Desert Moped Race

Saturday October 20th 2012 at Grange’ race track Apple Valley, California.

Come beat Tomahawk’s ass at the next moped race October 20th 2012 at Grange’ Race Track. It’s a motorized bicycle event but mopeds are invited and may have their own class. My 50cc race mopeds don’t have pedals so I’m already disqualified according to rules and can’t win any trophy, but I’ll come to play with my fellow moped racers from Los Angeles.

I always get up too late, then load my 2 bikes + equipment, get a cup of a coffee + french croissant, stop at 7-eleven to buy my lunch turkey sandwich + orange juice :). I often miss the practice session setting up my canopy and tools, but I’ll be there to support moped racing. See you around 10 AM!

Track fees: Spectators $10, Racers $35

If you plan on participating can you please email Tomahawk with a pic of your moped + engine size, stock or unfinished race project, so I can post them in this article. That’d be really cool thx. Knowing in advance how many mopeds are coming could help organizing the classes and make a trophy.  The race is coming soon so get your bike ready!

Here are the 2 race mopeds 50cc I’m bringing to the track (no pedals):

1- Motobecane av10 50cc  air cooled Bidalot. Total budget $1200 including used/new/free engine parts, used rolling chassis ($150 bought in LA), custom paint.

Before (1978 stock av7)                                           After (race moped Bidalot av10)

2- Peugeot 103 Rcx 50cc h20 Bidalot. Total budget $4000 including complete bike’s expensive shipping cost from France in 2009 for the first air cooled version + latest chassis and h20 engine upgrade 2010/2011.

Before (2009 French fairing version)                        After (2012 US no faring version)

Motobecane av10 50cc first start June 2011:


Thank you all the racers and volunteers for supporting motor bicycle/moped racing and making it another great successful event!

For more pics and stories from the bicycle racers check the motor bicycle official forum at

– FAST CLASS bicycle/moped:

1st:    Christophe with Tomahawk Peugeot 103 RCX 50cc h20 moped 13/14 hp (estimated)

2nd:   Ryan with Tomahawk Motobecane av10 50cc air cooled moped 11 hp (estimated)

3rd:   Morini 50cc h20 bicycle 11.5 hp (dyno)

4th:   200cc 4 stroke bicycle 16+ hp (estimated)

– MID RANGE CLASS bicycle/moped:

1st:    Puch Maxi moped from Ventura

2nd and 3rd: bicycles


Another fun day on the track! I want to thank Neil the organizer and the bicycle racers for letting us compete in their event, and all the moped racers who came, all the “knuckleheads” racers from Long Beach ( South LA), Puch racers from Ventura County (West LA), Ryan and Curtis local racers (Apple Valley desert) who brought a home made dyno and an umbrella girl!

Next year 2013 we need more umbrella girls and moped racers from Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange County and even San Diego! If we have enough racers and room in the bicycle schedule it would be great to create and fit 2 moped classes 80cc limit: 1) Non-variated Puch-Tomos… 2) Variated Motobecane , Derbi, Peugeot, Honda… If not we will still play in the bicycles slow, mid range and fast class.


– Tyler “Knucklehead” Derbi 70cc racer in the Tomahawk pit early morning, local racers Curtis,umbrella girl and Ryan loading the bikes late afternoon:

– Knuckleheads race mopeds from Long Beach:

The Puch maxi on the right is FOR SALE $500. I rode it on the track and it feels really good.

– Amazing Puch moped racer from Ventura County who won 1st place in the bicycle mid range class. He rides his moped so much in his neighborhood that he’s super comfortable and very quick on the track.

– Sophorn Sin with his red chopper Chinese bicycle who also owns a Puch maxi moped and goes to every single bicycle or moped event driving miles across California and other states with his Suzuki mini truck. He’ll be at the San Francisco moped rally next month November 2012. Super rad dude! Plus photos of other race motor bicycles slow/mid range class:

– David retired boat racer and 2 stroke tuner from Arrow Motorized Cycles watching one of his Chinese bikes 66cc class on Ryan’s dyno (9.5 HP) + the 2 young racers 16 and 21 years old on his team:

– Morning qualifying heat races. Mid range class: Ventura Puch racer single speed. Fast class: Tyler riding his white Derbi dual variated 70cc air cooled, Ryan riding Tomahawk Motobecane single variated 50cc air cooled, bicycle racer riding a fast Morini 50cc h20 with new racing clutch:


Early morning in the pit, Ryan’s dyno, qualifying heat race #1 mid range and fast class. I only completed one lap in the fast class heat race #1 due to a new belt and variator tuning problems. I went back to the pit to adjust the variator weights and grabbed my camera to get some footage off the track. Ryan won the heat race #1 with the Tomahawk Motobecane 50cc air cooled 11 hp in front of a bicycle Morini 50cc h20 11.5 hp and another bicycle 4 stroke 200cc about 16 hp.


