Moped Chronicles

Moped Chronicles

Charger Electric Bicycle News

We would like to inform existing as well as potential "Charger" enthusiasts that over a thousand of these trail blazers (new, incl. some spare parts) were recently purchased by Electroportal LLC... The web site is

Specific page link for the bikes is:

Best regards,


Moped Story

I dunno how many of these you get. probably a lot. all of my friends laughed at this story, so i think you should, too. me and my friend got two matching motobecanes thi ssummer and spend a lot of time fixin them up. before i got mine running, i went for a ride on my (other) friend'shonda 400 (ooh- a real motorcycle) one night. we crashed and i was in the hospital for a week, but we were extremely lucky. i had roadburn all over my one arm and leg, bandaged up like a mummy. when i got out, my friend gave me rides to work in back of his moped before i could bend my hand to ride mine. one day we pulled up to a light next to this guy on a crotch rocket and a chick with long blong hair and in hot pants in the back seat. he looks over and tells my friend:"hey buddy, your bike is as beat up as your chick", and peels off. a month ago i saw him again, and he gave the a wave. you know, the biker wave. the moped gets so few of those, especially in this harley backcountry. i forgive him with all my heart, becasue we both know who looks cooler now. yeah right - i'll get him the day this thing starts going 85 mph.

--alice, member MRMC (mopedratsmopedclub, middletown, conn)

Solex Mopeds - a little story

It all began only a month ago. I had been thinking about how I will be getting around our campus here at the University of Arizona since they will be restricting parking yet again to a mile radius. Then I thought of it one day as I sat at a resturaunt overlooking a street, and a bicycle with a "helper" motor drove by. I should get a moped.

So that night I began crusing the internet looking for mopeds. There seamed to be plenty in other states especialy CA and back east, but nothing at all in Arizona. So I began to inquire about shipping and found out just how much it would cost to ship a 90 pound moped. Forget it. A few weeks went by with nothing else, then I remembered something. When I was about 12 a friend of the family had a son who collected old bicycles and I recall two were mopeds. So I looked his name up in the book, and left a message with him. The Sat he returned my call and told me he had two mopeds that neeeded a little fixing up. So I told him I would be out later that day to see them.

When I got there he led me to an enclosed car hauler where he had them stored. There they were covered with dusty tarps. Two Solex mopeds from the mid 60's. One was missing the light, and the other looked very complete. I asked him how much for the two. He quoted me a price of $250 (which was about how much it cost to ship a moped from NewYork). So we shook hands on the deal, and I picked them up a week later.

When I got them home, one had a flat tire, but the other's stayed filled with air. So I pedeled and finaly got it to start. It wasnt very powerful at all. Undaunted me and my boyfriend began to tear it apart. He cleaned the gas lines, and fuel pump, and tightened all the bolts on the engine which most were loose. Then he got on and started it, and it took off with an amazing burst of speed.

The next day we went to WalMart and bought a digital bike spedometer and hooked it up. It went an amazing 15.5 mph. Then I set to work on the other moped. The fuel pump proved to not be working, and the gas tank was too coroded to survive a "presureising" technique I tried to clean it out. So I am awaiting parts for it.

Since that day I have been riding the black Solex around the neighborhood. I get smiles and stares from people and a lot ask me where I can get one. The best is when someone asks me if I want to sell it, and I can pridefully say no. I was also able to "tune in" the carb and got it to whizz along at an amazing 18 mph, and got it to speed up to 19.5 downhill. All I have to say is that a Solex is a wonderful little machine. It may not have a ton of power for hills, but it really is amazing what the little 2/3 hp engine can do. I even found out that they are being reproduced as they were when production ended in the late 70's and that parts are very easy to come by. Not only that but the price is very reasonable. I know that me and my boyfriend never parting with our little Solexes, and with luck I will get the other running in a week. Wish me luck!

Happy Motoring All!
Ryan Price
Tucson Az.

Solex picture

The Great Moped Caper

I call this my great moped caper... part I

I was sitting in my SAT Prep class at my high school. Around 7:20 I was called to the main office (the office for the community school) and was alerted that someone had hit my bike in the parking lot. I was furious. I walked out side, and immediately looked to where I parked it, only to find it lying on the grass nearby. At first glance, the bike seemed like it was through a lot. Then I took a closer look. My pedal and crank were bent, my blinker ripped off, my stop light completely gone, scrapes and gashes in the plastic and metal parts of the bike. It was pretty bad. After getting it home, I took a closer look. The fork was in bad shape, the rear rim was bent up pretty badly, and the lights no longer worked. But at least it started. I was let me tell you the story of how I got my bike...

It was almost 2 years ago. I was in my uncle's shop in Hawthorne and he had there what looked like to me a motorcycle. I asked him what it was, and he told me a moped. I didn't understand at the time, but I had heard of them. Then came the research. I talked to a friend who had one, and he told me the requirements on how to ride them legally. Now, I was talking once to an old family friend about my plans to search for a moped. It turns out, she had one that was her brother's in their basement. I was so thrilled, it looked great. Almost like a real motorcycle. I was thrilled, but i could tell it needed work. So, after formalities and time, I bought it from her for $50. Almost $500 later, it was running great. I had a great time with this bike, it was incredible! Once I got my permit, there wasn't a minute I wasn't close to it. I rode it anywhere my little heart desired. I loved that bike, and decided the next best things was to learn how to work on it. So I had books shipped from libraries all over the state, and read every single one available. Learned so much I work on over 8 different ones now. Except for one week in the winter and 4 weeks collectively on vacations, there has never been a day I have not at least seen the bike.

