Thinking about a M-Bike in E NC

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by bigkahuna, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna Member


    I'm thinking about building a motorized bicycle. My dad and I almost built one back in the 60's, even had the perfect cruiser for the project, but just never managed to finish it. Now I live about 4 miles from the beach and am looking for a way to get around the hassles/costs of parking a car there (they charge $10 a day to park at the beach now). A couple months ago I saw a kid on a mountain bike that he had motorized and it got me to start thinking. The 4 mile bike ride would be a piece of cake, but there's a 1 mile long bridge with a 100 foot incline that would be real tough to peddle up, so a motor would be a god-send. I'm a big guy (6'4" and weigh around 240 lbs) but in good shape. I've been keeping my eye on Craigslist for a suitable bike, but to be honest, Craigslist isn't a great place to shop here since we're really in the boonies and I don't want to drive 100 miles just to look at a used bike. I read some of the bad comments on Walmart bikes, but unfortunately that's likely to be my best option. The bicycle shops here cater to tourists, so that's way out of my budget. I'd like to keep the entire project under $250. My wife is also mildly interested in this, so if it works out well I'll build her one as well. I'm hoping some of you more experienced builders / riders can give me some links to bikes / motor kits that I can just buy and assemble knowing it'll work OK and be within my budget.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Welcome aboard. Good intro post. Informative and let's us know just where you stand and what you're looking for.

    The two stroke motors, known here as "happy time" motors, are right within your price range. Many of us don't feel that they're quite good enough to stick with forever, but they are really, really good for someone who is starting out and wants to get motorized without putting a bunch of money at risk. By the time you have to give up on your first one, you will know for certain whether you want to go with the same or upgrade, or whatever.

    My opinion is that even cheap bikes are adequate for this purpose provided only that they are ridden gently. If you blast over potholes or rough ground at 25 mph, then you are likely to break the bike, very possibly involving danger of injury to yourself. (but then, I wouldn't do that even to an expensive bike. The risk, though maybe smaller, is still there) When I have a clear road with good pavement I'll often cruise at 20 mph for a half mile or so. But that's fairly rare, really. In the real world I ride not very much faster than I would on a pedal bike. But I do it with less effort. That's very handy in high heat or other nasty weather, by the way.

    If you have the "feel" for absorbing road shock in your arms and legs instead of the bike, then you should do okay even on a bike from the Beast of Bentonville. Just don't drill through the frame. (if you're not familiar with that, don't worry. You'll be familiar as you read these threads and as you figure out your engine mount.)

    If you are capable of keeping a regular pedal bike up and running, then you need hardly any more skill, and only a little more knowledge, to successfully build and run a motorized bike.

    I'd urge you to go ahead and do it. If you're one of the unlucky ones who just can't seem to make it work (perhaps 1 in 15 or so) then you'll be bummed.

    But if you are one of the rest who manage it successfully, then you'll find yourself wishing that you'd done it years ago.

    good luck and have fun.
  3. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna Member

    Thanks for the welcome. I've got a couple questions for anyone who might be able to answer them:

    1. I'm looking at getting a cheap mountain bike because they seem to be the cheapest bikes that still have center pull / calliper breaks. The possible problem is that every mountain bike I've seen so far has a non cylindrical front tube. Is that a problem for most motor conversion kits? The one I'm looking at has what looks almost like an egg shape. Can the mounting brackets typically be bent easily?

    2. My wife is much shorter than I (5'2") and I think she'll have a hard time fitting on a standard boys 26" bike. Will most conversion kits work with 24 in bikes? How about a girl's frame? Again, I need to keep within my $250 - $300 total cost budget and finding used bikes here is nearly impossible.

    Edit: One more question: Will a 60cc engine be enough to pull my 240 lbs around? I don't need speed, in fact I'll be most comfortable with normal peddling speeds. But I do have one fairly steep hill that I will need to climb.

    Thanks again and we look forward to joining the community.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  4. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    My old 49cc two strokes had more power than I really wanted. It was difficult to ride slowly without lugging the engine. Though you're heavier than I am, it still should be powerful enough for you.

    Your wife will be a trickier problem. I saw a photo here of an HT motor mounted on a step-through frame, so it can be done. The problem, though, was that the motor was then mounted so high that it really wasn't a step through anymore. I don't think you can mount one in a 24 in bicycle. I guess I can't say that it can not be done under any circumstances. But I'm pretty doubtful; there's just not enough room.

    A rack mount would be an alternative. But they're also more costly.

    Perhaps you ought to consider electric bikes. Wal-mart offers one at a list price of 398.00. When I bought mine it rang up at 299.00. We checked the numbers and such and couldn't find an explanation. My guess is that it was the previous year's model and was marked down. So I got it for $319.00 after tax.

    These bikes (Currie E-Zip Trailz) are not bad at all. The frame is definitely tougher than a bargain basement bike. Some of the electrical componentry is really not very good. I had to do some updating. The good news, though, is that it doesn't have to be done immediately. A person can buy it and ride it right away. The further cash outlay (in my case, about a hundred bucks) can wait until later.

    For me, the power is just about perfect. I can put most of the load on the motor, if I want to, and still ride about 10 miles or so. I can also do more of the work myself and just let the motor help me along on hills or in headwinds and can do 20 miles or more on one charge. It takes a bit of getting used to; adjusting how much you want the motor to do the work for you. But it's not all that hard.

    This could be a good possibility, especially for your wife. Though I'm pretty sure they don't make a 24 in model, they do make a 26 in step-through model.
  5. bigkahuna

    bigkahuna Member

    Thanks, I hadn't thought about an e-bike.
  6. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I neglected to mention, above, one other strength of the E-Zip.

    It has stronger wheels than an $80.00 bicycle has. I haven't checked the gauge, but those spokes are clearly thicker.