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Preview: 50ccs


A Celebration of 50cc Motorcycles, Scooters, Mopeds and Other Vehicles (Have a bike you'd like to see featured here? Contact me at mje at spamcop dot net!)

Updated: 2018-04-23T02:25:36.453-07:00


Yamaha YG..?


Spotted this beauty parked outside a local flea market- sadly, not for sale, I think it's a Yamaha YG-series bike, making it an 80cc bike which is over 50cc, but not by much ;-)

A Brand-New American Moped in Kit Form from 1977 Mopeds


There hasn't been a real, traditional, moped on the market in the US for a good many years, thanks to emission regulations, changing customer tastes, and container loads of cheap 50cc scooters.  Of course creative moped builders have been restoring old bikes with new engines, wheels, lights, seats, and even frames from specialist companies, so it was only logical that they'd make the jump to selling complete kits, and that's just what 1977 Mopeds has done.

They've built up a rolling chassis using a frame from local maker Indigan and packaged it with a brand new motor, and are selling the whole package for just $1849.00. That's about what a cheap Chinese scooter will run you, but the quality of this package is far higher.  I'm kind of tempted to buy one myself. It's technically a kit, but the skills needed to install the motor certainly aren't beyond those of your typical classic moped owner. If you like the classic mopeds of the 1960s and 70s, this is an opportunity to buy a brand new moped with the style, function, and quality of the best Italian mopeds of the era but in a brand new package.

The Suzuki PV 50cc


The 50cc Suzuki PV was Suzuki's attempt to clone the very successful Honda "Monkey" bike, officially known as the Z-series. The Z-bikes were (and are) four strokes, of course, and the  PV was a two stroke, but they're rough comparable in size and power. The PV was introduced in 1979 and a great many were made, though I don't think any were officially imported into the US.

Today there are a ton of Chinese made clones of the Honda available, and I think the Honda itself continues to be marketed at home,  but the PV has been gone from the European markets since 2000, as it couldn't meet EU pollution standards. But a lot were sold before then, and it still has a big following- for instance, this Finnish PV fan site. Thanks to Google Translate you can learn how one father and son team is restoring their PV to Concours d'Elegance condition.

Mystery Moped


I spotted the interesting moped in Ann Arbor yesterday. It didn't look like any moped I'd ever seen before; in fact, it looked very new, especially with that big disc brake up front.  But who makes traditionally styled mopeds today? 

I couldn't find a manufacturers plate or decal on it in the time I had. I thought it might be a Tomos, but I haven't seen any Tomos mopeds that look quite like this. Someone out there probably knows what it is.

A New Batch of Classic Mopeds at 1977 Mopeds


There aren't many classic style mopeds being made anymore; with a very few exceptions, all you see are CVT scooters.  Some of us think a real moped has to look like the 2-speed Sachs Prima seen above.

But 1977 Mopeds always manages to find a batch of bikes from the golden age of mopeds to restore and sell. Here's the latest batch. 

A Yamaha from Germany: The Sting


Yamaha never actually imported this moped into to the US, but at least one owner did, and 1977 Mopeds has one for sale. The basic bike is a rare 50cc "dirt ped" designed for on and off-road use. It came with a 50cc engine and a 2-speed automatic transmission, but this one's been customized by 1977 Mopeds and also features a Gianelli exhaust, 60cc kit, and high compression head.

They're asking $1299 shipped- you can see it here.

Another custom Honda Ruckus


The Honda Ruckus is a natural platform for customization. There are a lot of bolt-on parts available for it, but that's not enough for some builders- like the guys who produced this stretched "Bagger" Ruckus seen at Air Society. Check out all the photos and the story here.

Honda PA50III Super Honda Raffle at 1977 Mopeds


1977 Mopeds is raffling off this incredibly cool customized Honda PA50III in November. More here.

Custom Builds from the Reality Factory


Something new from 1977 Mopeds. Read more about it here:


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Les Triplettes de Bonneville are back!


The fabulous Triplettes de Bonneville are back with more projects and project updates on all their mechanical creations, including, of course, their record shattering modified Puch Moped:

and they're jumping into the future of transportation with their first electric vehicle, that classic British death trap, the Sinclair Electric car:

The e-Solex 2.0


The original Solex was created in 1954 to serve as affordable daily transportation for the French working class after WWII. It became incredibly popular, not just in France, but across Europe and in the US as well.  But as France grew wealthier in post-war era, labor became more expensive, and the Japanese started importing their marvelous small motorcycles and mopeds, sales fell. Solex was bought by Motobecane, who in turn were purchased by Yamaha.  Production was moved to China for a time, and licensed to Impex of Hungary, who produced classic models from 1993-2002. Eventually all production of gas models ceased and the Solex name was sold be Cible, whose Sinbar-Solex division has resurrected the name for the new eSolex.