It became an important part of my life for two reasons.. 1) I lived a good mile from any downtown area and two 2) no one was ever around to drive me anywhere. My father died when I was 11, and it was just my mother and I. I lived far from anywhere close to get food, etc. My mom worked more days to keep up the family. She worked (and still does) 6 nights a week from 3 PM - 11PM. And since noone I knew lived near me, I was stuck paying $2 every day to get to school (NJ Transit). Then I got the moped! Very reliable and dependable. The only time it ever gave me trouble was once when I crashed going up a slight hill and slicing my front tire on a peice of glass. This is a tough little bike, and I will never ever get rid of it (even if I have to have each replacement part remolded to fit my bike exactly.) and they're right about these types of things, you never truly appreciate what you have until you lose it for a while (in terms of more material possessions)

john saginario II
Garelli Monza Gt
1980 - Silver

Second Outing on the Seaway Trail

Moped Touring

WE did it. My son Dan and I rode our mopeds from our home in Chillicothe to a friends in Oak Hill. WE traveled a distance of 57 miles. Best part was going up Whiskey Hollow to Poplar Ridge and down into Limerick. Took 4 hours. Can't wait to do it again. Even though we'd made the trip hundreds of times before, this time we're forced to take strictly back roads. And of course, when you're only going 25 mph you have time to notice things that you wouldn't otherwise.

I am now on the lookout for 2 more mopeds so my friend and his son can join us. By the way, both mopeds ran like sewing machines! I had greatly feared a breakdown, (took cell phone), but had no problems what so ever.

Greg Kauffman
Chillicothe Ohio
1979 Puch Maxiluxe
1980 Puch magnum II

1957 Velosolex by

I was on vacation in Paris in the summer of 1957. I was amazed at how many mopeds I saw in the streets. Except for the Whizzer, mopeds were just about unknown in New York. I just had to have one. A friend I met in Paris recommended that I buy a VeloSolex. I went looking for a store that sold them. But this was Paris and it was August. It seemed that everyone was on vacation and all the stores were closed. So just on a chance I went to the VeloSolex factory just outside of town.

The factory seemed shut down for vacation but the manager was there, and thank heavens he spoke English. With his help I bought one at the factory export price of $69 us. The only restriction was that I could not use it in France. So he arranged to have it delivered to my ship. In those years traveling by boat was cheaper than flying. I had come to France on the steamship Arosa Sky for $300 roundtrip. When I got back to New York I passed the bike thru customs and rode it home 10 miles to the Bronx. What a marvelous experience.

My VeloSolex was a heavy duty bicycle with a 2 cycle 49cc engine sitting on top of the front tire. On a level road the top speed was 20mph. The gas tank held a pint and 3/4 of a mixture of gasoline and Castrol 2 cycle motor oil. I also had a spare tank that held half a gallon. I averaged 300 miles per gallon. My best trip was from New York to Virginia and back. I traveled 1520 miles in 20 days. I camped each night in the National and State Parks along the way. After a few years the engine broke down. The nearest mechanic that understood the VeloSolex was in Paris. I had the greatest times of my life on my VeloSolex.

Scooters & mopeds around the world - links collected by Voytek Okulicz

Report from EVS (Electric Vehicle Symposium)

One Week With the ZAP Electricycle Scooter

My Moped Experience by Moshe K. Levy

When I was 14 (back in 1989), my father bought me a 1988 Motomarina Sebring Top-Tank with 400 miles on it for $400. The paint was white with red and blue trim and it had stock 49cc Moto-Morini engine. Over the next two years, I had the engine bored to 55cc using the Eurocyliendro kit, had the carb jetted and the exhaust replaced with a high performance version, and many other modifications which I barely remember. By the time I was done, I was routinely pulled over by the local police for going over 50 mph with my little Sebring. The funny thing is, the cops where more interested in how I got a moped to go 55 than by the fact that I was breaking the speed limit! That moped taught me plenty about the workings of the internal combustion engine and I still haven't forgotten all the great times I had with my moped-riding friends. LONG LIVE THE MOPED!!!

The Record

From Seattle to Tampa - 3.320 miles on a moped

30 year anniversary of Piaggio Ciao

"Gas prices put a smile on my face"

The 9 Lives of VeloSolex

Italian Mopeds are coming back to U.S.!!!

Moped sales keep growing in UK

More encouraging UK stats

And then some

Yet another stat

India - TVS Moped service camp

Mopeds in Arizona

Best Call Ever (from misc.emerg-services newsgroup)

The call was reported to be a hit and run with 2 victims. Upon arrival we found a 13 Yr M and a 39 Yr M. The 13 yr old suffering from road rash and the 39 yr old suffering severe pelvic pain. The 13 yr old reported he was riding his moped (rural area) and scared up a deer. The deer hopped up and down and landed across the back of the moped sending the driver airborne. The moped continued, less the 13 yr old but + a deer. The 39 M was changing plugs on his Chevy and heard the comotion. Stepping out from the car he was promptly hit in the groin by the moped with deer at 20 mph. The deer then was ejected and ran away. The police report showed the 39 M was involved in a hit and run with the suspect described as a deer on a moped. It didn't end there. The 39 M had Blue Cross and they denied as having a third party liability problem. It finally did get resolved.

Dennis Murry
San Luis Ambulance

Moped Matthew (in RealAudio)

1015 miles on a moped!

Mopeds - THE solution


You should come to Hawaii! There are mopeds everywhere, we even have a moped cruise. There is also moped races every friday down the quarter mile doing 14 seconds with nitrous oxide. Mopeds down here are mostly Honda Elites with the DIO motor in it, people are mostly running italy or taiwan made 75cc bore kits with chamber pipes with Keihen 28mm carbs! Now people are moving up to the 100cc bores with stroker cranks.

