my observations, thoughts, and experiences



this is going to be my little bit of rambling about my experiences with my project. a little background about me, i'm very mechanically inclined and have experience working on everything including farm equipment, automobiles, motorcycles, and aircraft. this has been (is) a trying yet rewarding experience. the wife thinks i'm nuts but she doesn't try too hard to stop me.

to start let me say that i've been working with a 70cc kit from Dax- can't complain about the engine.

first thing i did was order my engine from dax through ebay. next i decided on the huffy cranbrook and ordrered it from walmart (the bike was o.k.- i don't recommend it- more on that later). so, all my stuff arrives about a week later and i set to putting it together. this is where the fun begins

the bike is cheaply made (of course) and i wasn't at all impressed with the quality. i guess you get what you pay for ($100). the fenders were warped and the front wheel was out of round. this is a single speed bike with a coaster brake.

the first 'trial' i had was with installing the sprocket on the back wheel. i had to remove the brake components and trim the bearing cover in order to get the sprocket to seat properly. this took three tedious hours of tinkering, aligning, and tightening to get the sprocket installed.
next was engine intallation. the down tube was too large for the engine mount and rather than drill the frame, i tried every kind of clamp i came across- C-clamps, muffler clamps, etc. these, of course, did not work. :) i finally ended up drilling the frame and using a tie rod end bushing between two washers on the mounting bolt. this worked wonderfully. :D
i discarded the heavy drive chain that came with it as it was too hard to work with. regular bicycle chain did the trick. total time for this install was probably about thirty (that's right 3-0) hours. okay, so i putzed around with it alot. :D

so i got this bike going and it was working pretty good....until my wife drove it. :devilish: i don't know if she really had anything to do with it,but it broke after she drove it! she took it around the parking lot at our apartment and rode the brakes all the way down the hill; i could hear the brakes making noise and the engine bogging down as she was driving away.

when i got back on it, the brakes felt 'sticky'. as i drove it throughout the next week, i noticed a difference in the brakes- they seemed to be dragging and would get stuck on when i stopped.

it all came to a head this monday as i was driving away from work. it was six o'clock and i was just pulling into traffic leaving the hospital; as i put on the brakes to slow down, they locked up thereby killing the engine and bringing the bike to a sudden stop. :cry: luckily, i was able to catch my fall and recover though it was not gracefull. i suffered two small lacerations on my ankle, several bruises on each leg, and worst of all- almost crashing in front of rush hour traffic :oops: .

when i got home, i immediately began to take the brake apart and see what was wrong. i couldn't find anything obviously wrong with it. i put it back together and the wheel still felt like it dragged a little bit. when i got it back on the bike, the peddals seemed to have alot of travel before the brake engaged and when it did engage, it was excessive.

at that point i was done fooling with the cruiser's coaster type brake. i had seen a pretty cool bike at tatrget the other day- it is the schwinn jaguar. i went and bought one after dinner that very night.

this time it only took me about three hours to get everything going- the install on a multi-speed bike is MUCH easier. when i took it for the first test ride, i got to the end of campus and the chain fell off. i kinda got sucked between the sprocket and the wheel. this was sudden stop, bruise your legs event #2. i carried the bike home and examined it. it seemed that the plastic idler wheel wasn't spining properly. i tinkered with it and got it put back together. took it out for test ride 2 and the same thing happened at the same place (talk about bad luck, i have to walk about an eighth of a mile uphill back to the house :( ). during sudden stop, bruise your legs event #3, the chain broke. so i peddaled the bike home and packed it in for the night.

after getting a new chain and some parts to build my own idler, i went back at it. the new idler was an axle stub with nylon spacers sandwiched between two fender washers. it rolled quite well and i thought it would do the trick. alas, it was not the answer to my problem. after the third mishap with this bike, i finally figured it out.

the idler mount is two pieces of metal that clamp to the frame and allow the idler to remain in the desired position. my problem was that the frame where this thing clamped on wasn't large enough for it to clamp tightly. this allowed the idler to be pulled in toward the wheel (the force is prettey much downward from the chain and since the idler is offset to the inside, it pulls that direction). this whole contraption rotated inward and two things happened. 1) the chain fell off (so that's what is was!) and 2) the assembly moved between the spokes (aha! so that's cased the suddned stop #4!). the end result was more bruises, a broken spoke, a warped wheel, and a very discouraged motor bicyclist!

let's add this up: in 1 week- 4 accidents, 1 broken chain, one broken spoke, 1 bent wheel, and 1 very beat-up owner :D (picture this smily face with two black eyes and a missing a tooth!)

the wheel will be ready on tuesday and i spent an hour and a half at the hardware store last night inventing my next idler. this idler will be awesome! (i hope) i'm gonna try to make it spring loaded- i'll share my design on here (if it works ) :LOL:

well i hope this makes up for not posting anything in a while. peace. :D
Coaster break

