The Rupp Mini Bike
Made famous by Rupp who produced a small bike with a 2.25hp engine, it had no suspension and no front brake. These were a hit with kids all over the States. Soon other mini bikes hit the road. The Roadster Minicycle was very basic, having a pipe frame and with back and front shocks, a seat that could take two small behinds, and a pull-start, four-stroke motor. These bikes were also intended for the adult rider, hence the “monkey bars”. Later the engine was fitted with a smaller Briggs and Stratten 3.5hp, and a two-speed clutch drove the rear wheel – no gear changing! Many riders of larger bikes started their obsessions with the Rupp, which was the stepping stone to greater thrills!
The Honda ST-Series, known as the Dax (aka Trail 70 in Northern America or the CT 70). The CT 50, 90 and 110 Trail Cubs were were produced from 1969 until 1981, and the CT 90 came a few years later in 1973. The 50cc was brought back in 1995 for the next five years. All the bikes in the CT series had a pressed frame with a long saddle, and small diameter wheels and all had folding monkey handlebars. The powerhouse was an air-cooled, 4-cylinder which was fitted with a three-speed automatic or a manual four-speed. These small bikes were intended for going in the trunk or on racks on the RV or caravan for use at the destination. The name “Dax” was used again at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show as the new folding electric bike developed to complement the Honda Bulldog.
Yamaha Vogel QB50
This awesome little bike should have been opposition to the Honda ST. But it wasn’t. It had a 49cc two-stroke with four speeds and knobbly 200mm tyres and foldable handlebars. Mass was 57kg, making it easy to lift into the truck or for a child to pick up out of the dirt!
Yamaha LB50 Chappy
Produced form the 70’s to the ’80s these bikes came with a choice of two engines – the 50cc and the 70cc. With the automatic gearbox with drive, neutral and low, the rider could climb any slope it was challenged with. There were upgrades for those wanting better performance, and these included simple changes by changing sprocket ratios. Top speed: 80kph. With the kick start not up to much, the Chappy could be crash-started (Jumpstart).
Suzuki JR 50
The Suzuki JR 50 was designed in conjunction with Kawasaki in 1978, and production lasted until 2006. The engine was 50cc air-cooled, two-stroke, fitted with an oil injector, so no oil/petrol mixing was needed. The gearbox was a one-speed auto, and the back and front wheels were fitted with drum brakes. Front shocks were telescopic, and the rear had twin shocks. The tank capacity was 2 litres and the mass 38kg.