Yes, Im just like you who enjoys riding the moped around with the air in my hair and dont have to worry about traffic and insurance because mopeds down here are considred bicycles, so you dont need much to get one and run one.

Ai Lee Wong

Babetta Mopeds

Peugeot Electric Bicycle

Last week while sitting in the waiting room of a Mons, Belgium glass repair shop while having a stone chip fixed in my truck's windshield I noticed in a magazine a short write-up about an electric bicycle called the Velectron, reportedly distributed through Peugeot and Gitane bicycle dealers. According to the article, the bicycle has an automatic assist that cuts in when the rider begins pedalling and cuts out automatically when a speed of 20 km/h. The article claimed a range of 40-50 km and a recharge time of two hours from house current (220v 50 cps here in Europe). A picture of the Velectron showed what appeared to be a standard "City Bike" (a mountain bike/hybride bike frame with fenders, headlamp, taillamp, normal saddle and handlebars) with the battery mounted atop a luggage rack over the rear fender and the motor mounted IN the rear wheel hub. The Velectron appeared to have a single sprocket attached to the pedals, and a rear derailleur with six or seven sprockets. The suggested retail price was 7,495 French francs (about US$1,315 at $1.00 = FF 5.70) -- a tad pricey, but this figure also includes value added tax which, here in Belgium, is 21%.

Had anyone else heard of or had experience with the Velectron? Except for the price, it looks exactly like what I was looking for!

Thanks in advance!

Phil Kuhl (posted to power-assist mailing list)

VeloSolex Today

Formula Williams Moped

Still more on Derbi mopeds

We over here on Catalina Island(off the Southern California coast)still have quite a few Derbis in various conditions. They sold like hotcakes in the mid to late 80's mainly because the interior of the island is off limits to motorcycles. The Derbi was far preferred over Puch and Tomos because of their unbeatable hill climbing ability. I personally have two of them-a DS-50 scooter with electric start and a step thru Variant. Both bikes sport milk crates to the rear for utility. I would guess that there are at least 50 still running with another 200 closely harbored for spare parts. The unavailability of the engine top end is the final death warrant. Has anybody seen the Autist big(64cc)bore kits anywhere?

Thanks, Bob Smiley

Moped fever

Bravo moped in Iran

UK: New law confusion for moped riders

Yamaha Vino scooter

Yamaha Star Cross electric bicycle

TVS Suzuki mopeds | Growth at TVS

Dimension Edge notes

> ...How is the Dimension Edge on the steeper hills? I understand they take
> power directly off the crankshaft.

You're 100% correct.

>That means a relatively small friction drive.

We run it up hills that used to be difficult for our old compact car. I haven't found a *paved* hill yet that I can't climb with ease. Since installing it in February it's performance has increased, directly attributable to the 20 LBS of blubber that has been carved off my carcass by riding more often and farther.

The roller bolts directly to the PTO, two sizes; 1.25" and 1.5". They're produced in a variety of different materials. The composite roller looks suspiciously like a grinding wheel for a Dremel Tool. I've run this one in mud and on wet pavement without it slipping. Unfortunately it eats cheap nylon bike tires for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For most conditions the company recommends vulcanized tires and polyurethane rollers, which will slip if wet but dry quickly and don't cause tire wear. Aluminum rollers are also available. It takes just a few quick turns with a wrench to change the roller out.

> How is it in the rain?

Rain and light mud, no problem. The last time I tried to run it in the snow there was slipage. It's best to use the pedals and/or push in the white stuff anyway.

John Snyder

More on Derbi Moped

Derbi mopeds were of near-motorcycle quality, much heavier-duty coonstruction than the others that this shop (now defunct) sold (Tomos and Puch). They were also the dominating marque in 50/80cc GP bike racing, at least until the late 80's.

It seems to me they made tw models, but mostly sold one. It was a step-through, with a snowmobile-style torqu converter (CVT), cast wheels, wider tires than others, and a small fairing. The shop owner said that some hop-up stuff was available, like 80cc kits, exp. chambers, etc., and that simply pulling a stop out of the CVT would allow it to go above the legal moped limit to around 40-42mph. They were $200-$300 more than the next most expensive (Tomos) he had. The second model was described as a commercial model, with a rear rack and fatter tires on smaller diameter rims, almost like a scooter. My recall is a little sketchy, but these things were the coolest.

They used to be all over Block Island, at least in 1990. One of the shops/rental huts there would probably know much more than I do. Also, my AltaVista search came up with an ad for one last week (but I can't find it now) for sale in Kansas City, I think, for $200, which should be a bargain.

Kurt Freiburg

How does it feel ?

The following was written about motorcycles ("Zen & Art of Motorcycle maintenance"), but I find, it totally applies to moped riding:

"You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame."

"On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on, it's right there, so blurred you can't focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness."

"Plans are deliberately indefinite, more to travel than to arrive anywhere."

"With... lack of pressure to ``get somewhere'' it works out fine and we just about have America all to ourselves."

"On Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends we travel for miles on these roads without seeing another vehicle, then cross a federal highway and look at cars strung bumper to bumper to the horizon. Scowling faces inside. Kids crying in the back seat. I keep wishing there were some way to tell them something but they scowl and appear to be in a hurry, and there isn't -- ."

