Awesome or Ridiculous?

I’ve recently started to notice a few bicycles with motors added on to them. I can’t decide if it’s the greatest idea or the stupidest idea. Since I despise steep hills on the capital bikeshare bikes, I’m leaning towards awesome. What do you guys think?

34 Comment

  • Ridiculous. Those small engines produce much more pollution than car engines.

    • They are worse than car engines. They are more like leaf blowers.

      • That rig would be louder than a leaf blower – and as said above, stinky gas fumes. Not a plus for its neighbors or the environment.
        Did Brightest Young Things do this?

        • Ahh, Brightest Young Things. At least they got the “Young” and the “Things” right. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

    • Exactly what I was thinking. This may be the dirtiest kind of gasoline engine available. Definitely a selfish way to be lazy.

  • sunsquashed

    Ugh…unless the person is handicapped, mobility impaired, etc… just ride a real bike!

    • I agree wholeheartedly. Whenever I see someone on a motorcycle, I figure they’re probably too lazy or uncoordinated to pedal a bicycle.

  • orderedchaos

    The only ones I like are the electric ones that charge as you pedal — IMO if you want a moped, buy a moped. But hey, even if the owner bikes SOME of the time that’s more than most commuters, so why not.

  • Horrible aesthetically, but kind of cool in a DIY sort of way.

    I’d never ride one, b/c what is the point? Just get an actual scooter.

  • Finally got my avatar! I was the anon comment above, but it just appeared.

  • maybe people need to motor like the elevators at the metro as someone mentioned instead of stairs like most cities.

  • This bike has been chained to this bike stand for probably two months.

  • Allison

    There used to be an engineering major at my old university who would sit on top of a cooler which was mounted on wheels and drive it around with a razor-scooter steering handle that he had rigged to the front of it. Inside the cooler was a pretty neat motor.

    • you mean one of these?
      bad news: he didn’t make it himself which is not nearly as cool.
      good news: you can have one!


    • It only takes up space when bikes are on it and because of the lift it takes up a lot less space than a more traditional bike rack would. Also it takes up WAY less space then cars would.

  • Emmaleigh504

    I don’t have an opinion on the bike, but I despise the bike stand. It takes up too much room on a very busy sidewalk.

    • It really doesn’t take up that much room, it’s hard to tell from those pictures. And yes, that particular bike has been there for a long time.

      • When the bikes are on it, it takes up a lot of space.

        • I would be curious to see if they had a Public Space permit to have that rack up. Given the way Stroga operates, my bet would be that they just threw the rack up without checking with anyone. Between the planters they have out front and the rack opposite them, there is barely enough room to pass when the rack is full.

      • Emmaleigh504

        I walk past every day and when bikes are on it, it takes up too much space.

  • ridonkulous, noise and air pollution-y

  • austindc

    I suppose it’s fine if you really need it, but if you can, I think you may want to just grow stronger legs. It’s good for you and the environment, and your butt looks good in jeans, and that can open all sorts of doors.

  • janie4

    Wow. Someone reinvented the original motorcycle.

    That’s how motorcycles began – someone stuck a motor on a bicycle frame.

  • which I see these I just think about how weak the rider must be. might as well go all out and get a segway, at least you’ll look lazy and stupid rich instead of just lazy.

    the plus is that if this is replacing a car at least it doesn’t exacerbate traffic and is less dangerous in a crash (to other, not the rider).

  • I like it simply because it makes me giggle every time I see someone riding one. It seems like such a ridiculous “up grade” but I admire the skill it takes to do it and the guts it takes to ride in public.

  • This “trend” is just now making it to DC? These have been around Tucson forever…

    • Nah, not just making it here. I saw these when I spent time here in college (in 2002). I personally haven’t seen any more lately than usual, but it seems like PoP just happens to be seeing more of them than he’s seen in the past.

  • They’ve had bolt on kits for almost a century, the most famous being the “Whizzer” kit that bolts onto a Schwinn or other cruiser. The problem is that most bicycle drivetrains aren’t set up to take the kind of torque a gas engine can deliver, even 1/2 horsepower is about 375 watts, or in other words, above what a professional race cyclist can sustain. A high-end race bike may be able to manage that for a little while, but when you put that much torque into an old junky mountain bike, everything from the spokes, chainstays, fork, cassette, chainrings, chains, tires and rims get stressed beyond what they’re designed for, and can fail catastrophically under the load.

    The successful Whizzer’s I’ve seen have a beefier fork, rims, spoke, tires and drivetrain. And at that point, you might as well just get a purpose designed moped or small motorcycle.

    I have to agree with other commenters that the electric versions are much better, both from a pollution standpoint, and the match between power output (100-200 Watts) and the bicycle’s stock design. You can add one of these electric kits without having to worry about the structural elements of the bike.

    • Will is right on the money. Additionally,many older bikes have weak brakes and crappy tires which make running around on these things seriously sketchy.

      Also,that rack is ridiculous. They should have put in a proper wave rack or some staples.

  • So many haters, this thing is awesome.

  • Ridiculous.

  • For the time and effort involved, better to get a battery powered conversion: Seem to run $300+ at amazon. (Electric bike rear wheel conversion.)

    Have a friend who did a front wheel conversion & wanted it at the back. However, perhaps if you have to go over 20 miles uphill without pedaling it makes sense… NOT!

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