Reliability For Under $300. Is It Possible?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Smallwheels, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. Smallwheels

    Smallwheels New Member

    I've owned the Golden Eagel kit; Staton Friction Drive, and That's Dax rack mount gear drive kits. All of them have given me problems. I quit the Golden Eagle because of constantly breaking spokes and the main engine support cracked in half.

    The Staton kit used the Tanaka motor from the GEBE kit. The bearings wore out fast and so did the roller. Nobody talks about how the friction drive kits destroy the interiors of tires. The tire threads would wear through the rubber and blow the tubes. I never wore out the outside of a tire before the interior of the tires exposed the threads.

    The That's Dax rack mount chain drive kit is the best so far but it is always going out of alignment and slipping down the rear supports. The original sprocket at the reduction gear was manufactured with a couple of flaws and I had to purchase two more due to problems. The latest and no longer made version is working properly.

    I need a new motor. Buying another Tanaka and bolting it on would cost over $350. I could buy an in frame whole kit for half of that. It seems that many here say they are unreliable. I need a kit to take me to and from work daily in Montana winter weather.

    I bought two different Titan motors from That's Dax. The XC 35 head leaked within three days. The Titan 50 cc two stroke motor that I got as a replacement also leaked oil from the head within a week. I got refunds but I paid shipping two and from the place four times and don't have a motor to show for it.

    My Tanaka 32 cc worked great for years with little work. Should I pony up the huge cash for another or buy a new bicycle and cheap China Girl kit and hope I get a good one?

    I can't put one of those kits in my current bicycle because it won't fit inside the frame. The Wal-Mart bikes look OK but none of them have regular size frame tubes anymore. The down tubes are all very fat ovals.

    All suggestions are welcome.

    I have gotten a utility motor from a friend but I don't know if it will fit into my chain drive kit yet. I don't even know if the motor will run. So I'm seeking a solution to my problem.

    Let me know of your experiences.


  2. BchCruizer

    BchCruizer New Member

    i ride a bumblebeebolton for $279. They use the urethane drive wheel. It works great. There's not clutch to wear out and there design is simple and reliable. Check em out on there website i think you will be very happy there kit. I have 5,000miles on mine and it still runs great! I think they are one of the most reliable kits out there. people on here always argue with me over and only a few of them have rode one..and the few members that did get one i never see them on here anymore with any problems!
  3. BchCruizer

    BchCruizer New Member

    How long did your staton kit last. I have never tried one but i have heard good things about them
  4. Richard H.

    Richard H. Member

    This is the money quote for your situation and you're gonna be hard pressed IMO to meet those requirements for the price range you've indicated. Look at it this way, what do you think you'd have pay to have a small motorcycle set-up to meet your needs and be reliable? You've already had a fair amount of experience with a number of different designs so I could almost certainly say you'll find no solution with an out-of-the-box HT inframe kit or something like a cheap made in China 26cc bunglebee kit.

    The first word in your subject line is "reliability", that combined with what I'm sure can be fairly grueling conditions of your geographic location mean to me a number of things: It won't come cheap. Many seasoned motored bikers I know are of the consensus that it takes somewhere between $1000 and $1200 to build a MAB with all weather reliability that you just jump on and ride day in and day out without daily tinkering. (that dollar figure is somewhere along the lines of 60/40 or 65/35...engine-drive assembly/bicycle-wheels-componets) This consensus comes after all the early miscues and money spent on trying to save money. It also means it might be hard to find what you're looking for in a kit because many guys I know have had to fabricate themselves, at least in part, a system with components and design built to take the beating. I think you have to remember that most of what you see on online and in forums and such is folks who are happy to get a bike to buzz around the neighborhood or run local errands but do so only during good weather and close enough to home where they can get back home easily if the thing quits on them.

    Thus far I've not a suggestion and perhaps it's moot at this point given the second part of your subject line "under $300". Stepping aside that restriction for a second, if I were making suggestions it would probably include something like a Staton gearbox or maybe an EZM drive and probably an engine that starts with the letter H.

    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  5. Smallwheels

    Smallwheels New Member

    The Staton friction drive kit lasted about six months. I bought new bearings for it but couldn't find a way to remove the old ones. So I have the kit with new bearings waiting around doing nothing. I'll probably sell it here some day with the uninstalled new bearings. The same goes for my Golden Eagle kit parts.

    Friction drive kits won't work on wet tires forever. They will work acceptably when new because the rollers can grip the tires. Once those sharp points wear away the rollers won't grip in rain or snow. By the time winter rolled around I tried the friction drive with snow. It slipped too often.

