Is moped racing dead?

It seems like it. At least for now in California.

So far, half way into the 2011 moped racing season I’m starting to have doubts that moped racing will make a come back to California this year. It’s a little disappointing. There’s no moped racers to compete against. I was planning on going to the race #6 at Buttonwillow August 20th for the SoCal vs NoCal event but I have little hope to see a lot of moped racers there. I can always race in the mini gp motorcycles class again but it’s not as fun. If I skipped race #6 I might go to the race #8 October 15th at Grange’ just for practice with few friends.

After reading Will’s comment on my blog, I’m starting to turn my eyes on motorized bicycle racing (2 stroke, 4 stroke and electric) that seems to be taking off. The organization will be at Grange’ for their next race October 22nd. I don’t think that any of my fast 50cc race mopeds would blend with those guys on the track but I might bring my motobecane av10 and just check out the event. It seems like they’re having fun rubbing elbows with at least 15 bikes on the track. Why not getting one of those 2 stroke motorized bicycles and bring my moped tuning skills to the game? They seem to care about aesthetic too with a best in show award. That could be a fun, cheap and revive my motivation for 2 stroke racing.

Will’s electric powered race bicycle


My white Motobecane Av10 49.9cc race moped (stock cases + 19 carb) at 66 mph uphill with a 56T rear sprocket.

I finally bought a GPS to find out the real top speed of my race mopeds. In the video, I don’t know what happened at the end of the ride but I focused the camera on the wrong reading maybe because the sun was blinding my eyes.

I made another video of the ride downhill but I ran out of battery and gasoline so I wasn’t able to read the top speed either. It felt like a solid 70 mph though and got a little scary with such small tires and no steering damper, plus I was worried about the traffic, radars, turns, etc…

I’m now confident that the bike will reach 75 mph with smaller rear sprockets. Next time I’ll try a 54T then 52T and probably a 45T. I’ll have to drive up north in the Valley outside LA and find some long straight roads with no traffic this time to be safer. I already know a sweet area.

I can’t wait to test my other faster race moped, the yellow Peugeot 103 Rcx 49.9cc Bidalot H2O 14,000 rpms  (malossi cases + 21 carb) with a small 53T rear sprocket instead of my 74T sprocket currently 65 mph. I’m hoping to reach 80 mph with that bike.


It’s time to adjust the chain! Loose is good though, less friction, less resistance, more speed… Not recommended on puch or tomos bikes with small sprockets. Keep it a secret and switch to french variated bikes 😉

Like my buddy Shaw the moped guru would say as a joke: ” That’s some race shit! ”

66 mph uphill with an old beat up Bidalot 49.9cc replica cylinder with modified port duration.

Transmission 11 x 56

Estimated 70+ mph downhill:

Updates after the test ride:

I installed a smaller 52T  rear sprocket for faster 70+ top speed on flat road + a clutch pulley for fast take off and idling. I’m using a modified heavy duty doppler clutch pulley with 8mm custom made pins and a custom triangle shoe brace. In the future I’ll probably replace the doppler er3 variator with my better Bidalot junior variator. The next test ride should be really fun and scary! Now I wish I had better mag wheels and bigger tires. It was a side project built within strict 50cc race class rules using cheap old parts to show that it was possible to build a race variated moped with a small budget and no French high tech racing parts.

I’m tempted to remove the fairings and the air box, mount a regular seat and a round head light to make it look more like a street bike since I’ll be riding the streets more than the track. It could look cool.


  1. honestmike

    What about a Street race… Have 4 locations where you have to pic up something… Race to A, B, C, D or if you choose Go to B, then D, or C etc.etc.
    Straight Underground style NON sanction event.


    PS. I hope you can compete in a Cali Moped Race… if not, lets take it to the streets 🙂

    • tomahawktuning

      I’m starting to take it to the street but it doesn’t seem that there’s any moped fast enough right now in LA, even among 70+cc bikes.
      I feel lonely.

