Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I just got a Brat-load of mopeds!

Leaving behind Seattle and the Mosquito Fleet for the snowy agoraphobia of Indiana will not end my love affair with mopeds. It will evolve into something more suitable for the midwest. In Seattle, bikes are expensive, so you tend to take good care of the ones you have and make them fast and stylish, as they are usually the fastest and easiest form of transportation available to you. In the midwest, bikes require more effort to go find, as you end up driving 7 towns over to your friends cousins house who used to have one of those. However, the reward is usually a very cheap almost runner. Part of the joy of mopeds is sharing it with others, and thus, I need to stock up on bikes to spread around into Lafayette. So I've begun "importing". It's a process I used in Anderson to get my old gang together. The Creatures did it. You just get a butt-load (butt-load is equivalent to about 4 brat-loads, or 8 baby-butt loads) of mopeds, and then ride yours around, and when people ask to buy them, you can say "sure, I've got plenty." A good cleaning, some new tires and light bulbs, and you have a very presentable moped for a reasonable cost to sell someone. So I've got my shed filled with 9 mopeds at the moment, a ttxl in the basement, and I'm getting ready to start preparing these bikes for sale. Most of them already run. The trick is to make them work as good as new. They need to not leak, idle, run smooth, stop well and look clean. No busted switches (remove them!) no ripped seats (recover!) and rusted chrome parts replaced with good spares. I went to Ohio last night and got 4 mopeds from a guy. All run, I got an 85 Grey Maxi (now I have two! twinsies!) and 80 Red Newport 2 speed (with side covers!) a Yellow Moby 40t with the sweet brown decals, and my favorite as always, a moped I've never owned, a Fantic Motor Concord Invader! With a V1 and loads of style, this bike is excellent. The front air dam and head light are the look Hobbit's really were trying to capture. The side covers boldly proclaim in gold "INVADER" and the wonderful toolkit sits in its bright yellow cloth pouch labeled "Fantic Motor", hiding away securely under the seat. The built in switches on the Domino controls need some attention, but I really dig their style, so I'm going to try and save them.

All that being said, here is a little shot of my garage, and I hope to see my midwest friends at a welcome home party with a to-be-decided date, perhaps in Grand Rapids, most likely in January.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Moped Racing

This video makes me miss being on the track already. It almost seems like another world where they would race those beautiful 50cc bikes. @ 7:34 seconds is perhaps some of the most graceful slow motion film of racing I've ever seen, it's mesmerizing. Someone please get a race league organized for the midwest!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Moped Nebraska

Thanksgiving ended up with BFW and myself in Nebraska visiting my parents. I was able to take some time and fire up my Derbi score from last year and the 50v. I had run both of them with the petcock closed to use all the fuel in the carb, and with a bit of fresh gas, both fired to life effortlessly. I replaced the fuel line on the Derbi and removed the intake restriction, and we took the bikes to Lincoln to go for a ride with some riders from there. It was a pretty nice day for the end of November, and we had a nice ride. Linda the Wiki goddess came up from Kansas even. We rode around, and I decided Lincoln would be a pretty good moped city. Free use in the state of Nebraska as long as you have pedals, and plenty of side streets and places to go via moped. You can even ride year round if you have a Carhartt tuxedo.
I popped the variator off the Derbi and brought it back to Seattle with me to optimize travel. You can see the washer on the right and the nub on the cheek to the left. The washer comes off and then the cheek nub filed down, means more travel. The Wizard is going to turn me some Delrin weights, and then I'll tap them to take set screws which allow you to adjust the weight for your setup. I've got a Ninja G3 pipe that I think I'll try to fit up onto the stock PP derbi cylinder.

There is also whispers of moped racing in Grand Rapids this year, which I would be very excited about, since I don't have too many other places to wear my leather suit.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

MopedHQ is moving!