    If I were to do it all over again from scratch I'd buy a 50 cc scooter from Honda or Yamaha. I would spend less money over time and get many more miles out of it. Right now I'm poor with two part time jobs and a huge medical bill from a night time crash on my motorized bicycle. I need to decide if I will buy another quality motor by Subaru; Tanaka, or Honda, and bolt it into my That's Dax kit or try another type of kit and see if it works better.
  6. BigBlue

    BigBlue Active Member


    Sounds like you've attended the school of hard knocks:)

    My suggestion, sell what you have and buy a 79cc or 99cc Predator with a warranty or a 98cc Lifan and a bike (Craigslist or garage sale) that allows you to mount a AGK jackshaft kit. You might also consider a shift kit.

    Here's a link on the other forum regarding a Lifan 98cc build:

    If not an option, you could buy a 37cc HS from Live Fast Motors for $165 for your Dax kit.

    Maybe just buying a new quick release might solve some of your slipping problem. Can't you just tac weld the supports to the U channel, so it doesn't slip? or possibly attach a set of bolts through the rear supports to the U channels? How about tac welding the support to the bicycle. My guess is that your setup isn't solid and you get some lateral movement that causes the chain to become misaligned. You'd have to install some type of chain tensioner if you welded the supports.

    Here's post #2 from Lowracer on eliminating play that might be causing alignment issues:

    Just buy a scooter.

    Good Luck,

    AKA: BigBlue
  7. Richard H.

    Richard H. Member

  8. scooters are for ***********. stay with a motorized bike or buy a motorcycle....or drive a car and shedup
  9. Esteban

    Esteban Active Member

    If you must ride a two-wheeler in those conditions, I would forget a motorized bike, & get a trail bike.
  10. BigBlue

    BigBlue Active Member

    I would have to agree with you that a Honda Trail 90 would be ideal; However, O.P. stated he only had $300.00. Is the O.P. going to get a trail bike for $300.00? Maybe if he is willing to spend more money getting it running or do the work himself. With all respect to the O.P., I have the impression the O.P. is not mechanically inclined or doesn't have the time. He stated he hasn't installed the new bearings on the Staton friction drive kit, so he would probably have to pay someone to work on the trail bike.

    I think the China Girl option would be more headaches for O.P. since they need constant maintenance and/or repair.

    AKA: BigBlue
  11. BchCruizer

    BchCruizer New Member

    I like my kits drive wheel. its urethane and it doesnt wear down at all..i have been riding 30miles to work every day and the urethane has proven to be excellent..It does slip when its soaking wet but i rode home after it rained and the road was still moist but not soaked and it didn't slip at all. it freaked me out im use to them slipping even if its a little moist. The kit I use has no clutch. so it eliminates all that chaos. I like the tanaka engines also there capable of running at 11,000 rpms. I wouldnt suggest it but they will do it. I used to run mine at 8,000 and it was plenty fast enough. I ride my 26cc now at 7,000rpms.. Its just better for my needs.
  12. BchCruizer

    BchCruizer New Member

    The engines are from china..find one thats not. But they are made into bike kits in florida ( thats in america richard) by americans. So its assembled and designed in america. I ride everyday and never tinker!
  13. Richard H.

    Richard H. Member

    I see, it's now admitted the bunglebee engines are made in China but only after being exposed to the fact you were attempting to mislead people that they weren't. Shall I link the threads? Folks are not that gullible. As far as finding one that's not, that's easy, just look for any kit that utilizes Honda, Robin, Tananka, Mitsubishi and several others, all quality engines with extensive warranties of 2 or 3 years.

    Besides all that, I really don't see the pertinence of continuing to post about a made in China 26cc lawn trimmer engine if you had at all even read the OPs opening post. He's asking about a reliable system to be used for commuting throughout a MT winter. You might show a little respect for the OP and let people answer who understand the question rather than view it as just another opportunity to mention what many know is essentially a cheap, made in China toy.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  14. BchCruizer

    BchCruizer New Member

    I never said the engine it's self isn't from china or japan. I really don't have anything to prove to you. My kit speaks for it's self. Reliable and thats it. I don't really care were it's made as long as it works good. The engines dont come as a bicycle engine. There's alot more work put into it right here in america.
  15. Smallwheels

    Smallwheels New Member

    It has been several months since I started this thread. I'm glad for all of the assistance.

    At the end of my first post I said I got a utility motor from a friend but didn't know if it would fit or run. It fit and it runs really well to this day. It was made in the 80s. It is called a Brushmaster. It is a 37 cc size and some internet research tells me it was made by Robin in Japan. This motor has a lot of torque. It leaks fuel from the air cleaner. It doesn't have a kill switch. It is all metal. No plastic on this old motor. It came from a very powerful weed-eater made by Sears. If you come across such a motor I suggest you buy it. Parts are not available for it now.

    In the winter temperatures below about 10 degrees it takes 200 pulls to start unless I use my magic stuff called ether in a can. Then it takes two pulls. I love that stuff.

