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Mini bikes and mopeds, I like to build them all. Currently building up a honda express moped from 1980. I have future plans for a mini bike build too, got a 9hp honda for that one.
So why do you ask praytell ?
Now a bit of curiosity, here. What do you mean when you say "mini-bikers"?
Is this the minibike we all know from decades past? A looped tube frame around a Briggs motor and a centrifugal clutch?
Used to see ads for these in Popular Science that touted "no welding required" and other such conveniences. Loved those things, but i'm a bit big for such a little gizmo.
Or is this some kind of new nomenclature that includes the Asian import mini ninja things?
Categorically, does it include bikes with suspensions? That would be like the Honda Mini Trail and Trail 70 that had shocks and forks.
A buddy of mine does unspeakable things to bikes. He takes 49cc Mopeds (Yamaha mostly), cuts and welds them in to convincingly looking full sized Cafe racers. Is this a mini-bike of which you speak?
Well I am a Biker. But I think I'm a bit larger than a mini.
But I am working on a neighbors mini-bike right now. Seems his kid was changing the throttle and lost some linkage parts for the carb. It took me a while but I found a photo of the linkage on oldminibikes.com
Yup back in the late 60's & early 70's I messed around with them. My Dad ran a part time small engine shop so I had access to lots of spare parts. I mostly messed with Tecumseh engines, using snowmobile carburetors with custom intake manifolds, milled heads and cylinders to boost compression... We didn't have any legal place to ride so we would drag race up and down the street a few times annoying the neighbors and then put them away and wave at the cops when they came by. Mine was a straight frame with no suspension and a drum brake on the rear wheel.
My first mini bike started as a basket case Honda 50/4-speed. My Dad never thought that I'd get it together (no manual) and I made a deal if I get it together can I buy a frame to put it in. He took the bait. About 2 weeks later I won and bought a Taco 22 mini frame and stuck the Honda in it with a slight frame mod. (neighbor was a welder). I was the only one in the 'hood with a 4-speed mini with a real clutch. That thing would climb any hill as long as I could keep the front end down.
Then came a slew of dirt bikes and a few Harley's. Sold everything and a few years later I bought a '83 Honda 50 Express (35mph) that I mod'd, restored. The other is an '82 Urban Express that I fully restored/mod'd to full race with a ported/polished 65cc kit, expansion chamber, 4-reed case induction,w/huge 21mm delorto carb (50mph). I still have them today.
Billh50: You're certainly right. In my neighborhood you either had a Taco 22 or Taco 44 ( is that PC nowadays?). The 22 was a hard tail and the 44 had a jack shaft with shocks all with Briggs engines. I've just always had to mod every thing I own to make it the best that it can be.
My "nopeds" were my answer to the moped's mentions in this thread. The Honda Express' have no pedals...
I remember those things. I lived in town as a kid, but had a couple of cousins who lived out where there was plenty of room to ride. We naturally tore up all the oiltopped roads in their "neighborhoods" getting to the offroad areas, having a ball. Some of the bunch ended up with the Honda Trail 70 style bikes, so we were naturally quite jealous. But then, my uncle (mom's brother) owned a couple of Yamaha dealerships in the DFW area (after owning a Triumph shop here), so soon we were all riding little Yamaha mini-enduro bikes, then full on dirt bikes as we got older. Then came street bikes and all that. He financed what he didn't just give us. He gave us lots of bikes he took in on trades, so we were always riding something different. Plus some of the family got into racing and naturally he was a sponsor. But it all started with those mini-bikes......as I recall, the first ones we had were from Sears. Lottsa wrecks and skinned elbows and knees. This was before helmets, pads and all that stuff got to be "necessary" for what we were doing. Of course, once we were on the warmed up 125's and up, the gear came along with them, as did a little bit more common sense.
This is a trip down memory lane.....when I was a kid, I had a total of 5 different go karts, and 4 different mini bikes at one time or another. It was what started me tinkering and turning wrenches. I remember my grandpa helping me with the tough parts, he was a lifelong machinist and did the jobs I didn't have the capability or the equipment to do. He taught me a lot, and the best memories were when he would take me "shopping" at the local junkyard.
After I saw this thread the other night, it kinda "revved" my motor, considering I have a few parts lying around to build a mini bike. It all come together when my 9 yr old grandson came in the same evening and said something about a mini bike. He always wants to build something, and now I know how to keep him occupied.
Anyone remember the old Cushman scooters, A bit bigger than a mini bike and used a Cushman engine that was cast iron, Which prob weighed half as much as the frame , had a two speed trans with a shifter beside the gas tank. I had a bunch of them when I went in the service and my father sold them all while I was overseas.
We also had the mini bikes, We had one guy that road one all over town, it was kinda funny to watch as he was over 300 pounds and almost 6 foot. (our town was just over 1,000) and that included the farms around it. So as long as you stayed off the highway they left you alone. that was until one of my friends got hit by a Semi trying to cross the highway. Messed him up pretty good. Then they started cracking down on them real fast.
and now days, it seems that battery powered stuff to ride is taking over. . . . no stinky gas. but a tad awkward if ya got no 'electric to charge them. . they are all fun tho. thanks for the trip down memory lane.