Tips for the commuter


Active Member
Local time
3:57 PM
Jan 11, 2008
Mount Vernon, Ohio, USA
So, you think you may want to build a motorized bike to commute as often as possible, but you aren't sure just what to look for...
  • My primary tip would be, since you're looking at the bike for daily commuter use, is to spend the extra dollars to get a reliable system - the Staton chain drive, or the GEBE belt drive are both considered to be quite reliable. They cost more, but, you know what they say about 'getting what you pay for.' In this case, the old saw is right on the mark. Both of these two suppliers offer very reliable systems, with quality hardware and workmanship, combined with good service. The various 'Happy Time' kits often come with cheap hardware, and need a lot of maintenance to keep them running.
  • Couple that reliable drive system you choose with a solid motor. The Robins-Suburu EHO35, Honda GX35, GX50, or Mitsubishi TLE43 are all good choices. At 2.2 HP, the Mitsubishi offers very good power, but, it is a two-stroke, and requires that you pre-mix the fuel. The R/S or Honda are 4-strokes, so you can fill up at the pump. Dave Staton thinks that the R/S is the better engine of the two 35 cc (apx) motors, as it is still built in Japan and has a cast iron cylinder sleeve, but, there's a lot of folks who run Hondas and who are happy with them. The GX50 is the most powerful motor of the four, made in Japan, with a cast iron cylinder sleeve, and it has great torque (making it the best engine for hilly areas,) but, it is not recommended for use with the GEBE system.
  • Get an oversized gas tank. Staton offers a 96 ounce version that, plumbed in series with the original 1 quart (apx.) of the original tank, will take you a long way before you need to refill.
  • Get a sturdy bike. Spend the extra money up front for a bike that will stand up to the daily wear and tear. Also, remember that with that motor, you can afford to get heavier, more rugged components, like over-sized spokes.
  • Get the best tires and thickest, thorn resistant tubes you can find. Slicks or Semi-Slicks, with Kevlar belts. Bike tires do NOT need tread to channel away water - they are narrow, and you cannot go fast enough to hydroplane. Keep as much rubber on the road as you can.
  • Get a comfortable saddle, and at least a suspension seatpost. Your back (and butt!) will thank you for it. A front suspension fork will help reduce arm fatique, also.
  • Get several locks, of different types, and make your bike secure.
  • Obey all the traffic laws, and drive courteously. This movement is just getting fired up - we don't want to irritate the drivers who can get the movement outlawed before it really gets moving
  • Your bike needs two brakes - at least one on both front and rear. The first reason is for safety - you do not want a single point of failure when brakes are involved. The second reason is that, when traveling at the speeds that a motor can push you, just the rear brakes may not be able to stop you in time...
  • Ride defensively, and WEAR A HELMET! There's a lot of idiots behind the wheel, and you DON'T want to be an injury, brain damage, or fatality statistic.
  • Be Visible! Use lights at all times, wear a reflective vest. Have one less excuse for the cagers to use.

That's all for now. If you have further ideas, let's talk about it, and I could add them to the list.
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