motorized touring bike?



I've been roadtripping all over and am currently in the Chiricahua mountains in SE Arizona. Gas prices and off-roading in my low-slung jetta, plus the drudgery of sitting in a cramped cabin have opened me to the possibility of biking instead of driving. Specifically, a bicycle with a motor. I just started researching today, and what I think I've found is:

-As motorized bikes go, the more "modern" style is to be electric
-Laws in most states regulate that they cannot exceed 20mph or 48cc or you need a license, registration, insurance, ect.
-Most of the GAS POWERED motorized bikes that come pre made are either cruisers, or low-quality NEXT/generic-brand type bicycles, with an expensive $400-500 motor attached. where I stand on all of this is...

-Electric power is of no use to me. I am on a road trip and don't have regular access to an electric socket (I camp in National Forest)
-I am from New Hampshire, where insurance isn't required. I haven't yet been pulled over to test this out of state, but I would prefer a vehicle which doesn't require me to pass through a bunch of red tape to have peace of mind driving (the idea of building/buying a bike that can go over 20 and then sticking to 20mph when I think cops might be around has passed through my mind)
-I am not super into bike culture or know how, but I know a low quality bike is a low quality bike. My wal-mart bike fell apart in less than a year, right now I have 2 or 3 bikes that are 20-30 years old and are still in pristine or close-to-it condition (Raleigh and Bridgestone). I like simple steel.
-I need something that can tour. I have bucket panniers. I need room to mount a rack.
-I need something that can go off road. And in the rain (friction drive I've heard isn't good for this?)
-I'd prefer gas that I didn't have to pre-mix, but I'm adaptable here.

That's all I can think of now. I thought I remembered seeing a website for motorized touring bikes that were fully equipped with racks and were of very high quality, but now I can't seem to find it any more.



Why are you adverse to buying a steel, high-quality cruiser?

Tell you the truth, I'm not dialed into bike culture either, but my impression with cruisers is that they are cheap because they're heavy and simple bikes. I've never done bicycle touring (it sounds like fun!) but to me, the #1 consideration would be frame comfort. For me, I imagine that cruiser style bikes are the most comfortable, however, perhaps you like some other style.

In order to not pre-mix gas, you need a 4-stroke, I think that the only kits i've seen sit above the rear wheel. Right where you want your saddle bags to go :( I'm afraid you'll need one of the cheaper, center mount motors.

good luck


wow, u guys drive ur bikes cross country like that? mine is more of a toy. i would never really trust it to take me a long distance. but i got a truck that gets 10mpg so i better get used to riding this thing a lot more. filling up this bike compared to filling up my truck is a big difference. gas is the way to go. the nice thing about gas is that as long as you have enough it will always be constant. if got the carb right and exhaust and everything setup you should have constant power. where as electric bike when they get a lower energy supply they slowly dwindle off and slow down more and more. when the batterys get old they hold a charge and if your stuck out in the middle of nowhere where do you plug in? and you can't recharge very quick?!?!? yea go with gas and bite the bullet with mixing on a 2 stroke. getting a four stroke would be more expensive plus with the design woulden't be good with rain. as far as off road what would you classify off road? my bike does pretty good on dirt grass and a little bit of mud.


I don't have much touring or motor-bicycle experience yet, but anyway--from what I've read and discovered myself--
....Electric setups aren't going to store enough power to do cross-country mileage, forget them. Electric bikes are great for quiet, convenient short-haul trips around town--but that's all they're good for.
....If you want a non-friction-drive, 4-cycle engine kit that comes complete, then I think your only choice is a Golden Eagle kit (which is belt-drive, and does work in muddy conditions)..... -but the Golden Eagle kits are all rack-mount engines, so that means you cannot put a rear rack on the bike.
....Fitting an engine and full touring bags to one bike is difficult-to-impossible. If you want to carry a lot of stuff and you can commit to using a trailer that attaches at the rear axle to haul it all, then that means you can use almost ANY kind of bike you want.
....If you want the ultimate in long-distance riding, then get a recumbent bicycle. Make sure it can run wider tires, at least 2.3", and consider fenders for it. Sun and Cycle Genius have some starting at around $600 new, and you can check the craigslist/want ads locally.