Overlooked opportunity

Discussion in 'Spare Parts, Tools & Product Developement' started by amiga65, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. amiga65

    amiga65 New Member

    Being new to motor bikes and not a mechanic or machinest. That said I have been reading these post on the forum till I'm going blind. There are two things I have figured out #1 quality of the HT, #2 there are machinest here on the forum. The way I see it is add #1 + #2= after market Quality. I have no idea what it would take to make a cylender head that is true and to specks or a cylender that is sleeved and ported properly but I can see a good after market bussiness. I,m sure the machinest here have thought about this, but I hav'nt come across any home made engine components on the forum yet.
    As I said I'm no machenest or metal worker so I have no idea what this would take. Just My thoughts

    P.S. Don't beat Me up to hard on this just wondering.

  2. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    there's some talk around
    regarding kind of -- rebuilding the HTs up strong and fast -- this cost way extra money
    but my thoughts
    is it worth it considering they are very inexpensive to buy new ??
  3. ZnsaneRyder

    ZnsaneRyder Member

    Creative Engineering, a member on the forum, is making a new 80ccc HT engine for that very reason.
  4. amiga65

    amiga65 New Member

    Hello Mountainman.
    I feel hounerd that You Were first to reply as I will be using some of Your tips to make My first bike safer and more reliable. Now please forgive Me if I am out of line, But I keep thinking of the wifes 98 cent can opener, about once a month she gets a new one because its inexpesive enough, I know bad comparison BTW about 6 months ago I paid about $8 for a new one got a but chewing but it still works and I see it going for another 6 months at least. I am buy no means rich I'm just trying to make it, in fact this hope and change **** is killing Me. Now I love the look of the HT motor, good clasic look as I have seen on some fine bikes in pic. gallery. But even though I'm dirt broke I would gladly save a bit more for quality.

    P.S. please look up all My posts 7 or 8 and give Me feedback I am looking for safety and reliabilaty.

    Cheers amiga65
  5. fetor56

    fetor56 Guest

    A large number of ppl here(particularly newcomers) seem to be fixated on cheapness....cheap kits/cheap bikes/cheap accessories,not realizing that it's false economy cos the amount of repairs u have to do & the time between repairs(plus downtime)........it's dangerous all this cheapness.
    I have & gladly pay twice as much for premium quality;IF available.
    Chris Hill from Canada & Rock Solid Engines from Oz aspire to this premium quality philosophy so accordingly their kits arn't cheap........bottom line is man u get what u pay for.
  6. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    I feel honored just knowing

    I feel honored just knowing that you were honored
    hold on I am getting dizzy here !!
    thank you
    on a serious note
    it's a shame but there seems not to be at this time
    a lower end middle ground
    hopefully someone will come in and prove me wrong here ??
    but it seems that from up top the mountain
    than we have the low end being around 1 to 2 hundred dollars for set ups
    then there's a jump to around 4 or a little more hundred dollars
    if you could get to the aprox 4 hundred dollar mark in a short time
    I would say -- do that -- in the long run -- a lot of trouble free riding
    if not I would say -- get the 1 to 2 hundred ((thing)) set up

    and ride the heck out of that MB thing

    as you know those are -- just for engines and drive units
    then we have our bicycles
    here we go again
    starting at around (how did they do that again) 100 dollars
    and going up to ?????????? skys the limit

  7. Hawaii_Ed

    Hawaii_Ed Member

    I agree completely, but I think the US labor costs and development expense are what is holding people back. Sure, a many people on here would buy one, but there are also the types who complain that the $200 shift kit is too high. The whole range of taste is present on the forums, you have guys who want to keep the whole build under $200, and then guys who would do whatever it takes to build a fast and reliable machine. I tend to be in the middle of the bell curve :)

    Time will test my theory, but I think having gears and keeping the engine in a survivable RPM range will do wonders for extending the life of the engine. They were not designed to scream at max RPM all day long.
  8. amiga65

    amiga65 New Member

    Glad to hear from You all.
    If You read My welome to forum post You know why I have to build this thing after searching the net the honda 50cc is the best bang for the buck, but the HT is the look I want I truly wish it were the other way around, but You know wish in one hand etc.
    The pics. You all have posted only confirms this is the only motor that will work for Me.
    And with all Your guidance I hope to display a top notch bike of My own in the gallery.

    Cheers Richard.