I offer no apologies for the lack of updates recently! How's that for a change? Want some more change? Myself and my BFW are moving to Indiana. What? When? Where? That's right, you couldn't expect me to live the rest of my life in one place! We will be moving in the month of December, to somewhere in the Lafayette area. It's centrally located to all the action in the midwest, with most rallies 3 hours away. It's an ambivalent move for me. I'm excited to see all my Midwestern friends more frequently, but that means leaving behind my Mosquito Fleet family. :(
The most exciting part is perhaps that I'll once again begin my own moped club. I'm going to start recruiting from the Moped Owners directory, where at least 1/3 of the profiles haven't been logged on since 2006, and most of them have pictures of these "mopeds"
Seriously, check it out, these look like they might be some interesting people. Talking about grand kids and DUI and fun things. With that in mind, I'll being posting more as my moped shenanigans begin to happen once more in Indiana, that great free moped state, home of the Ricker's pop and corn syrup.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Milwaukee: YES

Makers of fine Tools, a city of Industry and Suds, home of the perpetually wonderful Cream City Cranks, perhaps the best use of alliteration of any prospective Moped Army branch, how could anyone say no to Milwaukee? Located just two hours north of Chicago, Milwaukee makes for an excellent city for Midwest rallies. Availible via ferry from Michigan, it makes for some awesome ride opportunities.

Yes, their rally shirts suck, but don't hold it against them.

These are solid guys. 11 members, the perfect number. Not a giant sprawl of anyone with a moped to make their gang look bigger than it is. 11 solid dudes. Vote Yes for the Cranks if you have the ability, you won't regret it. See you at your rally this year, in or not, Cranks!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hot dang! Edited!

So I went to Hawaii and guess who's house I found?

October has nearly got behind me. Here is what's been happening! First of all, I bought a Brat. Check out my new blog at http://bratitude.blogspot.com to enjoy those offerings and to keep the MopedHQ about mopeds.

Secondly, Pacific North West Moped Racing season has come to an end. Thanks to the 6 or so guys who consistently showed up, and thanks to the 5 or 6 more who always said they would come and did occasionally. Mike Naz finished first in season points, and thus since we were the only racing league to complete the season, he has been unanimously declared the Number 1 Moped Racer in the USA. Travis Knarpsworth was this seasons most winning rider, with 3 1st place victories and several last place "blued up / crashed" in first place moment. Watch for a heated battle for first next year as Travis attempts to learn how to keep his moped rubber side down. Big thanks to Mike Rafter for showing up to race this year. The rest of California really missed out, we have some awesome tracks and fun racing.

Immediately following the races, I took off for Hawaii and was there for a few days, one of which included renting a scooter and riding the island. I took some video of which I will upload later, some is cool to watch, most is not. This is what an officer of the Mosquito Fleet in the Moped Army looks like. Keep that in mind, prospective branches.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Undoing mistakes

To correct the race bike after last races big wheelie, I went a head and dropped some bank on a nice set of hydraulic forks. By nice, I mean, the cheapest I could find. I got these from 1977 Mopeds, and boy, they sure don't seem cheap. Super heavy duty, excellent finish, a quality fork especially for the price. The casting looks almost identical to the magnum springer EBR's. They pretty much bolt right on to a hobbit using stock hardware, just adds about 2 inches to the front end height though. I'll be adapting these for disk brake use, thanks to West Seattle for the use of his wheel and caliper for the weekend.
I've got them mounted, but I haven't had time to snap a picture.

Here is Naz using the bicycle stand to fix the electrical on Gorilla's Peugeot. Works great to hold the bike while you spin the motor on a bike with no kick stand. Little known fact, Naz doesn't actually touch the bikes physically when he works on them.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Subaru Justy

In my recent obsession with Subaru of the 80's, I've discovered a wonderful car I never knew I needed. A Subaru Justy. 3cyl economy car boasting 40+mpg, and 4wd. Also available with an eCVT. Thats right, a car with a CVT, only this one is electronically controlled. Look at that beautiful yellow little cube, how could you not want that car? Is there any reason they don't make awesome cars like this now? Or am I just unaware of them? At any rate, I guess I'm glad these awesome cars I want were made in the 80's, because that puts them squarely in my price range.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Subaru Brat

The object of my most recent obsession has been the Subaru Brat. Never heard of it? It's a Japanese 4x4 El Camino with T-tops and backwards facing jump seats. They get around 30mpg, and have the wonderful Subaru pancake motor that runs for ever. The only real enemy of the Brat is rust problems. Shift on the fly 4wd, with some models having high/low range. A majority of the 82-87 models have "Fun Tops", or awesome windows that pop off or open up gull wing style. A majority of them also came with 4 or 5 speed manual transmissions. The rare "Turbo" model had a 3 speed automatic transmission, but who wants an Auto Trans? One of these sweet little rigs will be mine some day, as I'm on the active search for a rust free example to live and drive on into the 21st century. The Black and Gold model has to be the best color scheme. Perhaps someday I'll repaint mine to match. I would like to get a sliding rear window and camper top, so that I can take 4 people to a cross country moped rally pulling a little trailer of bikes, and enclosing my passengers in the bed in comfort and with enough room to lay down and nap! I haven't been as obsessed with anything like this for a while, I'll be happy to give you a ride once I get one!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Victory Explosion

