Hello, not sure if there’s a section for new member introductions, if there is I apologize. Now that the old family heirloom is getting some love, I figured I’d join and learn.
My grandfather bought my 1978 Hobbit new so he could run down the block to his “second home” and not fear a DWI. My dad got it in the late 1980s, and I spent the 90s putting hundreds of miles on it both on road and off, as an alternative to a dirt bike. It always was plagued by tough starting and carb issues, stemming from a rusted gas tank.
I finally brought it to my house in upstate NY about 5 years ago, and found a new carb on amazon or eBay for cheap. Installation wasn’t too difficult, I simply dropped the engine off the frame. First one, then the other, pedal broke off years ago; the pedal crank sheared at the pedals. I remove the pedal crankshaft and cut the welds that hold the sprocket on it to remove the sprocket, then welded it to new 5/8” round stock, and replaced the factory nylon bushings with brass. Ultimately, that was not necessary because I never put the pedals back on, as you can see in my pictures. Once the crankshaft was back in, I simply cut the shaft to the length I wanted, making foot pegs. I also removed the gas tank, filled it with some Ospho and some old nuts, and proceeded to shake it like a Polaroid for quite some time to remove scale.
This past December, I brought it with us on vacation to our home in FL, and it wound up staying here. I exceed the factory weight capacity by 40 lbs and it certainly enjoys the flat FL roads compared to the hills of NY. My father didn’t like the pegs on his feet, so he fashioned the wood foot rests secured by copper pipe hangers. I may fab up some grated metal foot rests in the future, but for now this works. I’ve removed the chain to reduce drag.
Other than the carb and pedal shaft, the machine is original, save for the fuel shut off valve and line I installed, and the front brake cable. I’m about to hit 2900 miles, 150 of which were accumulated in the last week and a half.
You may be thinking “you’re gonna want pedals!” but I disagree. With the decompression lever depressed and full choke, it takes less than a foot of pushing the bike while sitting on it to start it, even after it had sat 4 months of winter. Once started, I ride it maybe 20 feet before going full throttle and releasing the choke, like it’s supposed to run.
My last tank, however, the machine would max at 14 mph; after a few miles, it would eventually eek up to 16-17. That tank had some stable. I just put in fresh fuel and it seems to hit 17mph a little bit sooner. I need to check to make sure I’m getting full throttle plate opening when I turn the grip; if not, I guess I’ll have to chalk it up to carrying my extra burden, and it being 42 years old on original engine internals. The plug shows perfect fuel/air mix and it starts so instantly and runs so smoothly, I doubt it has any engine issues. If anyone has other ideas, I’m all ears!