Motorized Bicycle Users Say They Save Money, Gas

Cruising down the street with the speedometer at 35 mph, Jimmie Marshall shows off his orange Harley Davidson-labeled motorized bicycle.

But don't think motorcycle — like a traditional Hog. When Marshall shows off and promotes motorized bicycles, he means just that — a bicycle with a motor attached.

Marshall, who has been attaching motors to bicycles since 1979, likes the benefits of owning a motorized bicycle, especially now with gas passing $4 a gallon.

"I never drive my pickup throughout the week unless I have to go to Home Depot or carry somebody with me. There is no telling how much I save," Marshall said.

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For about six months, Marshall of Hobbs has been the owner of Kay and Kompany Electric where he assembles and sells motorized bicycles.

"I take brand new bikes and assemble my motor-assisted bikes," Marshall said. "It is my first love."

But what is the point of a motor assisted bike when you can just pedal? The motors are used to assist with pedaling, and with this summer's high temperatures, it can be nice not to pedal as much, all the while getting to your destination faster at less cost.

However, Marshall does not advertise for speed.

"I advertise for being green, heart healthy and getting from one end of the town to the next," Marshall said.

Ranging from $795-$995, Marshall's motorized bicycles either have an attached two-stroke or four-stroke motor.

A two-stroke motor has a small amount of synthetic oil added to the fuel, making it a bit cheaper than a four-stroke motor. Four-stroke motors are more expensive because they use regular gasoline.

"I like the two stroke because it is more economical for its price. The look of the two stroke is a real classy look," Marshall said.

The motors get about 150 miles to the gallon, reaching 30-35 miles an hour.

"They are very dependable and economical," said Marshall, who said has considerable experience, knowledge and certifications in mechanics.

Marshall has had his new orange bike for two weeks and already has 100 miles on it.

He is not the only one putting miles on a motorized bicycle, however.

Roy Leca of Hobbs, has used his motorized bike as his main source of transportation for the last two years.

After years of riding several different motorcycles, Leca suffered several injuries in accidents and decided to build his own motorized bike.

"I had a lot of fun making it and even more riding it," said Leca. "This has been the most fun I've ever had and I've never broken my leg on it."

Leca built his bike with a motor from an air compressor and added a personal touch to it with leather straps serving as a gun rack and a twirling baton as a kick stand.

For night use, he uses a headlight from an old Suzuki and a flashlight strapped to the side of his carrying basket as a tail light.

"I've even rode it to Lovington," said Leca. "It will go up to 40 miles per hour, but I try to stay around 30, where you're cruising."

Marshall said one of his customers who has had a motorized bike for a couple of months told him he has almost saved enough to pay for his bike because he rides it to work four times a day.

Another potential customer, Ruben Hornsby, who works for Hobbs Schools, is interested in purchasing a mountain bike with a motor assist.

"It will benefit me 100 percent," Hornsby said. "These bikes are a nice idea."

A motorcycle license is not required for motorized bicycles because "it is a bicycle," Marshall said. "I find that people that are afraid of motorcycles can adapt to my bikes."

It remains a bicycle with a motor assist mainly because pedaling is required to start the motor. Lessons are given to those who purchase a motorized bike.

"I purchase the bikes and all of the parts and pieces," Marshall said. "It takes about a day to build one. So I feel like I can build 365 in a year."

According to Marshall, every customer has been pleased with his work and the benefits of using a motorized bicycle.

"I have never had a customer that I sold a bike to that didn't call me back and tell me 'I love my bike! They are just too neat," Marshall said. "And where can you buy something that is so much fun under 1,000 bucks? I save you money."