I'm not very good at this because I don't win ever. October race is in about a month, and it will be grand. I've been informed by the events coordinators that they have reserved good weather for us and mechanical failure of bikes has been insured against, so feel free to come out and race with your jankity street bike.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mac Track #3 and Blowed up stuff

This weekend was quite a good time. IanT aka Dr. Doom is back in the colonies from Manchester. Since there was a race this weekend, I prompted him to dust off one of his many mopeds he had scattered to the wind when he left and come race. He did, and he earned 2nd place for himself. Not bad for his first time on the track. I'm constantly impressed by the speed that can be coaxed from 50cc of french power. It is unbelievable. To watch something with 39% more displacement get blasted by a high revving little french bike is mind blowing. Here are the two of us partying. I'm on top of Eric's house, Ian is looking at the ground, and it appears that travis' shadow is watching us.

3rd place went to me on account of the tracking beating up Gorilla and Lady Gorilla, Travis spending too much time watching the super motos, Naz inability to make the race, Jessee's pipe falling off and that's about it. If Joe would have showed up, I would have beat him too. I couldn't lose, since I found a $20 in the parking lot on the morning of the race. I knew I would podium, although I was hoping from pure finesse and not the misfortune of my friends.

ALSO - I am an idiot and did a huge wheelie on my bike practice day, accidentally. Then I proceded to smash the front end, taco the wheel, rebound, eject the wheel, then land on the forks. Thanks to Nate from Portland who loaned me a front end and wheel for the race!

That being said, here is my Metra80 cylinder, now officially retired after some obvious sounds of detonation on the way to MM the other night.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What to expect when you are expecting (a moped)

I wrote this e-mail to a friend once who thought he might be interested in a moped, and at the time I felt like getting ambitious, so I started to write a big long thing, and then never finished. I saw it the other day in my drafts box and realized that even unfinished, it's got some decent information in there, so I thought I would post it up since I haven't had anything to contribute recently. Check it out, it's long and you know this already, but you are reading this at work anyway.

What is a moped?

A moped is a unique combination of bicycle, motor and freedom. They are lightweight machines (70-110 lbs) powered by 50cc 2 stroke engines. They have automatic transmissions with centrifugal clutches, meaning no shifting or clutching. Most mopeds are one speed, some are automatic two speeds, and some have a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The top speed of most mopeds is 30mph, although depending on the state were originally sold, they may be limited to 20, or 25mph. Most mopeds were originally manufactured in Europe and imported into the US during the 1970's, with sales and imports declining until the late 80's, although a few new mopeds are still imported today.

How is it different than a scooter?

A moped has pedals that alone can power the machine, and thus, can be ridden like a bicycle. This is the easiest and most definitive way to differentiate a moped from scooter. Scooters usually range from 50cc to 150cc, and with either have a CVT or a manual shift transmission. Scooters have smaller wheels than mopeds, usually 10"-13" compared to a mopeds 16" or 17" wheels. Scooters are usually legally classified as different than mopeds and are subject to other regulations and laws that are not always applicable to mopeds (such as registration, licensing or insurance requirements) but this varies from state to state.

What do I need to legally operate a moped?

This varies from state to state, but usually all that is required is a valid drivers license. Some states, such as California, require a motorcycle endorsement. Other states, such as Indiana, don't require a license at all. California requires registration and plates for your moped, but the plates requires no yearly stickers and are lifetime. Washington calls for mopeds to be titled, and plated with yearly tabs, unless the moped is 30 years old and applies for a collectors plate. Michigan requires only a bill of sale to be registered and a small fee for a 3 year sticker to be placed on the bike. Indiana, on the other hand, requires no registration and plate to operate legally on the road. Check your states requirements for mopeds, and print out those laws when you attempt to register your moped. They are also handy to keep on the moped to show to police officers in the event of a traffic stop, as most police don't know or understand the laws regarding mopeds.

What is a moped great for?