It's a sharp looking bike- not surprising, as it was styled by Pininfarina, who were responsible for countless Masaratis, Ferraris, Fiats, Lancias and other sharp looking cars. Styling is modern, yet it still has the classic Solex look. What had been the gas tank of the original Solex now contains a 37 vold lithium-polymer battery pack. Power comes from a 400 watt brushless DC motor mounted  above the front wheel- just like the gas models. Top speed is listed as 36 KpH (23 mph) and and range as 25-40 km (roughly 15-25 miles) with a promised battery life of 500 charge cycles.

The original Solex had a 1.4 liter fuel tank, and on a good day was capable of over 200 mpg, giving it a range of  a range of perhaps 80 miles on a full tank- or two to three times the range of the eSolex. But even that is an understatement, since the eSolex requires several hours to charge, and a gasoline powered Solex can be refueled on the go. By carrying a couple of 1-liter spare fuel bottles, a range of almost 200 miles between fuel stops was possible. I think I noted in an earlier post that I had a neighbor back in the 1980s who disappeared one summer, only to show up again at the end of the summer having driven his Solex from Detroit to Los Angeles and back!

So no, the eSolex isn't really a replacement for the original gas powered moped. But it is a lot cleaner (the gas version has a pretty dirty 2-stroke engine), simpler to maintain, and probably not bad for short commutes and shopping trips. If you'd like to try one- well, it's not sold in the US yet. With a retail price of 1150 Euros (about $1584 at today's exchange rate) plus import fees and such it would probably retail for in the neighborhood of $2,000, which would make it pretty expensive for a low end e-bike. But someone looking for a very stylish e-bike might just go for it.

Coolest moped ever?


According to at least one source, when DKW introduced  the 1965 Hummel 155, the European cycling press immediately named it the "Tin Banana."I don't think it looks like a banana; I think it looks incredibly cool.

While DKW made bikes as big as 348cc, as well as the world's first Wankel powered motorcycle (the 1975 W2000), they began as a maker of small cycles- indeed, the name DKW is an acronym for "Das Kleine Wunder"- the little wonder.  The 49cc Hummel was produced in various versions between 1956 and 1959, most of them not nearly as cool as this one.

Way less than 50cc


Chuck's Street Legal Dream 50


Just got this from Chuck Actor, the second correspondent who's made his Dream 50 a street legal machine. Chuck tells me he brought the bike back from Japan in 2007, and has added the following custom bits:

From Takegawa:
 - 89cc kit
 - Super head (ported, big valves and cams)
 - VM26 carb
 - 2-1 pipe
 - Hyper CDI
 - high flow oil pump
 - oil cooler
 - 160km/hr speedo

Bridgestone BT39SS tires
HRC fork preload adjusters
Bitubo shocks
Different gearing

That's one nice looking bike. 

1970s Garelli Moped


I spotted this 1970s Garelli on the streets of Ann Arbor, Michigan, a few weeks ago. Nicely maintained, too. Could be a student bike. Nice to see all that polished chrome- obviously who ever owns this 'ped puts a lot of effort into maintaining it.

Garelli started in 1919 with a record-breaking 350cc bike, and later went on to dominate small displacement motorcycle racing in the mid-80s. They still make a number of 50cc scooters and mopeds as well as some 125cc bikes. Their 1970s mopeds are solid, reliable machines, right up there with Puchs. Like the Puch engine, the Garelli has a chromed bore, which means they can't be rebored; but if you're careful not to damage the cylinder bore during piston or ring changes it'll last a very long time.

Detroit Thunderdrome!


I wish I'd found out about this earlier, but better late than never. This Saturday- tomorrow- is the first event of the Thunderdrome series, which the organizers describe as:
"a racing series for mopeds, pit bikes, scooters, minibikes, geared road bikes, fixed gear bikes, mountain bikes and go-karts."
 The race is being held at the Dorais Velodrome, a decaying concrete bicycle track on the East Side of Detroit that was once Detroit's premier bicycle racing venue. Today, it's not a place you'd want to take a track bike with 20mm  wide 120psi tires, but I suppose the decay just adds to the urban charm of the event:

The second race of the season will be June 12th at the Gilmore Car Museum near Kalamazoo, MI, and the third and final race will be September 12, back at the Dorais Velodrome.

You can find out more about the Thunderdrome series at

Bolt-On Moped Power


My friend (and motorcycle/moped sensei) Barry dropped by the other day with this inexpensive cruiser on which he'd mounted a bolt-on 49cc engine kit. I took it for a ride, and frankly I was surprised at the performance. The engine is a simple 2-stroke affair that delivers power to the rear wheel via a sprocket that clamps on to the left side of the wheel. There's a sharp looking fuel tank, a twist throttle, and a left hand clutch lever, just like the big bikes.

