Tuesday, August 27, 2019

guest article- article 1 of 2 today

Article 1 of 2 today

Post apocalypse motorized bicycle project- An update

An update on the motorized bicycle project. I had it going for a few weeks, and had a decent amount of time to try it out. At first everything went fairly well, but I began to notice that what appeared to be the clutch, was making noise, as in it was randomly engaging. I tried adjusting it, and it all went down hill from there. I could never again get it adjusted to the point where it either wouldn’t lock up solid, or wouldn’t grab well enough to engage the wheel for bump starting. I figured that a simple, maintenance free patch, to get around this problem, would have been to get one of those centrifugal clutch kits that they sell for these motors, along with a pull start (Total cost of about $75). I seriously considered it, but at this point, I already had concerns about the long term reliability and maintenance of these Chinese 2 stroke frame mount motors, and decided not to divert anymore funds into this particular drive/motor system. That, and after learning more about the friction drives, and reading various reviews, I knew that was the way to go.

In short, I ordered the Staton Inc friction drive ( A shout out and thanks to Stevelo). I ordered the kit with the .930” roller. Apparently with the friction drives, the smaller rollers act the same as a large sprocket gear in a chain drive. The .930” being the smallest, will be the same as gearing it low for hill climbing, and for pulling heavier loads. They made them all the way up 1.5”, but I wasn’t as concerned about speed as I was pulling power, and hill climbing. And if I decide that I should have went with a larger roller for whatever reason, a replacement roller only costs about $25.

Yes, it was $360 for the kit, and I had to pay an additional $24 for the kit to convert it to fit my 29” bike (Another reason to avoid non-standard sized bicycles if at all possible. Common accessories do not fit them, including these engine kits) and the shipping was $40. So it set me back $425. I have now spent $900 of the $1k that I had originally set aside for my motorcycle fund, between the new motor, the first motor, and a few other accessories that I got for the bike, so I did manage to stay below my alloted budget. But I’ll never have to buy another one again. It’s a Honda engine (Say what you will about the Japs, but there’s a reason those little suckers kamikaze’d our auto industry :D ) and it will last the rest of my life, barring that the bike never gets stolen (knock on wood. And apparently, quite a common occurrence with these motorized bikes. Fortunately, I live in a rural, low crime area).

Unless you’re Joe mechanic, or Rube Goldberg, and enjoy tinkering, learn from my mistakes. Get the easy to install, low maintenance, friction drive. Yes, you can get them for about $125 cheaper than what I paid (less if you have the standard 26” size bike). But for the savings of about $100, you get Chinese quality vs Honda Japanese quality. And a $100 isn’t enough to justify the savings. I looked around, and it appears that Staton produces the best unit in the industry.

Just as a heads up. Apparently, the friction drives do not do as well in wet weather conditions. They’re still usable on some level, but at a reduced rate of speed. For me, this is a non-issue, as I don’t ride in wet weather. But it’s something to consider, if you do.

Eventually, I’d like to sand blast and paint the bike olive drab, and go for a military scheme. I will provide a brief performance update, after I receive the kit and install it. I’m really looking forward to my low cost, and reliable transportation alternative to the automobile.


  1. Since it doesn't do well in wet weather can we assume that is because the tires get wet and the roller might lose traction? If so, then riding on a wet surface would provide the same result, right?

    1. Correct GS. If the tire were to get wet, it would result in the same condition. I was aware of this already, but wasn’t really concerned about it, since I don’t ride when it’s wet out. I knew from already having had this Chinese bicycle for the past few years, that they rust if you even look at them the wrong way. Therefore, water and Chinese bicycles, are like oil and water :D

  2. Good for you, fellow minion!
    (Although I went with the 1" roller;)

    I'm pretty sure the problem with your "China girl" clutch is too much grease on that cogs thay only requires a "pea sized" drop of grease! The stuff splatters, Hence causing the slippage.

    To fix it you'll need to degrease the pads and clutch plate! Then use less grease on the gears in the housing...

    29 bikes are popular but I'm sticking with 26 because easy parts and tires!

    All in all a motorized bike is cheaper than a motorcycle due to parts repair and maintenance. (And much less or no extortion;;;)

    It's a btn solution.

    My Honda kit has performed well over the years that i had it. But I finally saved up for the 50cc with a 1 1/8th" roller. It is huge and really sticks out and is unbalanced on the bike and requires counter balancing - I'll use a external gas tank to do that... I got big hills and need the extra power. In case of headwinds! The 35cc works great under load but headwinds are almost too much on hills even with frantic peddling. But I haul apx 50 pounds too! Im old and wanted the extra peace of mind of extra power...

