Re: Who makes kinetic?

D Nyberg /
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The TFR and Magnum are made by Kinetic Engineering in India and are imported to the US by Cosmopolitan Motors in Pennsylvania.

I'm told the engine is basically a knockoff of the 1950's Vespa design, though I wouldn't be able to offer an informed opinion on that myself. The rest of the bike appears derivative of Vespa design generally, but not so close, I think, that parts would interchange.

The basic difference between the two is the Magnum has the 2-speed rear wheel assembly and comes with turn signals, which is normally an addon with the TFR (the switches and wiring are already there, you just need to attach the lights themselves). The Magnum also has a "2 person" seat, which I think is a bit disingenuous, as I'd never recommend putting a 2nd person on one of these bikes.

I bought mine more cheaply than this, but the web-only vendor I used is gone now, so I'd say JC Whitney is likely the best reliable vendor at this time. I recommend turn signals, and they throw those and a 2nd mirror in for the price, and shipping is included, so that's not too shabby.

I bought my TFR in Jan 2000, so I've had some time to live with it and develop a view of its strengths and weaknesses, including some things you will not get from the sales literature, no matter how skeptical you are about such material on reading.

Let me start off by saying I think this is a great bike for the money, so nobody mistakes the comment that follow. It does have limitations people should know about so they don't buy one and find themselves disappointed.

1st off: 3 month warranty from Cosmopolitan. If you won't be able to play with your bike right away, don't order it right away. You have only 90 days to find flaws and request replacement parts. Regardless what Cosmotor says, you're pretty much your own mechanic with regard to a Kinetic, so don't order one unless you or a family memeber is modestly handy with tools. On the other hand, it's a pretty simple device, so if you were comfortable working on the family lawn mower as a kid, you'll be okay. Mine had 2 infant mortality problems: the voltage regulator failed, and I lost the air cleaner (it has a tendency to vibrate off). Both items were mailed to me without complaint by Cosmopolitan. I solved the air cleaner problem by wedging a piece of styrofoam between the air cleaner assembly and the rear wheel's fender, so it doesn't fall off anymore. You'll probably want to do something similar, as it's secured only with a ring clamp which is pretty notorious for vibrating loose.

If you want to get your new toy up and running quickly on delivery, you'll need to have some things on hand, so you may want to do some shopping in advance. Helmet of course. 90 weight (10W40 will do fine) oil for the rear hub. You'll have to inject it through a tiny-tiny hole, so an oil can would be a good idea. Otherwise a syringe might do. Lay the bike on its side, fill the oil hole, stand it up, let it drip out the excess. Paper towels might be a good idea. You'll need a 10mm socket wrench to get the handlebars seated correctly. (That's the only metric wrench you'll need right off, but on an ongoing basis, you'll want a full metric set for other repairs.) Everything else can be done with regular tools such as bicycle pliers, etc. You'll also need some general purpose grease for the chain, just like a bicycle. And of course some 2-cycle oil for the fuel mix. A gas can for ped fuel will be a great convenience, if you can store it (may be a problem in an apartment). I recommend the luggage carrier (mine has a sterile crate lashed to it), but not the wire saddlebags. (Those were a waste of money, because they ride so far forward they hit the back of your ankles if you ever pedal. Bad.)

According to Cosmopolitan, the owner's manual and gas cap markings are wrong. They say the fuel/oil mix should be 3% for the first 300 miles and 2% afterwards. Mine ran very weakly, made a lot of smoke, and fouled the plug badly at first, so I checked with them. Cosmo says the instructions should say 3 ounces/gallon initially and 2 oz/gallon afterwards. Switching to that mix and changing the plug (Champion L88...no need for the cheesy Indian-made replacements) cleared that up, so I think Cosmo was right. (FWIW, 3 oz/gal = 3 tablespoons per half gallon, 2 oz/gal = 2 tablespoons per half gallon. That makes it easy to measure out.)