A moped excels in high density areas of major cities, because it is small, cheap, efficient and fun. There are virtually no parking problems, as a moped can usually squeeze into about anywhere, and in some states, such as California, they are legally allowed to park on the sidewalk. At 30mph, they navigate surface streets at the speed of traffic, and can carry a rider and cargo easily around traffic. A moped is a great supplement to a primary vehicle, because they usually are payed for all at once (not another monthly payment) they are easy on gas (usually between 80-110mpg) and in many states don't require insurance and are cheap to register. This supplement moped can be used any time to take one person anywhere within a 10 mile radius of home in an urban environment at the same speed or even quicker than a car. Going to the grocery store? Toss on the baskets and bring home a few bags. Meeting up with a group of people at a sporting event or outing? A moped cuts through traffic and keeps you from having to drive everyone else!

What is a moped good for?

A moped is good as a primary vehicle in many situations, and many people in urban areas make mopeds their sole transportation by choice. I personally use a moped as my primary vehicle and ride it every day of the year. With proper rain gear, a moped can even be ridden comfortably in wet weather, although sunny days are certainly the best. In Seattle, it's very possible and not uncomfortable to ride year round. Riding during the winter in colder climates is still easily accomplished using warm clothing made for snow-mobiles, but the ice does present a hazard and should be considered carefully. A moped is good as a primary vehicle because it can do most of the things a car can do with less of the hassles, but there are some things a moped doesn't do well.

What is a moped not good for?

Mopeds are not made to transport more than one person. The few and far between mopeds that have a long seat and passenger pegs usually still have a weight limit of 250lbs, meaning it's over loaded with two passengers. Most mopeds are not good at climbing large hills, especially from a stop. Most mopeds are one speed, and don't have lots of torque, making most power at upper RPMs which they can never reach going up hill. The exception to this is a moped with a Variated (cvt) transmission. They have incredible low end which can usually climb most hills with little to no pedal assistance. I will outline which mopeds are variated later on. A moped is not good for people who just want to put gasoline in a vehicle and drive it. Mopeds are very simple, small machines, and the vibrations of the motor and the bumps along the road tend to knock things around and cause bolts to come lose. A moped is not usually a vehicle that can just be ridden with no maintainence. Since one of the main draws of the moped lifestyle is low cost, it can be prohibitively expensive to pay someone to maintain your moped. Most motorcycle shops won't work on them, or if they agree to, its on a no-recourse basis and they charge usually between $90-$120 per hour. A simple problem on a moped fixed by a motorcycle shop will usually cost as much as the moped did originally! A moped is not a hands off machine. The cheapest and most likely qualified person around to repair or maintain your moped is almost certainly you.

I think I want a moped, but how will I know how to maintain it?

Mopeds need maintence and repair, and since it's not practical or always possible to pay someone to fix it, that means you are the head mechanic in your moped fleet of one! Mopeds require very few tools, and most were originally equipped with a small tool kit, although they tend to get lost through the years. All you really need are a few basic tools.

  • Spark plug socket
  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Flat head and Philips screwdrivers
That's a really short list! That is definitely the minimum amount of tools, and I would recommend the following tools for a person more serious about the moped lifestyle. I will outline where to get most of these wonderful tools at the end of this article.

  • 8,10,11,13,15mm box end wrenches
  • 5mm Allen key (or a whole metric set)
  • 1/4" drive Metric socket set with ratchet.
  • Vice-grip brand adjustable locking pliers, needle nose
  • Ignition points file
  • Piston stop (used for locking the piston in place to tighten and loosen certain engine nuts)
  • Flywheel puller (for your specific moped brand)
  • Feeler gauge
With these tools listed above, a person with no experience can usually accomplish about 80% of what usually needs attention and fixing on mopeds. Following is a list of things that you might already have around the house that are useful

  • WD40 or another multi-purpose lubricant
  • Electrical tape
  • Zip ties or cable ties
  • Steel wool
  • Sand paper
So you've got these tools, but you still have no idea what to do with them, right? Well, mopeds are incredibly simple machines, and really only require someone who doesn't get easily frustrated and can follow a process through logically in order to diagnose and fix problems.

I'm going to link to a very handy guide that will help you learn the logical process of solving moped mechanical issues. There are really only 3 things required for a moped to run. Fuel, Spark and Compression. So simply test to see if you have each of these three things. Find out which one you don't have, and you have an idea of what needs fixed. Make the missing element work, and your moped will run! Read this guide several times, it is very helpful.