"Unless you're fond of hollering you don't make great conversations on a running cycle. Instead you spend your time being aware of things and meditating on them. On sights and sounds, on the mood of the weather and things remembered, on the machine and the countryside you're in, thinking about things at great leisure and length without being hurried and without feeling you're losing time"

Motorbikes in India

Derbi Mopeds

I am suprised to hear absolutely nothing about Derbi Mopeds and Scooters. They had a complete line of in my opinion the best mopeds and scooters out there. They go way back. I am the proud owner of a few of theses machines. Kind of hard to come by though. I am interested in DS-50 scooter/moped model. It was designed as a moped, but it had electric start, it was the traditional 50-CC and it had a set of cumbersome, but functional pedals. I have also owned such relics as the Derbi Laguna, A top tank model made back in the 80's, quite fast and well built. It too had electric start and a tachometer. Then there was the RD-50 this one resembled a dirt bike in design. It was also a top-tank model, but did not include electric start. There was also the Variant, this was a step thru model an probably my favorite of the bunch, I still own this one and it is collecting dust in m garage at the moment. It is probably my most prized posession. With very low mileage and in excellent shape it is easily worth a good dollar. I would like to know if you have any information of the where abouts of Derbi these days. As far as I know they are no longer exported to the US. Oh yeah as far as I know they also build motorcycles and are a component of the small displacement racing circuits of Europe.

Steven Eric Winkler

I did a little digging on Derbi and found few things:
1) It is still sold in Denmark, England ( and Spain.
2) It is actually made in Spain - there is a page dedicated to spanish bikes, that doesn't have any Derbi info yet, but might in the future (
3) I ran across a post from another Derbi moped owner, his email is


Additional info on Whizzer

Note: this info may be outdated

I researched the Whizzer engine on your page, and actually went to "the Whizzer store". Thought you might find the following interesting:

The Whizzer kit is now $1595, and you have to supply the bicycle. The recommend a "cruizer" bike and specifically the one being sold by Schwinn now. So you can figure $2000-2500 for a modern Whizzer

The engine is apparently is an updated version of the original Whizzer engine based off a Kohler K91 engine, which has been manufactured since 1923, and is used in applications such as generators. A 1993 upgrade of the engine eliminated the original iron barrel, so now the base and barrel are now a single unit, with a steel piston sleeve. Nostalgia Co. offers several power boosting options such as head (+$160), cam (+$100), and "genuine Whizzer" headlight/tailight for +$230.

There is a $10 service fee added to all Whizzer kits for notarized certificate of origin for local dept of motor vehicle registration.

The engine is 4 cycle, air cooled, 8.86 cubic inches, 4 horsepower at 3700 RPM, weighs 21 lbs, Mikuni 18mm carb, and they suggest a strong frame "considering speeds of 35 m.p.h.".

Fred Lenk


Moped training in Austria

Sax Motor Kit

I owned a Sax system in Canada, and now that I am living in Australia, I researched them here. There is a dealer, and he told me yesterday that Sax in Germany have ceased production of the kits as of December 1996, and gone into Yamaha motorbike assembly or the like. As far as he knew no-one else was making them available any more.

Too bad, it was a great system, and reasonably priced condidering you got a wheel, drum brake and good quality.

The North American distributors, Sax Energy Corp i Vancouver BC, are developing their own kit, using locally designed and manufactured components, and release is imminent.

Phil Wright

How you flood the engine

This article is about cars, but it helps to understand what happens when you try to start warm moped with choke engaged (choke lever down for Tomos) and how to recover from this.

Hero Mopeds and Scooters

Before Greentopia

Mopeds & pollution

Now and then I hear references to moped as to most polluting vehicle on the road. Is that really so?

Check out these quotes:

"Even current mopeds produce only one twentieth the emissions created by the average car, but a new engine now in production uses a high-tech ignition sequence resulting in dramatically reduced emissions.."

"Less pollution. The moped is inexpensive to run, pollutes less and uses less of a diminishing resource."

> Its also worth noting that modern 2
> strokes can be amazingly low polluting from both2 and 4 stroke angles....
> dont be fooled by the rather antique designs used for small add ons on
> biycles...
Absolutely right; thats why I voted for a modern moped instead an assist.
New mopeds in Austria are not allowed without a catalytic converter.

PM: Power Biking

Hero Puch mini-motorcycle

For bicyclists who welcome a little help

Whizzer Motor Bike

Well, let's go back a few more years! When I was learning to ride in the late 30's, my first bikes were (?)...but my best bike was of course a Schwinn, with the tank, the horn, the lights, and the springer fork,etc. (This was in the mid 40's) I then installed a Whizzer motor, with a grip-shift type throttle, and my Sophomore year in highschool was a real blast. (and my Jr year, etc etc)

I had a speedometer with the cable down the fork to a contraption in the spokes, and it was reading "TourEasy" speeds--45mph+ down those Iowa hills back in the 40's. I even had a siren mounted on the fork connected to a small chain I could pull, which would place a rubber knob of sorts against the tire to spin the siren turbine. Loud enough to scare the cows.

NewDeparture brakes and a mother who had no idea of how fast her son could go!!

The only "whizzer" accident I can remember was hitting the front fender of an old Chevrolet when the driver backed out of a parking space in front of me...I went over the hood, but luckily no big deal, and the incident at least occurred right in front of the hospital.(The bike/whizzer survived with barely a dent)...

William Bruce

More Whizzer

I remember a cousin who rode around in a motorized bicycle and after reading your page it came back to mind it was a "Whizzer". There was lack of transportation in Negros island in the Philippines then an this guy would ride 80 kms. north of Dumaguete, in mostly unpaved roads, in hi Whizzer to visit his father`s coconut farm. I envied him. All I had was a B.F. Goodrich bicycle with ordinary pedals.

