Bicycle Engine Installation
Project Background

Although in the long term I want to have my electric bike in good enough shape to use as a short-distance transportation solution, the pull of a cheap bike-engine kit was too much for me to pass up. For around 150 dollars one can buy an engine conversion kit online that fits most bicycle frame shapes and sizes. I expressed interest in this to my mom and stepdad, and for my birthday they bought me a kit. I spent the following days solving the problems that arose while mounting each of the components to the bike.

The kit is designed to work with a wide range of bicycle frames, as every frame is different, but neither the engine nor the exhaust pipe would actually fit within my bike frame, so I had to modify both. There was a lot of fine tuning involved with the intake and balancing the fuel ratio in the carburetor, and I ended up replacing the kit’s carburetor with a model with better reviews online. The engine actually sounds, after the replacement, as one would expect it to, as a hum where each cycle burns the fuel efficiently. Before the replacement and the ratio-balancing, it seemed to sputter and had trouble accelerating. I don’t use the bike often, especially because it has become so difficult to get it working again every summer, but it was a fun building project and it taught me a lot about the components and mechanisms of real-world engines.

The bike can hit a maximum speed of 27 miles per hour on flat terrain which while not extremely impressive is still sufficient for casual driving and feels pretty quick when you’re on a bike. When the bike reaches speeds above 30 to 35 miles per hour the bike becomes far less safe because such non-humanly-achievable speeds are not generally considered when designing bicycles, and the impacts of small obstacles are much larger at higher speeds. I think that if I continued tampering with the engine and replacing stock parts I could get it to perform within that 30-35 mile per hour range, but for now it doesn’t seem worth the effort or the money to attempt such modifications.

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