My first build, looking to get ideas for my project.

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Sheik Yerbouti, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. Hey everybody. I posted in the introduce yourself forum, but for the sake of keeping things on topic, I wanted to make a separate post in here regarding my first project.

    I'm in college, and I'm poor. That's what makes this kind of transportation so viable. Living in the city makes it easy to get from point A to point B, but sometimes waiting for the bus is simply a pain. And to top it off, I can't afford a parking spot on campus, and my apartment is a few miles away. After mulling over various ideas, I settled on the concept of a motorized bike. Mostly because it can be pedaled (for the days where I feel I need a workout) or driven. Does this hobby seem like a viable method for my needs?

    Now, after doing some initial research, I decided that I want to do this project as thrifty as possible. I settled on the concept of a Chinese 2-stroke kit and a cruiser style bike.

    When it comes to selecting a bike, what are my main goals? I assume a steel frame is better than an aluminum frame. I'd rather sacrifice weight for strength and rigidity. I also hear that disc brakes are HIGHLY recommended (I want my build to be as safe as possible). I figure that most of the cruisers in my price range have coaster brakes, so I figure some cable actuated disc brakes would be a darn good idea. Is it possible to retrofit them onto a cruiser like that?

    I won't really be able to start the project until the summer, so my next question is more or less engine related. Are the chinese 2 strokes going to be available until then? I know that the EPA has been cracking down on Chinese 2 strokes, but they still seem to be easily available over the internet. I know they are the cheapest option for me. If they are going to still be available, what are some good books or online guides to the repair and mounting of engines of that nature? I am not a gearhead, but I am very resourceful when it comes to hardware and rigging things. I need to gain some engine knowledge before starting this project, so any help is really appreciated.

    If there is a list of links that answer such questions I'm truly sorry for not seeing them before posting.

    Thanks for your time.

  2. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    Check out the basic kits at (one of the site sponsors, to the left)

    His kits are a little more expensive that you can find on ebay, but, they are backed by someone with a good reputation. (Also, note that the shipping charges on EBay are often very high.) The NET difference from dax is about $50 (or less.)

    Depending on the cruiser, they may already have cantilever brake posts already welded onto the frame. (The same frame is often used for a range of models with different accessories) If you're looking at disk brakes, they may be difficult to mount on the rear, as you're already adding a sprocket for the chain drive... Check the Frame Mount forum for more information on the difficulties on adding disk brakes

    Invest in a good lock, because losing a bike is bad enough. Losing one with a motor attached is worse!

    BTW. The MB laws in the different states seem to be settling in at the 48cc/2hp/20mph standard that the federal government is pushing. You might want to keep this in mind when ordering time rolls around.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2008

  3. Thanks for the suggestion for thatsdax. The extra money is well worth the support of a fellow forumite.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2008
  4. gone_fishin

    gone_fishin Guest

    MBc is the book you're looking for :)

    go down to the "garage" and read various topics in each particular section...also, "parts & accessories" has some real-time reviews of engines and kits happening right're about to get a great education on these bad babies, all different styles...don't burn dinner ;)

    as you figure it out, bump this topic with your thoughts and new stoopid questions...we all like to watch.
  5. After spending more time reading this forum instead of doing my school work I came to some conclusions.

    I'm pretty sure my kit is going to come from but I saw that the grubee starfire kit is available in 49ccs from another source for a similar price.

    I am willing to sacrifice torque and power for a better quality engine without raising my price at all. How do these compare quality-wise? I did a search and found a lot of information on a Starfire engine that is 4-cycle as opposed to the 2-cycle in question. Sorry if this is question is redundant to another thread.

    As far as bikes go, I am looking at 2 different routes stylistically. I really like how slick motorized beach cruisers look. If I go that route I found a Schwinn Southport bike in my price range that has a very nice red and silver finish which could look great with a matching tank.

    But at the same time I kind of have a soft spot for the bikes that look like the motorcycles or mopeds of old. Not quite as slick, but a matte black finish engine on a olive green frame would be really cool. The Felt MP style frame is kind of like what I'm going for, but it's way out of my budget. Any lower price suggestions?

    Things I learned.

    Avoid Coaster Brakes at all costs.
    Installing the sprocket on a multi-speed bike is easier than installing on a single speed with coaster brakes.
    Huffy Cranbrooks are more trouble than they're worth for the low price.
  6. mickey

    mickey Guest

    Some kind of springing in the front forks is very welcome at speed. On a straight fork, even the pavement cracks will fatigue your arms after a while.
  7. eltatertoto

    eltatertoto Guest

    amen!!! i learned that the hard way lol ive got 1 of those carpel tunnel things on my hand for typing right now cause i sprained my wrist when i hit a pot hole lol
  8. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    "Avoid Coaster Brakes at all costs."
    Coaster brakes are great, as long as they are good quality & you keep the hubs greased.. you should also have a second brake, in case your chain breaks or comes off. thats easy enuff to have a front rim brake.

    "Installing the sprocket on a multi-speed bike is easier than installing on a single speed with coaster brakes."
    hmmmm....the hardest part is getting all the mounting hardware attached in between the spokes. A real test of your dexterity (& vocabulary:lol:) after's a preference...If you plan to pedal a lot...multi-speed is the way to go.

    "Huffy Cranbrooks are more trouble than they're worth for the low price."
    Cranbrooks are solid frames. They make a great looking retro/cruiser build. Decent components..... I am using a cranbrook rear wheel on my russian spaceliner. The problem with the C-brook is the front fender... it will make you can be reinforced....or taken off. (I am the self appointed fender cop, but I'm sure you already know this.)

    it's all about the "look" & how you are going to ride. Hills and traffic factor in there too, when you're thinking about engine size.
    & for goodness out for traffic. (cause we all know they don't watch for us.:cool:)

    great to see you are Reading the forum!! :D

    besides not burning dinner,.....please don't neglect your studies.:p :D
  9. Make sure you have a loud voice for your going to be saying "HEY!!" a lot in traffic.

