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Post apocalypse motorized bicycle project- Update 3
An update on the motorized bike.
I finally got around to installing the Staton friction drive on my bike. I was impressed with the quality of the kit, and consider the price to be very fair for what you’re getting. The kit with the 35cc motor is $360 at the time of this writing. You can also purchase the kit without an engine for $122. I chose not to go this route, because I wanted to be sure that I had a perfectly matched engine to the kit. My kit came with the Honda GX35 engine, but the dude at Staton told me that the Zenoah engine was also good.
I am slightly disappointed with the performance. To be fair though, I think that a lot of it has to do with my attempting to push my heavier 29” bike, along with my 6’, 190lb frame, down the road with a little 35cc 4 stroke motor. I lagged when going up hills quite a bit, but I also did not try to go full throttle on it as of yet, since I’m still in the breaking in stage. From take off, I peddle up to about 5mph before applying the throttle. This seems to be less stressful on the system, and is also recommended by Staton for clutch preservation. In short, I need to peddle assist when taking off (Normal) and when going up even slight grades. So it’s probably best to look at this particular system, with this particular engine option, as a “motor assist”. For anyone planning on going this route, I’d recommend a lighter 26” alloy bike, and try to stay at 30lbs or less if possible. If you weigh much more than my 190lbs, you might also want to consider larger engine options. A sustained cruise speed of 15 to 18mph on flat land, is an easy pace, and no problem at all with this unit, using the .930 (7/8”) roller. This provides quite an advantage over a non-motorized bicycle, as the average cyclist cannot sustain this pace for longer periods, so the advantage is definitely there.
Where I live (California) you need an M2 motorcycle license and moped plates to ride an internal combustion motorized bicycle, however you do not need insurance. In many other states however, you are exempt from such requirements. So short of moving out of state (Which I’d highly recommend) another option, if you can afford the extra cost, is electric. As long as you’re at 750 watts or less, you are exempt from the licensing (link below)
Consider a girl’s bike for this project
Here’s the thing. When you get to be a little older, as am I, swinging your leg over a tall 29” bicycle (And perhaps even a men’s style 26” bicycle) starts to become a chore. The girls bikes are a step through design, which eliminates this hassle. Just be sure to paint it a masculine color, put on your meanest looking scowl, perhaps hang a pirate flag from it (Taking great care not to accidentally choose the “ass version” of said flag) and hope for the best when cruising the rural neighborhoods :D Just remember that while the girl’s style frame will work with a friction mount, it will not work for a frame mount motor, which requires a large, open space, in the frame, and forward of the seat, should you decide to go this route instead.
Would I do it again? The short answer is probably not. I probably would have got a dual sport motorcycle instead. The motorized bicycle would be the perfect option for many people however. I would say that if you require, or wish for performance beyond what the standard friction drive can provide, that you too should probably consider moving up to a motorcycle. If you need off road ability, then you want either a dual sport, or one of those off road moped/scooters, that have more recently made the scene. If you plan on mostly staying on pavement, then something like a 50cc to a 150cc scooter would be a good option. If you are on a limited budget, but have good mechanical abilities, then a Chinese scooter can be a good buy. If you are like myself, and do not wish to constantly be maintaining and tinkering with it, then you have no choice but to save up and spend more for a used Japanese scooter/motorcycle.
All said, I’m not really regretting my decision so much. I think that it will serve me well.
Future projects might include a bicycle sidecar, and a teardrop camper. In the case of the sidecar, if I were to buy/build one, I would probably add a cheaper electric motor assist to it, to help ease the strain on the little Honda engine.
$150 bike camper: DIY micro mobile home (downloadable plans)
Kent 26" Women's, La Jolla Cruiser Bike, White