 100-mile driving range. The Robin is noted for even better mileage; you might get 200mpg or more. That'll let you search for a gas station every 3-4 days. With the stock tank, you'll be filling up twice a day.
  11. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    General motorized biking is one thing and pedal bicycle touring is another. Motorized bike touring is yet another type of endeavor though in large part unexplored with not of a lot of solid, experienced, opinion to go around. backazimuth I think offered solid advice, read over well what he wrote. (BTW, a side note, I've been told the Robin EHO35s are not going anywhere but supply interruptions might be experienced resulting from the disaster in Japan. Also, to date SEW never sold the EHO35)

    I point this out because much of the info or advice garnered off of the web will pertain to areas of interest that you have adapt to your own needs. Generally motored bikes are made with little concern about how they pedal, are heavy, many want them just to go fast and they are often constrained by constant tinkering and parts failure and thus most don't put many sustained miles on them in a continuous run like in touring. They are used primarily for putting around locally within striking distance of home base for fixing when needed. Heading out on the open road is another matter.

    800 miles is not excessive and your trip sounds like fun but it is also well within the parameters for misery and discomfort to be unwelcome travel companions. Since you seem to be willing to do some research and have scheduled your trip with some months to go, half the pleasure is in the planning. I'd suggest reading all you can on the web, the forums and bike sites. Certainly don't leave out the pedal bicycle touring sites, in a very real sense you'll find more specific info there about touring than the motor biking sites. I've done some MB trips around the range you are planning and have done some much further on pedal bicycles. My son just finished a Portland2Portland bicycle trip last month, Maine to Oregon. Be happy to share further what I know on this but I would also suggest a move out of 'introductions' and link this to a thread on the 'traveling & commuting' page and take it from there.
  12. colby

    colby New Member

    Hello 5-7 and thanks for the response. I will definitely be using a 4-liter peanut tank. It would be nice if I could find a purchase package with both engine and tank. Thanks.
  13. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

    Check this guy out:


    I never dealt w/him, so unsure of his reputation. However, he DOES sell 4-liter tanks AND engine kits. JMO, I'd just buy the tank, then look for the best engine/kit.

    I am not a fan of Happy Time engines, so buyer beware. The last thing you want to worry about is if your engine will make the trip.

    Choose your engine wisely. On my motorized bike, I worry about both chains, my Chinese freewheel, my pocket bike gearbox, my left pedal, one spoke on the rear wheel, tire blow outs, my dual brake lever breaking, a sticking throttle cable, etc.

    The only thing I worry about on my Tanaka engine is that its pull starter will break. If I carried a spare, then I wouldn't have to worry about the engine at all!
  14. colby

    colby New Member

    cool thanks for the link. 30 bucks sounds like a good price for a 4 ltr tank. I might go with that black one he's selling. Sounds like you pretty happy with your Tanaka. Let me know if you come across any engine and kits that sounds like a good buy. Thanks again for the advice and help. peace
  15. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

    If you DO buy that tank, please replace its petcock with the one from Sick Bike Parts (SBP). The original petcock's port is VERY small. My bike stalled on the road once, because of this plugged valve. I was able to clear its port enough to reach home. When my SBP petcock arrived, I noticed that its passages were huge. It seemed almost as large as the fitting itself, and I never had a fuel flow problem again.
  16. colby

    colby New Member

    That is the kind of information I am here for. I would not have known that without your advice. Thanks I will definitely replace the petcock
  17. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