    No matter what system you get you still have to peddle! You will need mirrors - I use the mirricyle(sp?) Mtb mirrors they are super tough!

    Also get a helmet! Not for crashing, for assouls that are "tossers!" (Of stuff:( But always watch yer 6!

    Good luck brother minion!


    1. Thanks Stevelo. I can totally see the economy over the motorized bicycle vs the motorcycle (Not to mention safety). I was already regretting not going with the friction drive by the time I posted the first article. But it was your comment that made the decision an easy one. I never thought about the grease on the clutch, but as it turns out, I had just greased it prior to experiencing the clutch problem. However, I used very little grease, and my problem was that it was engaging when I didn’t want it to, as opposed to slipping. In either event, I still do not regret going with the friction drive.

      The 29” bike is one great looking bike for sure, and it’s a head turner. But you pay the price for it in non-standard tires and tubes. I don’t think that I would ever buy another.

      The guy at Staton mentioned that both the Honda and the Zenoah, were great engines. I could have got a Zenoah 41cc, but I decided to get the kit that included the 35cc Honda engine, since I wanted to be sure that the engine was properly mated to the kit.

      It’s mostly flat where I live, but I do have hills. I am going to lower my sprocket on my bike (Pedal side) since I do know that I will be peddling on the big hills.

      I totally get where Jim is coming from when he harps on losing one’s dependence on the automobile. I am 55, and I’m fairly fit, but Lance Armstrong I am not (And even he needed a little help from his “friends” :D ) At the same time, I know that most of us in the older age bracket cannot realistically expect to pedal 20 to 40 miles a day. As an example, let’s say that it were possible* to commute from my Elko county Junk land, into Elko proper, which is 15 miles one way, for work. Well, that’s a 30 mile round trip over rough roads, through all weather conditions, including rain and sleet and snow.

      *(Having to carry the bike over 5 miles of rough, muddy roads, in winter time, would be the deal breaker)

  3. while i admire your dedication,

    i have 4 bicycles (mtb, racer, tourer, village bitch) all +25ys and in fine fettle.

    plus a cheap chinese 50 cc 4stroke scooter rex rs 450. 50mph with passenger, pulls small trailer, comfy ride and easy 100 mpg in hill country.

    ok with 70/30 ethanol/petrol mix. cheap, reliable, repairable.

    good enough for me.
    as time has it's own value, cycling for free might be more expensive than scootering.

    my 2ct(€)

    1. sry,forgot the most important.

      bought the scooter 5 years ago as used, 4y/o and about 3k mls for less than $200 and since then maybe another 100 on battery, tires, brakes, filters and oils, plus my time fixing it up w/ service manual pdf and user forum tips.

    2. Thanks for the input 5:13. I seriously considered getting a scooter for a long time. My main concerns were that the quality of the Chinese scooters (Which would have been all that I could have afforded) seemed to be a little spotty at best. And regardless of statistics (You are 27 times more likely to die in a motorcycle crash than an automobile, but despite this, motorcycle fatalities are still pretty low overall) I could never get myself to commit to getting one. So I was worried that I would get one, and pay the monthly insurance rate (Which is admittedly cheap) and it would just sit there. Even with my current choice, I’m still a little nervous about getting on the road with it.

      I think that the bike was a good choice for me, but later I may end up reassessing my choice. I look at it like this. I will have the ability to cruise at a steady 15mph for many miles at a time, which gives me an advantage over almost all bicyclists. There are seasoned cyclists that can do this for sure, but they are beyond average in fitness.

      My only regret is that I will not be able to take those long motorcycle trips that I had dreamed of. Well, I could, but it would be less practical now. Another thing that I discovered was that when you start getting into the larger displacement motorcycles, fuel economy isn’t quite as good as one would think. Surprisingly, in many cases, it’s not much better than a small car.

  4. Yes. I lean towards the more dedicated and engineered 50cc+ scooters or motor bikes. The axles, brakes, bearings, steering components, with shock absorbers, etc will allow the entire unit to hold up better. Putting torque, speed, speed through terrain features etc will tear up a bicycle even so called off road models. The cart put in front of the donkey, kinda overthinking. A small motorcycle 125-250cc types like everywhere in asia and africa will give greater range, load carrying, terrain navigation abilities. During collapse etc it is not known how bad or far your trips and adventures may be so go ahead and equip with the super SPICY TIMES models of transport options.

    Store bikes indoors in house locked up like valued livestock in turd world countries. They will be coveted immensely.