    The bicycle still has alignment problems and I must adjust the chain regularly. I have created a tensioner device that works. Unfortunately I've realized another bad link in the powertrain. The stays that hold up the rear portion of the motor will bend under throttle and sometimes when hitting bumps. This causes the chain to wobble and sometimes come off. I think that if I put some angle iron/aluminum stays the bending and flexing will cease. I don't know how much it would cost to have a machinist create the channels necessary to insert the rear mounting bolt that goes across the motor mounting bracket. I don't have tons of tools to do it myself. I have a toolbox with wrenches, pliers, and screw drivers, and nothing else. My only power tools are a variable speed drill and a Dremel multi-tool.

    This summer I considered buying a small motorbike. I don't have the money for one and it seems that these days a credit score of 650 is in the poor credit range instead of good. I do believe I can make my motorized bicycling experience better with better equipment.

    My first step is to try to buy a super durable rear wheel. Is The Wheelmaster still in business? I sent an e-mail to his buy now link and haven't gotten a reply. The next step will be to make those stronger stays. One other reason the kit moves around so much is because my frame requires a long U-bracket for the front mount. It is about ten inches long. This is necessary because the rear stays on the bicycle are much lower than a conventional frame. Part of my upgrade plan is to get a conventional steel frame and use the shorter U-bracket for less flex.

    I'll also need new big and small sprockets along with a new chain because it seems that the metal used in the small sprocket is very cheap. The big sprocket is much more durable and doesn't have any signs of wear. I've gone through three little ones. I must change the big one because That's Dax doesn't make sprockets with the bigger single speed chain size anymore. He now uses smaller chain. He says it is better. How is a smaller lighter chain better? If I buy a tensioner that fits the frame I can use it as a secondary measure for keeping the chain on the sprocket.

    All of this is going to cost money but it will be less than buying a motorcycle or motor scooter for now. To register one of those costs $300 per year. With this plan I can do the work in stages as I can afford it until it is all done. I have decided if I need another motor I will go with a Tanaka two-stroke of some size. The one I had lasted a long time and will still run. It just leaks a lot all over the place now.

    I have moved to a place that is less expensive to rent so I'll have a little more money for getting things in the coming months. I still can't seem to find a full time job in this town with my meager qualifications. Alternatives to The Wheelmaster are welcome. If he is in business still, let me know.

    Thank you.

    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
  16. siouxindian

    siouxindian Member

    buy a motorcycle...
  17. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    'buy a motorcycle' ???? Pretty lame. The OP has put a lot of time and effort into keeping a working MB and that's all you've got to say?

    Anyway, Smallwheels, congratulations. I also got the impression (like one of the posters above), from your first post, that you lacked the mechanical aptitude for this. Not meant as a criticism. It just felt that way.

    But I can see that I was mistaken. You've kept your nose to the grindstone and you've made things work. Even if it's not perfect yet, it sounds as though you'll get there. And you'll do it with cash outlays that won't kill you. Good job.

    I think of myself as being pretty tough about riding in winter weather. When it gets really cold I go back to a regular pedal bike for warmth. But I don't let winter stop me.

    But MB'ing through a Montana winter? Goodness gracious! You're tough.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  18. HeadSmess

    HeadSmess Well-Known Member

    im surprised, as theres one option that hasnt been mentioned.


    what distances do you do daily? can you afford to plug it into the wall every day or two?

    the batteries are the expensive part, but are a one off purchase for a few years. the hub motors obviously need no alteration other than lining chain up, and centralising in frame via nuts/washers and "dishing" the wheel.

    then again, i think it blows the $300 budget. depends on the battery (for longevity versus weight) and the motor rating (750 watts is one horsey!)

    you can always buy the hub this week, the controller next week... etc.

    theyre quiet, maintenance free and clean. if the controllers up to the job(ie, can deliver the current and voltage required without frying), dc electric motors produce maximum torque when stationary. meaning the 1hp rating is meaningless and shouldnt be compared to a petrol engines 1hp @7500 rpm for instance. cus that petrol engine will not produce any torque when stationary.

    the electric has better hill climbing and take off.

    the petrol sounds better :jester:

    but reading through your drama have had a bad time. with what are meant to be fairly good kits. so either you are destroying them somehow or you just have bad luck...

    the BEST kit is the one you make yourself. the third or fourth one. ;)
  19. dchevygod

    dchevygod Member

    I've done a golden eagle style belt drive and loved it but it wasn't a gebe kit. I used a billet goped motor mount " sorry to hear your gebe mount broke in two! " made my own drive gear and used the sheave and belt from gebe. It ran awesome! And then I started breaking spokes. I ordered the HD wheel and all was well! 27cc goped rc/lh hybrid got me 2 tickets @40.3 mph :D beat em both cause they wrote it up as driving on a suspended? I brought in a pic of the bike and the prosecutor laughed me out of court.
  20. KCvale

    KCvale Motorized Bicycle Vendor

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