Jaime A. Longa

ZAP opinions

I bought one of their units. It is well made and not a toy but it wasn't suitable for my needs. I biked 14km with it and the battery ran out of charge. It increased my speed from my normal 24km/hr to 30km/hr. If you only commute a short distance it might be worth it.

Paul Gaastra

I was interested in an electric power assist for my bike, and after several months of looking at different models I tried the ZAP system and it is FUN (strenuously capitalized). I'm sure it would be perfect for your bike, even though mine isn't a recumbent. It is also the cheapest one I found that was electric and not gas-powered.

Matt Krumbein

Chronos Power Assist

The Chronos electric power assist was invented by a man in San Diego Ca. It runs on a nicad cell pack which attaches to the bike the same way a water bottle does. The motor to the seat tube and rests on the rear wheel when it is activated. It doesn't take over the pedaling. Instead it give an assist of to human power so it essentially cut your effort by 2/3. The entire apparatus weighs around six pounds. The only drawback is the price. About $600 with shipping. I found installation pretty simple. However a bike shop could do it if necessary. The people who manufacture it are very helpful. The can be reached at 1-800-989-4766. I can tell you that it changes the way I look at biking. The one we have is being used by my my wife. I am going to order one for myself because I want ot be able to do some riding in New England where the roads can be hilly. the expression on my wifes face when she first used it was sheer joy. She now suggests we ride instead of complaining. We are both in our early fifties. I don't have the stamina I used to have. Call the company, They'll be happy to talk to you. And tell them you saw it on the internet. I told them I would sing it's praises for them.

From "The Moped Revolution" by Tony Hiss and Jeff Lewis (from New York Times, 1977)

(in italic are my own comments)

...Any country that is ready to give up policing the world is ready for the moped. This is because moped can have no appeal to the self-important...

...In the 40's and 50's the "motorbike" enjoyed a limited popularity in the United States, but it was literally a bicycle to which motor was attached. Unlike the moped, its frame was not designed with a motor in mind, so it was badly balanced and its motor tended to overheat, and it faded, unmourned, from the American motorized scene.

...The moped ... can for that matter, be used simply as bicycle, and occasionally a mopedaler does give a whirl to the pedals for a power boost on steep or simply to avoid guilt. I feel that way sometimes!

... The moped is now so well established as an American institution that it has its own national magazine, MoPed. Anyone seen it ? Know how to get copies ? I'd be very interested!

...Leo Carney, editor of MoPed, sees further moped inroads ahead. He recently published an article "Planning for Tomorrow: Future Uses for Today's Transportation", which looks forward to a not-distant future in which mopedalers will be using railroad right-of-way and scenic land adjoining sewage easements as an intercity road network (At present, mopeds, like bicycles are banned fro minimum-speed freeways and most bridges). Today, the law here, in Missouri is better - I can use freeways, as long as they are not interstate. Still, it amazes me, a bright future was predicted to a moped in 1977 and then... nothing.

What I Want Is A Scooter

Whatever happened to... K&S Industries

Just read your query about K&S and their "Bike Machine". I've owned 3 bike machines in the past. I still have one (sold the other 2). I purchased all of them from the "Comb" catalog, which has since stopped operations. They were selling the K&S bike machines in the early '80s. I bought them for about $80 each as they were refurbished and not brand new. I imagine that Kidde couldn't sell them through their normal distributors and then sold a batch of them to "Comb" at a discount. If I remember right the original retail price was around $400 for the system. Tomorrow I'll look for the manual in the garage, which will have Kidde's address or phone number. I'm pretty sure they haven't built any in at least 12 years!


Moped Summer in England

Running Away From the Policeman

Last Rights

I finally did it. I've been procrastinating for years, literally. Always tomorrow, another day always brought another plan for that dynamic ignition timing, that miscellaneous hop-up idea. And no time. Never any damn time. And so it sat, awaiting an uncertain future.

My first bike was not a motorcycle. Friends always chided me. "Get a real bike," they'd say. Carless in Boston by my own self-proclaimed religious decree, I wanted my own wheels, something more than the myriad of bicycles I've ridden. I looked a bit here, a bit there, giving lots of "that's nice" glances to hopeful salespeople. And then it happened: I walked into a busy shop and saw a moped that made me look again, and again. A moped? This is, ain't it? Yeah, well, it looked like a motorcycle well enough to be pulled over by Boston police for lack of a plate. Pointing to the pedals, the officer still didn't look convinced; not until I rotated the pedal armature around did he concede I wasn't bluffing. That it would hit a clocked 44 MPH box-stock didn't help, either.

No, my Peugeot TSM-U3 didn't look like a "moped." It had a long, slender seat at comfortable as anything on a modern sport bike. The gas tank was in-line with the the seat, white, with orange pinstriping, chrome trim and spoke wheels. I rode my TSM-U3 on black tarmac and black ice, white sand and white snow. We became one, inseparable, when a cage driver oblivious to road conditions couldn't stop and bent parts of my TSM around me; nerve damage from my cracked spine stays with me today. I rode my TSM-U3 nearly five thousand miles between 1982 and that fateful day in 1985 when I bought my first, as you'd like to say, "real" bike.

From 1985 onwards, my TSM became a perpetual project, adding a battery and charging system, directional signals, brilliant brake lights, a horn louder than anything on either of my current bikes. Used less and less frequently, sometimes only when my CB750F was in the shop, it sat outside, strangely uncovered, awaiting an uncertain future.

