The history of motor assisted bicycles please

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by biknut, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. biknut

    biknut New Member

    I'm really thirsty for knowledge about the phenomena of motor assisted bicycles. Could someone please explain the recent history of motor assisted bicycles?

    I already know most of the ancient history. I just want to know about the last few years.

    When did these happytime motors first come on the market? Does anyone know the total sales?

    I don't even have one yet and I'm already going nuts.

  2. Richard H.

    Richard H. Member

    If it's just the last few years you're interested in, much of that is at your disposal and you're looking at it. The archives here go back to 2006. The spin-off is

    Don Grubee was was an early pioneer in importing. Any idea of total sales of HT's would be impossible to know considering they're sourced from China and now imported through myriad channels. Pretty much a niche market with small production and shrinking since China itself all but banned them.
  3. biknut

    biknut New Member

    Thank you for the reply. I did try searching "history of motor assisted bicycles" but not much success.

    My bet is these aren't going to die anytime soon. More likely they're going to explode into the main stream in a few more years when more and more people find out about them.

    With the economy going the way it is, the idea of a motorized vehicle you can ride that costs as little $300 and gets 150 mpg is going to be pretty attractive even without the fun factor.
  4. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    the earliest motorcycles were motorized bicycles.... Mr. Davidson of Harley Davidson was a bicycle maker...
  5. Richard H.

    Richard H. Member

    I've seen that said before, maybe even thought it myself for awhile, lol. Back 2-3 years ago when gas prices spiked people were asking me about my bikes. And sure 'the idea of a motorized vehicle you can ride that costs as little $300' was appealing to some. Problem with that was then mostly I found they expected something for that price that you could jump on and ride trouble-free everyday like a Honda scooter or something.

    Or, they weren't mechanical and wanted me to build them one, which i did for awhile. Problem with that was I couldn't do it and make any money for $300. You know, kinda goes in a spiral from there, the more you charge and the better you build it, the more they expect in a__get on it and ride daily trouble-free__mode.

    Folks have come to expect a lot for not a lot of money.
    MBs are a great for the DIYer who likes to tinker and maybe get a little exercise too, lol.
  6. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

  7. biknut

    biknut New Member

    Thank you for the insight. Sounds a lot like a Harley Iron head.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  8. Stan4d

    Stan4d New Member

  9. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    even if these bikes do become mainstream transportation, there would still be the dependabilty issues, and someone would have to make a better engine in my opinion. right now the way i view these h.t. engines is as a hobby, not as a dependable mode of transportation.
    on top of that, these engines pretty much have 0 pollution control devices, and they spew exhaust and oil into the atmosphere / onto the ground...much worse than most cars.
    i have yet to see one get 150 mpg as claimed.
    these bike engines ARE NOT "green" as so many people think they are.
    they pollute more than you think, AND they are still using gas and oil.
    throw the safety factors in there, along with the government making laws for license plates, insurance, etc. on these things, and i don;t think everyone is ready to go there yet.
    I'm happy just playing around with my bikes and riding them for fun, but when it becomes a law that i need insurance and license plates, i'm selling them.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  10. Stan4d

    Stan4d New Member

    We seem to be drifting off of the topic of history and disscussing Pros, cons and future events. Any more recent history information?
  11. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

  12. andyszyd

    andyszyd Member

    One thing is for sure, Chinese did not invent the HT engine, they copied it just like they copy anything else.

    As a kid growing in postwar Europe in the 50,s and 60,s
    I remember East German made 2 stroke 50cc engines mounted on the bicycle exactly like HT using chain drive, and as I remember looking exactly like HT engine. They were hard to come by, and obviously I could not afford one.
  13. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    My understanding is that the basic small 2 stroke engine we call an HT was originally developed by the Russians in the early 1930's to serve as the power source for man-portable military radio systems.

    I suspect that the first radioman to carry a 100+ pound radio pack with attached generator and engine figured out he'd be better off with a wheelbarrow, the second one said - "I'll put it on a bicycle rack", and the 3rd one said, "Heck with that, I'll let itr power the bike!"
  14. andyszyd

    andyszyd Member

    Not to argue with your post, but until I see a hard proof that Russians invented HT engine I will never believe it.
    Russians copied everything and always violated all patents and international laws.
    This engine type was probably developed in Germany or France.
    I've also seen HT type axle mounted engines in post war Europe.

    Russian soldiers were too busy of drinking vodka every day, they would rather try to trade HT like engine for vodka in their dayli quest than adopt it to power a bicyckle. LOL
  15. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    You may be correct. I do not personally know who originated the design - I just saw a circa 1934 Russian field radio operators pack, complete with a 2 stroke engine visually identical to the current HT, in the museum of military technology in Kiev in 1994. I cannot read Russian or Ukrainian, but the man I was touring the museum with read and translated the descriptive text accompanying it to me.

    The notion of packing a huge tube radio, generator and engine, along with a pair of dry cell batteries as a backpack looked really exhausting to me.
  16. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    whether it was the Chinese or the Russians, it's not like they invented anything, they simply downscaled a motorcycle... not hard to believe of either country. Or, not even downscaling a motorcycle as much as reviving the original motorcycles which were bicycles with two stroke engines...