    Stay Frosty.

  5. Just as a note on mopeds (50cc+) in CommieNevada they have to be one time registered with dmv, no annuals after that. Helmets required oct.1st. If you tool around in a 50 cc motor on a bicycle or seem powered up too much to police liking they will dig into you. Some towns folk ride quads and what nots thru town to shop etc and it is cool with authorities. Some townies are all gestapo on protocols to keep whinos meth heads and miscreants in line. Then you get swept up for being weird and scootering around, cheaply. More to consider. Cheers.

  6. @6:46. Glad to hear that it worked out so well for you. Sounds like you definitely got your money’s worth. If I were more of a do-it-yourselfer, I’d probably try something like this as well. But alas, the poor author of this article lacks the skills to take on anything beyond basic projects (Not completely, but it would be challenging).

    @6:27 Yep, I totally hear ya. I pondered the scooter/motorcycle option for about 3 years, but could never commit to it due to fear. Initially, I wanted a dual sport, and really, that would have been the best option. I’ll fully admit that part of it is laziness on my part. For it seems that everything that is for sale in my area is at least a 2 hours drive away. Part of the problem was that I’m not very mechanical, and I wanted something that was really low tech. The Chinese scooters do fall into this camp, but they’re still a notch above my technical skills. Also, I do not see myself as ever exceeding 15mph on a 2 wheeled vehicle; perhaps 20mph max. For you see, I’m a big pussy (It’s cool; I can live with it :D )

    @7:01. That law sounds very similar to Commiefornia, with regards to the motorized bicycles. We do need a one time, $21 fee, permanent moped plate. However we do not need insurance on them. You are supposed to have at least an M2 motorcycle license however.

    On the 50cc scooters however, those need to be registered annually, and you do need insurance. You also need at least the M2 motorcycle license. Nothing is cheap in Commiefornia. It claims to be a green state, then makes it as difficult as possible to commute using low pollution/fuel use, scooters/motorcycles, by requiring that everything be CARB (California Air Resources Board) approved. This makes a $700 scooter everywhere else, a $1k scooter in Commiefornia. And they usually run so lean, that if you don’t rejet them (Cheap scooters/motorcycles, are always carbureted) you will burn your motor up.

  7. anon 0513/0646 here.

    methinks we should have a sticky thread on this topic svp.

    merci beaucoup lord bison

    1. Not really familiar with the term, but I'm guessing it is a way to inform others a new thought was posted? Just comment on the new days article. ie, "off topic, but regarding the motorcycle subject, I have X to add...". No need to go back to an article no one will check the comments on.

    2. The term “sticky” mostly refers to a forum Jim. At a forum, much like a blog, whenever you post, the previous thread gets bumped down a thread, so if it’s not a popular thread, eventually it gets bumped off the page all together, and onto the next page where many people don’t see it. That’s why if it’s an important topic; say code of conduct or rules, the forum administrators will “Sticky it” so that it is forced to stay at the top. I Know that WordPress has a feature that indicates off to the right, when someone has posted in an old thread, and provides a link to it. I don’t know if blogger offers the same, nor do I expect you to know how to do this (Not meant to insult)

      What I usually do is just create my own through my bookmarks. For example, say there is a popular post that I want to come back to, and read later. I might create a folder that’s titled: “Bison; best of posts” and save it there. But I also create word drafts for everything that I post everywhere, so I’m a weirdo that way. Or am I? Can’t tell you how many times I see someone post something like: “I had a great, long, thought out post, and blogger ate my post!” :D

      But yeah; commenting on the topic randomly, even if it’s off topic, is what’s nice about this site, and the best way to go about it. I will also be posting another update in the relatively near future when I get the motor mounted. I think it’s a great topic, and provides a compromise between the full fledged, high maintenance/gas guzzling auto, and the old school pedal bicycle. The bicycle I’m sure is great for around town. But at 55, I don’t think that it’s realistic to pedal 20, 30, or perhaps 40+ miles, around rural areas. And I’m in better shape than most 55 year olds (6’ 190lbs). I don’t think that most of us older folks will be around to see a full on Mad Max collapse, and this is something that we should probably be thankful for.

    3. Ha! No, not an insult-I barely hang on with the minimal amount of needed admin work on the blog. And I agree with the compromise on an old school bicycle. I'll keep pedaling but can do less of that each year. This summer was the first that the heat really kicked my ass. I am actually starting to have a hope I might beat the collapse by dying first. I only have seven years left to live by the old actuary tables ( pre-modern medicine, which is collapsing fast ).