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-   -   'What if?' scenario: 50cc two-stroke for loooooooong trips (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/the-hubb-pub/what-if-scenario-50cc-two-52513)

mj 6 Sep 2010 08:38

'What if?' scenario: 50cc two-stroke for loooooooong trips
While driving through the city on my beloved Hercules 50cc mokick yesterday enjoying the sun my mind started to wander. I've had one of those 'what if' moments that are mostly gone as fast as they came, but this one stuck. I'm not sure why, maybe because this thought has crossed my mind several times now...

What if one was to embark on a really loooong trip on a 50cc two-stroke scooter / moped / mokick?

I was seriously starting to consider pros and cons and caught myself debating the logistics of such a trip in my head. Obviously, a 50cc two-stroke is not a very powerful machine and tops out at 45-55 km/h. Thus, one would need a lot of time to get from A to B. At the same time it has several advantages - easy to fix (it's a two-stroke, there's pretty much nothing that can go wrong), very light (my Hercules weighs 62kg, 50cc scooters tend to average around 80-90kg), and has amazing fuel economy (my average in the city is more than 120 mpg US / 140 mpg UK). They're small and would save a lot of money when shipping / flying, and they're dirt cheap. If one was going out of Europe one could also modify the engine a bit - a 50cc two-stroke can easily do 70-90 km/h without showing any significant increase in wear and I highly doubt that anyone outside of Europe would really care. Spare parts and capable mechanics shouldn't be much of a problem either since pretty much all of Asia and huga parts of Africa still run on two-strokes.

So, anyone ever done something like that before? I remember reading about this one guy from California who went on a several week Sasquatch hunt on a moped but he never faced shipping, insurance questions, etc. Compared to travelling on a big bike it would obviously be quite a different experience but I'm not quite sure it'd be as enjoyable...

drewmillar 6 Sep 2010 10:46

Have a look at Voyage en Mobylette. the photos are good and it's worth translating the french text.

I met him in Ireland on his Mobylette before he went back to france and then on to north america.

Like most trips, his depended on him rather than on his equipment.


nKmS 6 Sep 2010 11:04

There was a report in advrider some time ago of someone going with a moped fron Syndey to London.

Sydney to London on a moped called Dot - ADVrider

anything possible :)


mj 6 Sep 2010 11:28

Ah yes, I remember the Postman. Big difference though: it's a 7.5kW engine that tops out at around 80-90 km/h and not a ~3kW engine that tops out at around 50 km/h. In other words, his Dot is pretty much like a 125cc motorcycle. Didn't know about the Mobylette guy, that looks quite intesresting. After all the only difference between a moped and a mokick is that the latter has a kickstart instead of pedals.

backofbeyond 6 Sep 2010 13:55

I've done medium length trips (= within Europe) on a 50cc bike (Honda C50) and on a number of 100 -125cc bikes. The larger bikes were ok - even on the autobahns, although having huge trucks a few inches off your back wheel for miles on end can be a bit intimidating.

Once, on a 100cc Suzuki, I got boxed in by 4 trucks - front, back, left and right on the autobahn near Frankfurt. It was dark and wet and I'm not sure three of the truckers knew I was there. The (two stroke) bike was flat out for about 2 miles before the formation broke up.

The C50 was just too slow - more akin to cycling (that's on my bone shaker bike, not Tour de France stuff). Even with the right "mind set" it was too slow. Speed I'd accept as ok on a pedal bike (at least I'd be getting fit!) was just frustrating on the Honda.

I suppose it might have been different if I'd had an open ended schedule and could live with just covering a few miles each day but I didn't. The second time I used it in Europe I left it in Germany and got a pillion ride back on another bike.

mj 6 Sep 2010 14:04


Originally Posted by backofbeyond (Post 304387)
The C50 was just too slow - more akin to cycling (that's on my bone shaker bike, not Tour de France stuff). Even with the right "mind set" it was too slow. Speed I'd accept as ok on a pedal bike (at least I'd be getting fit!) was just frustrating on the Honda.

That's what I'm afraid of, to be honest. It might be different outside of Europe though but then again it might not be powerful enough for going offroad - one might get stuck somewhere.

backofbeyond 6 Sep 2010 16:11

Certainly two up the C50 ground to a halt when my wife and I tried off-roading one in Crete (and no, we're not hugely overweight!).

