How to Balance the Engine for Less
Vibration and More Top RPM
The fix is two-fold. The first half of the fix affects vibration all through the rpm range. The second half of the fix lessens vibration only at the top rpm range where it is caused by the standard too-advanced ignition timing.
1. After you have settled on an appropriate cylinder
compression (in psi.
more compression gives more power) then you can change the port timing just a bit for better high rpm
power and balance the engine by removing weight from the
piston and wrist pin. (Drilling holes in the flywheels only offsets the
weight of the piston and wrist pin.) On bikes that self-limit their mph
by vibration you can easily tell if you are making it better
(more in balance) by the max velocity. The first
part of the fix is to lighten the combo of piston and wrist pin. I had my wrist pin drilled out
from a 5.8mm
diameter hole to a 7.5mm hole. With these weak engines there is no need
to worry that the pin will be too weak after drilling. The same holds
true for the piston. Your machinist
can use a 9/32" (7.1mm) carbide drill bit to use in his lathe on the wrist pin
(available for $8 from Grainger) or
you can buy a wrist pin for the 48cc piston that already has a
in it, available from Treatland. Next are 11gm wrist pins with a 7mm hole
(1.2mm more than stock) from pocketbikeparts.com that will work in the
piston for a 55cc or 60cc
You can also lighten the piston by drilling holes in it that will be no more than 5mm from the side edges of the exhaust and intake port. Drill size is 9/32" and each hole shouldn't be closer than 10mm center-to-center from the next hole. Here's a photo showing where you can drill up to 9 holes on each side. Unfortunately, if the piston wall is 1.9mm thick (as mine is), only 18 holes will remove only 3.3 grams.
I have a reed valved engine and with the additional holes on the intake side mine totaled 27 holes and I have rev'd it to 37mph (8400 rpm) and it held up OK. Use an exacto knife to trim the outer edge of each hole to not be a sharp edge. I used a small bit with my dremel to grind a dent in the piston where each hole should be drilled. Then I used a small drill bit to make the pilot holes. (Otherwise the drill bit would wander off center.) Then I used the 7/32" bit to make the final size. Aluminum is very light so even 18 holes won't make a huge difference in weight but when it comes to engine balancing every little bit counts. Once you find the best balance you can change the porting a bit. With these two changes the vibration should be much less and the top rpm much more.
2. The second part of the fix is to buy the Jaguar CDI which is designed to spark later at rpm above 3600 to lessen the combustion/compression forces that the piston and flywheel have to push against. This approach is standard with 2 stroke engines. I think the CDI that comes with these engines is made for a 4 stroke since it does not have that essential change in timing at high rpm. That causes reduced power and reduced rpm, both of which are wanted by the company so that it can pass all countries regulations. But you don't want that because you want power and a bit more rpm without having to endure excess vibrations at the handgrips and seat.
Here's a quote from Crankshaft Design, Materials,
Loads and Manufacturing, by EPI Inc.
"Is the 2 cycle [69cc] motor known for a lot of vibration? I have some rubber pads between the mounts and the frame, but anything over about 15mph is just about unbearable." post
"My seat seems to be vibrating a little too much to comfortably ride long distances at full throttle. It seems to have gotten worse recently. Any idea how I could figure out where it is coming from? The engine mounts are solid I wrapped the frame in thick leather under the mounting hardware. I'm running the Chinese 66cc 2 stroke on a mountain bike." post
"I just finished my first motored bike build- a "Black Stallion" 66/80cc from Kings Motor Bikes. ...at the end of yesterdays ride I cranked it wide open to see what it could do. As it built RPMs, it passed a certain range and the entire bike began vibrating like the engine was totally mis-balanced! The gas tank loosened and shifted, and I had trouble keeping my hands on the handlebars! I dropped RPMs, and the vibration went completely away. I tried doing this several times, and each time I crossed that certain RPM barrier, the bike would go into wild vibration!" post
"I have a huffy panama jack bicycle, with a 80cc engine on it. I have such a bad vibration in the bike, its terrible.Ive tried rubber motor mounts, does anyone have any ideas? please help!!!!!!!!!!!!" post
Crankshaft balancing (for even less vibration):
An imbalance in the crankshaft in relation to the reciprocating weight of the upper end causes vibration and a loss of power. Making sure your engine is balanced correctly is essential, especially if you are modifying the engine to work in a different rpm range than what it was designed for. Using a lighter wrist pin lightens the balance area by 4.5 grams which is enough to balance the crankshaft in a stock 48cc. If it has higher compression and is ported for higher revs then the Jaguar CDI will be needed.