I registered my TSM-U3 for what would be the last time in January, 1987. Feeling guilty for not riding it more, I almost deliberately avoided it altogether. Forcing love above guilt, I set out to start it in mid 1987 after many months of sitting idle. Kick-starting it was fruitless. I pushed it around and around the parking lot until I was exhausted, when it finally kicked over. I rode it a bit, then parked it again. In the intervening years, it has been bumped into and pushed by the wind, crashing onto its side, picked up by me to sit in the baking sun and pounding rain, until the next time.

Being perpetually unable to find parking spaces near my apartment, I left my bikes in the area behind the house my mother rented - a ten minute walk away. She just moved, for the first time in fourteen years; the parking spaces gone, I had to clean up. Until I find, or give in to the $100/month/bike fees I've been offered (ouch), I moved my two "real" bikes to my parents' houses, each about thirty miles away. The oil cans, locks, chain lube, bike wash, covers, tools, and all the rest moved or chucked, the only thing left was, my TSM-U3.

I called the Department of Public Works, Sanitation Office, and asked for the person responsible for scheduling large item removal. She asked me what it was. I stumbled. But I said it was my moped. She said they'll come next Wednesday, July 12, 1995 - today. I didn't know what else to do. Rusted, with a permanently mangled rear fender from the back-breaking accident we survived together, the battery now gone, engine probably rusted internally beyond repair, I doubt I could give it away, much less find a good home for it. (Feeling much the way the fender looked, I ponder whether you could give me away, too.)

Last night, or is it this morning, at about 2:00 am, I walked, with no small amount of trepidation, to the now nearly deserted area behind the house. With an old, worn tire pump in hand, the same one I pumped the TSM's tires with years ago, I inflated the long-since deflated tires for the last time. I don't know why. I was tossing the tire pump because it was rusted, working poorly at best; but it would still work one more time. I scrawled "large trash removal" on a piece of paper and affixed it to my TSM-U3.

Walking it slowly out to the front of the house, my TSM-U3 rolled effortlessly. The chain, unoiled for eight years, moved freely and smoothly over the sprocket teeth. The handlebar felt smooth and steady, the TSM turning on a radius that makes my "real bikes" look like school buses. I could hear gas sloshing in the tank, still there after all this time. Though unlocked, I found its key on an old key-ring, shiny as if new, removed it from the ring, inserted it in the fork lock anyway, which still turns. Putting it up on its stand, on the sidewalk, where the trash goes, I stepped back to admire it. And I stepped up to admire it. I felt it under my hands. It felt familiar, safe, comfortable, inviting. It felt like and old friend wanting desperately to talk with me.

Instinctively, not habitually, I reached down and turned the fuel valve on; it turned easily. Not being able to remember how to start it cerebrally, I put my hands on the bars, my fingers on the choke and decompression, my foot on the pedal, going through the motions under control of a less logical part of my brain, for reasons I know not. I knew the motor wouldn't turn. Logic dictated that. After eight years, I hate to think what it looked like internally. The air filter was probably a mouse-nest. The carburetor's jets were probably caked with oxidation. The belt was probably cracked and would snap if I spun the pedal. But I spun the pedal anyway.

The crankshaft turned, I heard it. But more than that. The engine kicked! I gave the pedal another spin. The engine started; the headlight shone brightly; the speedometer became illuminated softly all the way around by small lights I thought would never work again; the muffler spurted gentle puffs of exhaust; the TSM-U3, nay, *my* TSM-U3, was alive, as if to beckon me to give it another chance! Made nervous by the police car which had just pulled up on the opposite side of the street, I killed the engine, shut off the fuel valve, and started to walk away. I came back, thinking frantically, my brain more shorted out than what I had assumed of the TSM's electrical system would be. Awash with a storm of feelings, feeling everything and nothing at the same time, nearly in shock, I walked away again, not looking back, unable to look back, afraid to look back.

I pictured in my mind a child whose father had left with neither warning nor cause, walking in the door years later, a well-practiced smile on his face, "heeeeerrrre's daddy!" booms from the lips, and I want to run, run like hell. Maybe he, the child in the image, wants to run; but *I* want to run, to run like hell, away from my TSM-U3. Hell yes, mister well-adjusted piece 'o sh*t, you're right; it's just a bunch of rusting metal parts, oxygenated hydrocarbons, inanimate, mechanical. I don't suppose it has a soul, now does it? And if it did, do you suppose that soul, or a piece of that soul, would live in me anywhere, now do you? Of course not; you don't have time, mister well-adjusted piece 'o sh*t, to bother with such illogical and useless shows of such rank sentimentality. According to such practical logic, I surely just walked away, whistling dixie, one more piece of unresolved trash taken care of, never to be thought of again. Hah.

I wonder where my TSM-U3 is at this minute. Did the trash man take it yet? Is it thrown, unceremoniously, on some heap somewhere? I wonder, when I discarded it, what part of me went with it; I know some part of me went with it, because by most peoples' observations, my brain "ain't all there." This is hard. Really, really hard. I have to type this slowly; when I type quickly, my face distorts, my eyes can't see. I feel as if I should run, run back to my TSM-U3, run back to make it *mine* again, and then do what?

Kris Karas

EV Warrior notes (from Usenet)

Spidra Webster wrote:

I just saw one of those EV Warriors on the local streets yesterday. I saw a guy on a brightly colored yellow bike. At first it just looked like he had a tailbox, but I noticed he was going somewhere without pedalling. I wanted to get a word with him but it wasn't possible.

I don't understand why someone would get a EV Warrior instead of a moped anyway. It's nice looking, but if you don't bother pedalling it (this was a very, very low grade, so gradual you don't even notice it unless you're on a bike) then you might as well get a scooter or a motorcycle.

