Project MotoPed - The Ultimate Woods Weapon? - Part 1

I first experienced the pit bike craze a few years ago when they were popular, cheap and easy to get. I bought a cheap 125cc model for my daughters to try out. The bike was great for the money, unfortunately my girls didn't get into the whole dirtbike thing, so I sold it. The bike left me with mixed feelings. The Loncin engine seemed to be of decent quality and had a surprising amount of torque, but certain things were sub-standard. It was a fun bike, but you get what you pay for.

The second pit bike I had was a Craigslist find that was in very rough shape. It would be an interesting winter project to bring it back to life and to play around with some mods and upgrades. Again, it was a fun bike, but not very practical for anything. You could goof around on it, but it just wasn't up to any serious riding, on or off the street. This eBay parts-bin special was fun to build, but the overall result was less than what I had expected, so it kind of turned me off to the Chinese pit bike scene.

But the wheels in my head were turning. These pit bikes where all based on the ancient Honda layout, but there were many different parts available. It would be fun and easy to assemble a bike just the way you want it. Brake, suspension, engine, frame.. its all available a click away from eBay. What would the ultimate build be? I dreamt of building a lightweight trail bike using various sourced parts. A few other had the same idea, then this came out:

These seems well built, but expensive. Fast forward to 2017 and my nephew Kevin had a MotoPed project he was dabbling in. A new baby left him no time for the MotoPed, so it was passed on to me to finish the build. Whoohooo! Let the fun begin.

I had a rolling chassis and a box of parts. It needed an engine, electrics and various other bits and pieces to tie it all togethor. My first idea was to get a cheap Kijiji special pit bike. A wrecked bike would be OK since I only needed the engine. Well, there is a ton of expensive junk out there, and decided to do this build the right way. A lightly used Piranha YX140cc was found. Here is a picture of the bike with the engine test fitted.


Below is a trial fit for the engine:


I decided on the manual version for a couple reasons. First, its difficult to find a +125cc semi-auto motor and second, the semi-auto motors don't really work like the Rekluse clutch on my Husaberg. When you press the gear shifter, a lever and cam depresses the clutch diss-engaging it. When you release the gear shifter it re-engages the clutch. Not the best for technical terrain I plan on riding this beast on, so the manual tranny will have to do. The problem is that the left handlebar will need both the rear brake and clutch. I think I have a setup that can work, where you can engage either or both as required. The clutch pull is not light, it will require a full fist of fingers to engage, but the MTB brake only requires one finger, so I should have enough digits on my left hand to make it work.

Right now I am waiting for parts from China, so stay tuned for the next episode where I hope to have this strange beast running!


Bryan Kowalchuk

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