Grange race, motorized bicycle vs moped

One day, I should register my 50cc peugeot 103 race bike, remove all the yellow fairings, install a long moped seat + a round headlight and blast it on a moped ride.

I had a lot of fun last Sat Oct 22nd racing against motorized bicycles in Victorville desert outside Los Angeles. I want to thank Neil the organizer who let me race and all the bicycle racers who welcomed my 50cc variated race mopeds. A lot of them came from far like San Diego, San Francisco, Arizona, Oregon, etc… one guy even came from Florida! Now that’s dedication, I wish it could be the same with moped racing. I was the only moped racer there but out of nowhere in mid-afternoon I saw a woman going up and down the pit with a stock Puch Maxi, maybe a local who knows.

I competed in the 11hp class with my peugeot 103 50cc h20 Bidalot against 2 stroke Morini 50cc h20 Italian engines, 2 stroke 50cc-65cc one speed and 4 stroke 200cc dual variated Chinese engines. I didn’t score any points but won the race lapping everybody once (15 to 20 bikes) and some bikes twice. Saving the bike for the unlimited class (which got canceled at the last minute) I unfortunately didn’t get to compete in the ultimate class (with a bicycle part prize) against a fast 200cc 20hp bike and a 67mph 9hp super light electric bike but I think I would have had a good chance to win that race too.

I was impressed by 3 or 4 gas bikes faster than the average 70cc kitted moped but even more by some of the electric bikes super light and really fast. They actually placed 1st and 2nd in the ultimate class after the faster 200cc 20hp 4 stroke bike experienced some technical problems at the end of the race. In conclusion, even though my moped had a smaller engine than most of those bicycles, none of them could match the power and acceleration of my single variated 50cc bidalot engine 14hp 14,000 rpm with a heavier but better chassis with upgraded suspensions for the track.

With no serious competition for the peugeot bike, I tested the motobecane av10 50cc air cooled in morning heat races but ran into some problems with slow acceleration response due to an air leak or carb jetting but even then I was able to keep up with the top 11hp bicycles.

Overall it was fun and good practice on the track which is always a safer place than the streets to test fast moped builds. I want to come back in April next year and maybe build a bicycle with a cheap motobecane av10 50cc air cooled engine to compete in all the classes and against those monster 200cc engines or e-bikes. Since moped racing is dead it could motivate me again with the same feel of riding a variated motobecane bike but even lighter therefore faster.

That might also inspire some of those bicycle racers to use a peugeot or motobecane moped engine instead of the Chinese 50cc, 65cc or 200cc engines. A lot of those guys are already using some moped parts from Treats (www.treatland.tv) like Puch high comp heads, Tomos biturbo exhausts, ebr forks, etc… After seeing the performance of high rpm french 50cc variated engines few racers came to me to learn more about them and where to get parts. There might be a chance to revive 50cc peugeot or motobecane moped racing through motorized bicycle racing if I can prove to be fast within the rules on a bicycle frame with functioning pedals. The only problem is that I saw small crashes in the turns because of the limits of bicycles chassis and tires, they’re just not really designed for such power and speed.

Photos slideshow.

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I don’t have the on board footage of my race, the camera didn’t work. The Contour HD camera sucks get a GO PRO.

Here’s a video of the ultimate race which I didn’t participate in by respect and keep it a pure bicycle race since the winner prize was a bicycle part. I’m taking photos on the side of the track next to the VROOM yellow sign. At the 1:12 min mark check out the fastest 20hp 200cc gas bike in the straight away and the second fastest super light e-bike passing the gas bikes at the 1:38 min mark. Unlike the other quiet e-bikes it actually makes a high pitch sound coming from a small belt + machined pulley out of the motor shaft to drive a reduction gear. All those top bikes are faster than they appear on the video.