Performance is surprisingly zippy.  You start the engine in traditional moped style by pulling in the clutch and pedaling up to speed. Braking on this particular bike is done via the coaster brake, but I'd add a front caliper brake if it were my bike.

Barry tells me the supplier of these engines also has a kit that uses a freewheeling front crank and a jackshaft to route power through the crank. This allows the engine to take advantage of the bike's derailleur or hub transmission, meaning you can have a 50cc moped with a 16 speed (or more) transmission. I'm not saying this will make a bicycle into a TT competitor, but it would be interesting to see exactly how fast such a bike could be made to go. And you know, I think Barry has some cans of Nitrotoluene-spiked 2-stroke racing oil in his garage...

I don't have a suitable bike  to bolt one of these kits on at the moment, but I think I'm going to keep my eyes open for a large cruiser frame- and maybe a 5 or 7 speed rear hub, too.

1960 Sears Allstate Mo-Ped


This gorgeous little bike is from the 1960 Sears catalog, and I think it may be the very first moped sold by Sears. Made by Puch, so it has an indestructible engine.

The price seems cheap, but it translates to about $1300 in 2011 dollars. Actually I suppose that is pretty cheap. Just try and find a quality moped- let alone an Austrian-made one- today for that little!

Compressed Air Powered Moped


I was searching the web for some Puch information when I came across this intriguing photo at one of those sites that exists solely as a place to put ads. There wasn't any useful info there, but there was this fascinating photo. It's a classic (70s?) Puch frame, with stock wheels, seat and handlebars, but that's where the similarity ends.

First of all there are those huge tanks hanging off either side. Since that much gasoline would let a 50cc Puch go coast to coast without refueling, I'm guessing that hold either LPG, or more likely, compressed air. Zooming in, I can see what look like air pressure regulators of the sort found on low pressure compressors on the tank, as well as what look like quick-connect fittings. In place of the usual engine is what could be a pair of industrial air motors linked together.


I found a link with the rest of the details:

It was created for a U.K. National Geographic special by Jem Stansfield, and can go 7 miles at 18mph. If you had a compressor at home, and one at work, I suppose this could almost be practical.

Vespa LX-50 sale


Vespa is currently running a sale on all models, including a $400 off deal on the LX-50. At $3,299 the LX-50 is one of the most expensive mopeds on the market,  so this should come as good news to Vespa fanciers who've been saving up toward an LX-50. I've never driven an LX-50 myself (I've driven some larger Vespas) but I've never met an LX-50 owner who was displeased with their 'ped.

There are other high quality mopeds available from Honda, Yamaha, Piaggio (Vespa's parent) and Kymco but what distinguishes the Vespas is their styling. They're gorgeous, and they define what a scooter should look like. My Yamaha C3 was a super reliable 'ped, but face it, it looks like it should be delivering Good Humor ice cream. Even my Vespa-wannabe Yamaha Vino doesn't quite manage to pull off that beautiful Italian styling. There's only one Vespa.

Drag Moped?


What, exactly, is going on here? Long trailing arm suspension, oversize rear slick... if this were a 1200cc bike I'd say it was a drag racer, but I don't think there's a 50cc 2-stroke engine in existence that develops enough torque to make a moped do a wheely under acceleration. Maybe it's just another odd example of creative Japanese moto engineering.

Hero Puch Moped at 1977 Mopeds


If you're still looking for a classic Puch moped in excellent condition, 1977 Mopeds has a few Hero Puch Mopeds at $1550. These are actually made by Hero, of India, and not by Puch of Austria, but they're made on Puch tooling, and are pretty close to the originals, right down to the chromed cylinder bore. 1977 Mopeds has plenty of spares and aftermarket parts, making this 'ped a good choice for daily riding or customizing into that killer moped of your dreams. Given what a mint 1970s Puch sells for these days, the asking price for a brand new one is pretty reasonable.

Les Triplettes de Bonneville, pt. II


The Triplettes are still chasing 50cc land speed records with their highly modified 50cc moped, having set four records back in 2008 when we first visited them. Their latest project also uses a small engine, but this time it's a streamliner propelled by a compressed air reciprocating engine:

You can read all about this car and their other projects at

Black Cyber Weekend Sale at 1977 Mopeds


My go-to store for classic moped parts is having a 17% off on everything sale through Monday (11/29/2010).

Dual Engines?


Found this on a forum called retrorides. What caught my eye was the fake Harley-style "motor" ahead of the real power plant, which looks like a 25cc weed wacker sort of motor. My friend Barry, whose projects can be seen from time to time at this blog, converted a very similar bike to electric power for a customer not too long ago. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos before the owner picked it up, but he said it was a very successful conversion.