At the end of the video 7:50 min watch Ryan excellent rider ripping with the Motobecane av10 between 11,500 and 12,000 rpms with the cheap motobecane cdi $75 from Treats that a lot of people complain about because of a rev limiter, coil screws coming off or failure after few miles. I never had any problem with it. Make sure to ground it good like for any cdi, Loctite all the coil and pick up screws before assembly, don’t use a plastic cover or drill it to keep the cdi temperature down, silicone the 2 stator plate screws into the cases to avoid air leaks. As far as the cdi box with rev limiter I never had that problem so far after installing more than a dozen on street or race bikes.

Treats Motobecane cdi $75

If you can’t see all the videos because the blog page is too heavy for your computer to download, go to the Tomahawktuning YouTube channel.


On board videos fast class qualifying heat race #2 and final official races.

It was a battle between the 2 Tomahawk 50cc mopeds and the 2 bicycles 50cc morini and 200cc 4T. The bicycles racers stepped up their game and the Tomahawk mopeds are no longer winning races as easily as the beginning of the season. But there’s still room for improvement on the engine (compression ratio + race fuel, transmission, etc…) and chassis (lighter parts, better front suspension, etc…) that we haven’t really worked on, dominating the events so far. Now that we know where the competition stands we can make the right adjustments during the winter to regain a slight advantage one race at time. The top bicycle racers are already planning on upgrading their tires with better grip. We’ve got a race now, it’s very exciting and motivating for next year!

We’re gonna stick with 50cc max engine in true French moped racing tradition but we might upgrade the motobecane bike with a slightly more powerful and consistent polini 50cc h20 kit stock cases 21mm carb. If we build a fast motobecane single variated 70cc h20 28mm carb we’re going to be around 20 hp so even with a fairly small cc engine we would have too much power for the current fast class. The problem is, because of all the different types of engine and transmission, the fast class is limited by horse power to 11 hp max which is hard to really control (unless each bike passes a dyno test) and not by the cc. With an 11 hp limit regardless of the cc or engine type the playing field is definitely more “leveled up” and prevents builders from using bigger and bigger engines in search for more power. It’s a really good thing but it becomes more a riders race and not so much a competition between tuners trying to get the most power out of the same engine cc, which is also a big part of motor racing.

There are just not enough bikes on the track with the same engine type and cc to create a” fair” fast class. Even during this recent race event the 4 fastest bikes competing in the fast class were above the 11 hp limit. The only class that seems to work with specific rules and enough bikes is the 2 stroke bicycle Chinese engine class 66cc max. So it’s all fun for now with a good atmosphere and it seems very flexible with the fast class rules as long as everybody agrees and monster mopeds with powerful 2 stroke 20+ hp or electric bicycles 30+ hp stay out of the competition.

The top 4 bikes in the fast class this weekend:

Mopeds Motobecane av10 BIDALOT 50cc air 11 hp (Ryan 2nd place) and Peugeot 103 Rcx BIDALOT 50cc h20 13/14 hp (Christophe 1st place).

VS Motor bicycle MORINI FRANCO Italian 50cc h20 11.5/12 hp S6-C kit discontinued I think (3rd place) and Honda or Harbor Freight 200cc 4 stroke, about 16+hp (4th place).


Morning heat race #2.

I adjusted my Peugeot RCX variator and haven’t had time to brake in the new belt but can at least participate in the fast class 2nd qualifying race and start in the back to get some footage of the other racers. The Morini 50cc bicycle is the quickest off the line and controls the first laps. I feel a little rusty on the track and don’t like my tire pressure but I’m able to pass thanks to my Peugeot faster top speed. Ryan better rider and more fearless getting off the track a few times is right behind me with the motobecane waiting for an opening. He finally passes me in the slippery hairpin where he’s quick with better lines and takes the lead for the final lap on his way to win the qualifying race. But at the 9:00 min mark he falls in the second left turn and almost gets castrated by my front disc or spinning variator but avoids it with a nice MATRIX move :). I regain control of my bike but loose momentum and get passed by the Morinini 50cc and 4T 200cc bicycles and finish 3rd place. Ryan is fine with just a scratch in his lower back and will be able to compete in the final race, what a true racer! The crowd loved the action!


Final official race.

50cc Bidalot vs 50cc Morini Franco.