I actually got to test ride one of these about a year ago. A rather deluxe model with a Sachs hydralic disc brake. Some comments:

1. It's really too heavy to be used as a pedaling bicycle for any amount of time .... but it does have some gearing (7 speed on the pedals) so you could assist the motor and/or get home if you ran out of charge.

2. Given that it's not a great bicycle ... it's a nice moped. The frame is decently well made, the bike handles well, and it's not junky like some of the prior attempts at small electric bikes. Uses dual Bosch radiator fan motors and a decent controller. Gel Cells for charge I believe. It was fast (20mph+) and accelerated nicely when I was in the "defensive line" class of rider. The braking was impressive.

3. Compared to a conventional mo-ped/scooter ... it's quiet and quite possibly easier to maintain. I know I'm going to hear about horrible electrics are ... but I'd rather motor-pace behind a EV-Warrior than any small gas engined vehicle. In CA. our electricity is rather cleanly generated. Even with transmisson losses the pollution output in electrical production is about 1/100 the equilivant pollution when comparing new internal combustion automobiles with electrics (I think the US East Coast's ratio is more like 1/10, as per. Consume Reports). The 2 cycle stuff in small 1hp engines produces more (much much more pollution than a 200HP 1996 automobile. So if you want to have a small motor bike ... this isn't a bad one.

4. However I am tired of seeing 30% or more of the electrical energy on these electric-assist bikes wasted on a friction system. On the EV-Warrior they use a rather massive Chin-Shen rear tire for durability, that also hurts efficency. Even the geared hub motors are preferable to this sort of setup. The company says they have some alternatives in the works.

5. The marketing and advertizing behind the EV-Warrior is excellent. They mainly sell thru automobile dealers ... so they don't have to contend with the very conservative bike shop owners (I've seen shops go out of business rather than try anything new). Consider studying the EV-Warrior business as part of Selling-101.

William Volk

UK motorized bicycle regulations

"An 'electrically assisted pedal cycle' is not a motor vehicle for the purpose of the Road Traffic Acts; such a cycle is a pedal cycle which has a kerbside weight not exceeding 40 kilograms, or, if a tandem, 60 kilograms; is fitted with pedals; has an electric motor of rated output not exceeding 0.2 kilowatts or 0.25 kilowatts in the case of a tandem, and is incapable of propelling the vehicle when it is travelling at more than 15 miles per hour. In other words, it is a pedal cycle with an auxiliary electric motor which cuts out when the vehicle is travelling in excess of 15 miles per hour.

The Pedal Cycles (Construction and Use) Regulations, 1983, require that such pedal cycles shall have a plate showing, inter alia, the continuous rated output of the motor. The battery must not leak so as to be a source of danger and the cycle must be fitted with a device, biased to the off position, which switches on the motor".

In the UK, all mopeds are classed as motorcycles and require the riders to have driving licences, third party insurance, helmet, and the mopeds themselves must be registered and carry registration numbers; carry excise licences and be tested annually for roadworthiness.

I have been told that in France, mopeds are not treated like motorbikes and it would be interesting to find out the position in other countries.

In the UK it is illegal, under the Highways Act, 1835, to ride a pedal cycle on the footpath (sidewalk) but the police seem to have turned a blind eye to this practice in recent years.

Alasdair Baxter

Kinetic Moped

Okay, I'm bored today, so I called Cosmopolitan Motors in Hatboro, PA & spoke wuth Larry Wise there, a real nice guy. He tells me that he can't get the larger (over 50cc) 2-strokes in from India or anywhere else because of US emissions laws. As it is, he's waiting to get DOT approval of a 50cc *scooter* from the same maker ... which he informs me is Kinetic Honda. Larry says Kinetic uses Vespa engines made under license in India for the mopeds he distributes. Kinetic also makes Hondas under license, hence their name.

-- Danny --

Full Moon Scooter Club
Syracuse, New York, USA

Fixing Motobecane

I've been taking notes. Sorry about the length, but hey, I WARNED YOU.

Team: "No Fear" Motobecane Update:

Mon Jun 5, 1995

I have been cleaning parts. Got both mains out of the cases, gently coaxed out the crud, and have both sounding and feeling pretty darn good. Brushed the rust off of the crank, and have big end bearing just fuckin' perfect (so to speak).

Got rings off intact, have cleaned them and the piston grooves, and the whole assembly is race-ready.

Called the only moped shop in the yellow pages, and was informed that Motobecan stopped making the things ten years ago. I have sent out high-tec internet typ feelers for whatever information can be had.

Trashed the (already trashed) remains of the crankcase oil seals during the bearing removal process. Need to find a "seals- are-us" sort of place in Columbus. One of them is intact enough to be measured...

Wed Jun 7, 1995

Found all the parts I needed at a place called "Handy Bikes" on 5th ave. They even have an old guy who they have to call from the back to help with old parts. He was really nice, and quite helpful. Anyway, last night I started re-assembly, and got as far as putting the case back together and re-installing the piston. The cylinder would not just "pop" back on, so I stopped there. So far I have a total investment of $31.50, including the purchase price! Kyle is pretty excited about the thing (he saw it for the first time yesterday).

Sat Jun 10, 1995

We have spark! I just need a couple more small items, and the thing ought to run. I have the engine back in.