So now you've got an idea if a moped is right for you, and you have a basic idea of what it will take to keep a moped running. The rest is wanting to ride a moped bad enough that you will stick with it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hero Puch 65cc

My Hero Puch has arrived, and it's got the neatest box of any cylinder I've ever bought. THE OCTAGON.
Well packed and secure, it was also coated with oil all over.
Interestingly enough, it's wrapped in a sweet plastic, encouraging you to insist on genuine Hero quality parts.
This cylinder shot shows that the casting is a bit goofy.
The cylinder studs are square to each other, but a bit wonky on the orientation to the ports. I'd say the whole cylinder is is probably 6 degrees off. Curious if it will have any trouble bolting up to my pipe.

The ports looks pretty good on the inside though, not too rough. I do like the boost port up top. Hard to imagine that Metra80 makes so much power without the port.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Another oddity of things being blown up

Alternate title is


To fix a broken moped, simply take off the broken part, and repair it or replace it, put it back on, and then you have a working moped.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tomos and the Mystery Hole

Riding the Tomos the other day, I happened to look down at a stop light and saw a giant puddle of oil spreading out over the pavement. There was so much I thought surely it is from the Exxon Valdeez. Luckily I broke down close to Matt Smudge's work place, so I put my moped into his truck and he came outside and gave me a ride home. What caused the draining of transmission fluid? I thought the drain plug might have rattled loose. Nope, there was a hole in the bottom of the case. Suspiciously M6 size The odd thing was there was also this nice little core of metal still sitting in the hole as the oil gushed out around it. It also was strange that it hadn't rattled lose and wasn't completely ejected by the whatever mystery force created it. Opening up the transmission to see what decided to make the extra drain hole, I found this.
It's always nice when the cause problem is looking you right in the face. One of the cap screws that holds the case halves together worked its way out and dropped into the transmission, where it hooked onto one of the gears, and smashed into the case, bending the bolt and making the hole. The core of the hole fits very nicely against the cap screw, its kind of funny. So after a new case bolt with some loc-tite, I drilled the hole out, tapped it M6, and put in a short bolt with a bonded washer. I had never heard of these before, Naz turned me on to them. It's a snug fitting washer with some type of crush sealing rubber surface. I put that inside the case and turned a nut down on it, and no leaks of any kind. The Tomos lives again!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hero 65cc

I've decided that this kit is just too tempting to pass up. It looks awesome, has a big magnum style fin pattern, and it's ridiculously cheap. $77. Go buy one now. If you have a stock magnum, this would bolt right up with the angled exhaust, although you might have to do some intake adjustments. Either way, I'm looking forward to messing around with this cylinder. I intend to add some material to an E50, then open up those ports nice and wide. I'll adjust my 6p to fit this exhaust port, and pair it up with a 21 dellorto on a custom intake. I know some of the Cuperteens have run these, curious what they say about them. If I like it, I might snag one for my MagnumX, and I'll bet the stock MagX intake will bolt on without too much goofery as well. They do sell the matching head, but I realized the other day I have 5 magnum heads sitting in my cylinder box, and I"m not sure where they all came from. I'm going to mill one flat and lathe in a nice squish band for the 65cc when it comes. Pictures and fun things as they come along.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

A few more pictures from race day

I like this picture, it's myself, Naz, Jesse (perhaps the only racer to not suffer any explosive bike problems this season) and Travis.
"My suit used to look like that but I accidentally put it in the washer with bleach."

"I love lounging in my leather pants, almost as much as I love having someone take my pants when I'm naked under a towel."

"Err Force 1"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I think I blue a seal on my moped.

We had a really good time, and my moped ran very well. It's official now, I'm the slowest part of the bike. Matt Smith came and raced and had a good time. September's race should be extra fun, as MF resident PHD and European migratory worker IanT will be back in the states and has promised and crossed his heart (my words, not his) to race with us. It was also funny to watch so many mopeds all crash in the same corner on the slick track in the morning, as each one dumped a little more gas and oil on the track to make it even worse for the next. 5 mopeds and at least 2 scooters, and even a little kid on a dirt bike all bit it in one corner.

Also important to note, I got to eat at Sonic drive in, which makes this track excellent. Happily, the Sonic on the way to Mac Track will be complete by September, and I'll be glad to eat there too. Applebee's is way better than Olive garden.
But we will let the people decide.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Races and nothing really moped related

If you come to the races this weekend, you will be amazed.
I'll entertain you.