After getting a snow blower this winter and taking on 6 feet of snow, I really had a romance with the little 2 stroke engine. The summers of 79 and 80 were spent on a 77 Puegeot 103, cruising Long Beach, Huntington Beach, and Laguna. Me and 4 to 6 buddies would go and explore the world at 35 mph, Cimati, Motobcane, Puch, and a classic Batavus were out mounts, we averaged 100 mpg and carried a little 4 ounce bottle of 30 weight to mix at the gas stations in our 1 gallon tanks. At such a slow speeds the world is far more intimate than being insulated in a car.
While flogging downtown D.C traffic last night, it was the first 70 degree day since October, a man was on a 50cc Yamaha Vino in a suit and tie and a brief case held down on a luggage rack with bungie cords. Recalling my moped experiences, I noticed with the new found scooter popularity, the peddals are gone. True a scooter is not designed for peddals, but a moped had the added acceleration of peddaling to 15 before the engine would really get going. The man on his scooter would gun the engine at the green light, the engine would make the eeeeEEEEE!!!!! sound as it spooled up and he would finally get going.
So I thought to myself, the moped was like a hybrid with human additional power to get you going. Now you can get the Vino in as big as a 125 4 stroke, then you are a scooter, but being limited by 50cc's and no license has kind of a class limitation with which you have to compete in. In Asia, Africa, and South America mopeds, scooters and small motorcycles are king due to the high populations and low wages.
I'm glad to see scooter popularity and would like to see more mopeds. There is a great site called mopedarmy.com for all the moped heads. They were simple machines with magneto spark, a 2 stroke engine, and a simple carburator. Now a days, you can add clutch weight kits so you can launch off the line, expansion chambers, carb kits and piston and barrel kits to get you to 80cc's. I'v seen them do 40 and 50 mph, course with all the power you go to 40 to 50 mpg. I still like the idea of the human hybrid.
I had a Puch (two speed automatic). I'd regularly be pulled over for speeding (55 in a 35, 55 in a 25, it just plain old topped out at 55) but the police would never write me up because what judge would believe that? So I just kept trying for written proof.
However, that speed increase was with the stock carb and 49 cc displacement. I worked in a bicycle shop I had access to many aero items that I made fit the Puch: Drop bars, wheel discs, changed gearing, narrow rims, narrow high pressure tires.
Fuel economy was "only" in the 70 mpg range, even before my mods.
Pedaling capability ended about 10 mph due to the insane cadence. The pedal system was far more for engine starting than for motive means. I can claim my car is a hybrid because I can drive it on the starter motor, too.
The Batavus and Motobecane had a selectable pedal system that was either geared low (like the Puch) for engine starting while on the center stand, or those could be driven through a planetary to produce less furious leg motion while pedaling with the engine stopped. Still only about 10 mph, but BMX race cadence rate wasn't required.
I gave up on the mopeds because I found that a real motorcycle (Honda CM450) had better acceleration, longer range, higher top speed, better fuel economy, electric start, and lower maintenance, too.
I wish the Puegeot had a 2 speed like the Puch or Cimati, it was straight to the variator. The engine kind of topped out at 35. I remember the Batavus had the 25, 30 and 35 mile per hour carburator, my friend with his Bat found a moped dealer who sold him the 35 mph carb and he was flying. God 40 seemed like a dream, we drilled out air boxes, raised the needles, got an extra degree on the timing, and started drilling holes in the exhaust, that made 37.
Finding carb kits and expansion chambers was exotic back in 79, plus hard on a teenagers budget. I did sand down the head a milimeter and raised compression by an unth, but 40 was just a mile per hour out of reach. My senior year I traded the moped for a Yamaha RD 250 twin, a year after that I swapped 350 barrels, Bassani exhaust, and Mikuni carbs and that thing was fast.
I then traded that bike plus 600 dollars for a 57 Chevy, ah the days before perfect restorations like you see on the Barret and Mecum auto auctions.
I see now-a-days kids put on the pipe and carbs kits, 80 cc barrel kits and the quick launch centrifugal clutch weights and thery're doing 50-55, hot rodding on a micro scale. I have heard back that it does suck the gas though.
I think it will take expensive gas before the mopedding and motorcyling get big again.
Old 2 stroke scooters were pollution pigs, though. Those old carbureted 2 strokes, however romantic, spewed unburned gas an oil out the exhaust.
I'd like to see a ~ 150 cc 2 stroke cycle with direct injection. It would have low emissions, highway speed and still get 100 mpg around town. Why is Aprilia the only manufacturer to offer direct injection 2 strokes, and why only 50cc??
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I have built an 80cc powered Tandem bicylce that my girlfriend and I ride, and get about 100mpg, with only pedaling we do is enough to start the engine. You can get the engine kits on Ebay for about $200, and they're easy to put on. I opened the intake, and exhaust on mine, and have yet to put on an expansion chamber. We can cruise up to about 30mph, without gearing, and i'm working on gearing. If I put it on a road bike with gears, I figure I could go about 70mph (not very often, of course), and get 200mpg.
Interesting a 100 mpg 2 stroke from the 70's verses a modern 100 mpg 4 stroke with direct injection? Aside from the 4 ounces of oil burned or blown out by the 2 stroke, how much different is the total content of the exhaust pollution? Any PPM data?
Remember the Whizzer, a 50 cc 4 stroke built on a beach cruiser frame, there you have the option of a true bicycle or motor assist.
My senior year I traded the moped for a Yamaha RD 250 twin, a year after that I swapped 350 barrels, Bassani exhaust, and Mikuni carbs and that thing was fast.
I let a co-worker take my Volvo 760 on a week-long trip so that he could save gas by leaving his 1 ton GMC truck home. In payment he gave me an RD400, also with Bassani pipes, with the front pegs removed, a flipped shifter and modified rear brake lever operable from the rear pegs.
I got two tanks of fuel per piston. I'd keep burning holes the size of a dime through one, then the other. But when it ran,!