There is an old fashioned way of balancing the crank, with more weight removed from the counter-balance area for higher rpm. But in studying the subject I see that the main two forces that need to be counter balanced are changed in value of force equally as rpm increases so that rpm is not a factor. That means that the counter-balance mostly depends on the upper assembly weight and dynamic cylinder pressure, not on rpm. Cylinder pressure changes non-linearly with rpm, mostly due to ignition timing. On my bike with the ignition timing curve of the Jaguar CDI it has the most cylinder pressure at around 6750 rpm.
I have two different 55cc engines using different cylinders and pistons. One is with piston port intake and the other is reed valved. The results I got testing those, along with online calculators for upper piston assembly inertia force and the centrifugal force of the counter balance is what I base my theory of balancing on. The piston port engine was way off in balance, and the other was perfectly balanced. Using it as a base point I know I have to use 61% of the conrod weight as its contribution to the upper assembly weight. And I use the downward piston force instead of the upward force (which is more due to more piston speed going upward) or the average force. The increase in piston inertia force going upwards is offset by an unknowable amount of cylinder pressure which is why I don't use it.
Here are the force evaluations of the two engines at 4000 rpm:
Upper assembly weight (piston, wrist pin, bearing, 61% of conrod):
Downward assembly inertia force at 4000 rpm:
Centrifugal force of counterbalance*:
Centrifugal force divided by Downward force:
*In figuring the counter balance weight you have to include everything that would affect it. As example: my flywheel came with two 11.5mm diameter holes through both flywheels. The stainless steel there removed adds up to 50 grams. The conrod pin added 3.3 grams after the weight of the conrod pin holes weight were subtracted from it. The part of the conrod that is around the bearing, and the bearing itself, weigh around 30 grams. The centrifugal force has to be figured at the two distances of 19mm of the conrod, and 36mm of the counter balance holes.
Upper Assembly weight and downward inertia: 61% of the conrod is 43.5 grams and the piston assembly weighs 79 grams for a total of 122.5 grams. That weight at 4000 rpm (with 1.5" stroke and 3.35" conrod length) gives 71.45 pounds inertia force.
Counter balance weight and centrifugal force: The two factory-placed holes of 11.5mm diameter equate to 50 grams of missing weight which gives 71 pound-feet of centrifugal force at 4000 rpm (at 36mm radius). 30 grams of conrod bearing and "end" added to the 3.3 grams of the extra conrod pin weight gives 33.3 grams which gives 25 pound-feet of centrifugal force at 4000 rpm (at 19mm radius). 71 minus 25 equals 46 pound-feet.
Centrifugal Force to Downward Inertia Force Ratio: 46/71.45= .64 which is terrible.
Calculating needed counter balance weight removal: 71.45 - 46 = 25.45 pounds of force which requires 43.7 grams weight removal at the same 36mm distance as the existing holes. A 10mm diameter hole drilled through both flywheels will result in 41.5 grams removal according to this site (be sure to multiply the
resultant weight of kg by 1000 to get grams). But usually holes drilled are not perfect and so you can add about .15mm to the size. And so a 10.15mm hole will remove 42.8 grams which is close enough. A good quality drill bit of an equivalent 25/64" size is available for $16 online from Grainger. You can drill the hole yourself with an electric drill but it is hard and slow going. Best to do it at the machine shop.
Since upper assembly inertia and flywheel centrifugal force stay neck and neck thru the whole rpm range then it is just the changing compression/combustion force that varies with rpm. That is influenced by cranking compression and ignition timing. My balanced engine has 165 lbs cranking compression. High compression and advanced ignition are typical of enduro bikes, not racers. Race bikes have lower compression (typically 9:1) and retarded ignition. So my engine, being like an enduro bike, is just right with a 1/1force ratio. A race bike may need only .95/1 as a force ratio.
Here is a picture of my crank assembly with an additional balancing
hole just above the conrod pin. The 6 blue holes are lightening holes
for better acceleration (although I wouldn't recommend any more than 4 if the bike is for street use). The blue is foam filling half the hole. The
ends of each hole were later filled with JBWeld. I used foam just to
reduce the amount of expensive JBWeld used. The conrod hole and two
factory balance holes are already filled with JBWeld for increased
For the "80cc" engine, with a piston assembly of 107.6 grams and 11.15mm counterbalance holes at 36mm from shaft center I figure a 12.6mm extra hole is needed to balance the engine. (drill bit)
Concerning determining the weight of the lower conrod bearing and the part of the conrod that is around the bearing: I figured that by dipping the two into a measured amount of water and seeing how many cc (ml) they raise the water level. My 48cc had an equivalent 30 grams.