    As far as disc brakes go your better off getting a bike that already have them on. Wal Mart has some but their frames won't go with a happy time. And buying components will eat your already depleted budget.
    Look for a parts bike. Sometimes you get lucky. Check out what youir local craigslists has. For now go with the brakes that come with the bike. Just remember that they are useless when in the rain and anticipate your stops.

    Remember too to pack a good tool pouch. There's a thread around here as to what your gonna need. Were not talking big bucks here.

    And security. Get a good lock and I find it's best when I just take my tool pouch with me whenever I leave my bike. And the more fly your bike looks the more locks your gonna need.
    I have a Diamond Back that I keep dirty on purpose so that it looks less fly but it doesn't seem to work. But if you motorize a stretch cruiser it's gonna go "poof" so when you pick out your bike,keep it on the down low. Remember your gonna leave it on your college bike rack every day.

    Your gonna get so hooked. It's gonna so rule.

    And as far as I can tell,DAX I think has the least expensive bonified kit going at 149 dollars (minus shipping) now how can anyone beat that?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2008
  10. Okay guys. Tomorrow I'm off to various stores and thrift stores in search of a bike.

    I am going with either a 50 or 70cc engine, and was wondering what my size restrictions are framewise? Will pretty much any 26 inch cruiser work?
  11. Okay, after doing even more research (this place requires a support group to ween myself off the search feature) I'm questioning a lot of my original plan.

    My original concept was based a lot on looks. The biggest change I was looking at making was possibly spending the extra coin and getting a 4-stroke engine. The reasoning for this is simple (reliability). Like I said, I'm not much of a gearhead, and I love learning about small engines and all, but school consumes most of my life and I won't have a lot of time to fix a busted bike (and I don't really have any other form of transportation now).

    Now that leads me to my next dilemma. If I frame mount a 4-stroke, what are the chances of catching my pants on fire? I wear fairly loose fitting jeans a lot, and I'm not sure if it's a real concern or not, but I figured I'd ask.

    So that throws out the option of rack mounting my engine. A whole new can of worms.

    Tell me what you think, guys? Am I thinking crazy or something?

    Edit: Also, I forgot to ask. How much more weight are 4 strokes in comparison? And I notice that all the kits besides the GruBee kit (which I can't afford) are all pullstart. Is there any information on retrofitting and making them something other than pull start?
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2008
  12. Well, I went bike shopping today.

    My friend Taylor and I went to an antiques store and scored us 2 nice, solid bikes. No rust on the frame or anything like that. The one I'm using is a single speed with coaster brakes (I'll probably throw on an extra rear hand brake for emergency purposes). They're both steel frames and we got them for a steal at 25 for each!

    Pictures coming tomorrow.

    We're going to probably go with some 2 cycle kits.
  13. Okay guys.

    Here are the bikes we're using.

    The first is mine. It's a Ross Eurotour, made in Allentown Pensyvalnia (a few miles from where I grew up!). It's got a coppery color with chrome wheel covers. It's single speed with pretty competent coaster brakes. I am going to overhaul them one day soon, but not today.

    The next is an AMF Roadmaster. Supposedly made by Harley? It's brown with a nice 3 speed and good brakes. The seat mounted on it is worth more than we paid for the bike. It's a solid bike, had less polishing to do than mine.

    I think both are solid contenders for adding a motor to. Do you foresee any problems?

    Thanks guys.

    *Pics coming soon due to me not having them on this computer.*

    Several hours, sore arms, and a ton of polish later.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2008
  14. Okay, Here are the pictures.

    Anything marked with Jon or a J is my bike and Taylor and T labels refer to my friend Taylor.

    Attached Files:

  15. Okay, after speaking with some very informative individuals in the chat room tonight, the topic of my wheels being too narrow came up. Even though I can reach higher speeds with the narrower wheels, the possibility of a sore butt and a nasty spill are higher.

    Wheels are something I admittedly know nothing about. Next time I see my bike I'll get some information relating to the tires and wheels.

    In the meantime, if the experienced users out there could maybe give me some opinions on a website or a recommended brand, I'd be extremely grateful.



    I found these and wonder if they fit. They also have a 10 dollar brake set I can put on my front tire just in case I have problems with the coaster brakes.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2008
  16. ibdennyak

    ibdennyak Guest

    ha ha ha ha....just figured out your user name. :grin: Man am I getting slow:shock:
  17. :grin:

    Attached Files:

  18. Well, I just noticed that those wheels are way too wide for the forks. Something like a 1.5 would be better?
  19. That looks like a nice bike, but I dunno how well she will take to a 2 stroke - looks a little fragile IMO - can the forks accept bigger wheels and tires?

    My first build was with a big cruiser - wide tires. The frame is wide too - which is good when you are drillin into it to mount the engine like I did.

    Those fenders look sharp too, but odds are they are gonna come off one way or the other unless you are good at keeping em tight. I'd strip off anything you don't really need. My philosophy towards motor bikin is ride the **** out of it, and when you do that stuff falls off occasionally.

    Oh and for what it's worth - I'm a college student and I use my bike as my primary means of transportation - grocery gettin, bar hopping, etc. It's a lot of fun so enjoy the ride. gl
  20. The bike itself is solid tensile steel. Weighs a lot too (30 something pounds). I don't really have any worries about the frame itself. I think the forks can take a 1.5 inch wheel, which I plan on putting on (the back atleast). I'm still wondering exactly what to do. The spokes are heavy enough, I know that much. I'll find a way to keep the chrome from falling off too, I like it too much.