Want to do a ground up build, no kits, need a parts list

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by SawyerLD, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. SawyerLD

    SawyerLD New Member

    I have zero knowledge about or experience with engine mechanics, I don't know the purpose of any of its parts. That being said, I don't want to take a gamble on a HT motor, and I'd rather go with a Honda. Thing is, you can't just buy a kit with no motor, it comes with one. So what kind of parts would I need to do a frame mount of a 4 Stroke Honda engine? I plan on installing a shift kit eventually as well, if that matters. I've looked, and looked but I can't find a How to of a ground up build. I'll be certain when I do my first build to document the whole process.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. dougsr.874

    dougsr.874 Active Member

    With zero knowledge or experience, I would urge you to start with a 4 stroke kit from Bicycle-Engines.com. , gain some experience before you venture into deep water.....The HS 4 stroke is a Chinese copy of a Honda engine, and I've had good success with them...The gearbox is the key to success with 4 stroke kits...stay away from the HOOT gearbox.....Some vendors call them a Stage 5....
  3. Bonefish

    Bonefish Member

  4. HeadSmess

    HeadSmess Well-Known Member

    good luck. a mill, a lathe, numerous metal working tools...and i still just stick to kits, having stuffed around with shafts and bearings, chains and sprockets, pulleys... getting things to line up... stopping nuts from undoing, yarda yarda... as mentioned...get some experience first! takes a few years to learn what will and what wont break, even if you are an engineer!

    whats wrong with HT? buy a full kit, spend the extra cus the really cheap ones are what you would call factory seconds... and get a spare engine if really worried.

    list for a complete ground up build... if you want to do it properly, at least.

    cutoff saw.
    various nuts and bolts.
    enough sprockets and chain or belts and pulleys to get approx 18:1 reduction on 26" wheels.
    a pile of steel scrap.
    timber for making jigs.
    measuring tools.
    a frame.
    an engine.
    access to a machine shop helps.
    oh. most importantly! a shed or large space!
    at least a rough sketch. if you cant draw it, chances are you cant make it!
    theres plenty of other things, like a grinder, grease, solvents...

    equations...my lathe and mill are equivalent to 20 HT kits at least - without tooling up. just bought oxygen. that was worth a kit and a half, simply to braze one cable lug on... but now i have oxygen when i need it (came in handy fixing the water heater yesterday) :) etc etc.
  5. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    :iagree: 110%
  6. SawyerLD

    SawyerLD New Member

    Haha Well maybe it is a bigger undertaking than I first thought. Still though, it is definitely something I want to get into. What's a good dealer for HT engines? I was looking at gasbike but I hear those are just knock off grubee kits. As for a bike, I was looking at this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AWNHVQ6/ref=gno_cart_title_4?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

    But after messaging Adam from Sinister Custom Cycles, he warns me that a bike of that expense would probably be a bad buy. Taking his experience into account, I still like the bike. I love it's look, and it's a steel frame which to me sounds safer than aluminum. Also, the entire reason I'm building one of these is a cheaper alternative to a car, so I'm not looking at pouring more than $600 into it right away. That's about enough for the bike and a 4 stroke kit, with a sprocket adapter. That being said, I'm still open to being convinced that buying a $500 dollar bike is worth the money. I'm wanting to build more than one of these so maybe save the nice bike for the second project, is what I'm thinking.
  7. Bonefish

    Bonefish Member

    If you want to get a Honda engine. Get a Honda GX35 and a friction kit. It would serve you better than a HT kit.
  8. SawyerLD

    SawyerLD New Member

    Doug, you said stay clear of the HOOT/Stage 5 gear box, here on bicycle-engines they're selling a HT kit on sale that comes with a Stage III gear box, and I'm wondering if they're the same or if I should just steer clear of gearboxes period. And if that's so, what problems are associated with a gearbox as opposed to a T-belt system?

