Category: Moped racing in California

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:

BACK FROM THE RACE:

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 motorbicycling.com

– 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

MOPEEEEEEEEDS !!!

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.

PHOTOS:

– 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:

VIDEO:

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.

QUICK NOTE:

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.

GOPRO VIDEOS:

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).

VIDEO 1:

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!

VIDEO 2:

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.

BONUS PICS:

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

Adams track bicycle/moped racing

Back from the motorized bicycle/moped race June 16th 2012 at the Adams Motorsports Park in Riverside, California.

I was the only moped racer there but what a blast!

Peugeot 103 Rcx 49.9cc h20 moped 15 hp.

I had some mechanical problems in the afternoon practice. My old belt flipped and shredded, 2 engine cases bolts holding the launch lever rubber bracket broke. I though it was over. But luckily I had a new belt and was able to buy 6mm Allen screws on the track at the go kart shop and was helped by a bicycle racer. The brand new belt not broken in yet through off my variator weights + launch lever setting and I didn’t have enough time to fine tune them. So I kept the variator a little heavy to be safe but lost some acceleration off the turns. Listening to my engine on the videos I could have used a 2 teeth bigger rear sprocket on that short track to make the engine saturate earlier at 3/4 in the straight instead of almost the end. There was also room to lean out the carburetor main jet for better throttle response and rpms but once again I decided to keep the engine safe and reliable. Finishing a race is more important.

Overall, a fun race day with good action. I had more time to connect and make friends with the bicycles racers. Some people came all the way from San Francisco. I finished 2nd in the unlimited class behind a fast electric bike 30-40hp? with insane acceleration and in front of a dual variated 200cc 4t 20hp. I test rode the e-bike and I never felt anything like it! The torque is nuts and everything so quite you feel like flying. I couldn’t even open full throttle because of the short go kart track and the bike’s front end lifting off the ground like crazy! To compete in the bicycle races they had to stretch the frame otherwise the bike flips over! I wasn’t allowed to take up close photos of the bike cause the prototype motor is kinda secret, gotta respect that. I retouched the photo to hide the motor. But using side covers would have been a good idea to keep it top secret 😉

What an experience and a rush, I’m hooked. It made me want to build a super fast e-moped with a similar set-up. The  motor temperature was only 55 degree Celsius (130 Fahrenheit) and you could touch it right after the race which is rare for any engine. They finally got reed of overheating problems thanks to their custom aluminum housing with fins. Their next step is to upgrade the chassis with an Aprilia 250 RS to exploit the full potential of the electric motor. For now, they’re keeping the bicycle frame for the electric motorcycle race event July 1st at the big Laguna Seca Raceway in Salinas, CA (1h north of San Francisco).

www.mazdaraceway.com

Steve on the left with his 2t 50cc morini 12hp bicycle with ebr moped fork and mag wheels (bought at treatland.tv) + Dave on the right, a 2 stroke guru and legend from Orange County (Arrow Racing) who’s been racing for 20+ years with his brother Jimmy flat track motorcycles, boats, etc… they were in the 1971 motorcycle movie “On Any Sunday” starring Steve McQueen. They’re retired now and race bicycles for fun, making and selling custom performance parts for Chinese 2t engines.

 

More photos of the other bicycle racers, Harbor Freight 4t 200cc , Chinese stock 2t 50cc and 65cc modified, etc…

VIDEOS:

If you can’t see the videos cause the blog page is too heavy for your computer, subscribe to the “tomahawktuning” YouTube channel.

1- The afternoon qualifying race unlimited class 8 laps. At the 3:35 min mark fast e-bike pedal chain gets stock,  I take the lead. I slow down later to video tape the following racer and let him pass. At the 8:55 min mark watch that 200cc 4t 20hp bicycle ridden by a new 15 year old racer loosing the drive chain. I pass and take the lead again to finish 1st.

2- The official night race unlimited class 12 laps. My 50cc moped is slow off the start lane because I have a sticky clutch that I didn’t have time to service between race events. The monster e-bike is way faster in the straights but slower in the twisties. I can catch up but can’t pass due to its long frame, too dangerous and I’d be blasted again in the long straight anyway.

3- Prize Ceremony: “Once you go e-bike, you don’t go back”

4- Fast electric bike on board video:

BONUS PICS:

> Photo of the last race June 2nd 2012 at Grange’ race track in Victorville, CA. Me on my 11hp motobecane 50cc air cooled battling against Ryan (left) riding “Le monster” 74cc air cooled. The next race will be back at the same track October 20th 2012. Please, please, please… come and join us with whatever moped you have, fast or super slow it doesn’t matter. Lets make it a fun and epic event. It will be cooler than the summer races. But for safety please make sure to bring full helmet, gloves, elbow and knee pads, shoes covering the ankles, lots of water too.

$35 for racers – $10 for spectators. Here’s the track info. www.grangeracetrack.com

Hopefully some footage of the event by Scoot Tv moped division coming soon in this post.

> NEMA (North East Moped Racing Association)

That same Saturday 16th 2012 was taking place the official 1st race of the moped racing season in the North East, Tomahawk happy to be one of the sponsors. Well done guys. Check out their website for racers bio, events, results, etc…

northeastmopedracing.com 

Photos stolen from Alexander Johnson’s Facebook who seems to have won the 4th class, Pro 60-80cc piston port/reed valve with wet/dry clutch with unlimited carb and pipe.

I see pegs… Are we assisting at a shift in US moped racing with no pedals? Humm…. I don’t feel so isolated now. Unless you’re an Italian racer 😉 I find pegs more efficient and safer on the track, you can lean way more. Pedaling can’t really help make your monster 80cc moped go any faster, at that speed it’s all engine powered. Mopeg racing yeah!

> Plus, Scooter racing Italian style.