    P.S. Thanks Ed the Wife caght Me checking out You'r er bike now I'm cut off for the next week or 2 :)
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2009
  9. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Jim's the real thing with a complete shop and the skills to match, and responsible for some of the best and most sound upgrades available. He's the only person I know of who has seen the importance of balancing HT crankshafts and taking the pains to offer it. Yet a in recent post he alluded the market was just too small to build out this business. Maybe he'll chime in.
  10. Pablo

    Pablo Motored Bikes Sponsor

    That's what I was afraid of. It's a balance as others have said. Cheap, disposable, modifiable....vs. golden, perfect and expensive. Part of it is, at the heart of this very "hobby" - modifying the engine, just enough to make it ______________ (fill in the personal blank*) while not really crying when it croaks. With a $500+ engine (and still a few more mods), the spousal unit notices........I'm just saying it hits the wallet a bit harder.

    * reliable, fun, quick.....your choice.
  11. Klox

    Klox Guest

    I personally think that the design of the HT engines are OK. It's not too hi-tech for the average guy that likes to tinker with the innards of an engine.
    It's just that the quality is not awesome......and i mean by the quality of the raw materials used, the tolerances of the components, the bolt and nuts and the detail finish. One can always work on the detail finish, also "blueprinting" the innards, but there is nothing one can do to "upgrade" the quality of the metal used in the castings. To make it cost effective one would have to reverse engineer (copy) the engine and then set-up a machine shop to manufacture. The reality is that it's difficult to compete dollar for dollar, labourwise with the Chinese.
    Maybe there is already someone out there with the right expertise to manufacture limited quantities, but it's going to be EXPENSIVE!

    NS: I did bought a HT engine. The quality is not what i expected and therefore reliabilty becomes an issue. I'm not the type of person that likes to constantly tinker to make things work reliable. I'm currently saving up for a Cyclone kit....
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2009
  12. Thanks HV & Znsane:

    I do have a fairly complete shop, and I really like MB's. They are a lot of fun.

    I enjoy the design side of my business...it keeps things intersting. MB's are so fun, (from a design standpoint), because of the endless possibilities.

    When I look at a new design with the intention of offering it for sale, I have to consider the bottom line price versus the perceived value.

    I failed to do this with the clutch kits. I was new to MB's and I thought the clutch kit would really sell since my first build had a really stiff clutch.

    The first MB I built, or I should say rebuilt, came from one of my industrial customers who had bought an engine kit and a Point Beach Schwinn. He tried to install it and gave up. He brought it to the shop knowing I could fix it...and I did.

    I didn't know you could buy a kit to put a motor on a bike! I was like a kid in a candy store!

    I made an engine mount, fixed the stiff clutch by designing a proper actuator, and replaced the rag joint with a machined adapter that clamped to the hub.

    When done; it was fun to ride. I talked to many engine kit dealers afterward and they all said that the stiff clutches were definitely a major complaint from their customers...so I made 250 clutch kits almost a year ago. They also told me that the rag joint was not an issue! I didn't like the rag joint; but I wasn't going to argue...these guys were dealers.

    At the time I had not joined a forum, so I didn't realize that there were work-arounds for the stiff clutch. No work-around will do, for the clutch, what my kit will do: but my clutch kit did not have a percieved value of $27.50 because there were work-arounds listed on the forums before I came along.

    I am down to about 40 clutch kits in inventory, and I will keep 30 for my local customers. This product will be discontinued.

    The sprocket adapters & sprockets are a different story...The value versus cost is inline with what buyers consider a valuable upgrade.

    It is very difficult on my end to guess what MB guys "really" want to solve the problems associated with the installtion of a kit.

    I have a few, (5), customers who have ordered modified HT engines. I'm going to do them for fun, but in the long term I plan on making a mini 4-stroke that looks like a motorcycle engine.

  13. duivendyk

    duivendyk Guest

    People often don't perceive the value of quality&reliability and are disinclined to pay for what is not readily apparent to them.Adding say 50% to the price of an engine even of it is only $50 or so does not appeal to them,whereas the value of a well designed sprocket mount is readily apparent to them.It takes the school of hard knocks&experience for to them to realize that initial cost is by no means the whole story,getting stranded is no fun esp if you have to rely on your mount for daily use.If you like to go on longer camping trips like I do,reliability is obviously of crucial importance.Don't despair Jim,'word of posts' should help,as would testimonials from Forum members.I for one would very much like to try out a SBP shift (My Staton NUVinci is quite reliable but rather on the clunky side),however the prospect of having to put up with an 'unrefined' HT engine has given me cold feet thus far!.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2009
  14. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    You had me at "mini 4 stroke". Sounds like the Houghmade '71' may gain a Houghmade '89' brother in the future.
  15. Snake Bite

    Snake Bite Member

    Cool Beans.. Yet there is One...