2nd: Do not believe the weight specifications in the sales literature. The bike itself weighs 100 pounds, and the tires are labeled 260# max load at 36 PSI. Most of the rider's weight is over the rear tire. So if the rider is 200# or over, consider the shocks and rear tire overstressed and expect to replace the rear inner tube on a fairly regular basis. (I'm about 250#, and I'm on my 3rd rear inner tube, 4th if you count the one that came in it from the factory.) 10-12 ounces of Slime helps a lot (even though that's more than is recommended), since that much will completely fill the tube at the bottom, so the entire inner surface of the tube will be coated each time you roll the bike slowly a couple of yards. I'd say this bike is best recommended to riders of 150# or less, though I'm well over that and am keeping mine anyway.

It has a 49.something CC engine rated at .9 hp. Modern 50 cc 2-stroke engines should develop more like 1.5 hp, and the exhaust pipe is extremely narrow, so here's what I think: State laws vary. Some say that to be a moped you have to have working pedals. Some say "under 50cc" engine. Some say less than 25 or 30 mph max. Some say automatic transmission (which basically means centrifugal clutch, for a moped). I think Kinetic or Cosmopolitan decided to arrange things so the Kinetics meet the rules everywhere, by restricting the engine via its tiny exhaust pipe. (They now carry a "performance muffler" for $90, so that tends to confirm my suspicion.) I bought the larger rear pulley from Cosomopolitan as the area I lived was moderately hilly and it simply would not climb one local hill. The pulley comes with a new belt and cost $50 (rather a ripoff) and drops top speed to 25 (comfortable cruise to 20), but does help with hill climbing ability. It's still a weak hill climber, though, and heavy pedaling, sometimes walking it up hills is still a fact of life with a TFR. (The magnum has a 2 speed rear hub and that should help, but I've heard they have perhaps as high as a 30% defect rate. I can't confirm that gossip directly, though.)

The electrical system is primitive, though that may be more the rule than the norm for mopeds generally. Looking at the wiring diagram, the magneto has 2 windings. One runs the ingition, the other the lights. The headlight/tail light is wired permanently on (fed safety regulation) and uses standard 1156 (maybe an 1157 for tail/brake light? I'd have to check that) bulbs throughout. These were developed for automotive use, where power isn't a big problem. When you're idling at a traffic light, your headlight and brake light will be operating simultaneously. Add turn signals, and your light circuit is frankly overloaded. Your headlight will dim to yellow when you apply the brakes, and will dim further to orange each time the turn signal blinks. I'm looking into LED replacements for the bulbs (they use a lot less power) but they're pretty expensive and for now pretty hard to find. That's still a project in progress, so I can't report success or recommend models/vendors for this at this point.

Overall, I'd recommend the TFR/Magnum for light weight riders in not-too-hilly areas as a pretty good bike at an extremely good price. Bigger riders or ones in hilly areas may want to go with more expensive (much more expensive, usually) models from other maufacturers.

This single post is part of a larger thread. Start from the top or view this post in context.
Subject Written By Posted
  Who makes kinetic?Topic by: Chris Small Chris Small 11/13/01 04:35PM
  Re: Who makes kinetic?Re: Roger Roger 11/13/01 04:56PM
  Re: Who makes kinetic?Re: tabpat tabpat 11/13/01 08:38PM
  Re: Who makes kinetic?Re: ivan ivan 11/14/01 10:13PM
  Its not crapRe: B Perkins B Perkins 11/15/01 10:15AM
  Re: Its not crapRe: don-ohio don-ohio 11/16/01 12:09PM
  Re: Who makes kinetic?Re: D Nyberg D Nyberg 11/17/01 08:59PM
  Thanks for all the infoRe: B Perkins B Perkins 11/17/01 10:23PM
  Re: Thanks for all the infoRe: XBrandon EdgeX XBrandon EdgeX 11/18/01 12:21AM
  Re: Thanks for all the infoRe: D Nyberg D Nyberg 11/18/01 08:59AM
  Listen ,Kinetic fans...........Re: don-ohio don-ohio 11/18/01 09:14AM
  Re: Listen ,Kinetic fans...........Re: D Nyberg D Nyberg 11/18/01 09:50AM
  Re: Listen ,Kinetic fans...........Re: don-ohio don-ohio 11/18/01 10:34AM
  Re: Listen ,Kinetic fans...........Re: Peggy Peggy 11/24/01 04:11PM
  who makes kinetic?Re: Ben Ben 12/17/01 05:42AM
  Its in the motorcycle catalogueRe: B Perkins B Perkins 11/18/01 11:11AM

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