    Spare parts and tools to consider bringing:
    Two mirrors. Mine screw into the handlebar ends. Slipped under the handlebar grip is the allen wrench to adjust the mirrors.
    Your bike should have a front suspension fork and a suspended seatpost. That'll help you take less of a beating on the road.
    My tool bag is that "green" bag from the grocery store. I've used it daily for three years, no problems.
    A security chain and a security cable. I leave a New York FUGETTABOUTIT at work, because this 15lb chain is too heavy to carry daily. If my bike won't be outa my sight, I carry a cable. If it is, I carry a slightly lighter New York chain.
    Bicycle chain and engine drive chain or belt, whichever drive you use. Cut it to the exact length you'll need.
    Two master links and chain breaker tool.
    Use two nuts and a lock washer on every bolt.
    All the tools to turn every bolt and screw on your bike.
    Tire pump, tire patches, two tubes and a folded-up tire.
    Bike lights and turn signals.
    Protective gear. Motorcycle helmet and shoes, at least. I use helmet, boots, knee/shinpads, elbow pads, wrist guards, gloves and dirtbike armor. Some might say it's overkill, but that's maximum protection.
    Eight oz of Opti-2 oil, if you use a 2-stroke engine, and a small measuring cup. For less fuss but more cost, carry 5 extra packets of Opti-2. If it's dark and you're tired, it'll be easier to mix the fuel w/oil packets. Sometimes you might have to fill a half-tank. The packet would be too much, so you measure your oil. I carry my oil in an 18oz aluminum fuel bottle in the bottle cage.

    Riders w/2-stroke engines may cringe, but I fill up at the gas pump, and this procedure might work great on your trip. When you're running low on fuel, stop the bike. Shut the petcock and pour in Opti-2 oil. Pedal a block or two to the next gas pump and fill your tank. Then pedal for a block, stop and open the petcock, then start your engine. My engine has never complained about its mix, and the sparkplug is cocoa-brown.
  18. colby

    colby New Member

    Hi 5-7 I can't thank you enough for the words of wisdom. I will be using all of your advice. I really appreciate it. Right now I am putting together a list of mandatory needs so your timing for this post could not be more perfect. What drive do you prefer, chain or belt? thanks again
  19. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

    You're welcome.

    I never used belt drive. However, I prefer shift kit and chain drive over single-speed chain drive and friction drive.

    Chain drive w/shift kit is extremely versatile. However, if the bicycle chain breaks, you're dead. That's why it's important to carry one, maybe two spare bike chains if you use a shift kit on a long trip.

    Oh, and google your planned route. Try to contact others, or at least read up on bicycle treks on that route.

    Ride only when you can see the potholes, tracks and road irregularities. Adjust your speed accordingly. On strange roads, you just don't know what's ahead of you, like where the bike line merges/disappears right into the highway lane next to you.

    On regular short commutes, it's best to find the shortest or safest route. Become VERY familiar with where the potholes and cracks are. There is one crack on King Street that never gets patched. I KNOW that if i hit that one, I'll definitely fall.

    Be prepared and good luck. Don't forget brightly-colored rain gear.
  20. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Colby, couple of things. Since you don't specify exactly where in SoCal you will start from, hooking you up with an experienced builder is problematic. If you are in the SD area, I'd suggest you PM MountainMan on this site. He's a pretty nice fellow, and definitely has experience with motorized bikes.

    Another concern is surf board mounting position. While the right side mount idea is workable, you need to think about the amount of "sail" area such a mounting will present for the blast of wind produced by vehicles passing you at speed. In addition, such a mount will limit your turning ability in emergency situations.

    Since you don't specify your intended route, I'm going to guess that you mostly intend to ride US 101 and parallel roads in Cali, and 101 almost exclusively in Oregon. US 101 carries an enormous volume of traffic in SoCal, and from central Cali on north is almost purely hills - there is darned little flat ground along it. Once north of the SF Bay area, US 101 carries an ever increasing volume of heavy trucks, with large numbers of log trucks as you get north. Log trucks can blow a heavy motorcycle off the pavement, let alone a motorized bike, and they will suck you right under the load once the tractor passes in the right wind conditions.

    I'm dead serious about that - I grew up in northwestern Oregon, riding bikes all over the state, and dealing with logging truck issues. Consider an overhead rack system with the board flat instead of the low sideways mount position.

    I admire your gumption, and I am NOT trying to dissuade you at all. I just want you to be safe and make your ride enjoyable and fulfilling.