    It's Not EPAed,nor CARB rated, and yet Could be, with the Help of alot of Money.. already exists.. at 49 CC 4 stroke,over head Cam,CID Alternator, Carb In back,exhaust out the front,, One Chain Drive,for both the pedaling and Powered drive. Pedal Crank, is Built into the Case.. No One Has Ponied the Bucks to certify this third World Moped Motor, with the US. It should Should Be Done.. Do You Know the Motor I am speaking about Jim.?? Rich,cause they Blank ****
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009
  16. RMWdave

    RMWdave Member

    got a picture? crank built into case???
  17. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Actually, a quality engine kit can be manufactured in China inexpensively. There is an investment tht must be made, and nobody wants to invest the money when MB's may be regulated out of existence, or emission rules get tighter.

    I was working on a leaf blower that had a small 24cc engine that was made in China. The cylinder and crankcase were die cast, looked and felt like quality pieces. The blower retails for 79 bucks. The problem with the blower wasn't shoddy construction, but bad gas that clogged the filter screen in the carburetor.

    If the HT engine parts were die cast (instead of sand cast), they would look much better, have better dimensional accuracy, and probably last much longer. But who will invest the money?

    Right now, we should enjoy them for what they are and consider ourselves lucky that we can buy some "old world" manufacturing technology in a world that is increasingly more technical. (50cc scooters with catalytic converters and Fuel Injection????!!!!!!)

    Emission standards for small offroad SI engines are set to tighten up in 2010, I don't know if it affects our 2 stroke HT's.
  18. Parah_Salin

    Parah_Salin Member

    My experience with chinese/cheeply made ANYTHING is quality control, basically just making sure all the parts are the right size.

    How does one become a "dealer" of happy time kits? If some of the dealers with a high enough volume wanted them to do a "premium" kit, that is better quality metal, bolts, and having people check all the dimesions, would it sell?
  19. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    I guess you are right about quality control. There is nothing really wrong with sand casting parts, but the HT factories let cylinders go by that have cosmetic imperfections. They do seem to "weed out" the ones with gross defects though. I guess we are just used to things of higher quality than a typical HT engine. I will say that Grubee engines are better than the rest (which are about the same IMO). Probably the best quality you will find in a HT engine.

    As far as becoming a "dealer", it is easy. Just contact any of the wholesale dealers that sell on ebay, and let them know how many kits you want to buy. The best discounts usually happen at around the 50+ mark, and even then, don't be surprised if your mark-up is only about 20%. (if you plan on matching internet pricing)

    This is the inherent problem with HT sales. You are basically "competing" with the wholesaler that sold you the engine. But most folks will see the value in paying more money and dealing with someone "in person" who can help them with installation/tuning. But watch out, you will be expected to provide warranty parts if something should fail. As long as you educate the customer as to the care and feeding of these engines, you won't have much trouble.

    The big money is made when you are the importer/wholesaler, but even then, I wouldn't expect to get the quality much better than Don Grube already has after years of dealing with these little factories.
  20. The truth is the ht motor has a good price:value ratio. If you put it together right and upgrade the few parts that are a problem from the start (not after they break and take a few other parts w/ them) you'll get good value. In essence if you do your homework, invest a little more scratch, and work through a few little bugs you get a reliable "cheap" form of fun transpo.

    It's not only co$t expectations that can plague the vendor. Many people new to the hobby expect, w/o mechanical experience, to build an mb that's reliable the 1st time out of the box. That's like expecting to be handed a basket full of motorcycle parts, w/o mechanical experience, and build a running motorcycle. It's not realistic.

    You can learn, i.e. experience, what it takes. But sometimes "experience is what you get when you don't get what you want". And it takes time.

    It is hard and often time ($) consuming for vendors to deal w/ unrealistic expectations and poor end user worksmanship in addition to the already shotty craftsmanship of their imported product that they may or may not have control over if the market will even bear the cost (sentence run on for effect purposes). Just another cost of doing business but if your talking about 20% mark up (an already difficult business model) it's a significant one.

    Just like any other business, there is a lot of competition (for the size of the market) and thus a lot of unseen time and money spent trying to attract and retain business. For most businesses it's not like you set up shop and start filling orders. And if you are wanting to design, develop, and market your own products don't expect to see a profit on those items soon unless you have a lot of money to start w/.

    Bottom line is that every one of the vendors out there (few exceptions if any) work hard at developing their businesses, in the best way that they can, with what they got, and w/in their particular business model. If the market will bear it, it will be born!

    Viva la Motorbicycling! And thanks to all the awesome people, vendors and customers alike (some of them both), who make this a truly exciting pastime and wonderful forum!