- Written by Kyle Granat
A couple years ago my Lead Engineer Andrew bought a Felt MP Cruiser off cragislist. I was insanley jealous. I absolutley loved the look of it (much more than the newer version of the Felt MP). He also bought a Skyhawk Bicycle Motor Kit which he installed with the help of our friends over at Mad Lab Industries. The motor worked at one point, but I'm not sure it still had an issue or if my lead engineer just didn't have room for it by the time it was finished. Earlier this year my lead engineer moved to start our second office, and he decided tot to take the bike. Knowing that I loved his bike, he gave it to me!
Over the next couple of months Don helped me to get the bike running again. And by helped, I mean did almost all the work. I'm slowley learnining more about this little 2-storoke engine, but I'm no mechanic. We had to clean out the fuel lines and get it a new spark plug, but finally the bike roared to life!
Until it broke.
The weld where the motor mounted to the bottom frame of the bike failed. I ordered a mounting bracket from King Motor Bikes, hoping it would get me up and running, but I didn't take into account that there was basically no clearance between the exhaust on the bike and the bike frame. I was also having some clearance issues on the bolts coming out from the motor itself. Which just serves as a $20 reminder that I need to measure and actually think about how the peice will fit, not just use the order and pray method.
Don, like a true pro came through with a new weld job. He welded a small flat plate to the bike frame to cover the hole /reinforce the frame. Then he wlesed a standoff to that plate. He used his plasma cutter to make a small plate with three holes, one to bolt into the standoff and two to bolt into the bolts coming off the motor. And just like that I was good to go!
Since then I've had a couple of 'adventures'. When I got it one of the pedals was ruined and I was impatient, so I bought a cheap pair of pedals at target. Never. Again. The pedal cracked right down the middle on an uphill climb. I also managed to lose a master link on my engine chain, but I'll carry a spare from now on just incase.
I kinda had my doubts about the motor when I first heard about it, but it's really a stupid amount of fun. And being able to switch between motor and bike can be really handy when getting around town. For my commute to work I try to use the motor sparingly so that I still get some amount of exercise, but If I'm going across town to pick up some last minute groceries I'll just motor it all the way there.
So what's next? I retro-fitted the headlight with an 1 watt LED but I think I'd prefer something brighter. I don't know if I'll try to keep the original enclosure or not. It would be easy if I wanted to go with a LiPo battery, I just don't know how much mainatnce / circuitry I want to do. Once I figure that out I'd like to try to do break lights and turn signals. Until then I'll just use a light up blinker / reflector.
I'm also looking to add a couple of saddlebags to the bike that I got from the American Science & Surplus store. If everything goes well, I'll have it looking something like this
And just for fun, here's a hasty scan of my bike using the structure sensor.