Doodlebug of Doom Part 2: Taming The Beast

by David Zipf


I have a confession to make about the Doodlebug of Doom. Between resurrecting it and...well now...I’ve rode it exactly once. This thing is terrifying, and before I ever rode it again, it needed some major tuning. The 18hp go-kart engine is WAY too much power for this itty bitty bike, especially after sitting so long. Our tires were dry rotted and bald, our brakes plain didn’t work, the carb needed some adjusting, and the clutch was rusty and grabby. Sitting for years in a garage really hadn’t done this little bike any favors and we really needed to take care of some of the issues before we attempted to ride it again.

So, we left it parked in the garage for 6 more months. That'll fix EVERYTHING.


We started our raft of repairs and upgrades at the tires and worked our way inwards. The rear tire on our bike was completely bald and toast. The front tire was okay, but had a slow leak. We elected only to replace the rear tire for now since the front had plenty of tread.  We tried to order V-tread tire, just like the original tire, but instead we received a chevron style tire like the front. Both tires are factory Doodlebug tires, so they both fit. We ordered our tire from Monster Scooter Parts.
There’s not a lot to say about these tires: if you want a racing slick for your Doodlebug, you can find them, but if you want to take your bike through dirt, you have to order a stocker. Fresh rubber and some actual tread should make a big difference in our bike.
We were able to replace ours with a basic set of tire spoons. These are tubeless tires and with all that fat sidewall, they’re fairly easy to replace if you’re familiar with DIY tire replacing. Doing this step ourselves saved us some cash.  
Removing the sprocket and brake disc are necessary to replace the tire. Fortunately, they’re only held on with half a dozen Allen head bolts each.
Our new tire looks much better and you could even feel how much stickier it was than the original, worn out tire.
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Thursday, March 01, 2018 11:06 AM
Fun project! The question is: where can you ride it?
Thursday, March 01, 2018 6:35 PM
Most places you can ride an ATV you can ride a Doodlebug. I'm hoping to do one of the 2018 Gambler 500 bike rallys with the DoD if time allows.
Big Mig
Big Miglink
Thursday, March 01, 2018 7:36 PM
I love that the tire sidewall is the suspension. And your legs and ass cheeks. Godspeed. ALTGATT

That air filter is huge but whatever
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Friday, March 02, 2018 4:11 AM
Oh god, you guys had to post this now... last Friday I went to a local indoor flat track race (seriously, running flat track on concrete sprayed with Dr Pepper syrup) and the boonie bike class (pull start, 12" max wheels) has been gnawing at my mind. About half the field were running doodlebugs like this.
Friday, March 02, 2018 5:15 AM
@Big Mig: The worst part is the vibrations from the engine. I rode it about half a mile around my neighborhood to get the carb tuned up and my hands were totally numb from the engine shaking everything. Should be better on the trail when you're on and off the throttle a lot.

@Dan: DO IT! You can be up and running for only a couple hundred bucks. I think I've spent $400 or so on this thing so far and that includes buying it off Craigslist.
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Friday, March 02, 2018 9:23 AM
I'm really thinking of building something from scratch since building stuff is fun. But I may be nuts.
Friday, March 30, 2018 8:11 AM
You need a torque converter/CVT getup for it. :)
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