    Bonefish, I like the idea of owning a Honda engine, but I can't stand the look and functionality of a friction kit. I just feel it's adding a lot of unnecessary wear to the back tire, and the look of it on a bike just isn't my style. I like motorcycles, just can't afford one! I plan on replacing almost all the original parts included in a kit. From improved throttle and gas line, to performance air filters and new hardware, including swapping the engine for a Honda. Or just use the Honda on my 2nd bike. Not sure yet, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
  9. Bonefish

    Bonefish Member

    When I had a HT kit, I didn't like the friction drive kits either. Then after multiple breakdowns with the HT kit, and later on I got the Friction kit. I loved the simplicity and the reliability of the friction kit over the HT kit. You can always take the Honda GX35 motor off the friction kit and put it on something else later if you don't like the friction kit.
  10. HeadSmess

    HeadSmess Well-Known Member

    my HT that im using currently has over a year of abuse, over 50km rides daily, mostly full throttle. its been through four frames... had to replace one crank seal so far. (48cc)

    on the other hand, i had one HT that couldnt get me the 5km to work, ever. (a 66 or "80")

    miles? 30 and 3 approx.

    get a cromo frame, mountainbike with straight seat stays. v brakes, or cantilever at a minimum, front and back. having just fitted a "dual lever"... i regret not having done so earlier! both brakes on one lever is so much nicer!

    avoid fat tubes, theyre hard to mount. dont drill holes in frames.

    accumulate spare parts. stick to one size and supplier....when you find one that doesnt die instantly ;) cant say who, im not in the US. ignore 99% of the advertising hype. its people trying to make money, not help. IMHO, bigger is NOT better.

    friction drive is the pits when there is any moisture on the roads, and as for diesel...oh wow.

    and so far, having never seen a fourstroke kit that doesnt require offset cranks... i avoid all fourstroke kits.

    ive also had(rackmounted) 3 HS 50cc fourstrokes die. one left me stranded, the others left someone else stranded. i wouldnt trust them for constant use. honda...well, honda is another story :) i want one for my kayak! cus i dont want to be stuck up some creek 50km (or miles!) from help with no engine... (and if i leave the river and head down the coast to the next river...oh wow. i need reliability!)
  11. SawyerLD

    SawyerLD New Member

    Bonefish, this is true. It would get me what I need easily, and I'd have the Honda to play around with when and if I decide to step into frame racked bikes. But I have heard of slippage issues with friction kits, and this will be my main ride. Although school and work are only a 15 minute drive away, so I won't be doing too many long hauls. Other than to a friends or from town to town on occasion. Maybe the Golden Eagle kits? What kind of tinkering and customization is available for friction kits? A major thing I find so attractive about the HT kits is the almost endless amounts of doo dads and upgrades I can get for it. Throw about $50 or so bucks into it every weekend, slowly making it better and better. Man, it just sounds like fun. Which is about half the reason I want to do this. Can I ask what the source of the failure from your HT kits were? Was it the motor themselves or problems associated with the very design of a frame racked kit?

    HeadSmess, I'm not surprised to hear of the unreliability of HT motors. Though, I have heard of peoples dying on them after a long 5 years.Still, this is why I want to build a kit from the ground up. I suppose that even if a HT motor lasts only a few weeks, it would give me enough time to gather up enough cash to replace it with a GX35. Bicycle-Engines at one time sold just a mounting kit (http://www.bicycle-engines.com/49cc-4G-T-Belt-Drive-Mounting-Kit-Only.html) allowing you to use any motor you'd like, but hell, it's just as much as an HT kit to begin with. Not to mention it's back ordered. The reason for my predilection with 4 strokes is I don't want to mix gas, it has better gas mileage (a moot point, really, when talking about 100+ mpg), and increased reliability compared to 2 strokes. I've never heard someone argue otherwise, though my experience logs in at about a week so far. And you said that HT went through four frames? Is that by choice or necessity? Because If I'm going to go through 4 $200 bikes, I'd rather just spend $600 on a quality bike to begin with. Honestly, this whole thing is completely counter productive, for the amount of money I plan on investing in this I ought to just buy a car. But those I can't build, and have waaay less style and personality. No, I'm sticking with this.

