Newbie with Lots of Questions

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by lilwheel, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. lilwheel

    lilwheel New Member

    Hello, I'm new to motorized bicycles and interested in making one of my own (time to put my M1 license to use :grin5:)! I've looked around the forum and it seems like friction drive is the easiest to put together as I'm not very mechanically inclined. I also won't be riding in the rain so it shouldn't be a problem. From what I see it seems that I should be able to buy a kit and easily bolt it on with basic wrenches and screwdrivers in a few minutes?

    The two friction drives I'm considering are staton and roadbug. Roadbug advertises that their rollers are easily removable with basic tools but what about staton does their roller just unscrew or something? Because I would like to get 2 rollers one for torque and one for speed.

    I've also looked at various engines, but there are so many choices. I would like to get one that's very reliable and would give me no trouble (if I had to open one to fix something I would be completely lost) be idiot proof and hard to kill. Engine size and weight matters too I don't really want a big brick that weighs 20+lb. I'm considering a honda gx35 but I'm not sure if it'll be able to pull a 130lb rider up a steep hill say 250ft over 1/2mile with no or minimal pedal assist? What should I expect the approximate top speed be on flat ground? Should I get a bigger engine for my weight? Would something else be more reliable?

    Something I'm wondering is since a friction drive is connected to the tire when engaged, what happens when you come to a stop? Does the engine die like in a manual car if you forgot to depress the clutch? What about going down a steep hill without applying throttle and letting gravity rev it kind of like engine braking down a mountain? Do these little engines work like a car or would I need to give it throttle even though I don't need it to keep it lubricated?

    Oh, how does the two friction drives I mentioned above hold up in rough conditions (mount quality)? I think it would be fun to ride off the pavement sometimes on fireroads and various truck trails but they're not particularly smooth. I've always wanted to go on them, but one time I tried and my sedan hits stuff on the bumper and undercarriage :whistling:.

    One more thing! I've seen others say you don't need insurance in california but those posts were a while back. Has anything changed since then? On the dmv website it says electric bikes don't need insurance but doesn't say anything about gas bikes not needing it?

  2. nishikidrift

    nishikidrift Member

    your ability to climb hill is really in the gearing. JACK SHAFT look that up.

    p.s. your more mechanically inclined that you realize. go have fun and make a LOT of mistakes:shout:.
  3. 2old2learn

    2old2learn Member

    You have many options to consider. Friction drive is just one option. You can power through a left side rear mounted sprocket with rear engine mount or center engine mount or power through your current pedal axle and use all the gears of your bike via a rear mount or perhaps a center mount with a jackshaft powering your pedal axle and allowing you to use all your bikes gears.

    Read a bit, discuss your options with the group, decide how you plan to use your bike, determine what your budget will allow as that can often be the limiting factor.
  4. lilwheel

    lilwheel New Member

    Jack shaft looks so complex! I'm really not mechanically inclined I mean I've never even operated a motor with a pull starter or ever touched a carburetor before. The only thing with an engine that I use regularly is my car but even then I never touched the internals cause i always bring it in to the shop for service.

    As for chain drives, I don't know how to mount a sprocket and I don't have tools to break chains. Also I don't know how to fix broken spokes or adjust them since I doubt you can just mount and go as the spoke tension is just whatever it's at. Also, I have a 700c wheel so I don't know if that would be too much torque for a thin wheel.

    I'm strongly leaning towards friction drive for my first build because it seems very simple with little to go wrong. Simplicity is also why I want a motor that's very reliable and low maintenance. I'd rather spend more and be trouble free than go with cheap parts and have stuff break down when I have no experience fixing things and no fabrication tools.

    My budget is pretty much unlimited for a friction drive. I already have a hybrid bike with 700c x 35 tires. All I need is a kit and engine and I'm willing to spend $1,000 for the most reliable setup that I can easily set up and maintain myself. For me, reliability is much more important than modification ability or performance.

    I live in an urban area and I don't have a workshop or garage (yay apartments :rolleyes7:) to work in. It'll be me in my bedroom with my bike, a motor and kit, and various basic wrenches/screwdrivers.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  5. 2old2learn

    2old2learn Member

    You might consider an electric option in an apartment as you won't have to deal with oil and gas. Send K. C. a message as he builds bikes for people and he's built gas and electrics. He builds some very nice bikes and when you get it, it's turn key and ready to ride.
  6. lilwheel

    lilwheel New Member

    I've looked at electrics but they don't have the range I'm looking for. Unless there's an electric option that has a 50 mile range without the battery costing like a million times more than what a small gas engine costs.
  7. 2old2learn

    2old2learn Member

    Wasn't sure if you were on a budget or not. When I built my current bike I figured 1 to 2 thousand would get it done and wasnt worried about the cost.
  8. lilwheel

    lilwheel New Member

    Well I just want it to be reliable, easy to set up for a complete newbie, easy to maintain. The only ebikes I've seen with 50mile range cost like $8,000+ (at that point, might as well get a motorcycle)! Plus the batteries takes hours to recharge. I mean I can get a gas option for much less than half that and strap a gallon gas canister to the bike for hundreds of miles of extra range!
  9. 2old2learn

    2old2learn Member

    I understand. I can see your thinking out your options.
  10. 2old2learn

    2old2learn Member

    You can see my current bike on page 14 of our images down near the bottom left. Its a white mountain bike with a rear mount Honda engine and the next picture shows my drive chain routing. If you go with a rear friction drive it will be mounted similarly.
  11. lilwheel

    lilwheel New Member

    Yeah, the mounting looks quite similar to installing a rear bike rack which is very simple and bolts on in seconds. Wow that chain routing... I would be afraid to get a piece of loose pant leg stuck in it! I'm not sure what the differences of staton and roadbug friction drives are and how easily the rollers can be changed out on the staton kit on the side of the road. Cause I would like to get a roller for speed and one for hill climbing torque.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  12. 2old2learn

    2old2learn Member

    Give David Staton a call @ 405-605-3765 and tell him that Wayne Hobbs told you to give him a call to ask about his friction drive systems. I've been over to his shop several times to visit with him.
  13. 2old2learn

    2old2learn Member

    So far I've not had any issues with that chain line and I pedal quite a bit when I'm riding to get exercise. With my 21 speed transmission and that being a 29er I can comfortably ride off road and climb very steep hills and on the flats cruise easily @ 35mph and safely stop it with dual disc brakes. Since its all chain driven I dont have to worry about water or mud causing a potential friction drive issue.