Why don't I see more bikes with a front-mounted motor on a 20" wheel?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by pukeskywalker, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. pukeskywalker

    pukeskywalker New Member

    I've always had a passing interest in motorized bikes and last night I came across an interesting motorization concept.

    The idea is to take a standard 700c bike and remove the fork.

    Then, you build a custom fork for a 20" wheel. The motor is then mounted on the fork, much like you would see on a cargo bike.

    The concept is appealing to me because they fork could be moved to entirely different frames with little effort. In fact, such a fork could be mass produced and sold as a kit.

    I'll try to include a picture below... one is of a bike using a motorized wheelbarrow wheel, the other is of a Raleigh 20 (20" wheels) that has a motor in the front.

    Are people out there using this method? Is there a reason we don't see more of it?

    Attached Files:

  2. 5-7HEAVEN

    5-7HEAVEN Active Member

    Welcome to the club, man!

    I can think of a few reasons why members don't do what you've suggested.

    It just looks so goofy.
    Handling problems.
    Custom fabbing costs $$.
    No market to sell these mass-produced custom forks.
    MUCH better alternatives that are cheaper.
    Bolt-on kits are somewhat no-brainers and easy to install.
    Happy Time installs are relatively cheap and look AWESOME!

    Not trying to disrespect you in any way.

    Remember, this is just my opinion. Others have other ideas too.
  3. lowracer

    lowracer Member

    I've built a few DIY front engine, front drive MB's.
    I love front drive, but didnt go with the tiny wheels.
    I too think it looks goofy & not what I find visually appealing, but to each his own.
    I've done 700c, 650c & 26" MTB (559) & prefer the 26" MTB for strength, tire choices & look.
    Did some surfing today & found an interesting bike produced many years ago called a REX...see pics

    Attached Files:

  4. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    Heavy steering comes to mind. I do like the idea of having the engine in front where I can see it and do some enroute troubleshooting.
  5. PatrickW

    PatrickW Staff Member

    I'm afraid I'd kill myself in no time flat on a contraption like that...it looks like the rider would lose control in 'nothing-flat.' (and I've ridden some very strange stuff)
  6. Cavi Mike

    Cavi Mike Member

    The smaller the front wheel, the harder the jolt when hitting bumps and the more apt to flip over if you hit a big pot-hole. If you were on a bike with no engine, you could simply "hop" over the obstacle but that's not really possible with 20lbs of engine hanging on the front wheel.
  7. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    one reason is that it would look like sh*t!
    the bike would be totally front heavy and hard to control.
    but more importantly, it would look like sh*t!
  8. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    What looks good varies with the individual. We build motorized bikes because we can build them according to our individual tastes instead of following the crowd.
    Getting back on subject, for a front mounted engine, I would look for one of those postman bicycles that comes with a 20 inch front wheel and 26 inch back wheel. They were made that way to accommodate a huge, heavy basket of mail over the front tire.
    I'll post a pic if I can find one.
  9. lowracer

    lowracer Member

    I have built a few MB's with engines ranging from a Subaru Robin EH035, Lifan 2.5 hp 98cc to more recently a few high powered Stage 2 Cag pocket bike engines.
    All started with the engine over the front wheel, then I changed my mind & rebuilt the MB's with the engine over the rear wheel. Eventually I went back to the engine over front wheel for multiple reasons. One of the benefits of the front engine front drivetrain is the heavier steering. At speed having a weighted front end actually improves handling. Handling becomes more motorcycle-like. Seperating the rear pedal drivetrain completely from the front engine drivetrain & the ability to monitor (see & hear) the engine in front of you are benefits. If you had a picture of yourself sitting on your bike & figured out your body weight distribution, the rear of a normal bicycle already supports the majority of your weight, adding a bit onto the front balances it.
    From the rear of the bike (a car drivers view) it still looks like a regular pedal bike.
    Any motorized bicycle configuration has its benefits & drawbacks.
    Some of the drawbacks would be exhaust routing (down & low) & handlebar vibration (rubber mounts & suspension forks help to minimize) & oil spit or spitting fuel caps (on some engines).
    Dont knock front engine front drive if you have never built one.
    I'm sold & I dont go slow...
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  10. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

  11. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

  12. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    Yes. Surly's are very expensive. However, Schwinn made similar bikes for years and you can occasionally find them on craigslist for under 100 bones.
  13. Cavi Mike

    Cavi Mike Member