3 Tips for Building Your Own Homemade Mini Bike
Every kid wants a mini bike. Scratch that, everyone wants a mini bike at some point in their life. Who doesn’t want to go screaming down the road, sitting on nothing more than a few pounds of steel and an engine?
While you are just a few inches off the ground as it shoots underneath.
Buying a mini bike can take a decent bite out of your wallet. Even a mid-range model runs at around $400. But all is not lost, because it’s actually not too difficult to put together your own homemade mini bike.
Also, it doesn’t have to cost you your shirt if you’re shrewd about finding the parts.
1 – Find a Frame for Your Homemade Mini Bike
You can’t have a homemade mini bike without a frame, the bones that hold the whole operation together.
While you could go online and buy yourself a mini bike kit for around $400, if you’re trying to save money, or you just enjoy the hunt for parts. It may be a good idea to check sites like eBay or Craigslist for used frames.
If you want to look local, mini bike frames can sometimes be found in junkyards and recycling centers. And a few quick calls might reward you with a steal of a deal.
Even local repair shops, the kind where you’d send a go-kart or a mini bike, might have something you can take off their hands.
Now, before you buy, make sure you get a good look at any used frame you’re considering. Check for flattening, kinks, big dents. Check the welds and/or the bolts for rust, signs of damage.
Also, check if the frame gives when you put stress on the joints.
Most of the time you can ask the previous owner about the frame’s history. However, if it’s a junkyard, you’re just going to have to eyeball for obvious signs of damage and extreme wear.
You can even make a mini bike out of an old bicycle frame if you’re really mechanically inclined. Although it’s going to take a little more research and a lot more fabrication on your part to mount the engine.
2 – Start Your Engines
You can find used mini bike engines online or at a local seller for $100 and above. And they’ll get you going no problem, especially if you already have a purpose-built mini bike frame with the standard mounts.
If you’re looking to Frankenstein a mini bike together out of, say, a lawnmower engine, then you’re going to want to do your homework and consider the inherent difficulties.
It isn’t impossible – teenage kids have been strapping together minibikes since the dawn of the crankshaft.
But it takes the right kind of engine.
In order to get that rear axle rolling on your bike, you’re going to need an engine with a horizontal shaft. Now, most lawn mowers use a simple vertical shaft to spin the blades and cut grass.
Though there are conversion kits and tricky methods to make a vertical shaft work (some even put the engine on its side, though that can cause a whole host of problems). You can also keep your eye out for horizontal shaft engines.
Honda makes a few, as do Briggs & Stratton and Tecumseh.
If you’re having trouble finding one, you could also strip an old go-kart engine and make do without any conversion at all. It’s not unheard of to even find a snow blower motor that will work.
3 – Safety Third
Safety first, obviously, but it’s hard to be safe on a bike that isn’t built yet. While a homemade mini bike can be a blast to build and even more fun to ride, it’s important to remember how fast they can go. And spills can be dangerous too.
Though they often feel like a toy, a mini bike can make it up to 25 or even 30 mph. This speed is more than enough to do real damage.
And since its likely a kid will be riding the mini bike, safety is doubly important.
Make sure the rider is wearing a helmet and appropriate clothing to protect from road rash. And while hauling full speed down a road can feel like flying, you still have to follow the rules of the road and all local laws.
If you’re going off-road or around an untested or uncertain road, it’s wise to scout out the terrain beforehand. A slow-speed loop of your intended circuit will let you know if there’s any hard turns, wet or loose ground, or any kind of debris in your path.
Go Forth, Go Fast
When building a mini bike, make sure you’re working with a skilled mechanic. Follow detailed instructions where you can. And especially remember that there are plenty of videos online that will walk you through the process.
Enjoy the feeling of pride and accomplishment from building your own homemade mini bike. And then jump on that bad boy and ride it into the sunset.