    The only reason I even consider buying an HT kit is to get me off the ground, then I can move in my own direction in terms of modifications. By the end of it all I don't plan on having any of the original components. Just using the Kit as a framework so I know how to move forward. However, I would like to avoid all that by just knowing the specifics of what a kit contains so I can buy the parts separately and just make my own "kit" containing quality American parts with a Honda engine. With an HT kit I'm essentially buying things I intend on immediately replacing, only since I am ignorant of what it is I am even buying. I'm looking to save money on start up costs, but I'm also looking for a fun side project.

    There, wrote a book for you all.

    And seriously guys, thanks for all the help you've been so far. You've all given me a lot to think about and it's very appreciated.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  12. Bonefish

    Bonefish Member

    That is what I have now. A GEBE(Golden Eagle Bike Engines) kit. The Honda GX35 will fit on to a GEBE kit. HT kits are a mess. The engine blew out on my first one before break in and the second HT engine blew after 1,500 miles. The parts they are made with are crap and break very easily.

    As far as a commuter was concerned my friction drive was more reliable than my HT kit. I don't use my GEBE as a commuter so I can't tell you if it is more reliable as the friction kit, but it hasn't broken down so far. I've got a Japanese engine though. Wish you well.
  13. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    Are you sure that it will be cheaper than a car once you have added up "ALL" the costs that are associated with a motorised bicycle?

    Although i have a fairly nifty setup, i have sunk $11,000 into my motorised bicycle combination, over a period of about 5 years and spent around $30,000 on setting up my garage with a full compliment of tools and machinery, workbenches etc, just to have all the equipment to work on my motorised bicycle.

    After crunching the numbers, i nearly had a heart attack - - - twice !!!
  14. SawyerLD

    SawyerLD New Member

    Yeah, that is what I've been thinking. I'm aware that I'm probably going to spend just as much, if not more, on this bicycle in the long run, than if I had just bought a car. I'll admit this probably might not be the wisest decision on my part. It's the cheap start up costs, the potential of the bike, and the looks that I find so attractive. I mean everybody's got a car, how many people do you know that's got a motorized bike?

    I'll be sure to post pictures whatever my decision ends up being.

    Thanks again, guys!
  15. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    I have owned a lot of cars and motorbikes but nothing has even come remotely close to the enjoyment that my motorised bicycle gives, and it allows access to areas that can't be traversed by a dirt bike, especially when you have barrier gates all over the place and park rangers, seemingly at every corner.

    This is a perfect example, and crikey, it was an enjoyable ride, partly due to great reliability from the bike:

  16. HeadSmess

    HeadSmess Well-Known Member


    erm... about three. no wait...in use or just in the shed?

    me myself and i... guess that still makes three :jester:

    its a sad area for motorised push bikes, is mine... :(

    strange really. no public transport, long distances to anywhere of any note, licenses being cut in half left right and centre... only people i seem to see are kids during school holidays, and the last lot i (ignored) passed, seemed to be attempting to flag down passing vans... did they forget they have pedals or how to PUSH? stupid brats... DONT BE ONE OF THEM! sounds like youre on the right path not to ;) nothing wrong with the occasional walk. i had a wheel COLLAPSE (potato chip?) a few weeks ago...i had to CARRY the freakin thing, well...500 metres to home. lucky, i guess :jester: any further i would have left it and walked. never going back to 27" or 700c wheels again! downright NASTY! blowouts every few days from potholes? pfft! 26" MTB's seem to be a case of fit and forget :) as are 20" bmx wheels. replace rubber when threads start showing, and thats it!

    tools are the main requirement. spend your money wisely and theyll last for ever. as they say...youre too poor to afford cheap tools!