It’s hard to be a racer, a mechanic and a reporter at the same time but here’s a video I shot of that same race (1st lap). You can clearly see in 1st position the fastest bike 20hp with a Chinese 4 stroke 200cc go kart engine modified with bigger piston, in 2nd and 3rd the 2 fastest electric bikes, in 4th an other 4 stroke 200cc, and in 5th the fastest 2 stroke 50cc h20 morini 11hp engine that I competed against and lapped once.

BONUS ARTICLE:

Updates on the 50cc variated french moped racing championship.

Here’s a video of the last race of the 2011 season in Northern France. My friend and tuner Remi Cusso tested his vintage motobecane 50cc variated Bidalot Replica tubular frame 18hp 15,000 rpm for the 2nd time on the track. Mick the pilot is starting to feel comfortable with his new bike and held back in the 3rd round after the leading the race because of a belt problem. The season is over and it’s time for the racers to rest and the tuners to spend the winter trying to build faster engines for the 2012 season.

 

Also, Jeff  “oldskool” finally upgraded his motobceane av10 with vintage Bidalot Gr3 cases + 50cc Gr3 kit and 28mm carb rebuilt by Remi. It’s amazing that the 25 years old Bidalot technology stills performs better or as good as some high tech 2012 machined cases with bridge exhaust cylinders from modern scooters or 6 speeds 50cc bikes used by some moped racers.

 

Early morning in the pit before the race. At the end of the video, Remi the master tuner not happy under pressure having to quickly rebuild the Replica engine to repair a water leak due to a burnt Viton O ring before the second round starts. Not fun…

6 comments

  1. Neil

    Thank you Chris for coming out to the race and showing everyone just how fast your Moped is!

    The #81 AGK Harbor Freight bike is about 18 to 20 hp. The bike DNFed with some mechanical problem.
    http://www.AffordableGoKarts.com

    If you can get enough Mopeds together I will make a class for them at the next race on April 7th, 2012.
    We will have another 1 1/2 hours of daylight to ride on the track and a full moon.

    • tomahawktuning

      Thx for inviting me.
      I definitely want to come back in April 2012. I have some unfinished business with the 20hp AGK bike and the fast e-bikes that I was supposed to race against in the unlimited class 😉

      Even though my moped was a little too fast I enjoyed racing against the motorized bicycle racers and was really surprised by the speed of those bikes. I also liked their passion and dedication for racing. They seem to be serious and some racers in the pit were already talking about their secret engine build for the next race. That’s a good sign and the event should continue to grow.

      I doubt that we could start a moped class. I tried very hard to bring moped racing back to CA in 2011 with no success. Other organizers tried and failed too. We would need some new blood and racers with enough passion, budget and skills to build competitive race mopeds but let’s hope.

      I corrected the hp of the AGK bike to 20hp. Thx for giving the website link, I forgot to mention it. A complete 200cc go kart engine for $100 only is hard to beat is you want to start racing for cheap.

      See you at the next race with my moped or a hopefully a motorized bicycle.

  2. honestmike

    Damn Tomahawktuning!!!!

    Those Bicycle mods looks like fellow Motor Tuners!!!
    You must have felt right at home 🙂
    Yo send the Puch/Pug Moped dude my info!!!
    I’m interested • Honest™

  3. tomahawktuning

    Yeah I really felt in my element with those bicycle racers.
    At least I feel like I haven’t built my race moped for nothing, I have some people to race against now 3 or 4 times a year.
    They’re serious about racing and looking for new ways every year to make their bikes faster. I’ve heard that some of them are starting to use moped performance parts from Treats. It should be interesting to see how those bikes evolve.
    It’s gonna keep me motivated and I’ll probably wait until they catch up with my moped to build faster engines on lighter bikes.

    I’ll talk to the variated puch owner. What ‘s your email again? I’ll give him your facebook too.

    • tomahawktuning

      Ok Ryan.
      I wanted to let you know but lost your info.
      The next moped/bicycle race is April 7th 2012.
      I’ll be there unless I’m not in LA. I’ll try to motivate few moped friends to come race or at least watch.
      Try to contact me around that time too or check the blog.

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