I have a similar problem. Well its the same problem I think. I have a wheel with a coaster break and it to seems to lock up at times and feel like its draging and such. I took it apart cleaned and greased it up put it back together and it still does the same thing. When I read your story I thought you where going to shed some light on my problem but alas you chose to buy another bike. I guess you chalked it up to the bike being cheaply made. Well my wheel is a worksman heavy duty wheel. Not cheep by any strecth and so and so and so. I have no idea what the problem could be but can't afford another wheel so I gotta figure it out ..... Any Ideas ?????? Tom WVVW
i dunno how you could remedy this. all i know is that i wasn't going to kill myself because of a brake. your local bike shop may have a suggestion.

another reason i went with a different bike was because i like to move my pedals backward (freewheel) when i'm coasting (or motoring) i was unable to do this with the coaster brake. i know some aren't fans of the other style of brake but from the little i can tell, it looks like it will be o.k.

by the way- i was just looking at my 'wounds'...i must say that i did a pretty good job! :D
drag is because those wedges aren't really designed to let loose, anyway. you actually "pull" them loose by pedaling, which you aren't doing. higher speeds aren't helping matters. i betcha if you feel that hub you'll see it's overheating...expansion of the drum or the wedges will account for the sudden slack & reduced-or-extreme stopping power.

i agree that a freewheeler is best for this stuff, lever-brakes are pretty good, just pay careful attention to assure the wheel is as true as possible & that your pads are totally aligned with the rim. tip: adjust your pad so the trailing edge is slightly tighter than the leading edge, this gives you excellent control, eliminates chatter, and helps with any irregularities in the wheel.

my bike is a basic 5-speed mountain bike (a chinese schwinn copy, so to speak) with standard tube-size and 70-degree angle, i really don't expect to have the kind of problems you guys are experiencing, but i will knock on wood just in case ;)
Rear hub

Hi, I just returned from a 10 mile ride and the hub didn't heat up at all . It was'nt even warm. The problem all started when the bolt fell out that holds the break lever to the bike frame and the lever went round and round a few times. when I got to fixing it I don't think I got the adjustment right and now it breaks either too much or locks even after being cleaned and regreased . I have both types of breaks on it .The coaster and a rear caliper break set with the longer pads. No front yet but I plan on adding them when I get around to it.I'm keeping the rear wheel with the coaster breaks because its a Worksman wheel with a 2" wide rim and supper heavy duty spokes at least twice the size of normal.Its also a crimp type rim that holds onto the tire quite well so that the tire won't spin on the rim even at low pressure. I have both front and rear on the bike and they look more like motorcycle rims than bicycle. They are simmilar to the heavy duty rims found on a tandum bike only better quality. Worksman makes good stuff.I'll get it right sooner or later.......Tom in WV
interestin'...of course initial adjustment has everything to do with it, i can only guess about an intermittent problem, where heat could/would be a factor. when the coaster is "too loose" i'm sure you enjoy a great ride, well, except for the stopping part, right, istbenz? (just joking, hope your owwies are feelin' better) when it's just right or a bit tight, even the slightest backward pressure on your pedals as you motor along will create drag & therefore heat.

i figure that to get a coaster absolutely just right for this type of use would be a frustrating and almost impossible feat. are you settling for the full-turn-only adjustment you make by rotating the brake anchor lever around the axel, which could explain the "too tight or too loose" syndrome...or are you loosening & rotating the axel itself when you adjust in order to make the finer (1/3rd turn, for example) adjustments that may be what is needed?
Hi , Tom again. I took the hub apart again and cleaned it real good and back together with Kendal Super Blue L-427 grease. This time I used the inner nuts and an extra thin set to adjust and lock the hub in adjustment and then I installesd it and tightened it up . First test ride all went well and it seems to brake right and stop and go without any drag at all. We'll see if it heats up day after tomorrow when I go on a 50 miler . 25 out and 25 back. If it still remains the same I'll deem it fixed and move on . I'm still working on the new engine mounts. I'm having trouble when the un-cured rubber cures the bond isn't what I want it to be.....?????..... with the steal that is. ...... I'll let you all know how it turns out.... Tom in WV
Well Hello Again, I went for a long ride today even in the cold but it was a great ride as all went well . The break hub is working good. I wonder if its due to the fact that its so cold outside that the thing isn't getting hot??? Or my new riding style . I now make sure to pedal forward a couple turns every time I use the breaks to make sure the wedges let loose. Or I actually got it in adjustment. Or , and most likely , all of the above. After reading A-Dogs post I now realize that it takes a truly talented person to use one of these and handle it right. Its taken all the skill and tallent I can muster but I think I am getting the hang of it.....Tom in WV
"talent"...i like therapist would call it "obsession" :devilish:
Coaster brakes

Ya, I am having simmilar problems with my Cranbroke cruiser. I guess I should not pedal at high speeds right augdog. Shoot I like to do that though. Is that not a good idea. My brakes lock up sometimes too, but only at slow speeds. That would be messed up if I wiped out in traffic. Just bedal and put the brakes on once in awhile?????????? Im scared now.