  2. zack

    It does indeed seem dead. I was chatting around, judging the possibility of a trip down to Buttonwillow next weekend, but I met little excitement. I think it is going to take another year or 2, with a little more organization and backing for something larger to get running again. I think many fear dumping cash on a bike and safety gear if there is no guarantee there will be racers to compete against. My bike (Tony’s old derbi) is just sitting idle and it bums me to some extent, but I know that once people again get excited (it WILL happen, it just needs to be a new group), I will have a ripper waiting for the track.

    • tomahawktuning

      I think you’re right Zack.
      We probably need to wait 2 more years for a new generation of moped racers with enough excitement, commitment, budget, riding and tuning skills.
      I so want to know how my peugeot 103 rcx 49,9cc h20 Bidalot would match now against one of Tony’s fast 75cc derbis. I never had the time to finish my h20 engine in time or tune the 49.9cc air cooled Bidalot engine correctly in only 2 races during the 2010 polini cup. I’m sure my bike would beat or at least keep up with those monster derbis to make it an exciting race between single variated 50cc vs dual variated 75cc.

      I’ll wait and hope to maybe compete against one of your fast bikes one day. Meanwhile I don’t want to run my bikes too much and wear the engine racing parts for nothing.

    • tomahawktuning

      I wish i could race with you guys up North. It’s just too far from LA.
      I wanted to follow the 2011 season.
      Is there any video out there?

  3. Tracy

    With a smaller sprocket you will definately get a few more mph’s… With the 56T my Doppler engine was barely breaking 60, but with 48 tooth it hit 64 still pulling hard in the powerband…I never maxxed it out cause I was on busy potholey streets.
    Good work! It’s good to see that old cylinder scream again! (for others: I exploded a needle bearing in that cylinder and head a few years ago)

    • tomahawktuning

      Thx for giving me that old beat up cylinder Tracy. Bidalot is simply the best!

      I told you I would make it scream again with a new piston.
      I honestly didn’t think it would have such power with those very small port windows (gases speed my friend), plus the nikasil and head were in bad shape.

      I’m planning on going to Sun Valley for top speed test runs with smaller sprocket on long roads no traffic. I’m sure you know some good roads in Thousand Oaks but I don’t want to drive that far.
      If you want to come and test your moby 40T 50cc doppler let me know. 64 mph with the doopler kit is good news. I’m building the same set up with stock cases for Bernie.

      Good to hear from you.

  4. scott

    Hey Chris, over in Albany NY we just got our first doppler clutch pulley’s, and were planning exactly the same modifications just last night – then I open up this blog for the first time in a few weeks and see it. Please keep us updated how it works for you!

    We also replaced the one-way bearing with the VBX bearing as per Naz’s advice on MA.


  5. tomahawktuning

    My modified Doppler clutch works good if the one way bearing doesn’t brake.
    I never tested the VBX bearing, I lubricate my clutch bearing often.
    I get my heavy duty bearing with more needles from Germany.
    I’ve had lots of problems with those clutches.
    Some french racers use it a lot on the track and love it.
    Not my favorite for reliability.

    • scott

      Right on. I think we’re going to try to start running it right off the bat with similar m8 posts and hopefully even a brace.

  6. tomahawktuning

    When you machine the three 8mm pins think about raising the base where the shoes sit so that they insert deeper into the clutch bell for pad contact than stock version.
    Also think about making them longer to keep room for a triangle brace + clips.

    I’m already having problem with my one way bearing over sized. I may look into that VBX bearing that may have a tighter fit than stock.

    Meanwhile I’m probably gonna try my vintage RGD clutch pulley or my Mykitech.

  7. Neil

    Hi, I am the organizer of Socal Motor Bicycle Racing.
    As mentioned in the post the next race is on Saturday Oct 22nd at Grange Race track.

    It’s the second event and just taking it one race at a time to figure out the direction.

    Any fast Mopeds could run on the track this race with the Unlimited Class motorized bikes which are over 11 hp

    Please email me at

    • tomahawktuning

      Ok. I’ll send you an email.
      I may check out your bicycle race October 22nd and bring one of my 50cc race moped.
      I just don’t have functional pedals since I don’t use them on the track. I hope it’s ok.

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