The 50cc Morini bicycle quicker off the line takes the lead again. I try to keep with him but can’t find a way to pass him. My front fork feels very soft and bottoms out when I brake hard. My clutch with soft springs is sticky and grabs a little too early. I can hear the 200cc 4T bicycle and Ryan’s motobecane close behind me. I give up the chase and let Ryan pass me, he’s a quicker rider knowing the track well and may have a better chance to pass the Morini bicycle. I can now relax and follow his lines. Ryan finally takes the lead and I’m also able to pass the Morini bicycle after he makes a mistake or slows down in a turn maybe due to fatigue and loss of concentration.

It’s now me and Ryan. I’m starting to feel a little more comfortable on my bike with better lines following Ryan and quicker off the turn pressing harder on my launch lever. The disadvantage as a mechanic is that when I race I think about the engine parts and doesn’t always give 100% afraid to make the engine scream too much and blow up something. A pure racer doesn’t have that problem and opens full throttle not listening to the engine or worrying about mechanic failure, he can fully concentrate on riding and winning the race.

The last 3 laps were my best moment since I started moped racing for the very 1st time in 2010 at the Polini Cup USA. Being neck and neck with Ryan and listening to those two 50cc French variated mopeds with launch lever made me feel what I would have probably felt if I had a chance to compete in French moped racing as a kid growing up in France but it never happened. My childhood’s dream finally came to reality. Thanks for the treat Ryan! I can’t imagine what it would feel in a pack of 6 or 7 bikes like that. I never felt that even at the 2010 polini cup against monster Derbi mopeds 75cc dual variated. There’s something very special about 50cc single variated bikes with launch lever. It’s right in the middle between a dual variated and 6 speed bike. It’s an automatic variated transmission but you can control it with the launch lever which requires skills to master and specific ankle position in the right turns to avoid rubbing your foot.

Back to the race… I’m putting a little bit of pressure on Ryan but don’t want to make us both crash again like in the qualifying race, this time we’ve got to secure 1st and 2nd place against the Morini bicycle. I’m happy for Ryan if we wins the race but I’ll take advantage of any opportunity. Right before the final lap Ryan loses focus and makes mistakes going wide twice leaving an open door in the slippery hairpin usually not my strongest part of the track but I take the inside using a move that Ryan himself taught me in the pit… 🙂 I secure my lead in the straight with my better top speed and controls the final lap trying to close the doors and avoid any mistake. I pass the finish line in 1st position. A well deserved win against strong competition this time. I’m very happy!

Final words…

After this amazing weekend I found some new motivation for moped racing next year. I’ll race if we need more bikes on the track but I want to spend more time in the pit now helping moped racers fix their bikes or even built them a bike off season.

I really encourage any moped rider from Los Angeles area to come play with us next year. The adrenaline is way higher racing on the track than in the streets. Bring your fast or stock mopeds to the track and test your skills against other racers in a way safer environment. It is so much fun and there’s so much to learn as a rider or a mechanic.


Bob Turkman, flagger and timer extraordinaire! + Neil the organizer cleaning up oil spill.


  1. Tyler

    I think I will be bringing a flat reed and a stock/ported Pug to the race. Jake might bring his Gila and stock pug as well.

    Some other kids will have a Gila and a Polini both on single speeds.

    • tomahawktuning

      That’d be great if you could play one day.
      I would love go to New York next year and participate in one of your NEMA moped races.

  2. Ken V

    I had an awesome time mixing it up with you guys!
    You guys are sooooo fast and all the pressure you put on me. It wore me down mentally and physically. I’m looking forward for 2013! I might have to steal some of your technology. 🙂 You guys ROCK!!!!
    See you in the pits,
    Easy Rider #7

    • tomahawktuning

      Yea man it was super fun. I was amazed by your riding skills and your bicycle’s power.

      It was really hard to pass, you’re the one who wore me down 🙂
      Good thing Ryan was there to help me keep up.

      See you next year same track for some good action elbow to elbow! And share some knowledge.

    • tomahawktuning

      Hey Remi,

      yep the 30 year old 50cc variated french technology is still proving to be effective on the track.

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Racing those vintage 50cc french variated mopeds on the US soil is a real blast.

      I wish a could test on the track the insane power of 18 hp 50cc G3 variated bikes with huge intake Bidalot cases and 28mm carb. One day maybe…


    Hey Christophe,
    Those CNC machined engine parts are like PORN! Where can I get these parts? The MXS cylinder/head and Neo’s machined parts? How can I get more info on this High tech engine parts? Otherwise Hope all is well.
    Take care and Ride!

    • tomahawktuning

      Hi Peter.

      The Neo cases are not on the market yet and will probably be in small quantity for on the french bolgs first. But I know where to get all the engine parts (kit, crank, variator, cdi, etc..) that mount inside those cases.
      Just email me if interested.

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