At least it was light enough to push fairly easily but if you have to do that you might as well walk.

Pic taken just before we got to the off road section:


Donmanolo 6 Sep 2010 16:51

African Moped...
We get ocasional travel reports on Italian Vespa forums, of people doing long journeys on 50cc Vespas, it must certainly be nice to be able to admire the scenery at just slightly more than bicycle speed.

A blog which I found particularly inspiring is this one:

African Moped Ouagadougou - Paris en mob!

I must say I like the idea of being easily able to hitch rides with your bike when the going gets tough, or just plain boring.

mj 9 Sep 2010 17:54

I've just bought a second 50cc scooter (2003 Peugeot Elyseo 50 for 300 bucks off eBay) for my wife so we can actually start with taking shorter trips first and see how she likes it.

Mickey D 9 Sep 2010 20:46

This is a great way to introduce her to bikes and travel. Maybe it will click and she'll get hooked?

If I was inclined to travel on 50cc bikes I think I'd never bother shipping them anywhere. Just buy them locally where you end up, sell off when you move on, or leave there for a return trip or rent to a friend or whatever.

I'm thinking most of Asia this would be possible and also parts of Latin America? Lots of Chinese 50's both two and four stroke sold now in many places in the world for pretty cheap prices. I prefer four stroke for the torque and better fuel economy but two strokes have more HP per CC.

I owned several 50's when I was a kid. I had two Honda 50 four strokes, and later in college a 50cc Honda step through. Also had a 90cc Honda and a bunch of other stuff.

These Hondas were completely bullet proof. I rode them all over Los Angeles, even carrying my Surfboard in one arm and riding with the other. No helmets then. Could not go on Freeway (250cc or more) but top speed was about 50 mph. Not bad and I rarely got in other drivers way except on faster two lane highways. (Stay over to the side! and watch your mirrors.)

We also rode them in dirt and this was my introduction to dirt riding. I raced in later years on bigger bikes but the little Hondas were the real inspiration. Those little bikes would go about anywhere and would NOT DIE.

We even took our 50's to Baja on Surf Trips and used them to explore to find new Surf spots. Baja was deserted in those years. (this in about 1964) We rode our 50's on the beach, through salt water (DEEP!) and they just kept on going. Only problem was flats from the stickers and thorns of the Desert. Lots of flats.

Later we mounted Knobbies and that helped with sand and flats. Like all kids we all wanted more power and a bigger bike. Now, looking back, I realize just how adequate the 50's really were. If you're patient I think you could go anywhere.

GSARiderOne 10 Sep 2010 15:11

Back in the 70's I rode 50cc Hondas all over the place. Top speed was about 45 but they were road worthy then. Today, the highway speeds are much faster. But if I were to stick to little back roads, I think it might be quite enjoyable.

mj 10 Sep 2010 16:05

We will obviously do our best to stay as far away as possible from all major roads, which might prove unsuccessful in densely populated Western Europe / southern Germany. I hope the bike bug is going to bite my wife, the travel bug already has but so far she's been more than happy to travel on the back of my bike, not worrying about the dangers on the road, traffic, speed, etc.

mark manley 16 Sep 2010 19:51

In a visitors book at a guesthouse in Ethiopia was a couples tale of their trip from Germany to Kenya on a pair of Simpson, MZ to some, 50cc mopeds.
They had got that far and seemed to be having a good time.

Nigel Marx 16 Sep 2010 21:44

There's a young guy from my city (Christchurch, NZ), who goes by the moniker of ScooterBoy, who shipped his Yamaha Jog 50 scooter to Portugal and rode to the Artic circle in Norway. He has a few videos of his travels on YouTube so search there. I often tour in NZ on 50 or 90 cc bikes. It's a lot of fun. People WALK around the world. Anythings got to be better than that!


Nigel in NZ

--"Ride Tall, Ride Small"--

Stormboy 17 Sep 2010 03:20

Back in 1988, I was managing a Youth Hostel in New south Wales Australia.

This young fellow from Japan, (can't remember his name, sorry), turned up on his little 50cc pocket bike, loaded to the gunn'ls with gear, he'd come down through SE Asia, shipped the bike to Perth, and had completed his coast to coast run, his plan was to travel north and then to Darwin, before heading home.

I'd love to know if he made it.



All Suzuki Motorcycles Ever Built

Proves you can do it though.

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