    unless it happens to be, say, the spoke threading tool for 115 that is the same one that someone else is flogging for 250 on ebay... yep. not cheap for something that will basically sit there and gather dust but boy! sometimes they are SOOOOO necessary! with the bike as the main transport...i CANT get to a bike shop to buy the correct length spokes, seeing as the wheels in bits on the floor! and its repaid after three lace up jobs, so whats really cheaper? 60+ for spokes? ha! seeing as i sold my moto due to frustration(people cant drive at the posted speed limits anymore), i might get a spare bike up and running soon...

    it does feel legally safer taking a pushy down the fire trails and into national parks than the pitbike, that is also true... one day ill be towing the kayak! all legal too! :)
  17. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    That pretty much describes a good portion of my tool collection, but for the most part, i can't work out why i end up having 6 air tools and a bunch of other hand tools around me whenever i need to turn so much as a single screw on my motorised bicycle, which at times borders on being ridiculous, but as i'm grabbing tools i have justification to grab each item for the job at hand.

    I spend more time putting my tools away than the actual task requiring the use of those tools.
    Sometimes i stand around scratching my head asking myself why i have half of my tools on the floor to adjust only a single item on my bike, which should be no more than a 30 second job, but needs an hour to put all the equipment away.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  18. vegas3416

    vegas3416 Member

    If your going to build a motorized bike definitely go kit unless you want to spend 6 months to a year planning and planning until you think it's right then start building and then plan some more..don't believe me..I've got almost 3k in my build and over 6 months now and I'm still probably six months from fully being done with it. I'm sure when it's done the cost to make it will significantly go down but that's because all the head aches and mocking up the piece by piece will have been done and all the machine time I have in it and cad work will be all worked out..don't go FULL custom unless you want to wait to ride..get a kit to go ride tomorrow..
  19. chainmaker

    chainmaker Member

    I say go for it with the 4 stroke. Get a HF engine and a EZ motorbikes tranny..both proven to be super reliable. As far as needing a complete shop set up sure it helps but some basic shop tools are good enough, upgrade as needed according to your budget. I built my first couple bikes in a walk up basement using just a few hand tools and picked up others as needed ( Harbor Freight has some good deals on light duty tools if you are just setting up a hobby shop) there is a learning curve with these bikes but if your are handy and persistent you can turn out a nice bike.
    stewyou likes this.
  20. KCvale

    KCvale Motorized Bicycle Vendor

    If you really want to build from the ground up you buy a bare frame.

    gasbike.net has aluminum frames with a built in gas tank for $145.


    With several hundred more dollars you can build whatever your little heart desires, for example a 4-stroke 3-speed shifter.



    Scratch that idea then...
    You need skills and tools to pull that off.

    Happy Times 2-stroke e-Bay kits are pretty much the bottom of the barrel but you are comparing apples and oranges, Honda makes 4-stroke engines.

    You can't just plan to add a shift kit on a 2-stroke or a 4-stroke later, trust me on this, it's a nightmare.
    Either build it with a shift kit to start or forget it.
    Considering your experience I'd say forget it as they are not easy.

    A $350 4-stroke 49cc HS direct drive kit should just fit in that Schwinn you like.
    It has the parts you'll need like the rear sprocket and mount, motor mound, wider pedal crank arms to fit around the engine, the throttle and a gas tank.

    Though reports are Schwinn is building better bikes since the brand was tarnished by putting out crap the same as Huffy and Pacific I still lump them in with them until I see different.

    For a $350 4-stroke kit with 4G transfer case I like the $230 29" Macargi Fatal Love bike, everything fits in nice and the bigger wheels make it a nice ride.


    If you really want to try something hard take the other posters advice and buy a $79 79cc Harbor Freight 4-stroke engine, then drop $300 on a transfer case that will fit, wider crank arms, gas tank, throttle, make all your own mounts and exhaust and it makes a fine machine.


    The first thing you need to decide is 2-stroke or 4-stroke, there is a huge difference.
    Then decide if you want to use the bikes gears or go direct drive, again a huge difference.
    All can be done, the only difference is the complexity, kind of like the difference between a 50 piece jigsaw puzzle and a 1000 piece puzzle with pieces missing.

    Hope that helps.