This hobby actually came about with the need of cheap transportation. I was commuting via the metro to UMD in College Park, MD every day of the week and sometimes on the weekends. For anyone unfamiliar with the D.C. metro, traveling from Rockville, MD is an expensive route, since I traveled the entire route of the red line. I later learned that I was able to catch a complimentary bus ride provided by the University to a location about 4 miles away from where we were living at the Universities at Shady Grove, so I began to bike it every day. This was great and cost effective except for the fact that I was a sweaty mess every morning at 7 am and at 5pm when I returned to go straight to work. It was my life for about a half of a semester until one day I had enough.
I decided to mount an engine onto my bike. I checked online to see if anyone had done it before and I found some great sites on how to do it. I’ll throw in some links in the end if anyone is interested in building their own. It actually was a lot of fun. I may do a “How-to” if I can find the time.
As you can see I built it in my storage unit in our apartment building. This is also where I stored it, until one fine day someone decided to break into my storage and steal just about everything valuable I had in there. Of course it had to be the day after I received my final part to increase the performance and gas mileage. I had it running perfectly. Before it was stolen it topped out at around 30 mph. I was getting about 60-70 miles to the gallon depending how hard on the throttle I was. I had a quick-shifter on it which allowed me to control the torque and speed through the bikes gears. I was more than pleased with it. It only took me about a month to learn and get going. It was a fun project.
I walked around making accusations, in my mind, for quite some time thinking someone in the building was more than likely responsible. Oh well, I digress. I went on to build a monster. I had it in my mind to build something stronger, faster, and just all around better.
I wanted to incorporate a dual suspension frame into the build. At high speeds bumps were far from forgiving on my backside and with the new build I felt there was a need for a rear suspension to keep both tires on the road. I specifically remembered a bike that I wanted to use from my mountain biking days back in high school. It was the GT LTS. It is an older frame, but it incorporates the rear suspension into the top rear triangle allowing space for an engine in the front triangle where I wanted to mount it. I also stepped up and bought a KTM 50cc engine knock off from Germany. I’m telling you, I was on a mission. I was inspired to make something better than my previous build.
This is my pride and joy. On my last build I got a good 4k miles out of. This one lasted the rest of my time at UMD, well over 10k miles. I purchased a kryptonite chain lock to secure the bike and also to secure my storage door. I bolted a hinge into the door and into the cement floor to hold the door shut in case someone was able to pick the lock. They weren’t stealing this one.
This one topped out at 50 mph. I only got about 50-60 miles per gallon, mostly because I was always opening up the throttle every chance I got. The suspension did wonders. I had some issues with the chain coming off but solved that by fabricating a makeshift chain tensioner.
My previous build was a kit that I had bought from a website. Putting it on was fairly straight forward. This one I created on my own. I mounted it by making my own mounts. I designed it the way I felt it should be. It also needed to be able to withstand the power of the engine. I didn’t want it coming apart on me at high speeds.
What I didn’t account for were the tires. I made the huge mistake of leaving the original tires on the bike. I didn’t beef up the inner tubes or purchase tires with thicker walls. Well, I did as seen in the picture, but that was after my wreck. I ended up blowing out the front tire on a turn going about 40 mph. Fortunately, I had enough sense to wear a helmet and to get my arm in front of my face before making impact with the ground. I slid a good 30 yards before I came to a stop. I did everything I could to not keep direct contact with the pavement for too long to avoid losing all my skin. Please, please, please if you decide to make a motorized bike, invest into the tires. It will save you a lot of pain and time healing. I didn’t break anything… or die, but I spent a lot of time going over safety afterwards. Its all fun and games until you are trying to bargain with the pavement.
www.gasbike.net – Good for starter kits.
http://thatsdax.com – They sell a good engine. Price has gone up since I purchased mine, but it is a quality engine.
www.piratecycles1.com -They sell modified wheels with spokes that have a higher tension capacity. They also sell a nice rear sprocket for larger chains. (Which you will need with more powerful engines.)
www.motoredbikes.com – A good forum to learn from others.
motorbicycling.com – Another helpful forum.