Sun Jun 11, 1995

Yep, got it running yesterday. However, it wants to be choked all the time, and won't idle. I think that the carb is all screwed up. There were two phillips head countersink-type screws in the body that I did not touch. I think it's time to look at those (and find the correct parts to replace them). I'll bet that one is supposed to be a idle mixture screw. (There are no mixture screws at all available to me now) But it didn't fly apart or anything, and at full throttle it runs nice and smooth. Both Kyle and I actually managed to ride it up and down the street. Had a hell of a time getting the nut on the clutch side of the crankshaft. There is a snap ring that holds the free-wheeling portion of the clutch in place on the crank. Mark and I did not know about this, and used way too much force to drive the clutch off. Found out yesterday that we mangled the snap ring and mushroomed the end of the crank in the process. I fixed the snap ring easy enough, but Kyle and I had to use valve grinding compound and tons of elbow grease to get the nut to go on all the way. We probably spent an hour running it on and off, while the grinding compound eased the distortion of the threads. It worked though. Sure is a cute little thing!

Mon Jun 12, 1995

The engine is running, but not without constant working of both the throttle and the choke. I have to fully choke it to get it running. Once running, it will not idle at all unless the choke is just so, at about half way. If the choke is just right, it is possible to hold the throttle open a bit and get the thing to idle. It will not idle at the fastest stop-screw setting (that's too slow). Once I'm on the road and moving, it seems to cruise along OK at about 20 to 25 MPH, however this is with the choke held just so again. If I let go of the choke lever, it dies. I have the ignition timing set so that the points open when the piston is about 1/8" before top dead center. I have also tried it with opening at about 1/2" before TDC. It seems to run smoother at the more retarded setting. Just tonight, I thought that I had found the problem in the bottom-most brass plug below the carburetor main jet. This is a threaded piece about an inch long, with an 8mm hex head (with a screwdriver slot cut in it). It has a hole drilled in it cross- wise, then another hole running the length of it (plugged on the hex end). There is a short threaded portion on the other end. The length-wise hole was plugged up, apparently soldered shut. It looked like this was supposed to be open, so I drilled it out. It looks as though this is the port through which the main jet is supplied. At any rate, there is no difference at all in the way the thing runs.

Sat Jun 17, 1995

Boy was I wrong about that "brass plug". That is indeed the main jet. The thing that looks like a jet in the venturi is just sort of a conduit from the jet. I took the carb apart on last time to see if I could find anything wrong. This time I removed that littl conduit-thingie, and there was quite a bit of crud in there. Then I took the whole thing (disassembled) down to Handy Bikes to compare my pile of parts with the book. I was not missing anything. I told the "old guy" about drilling out the "plug" and he rolled his eyes and went and got a new one for me. I put it all back together and started it, but it didn't really run much better; still wanted to be choked. Well, "what the hell" I thought. I re-adjusted the choke cable. There is an adjustment barrel on the top of the cable, and I have it set so that the thing is pulled up just so. I managed to ride around the block several times. With a little practice, I have gotten so that I can even stop rolling and start off again without killing the engine. Maybe this is how it's supposed to be (?). The centrifugal clutch takes some getting used to. I have a tendency not to want to rev the engine as I am stopping, because that would wear the clutch. But I suppose that's just what you have to do. When I got back from riding around, I also adjusted the throttle cable barrel so that it will idle. I have not ridden it like this yet, since I was hot and tired and wanted to stop and have a beer. I'll go out and give it a shot after 'while.

Sun Jun 18, 1995

Instead of just leaving it alone, I worked on it some more after that. I removed the intake manifold and made a proper gasket for it, and put it back on. It had had an aluminum gasket, which I suspected of leaking. It ran a little better after that, I think. The choke seemed to want to be set just a little bit further out, but the adjuster was at the end of it's reach. So I ran the adjuster all the way in and moved the cable in the clamp. Unfortunately, I did not measure the location of the choke plunger before starting, so now I am back to square one on adjusting it. (I couldn't get it started after that, although I did not try very hard).

Mon Jun 19, 1995

Almost time to go to work. I'll be darned if I didn't spend several hours working on the fuckin' moped yesterday. I did fix the float, and made the carburetor perfect. Then there was no spark!!! I finally traced that to a bad resistor in the spark plug cap. I replaced it with a solid connector, and get a good spark now. I got to reading the can that the oil came in, and it said "for 21 HP and larger water-cooled engines only". Hmmm - I went and got some new gas, and some Lawnboy oil. In replacing the gas in the tank, a lot of rust broke free. I flushed it several times, but I think something must have gotten in and plugged the carb up. Now you can pedal all you want, but nothing happens, and the spark plug does not smell of gas when it is removed. Argggggg!!

Tue Jun 20, 1995

It's hotter than hell. I turned on the AC in the garage right when I got home, and am going to go out and fuck with the motobecane one more time in a while here. I got a big-ass fuel filter that I want to install. That and another through cleaning of the carb, and if that doesn't work, I'm stumped. *** SUCCESS! The Motobecane is up and running! I've just been maybe two miles on it, up and down alleys nearby. Here's what the final problem was: Rust in the gas tank, basically. The main inlet pipe to the carb was plugged with shit. I ran a small drill bit in and out of it (by hand), and gave the whole carb a final blowing out. Then I installed the above-mentioned fuel filter, and fired it up. I still had to carefully adjust the choke cable barrel to get it just so, but I seem to have gotten it, and it runs well and idles and everything. I was able to ride it long enough to start to feel silly for riding around on a 50 cc moped! (At 5'-10", just under 200 lbs., some grey hair, well... I look silly. But who cares? It's running!



6/4/95 - $20.0 Initial purchase
6/7/95 - $11.50 Gaskets, seals, motor mounts
6/9/95 $25.00 Rings, ignition wire, misc. cycle parts
6/10/95 - $ 2.00 Crank nuts
6/17/95 - $ 5.24 New main jet
6/19/95 - $ 5.00 Big-ass fuel filter

total $68.74.00

D. Gjessing

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