Mini Moto Mayhem
By Matt Tong
Mini Motos have been around in the UK for around ten years now. The first bikes we’re cobbled together with parts that were already available. Small 2 stroke engines, mainly from garden machinery, were used. This type of engine is still used today for a few models and is referred to as an ‘industrial’ engine. But now the mini moto has been given an overhaul and has taken off in popularity.
Mini Motos are true miniatures of their larger Super bike cousins. All of the details that go into the high performance motorcycles of today are scaled down. The slick tires, the race replica bodywork and the “super bike” colours are all present. Although usually only 15 to 18 inches in height and weighing 35 to 55 pounds, it can be difficult to tell they’re not full size when looking at them from a distance. The exactness of detail adds to their 'coolness' and is most certainly what has raised them to such heights of popularity.
Although beautiful, Mini Motos go well beyond being mere exquisite scale models. Advanced engineering has catapulted them to high-performance levels at only slightly outrageous prices. European companies like Blata and Polini sell units for £1200-£2000 but less expensive and arguably less reliable ones are made by Chinese manufacturers and cost £180-£400. Most models have two-stroke, 47cc engines, which run on a combination of petrol and two stroke oil. Despite the awkward-looking position it takes to mount one, they are a sheer joy to ride. The short wheelbase and overall low weight give them a lightning-fast turn and the thrill of riding so fast and so close to the terra firma is indeed intoxicating.
Safety measures are a must when riding Mini Motos. Gloves, elbow pads, knee pads, a leather suit and a helmet should all be worn for each and every ride. Without them, road rash is quite likely and worse injuries are possible.
Despite the size of these little wonders adults are getting them for their kids but more commonly, for themselves. Normal models can regularly go 35mph, all though parents can set them to max out at much slower speeds or … modify them to go faster. Moreover, models with more powerful engines are available. A GRC RX with 15hp 50cc engine by GRC Moto can be purchased for a mere £1999.
The Mini Moto explosion shows no signs of ending anytime soon and MM racing leagues have been in practice in the UK for around seven years now.
The Mini Moto Racing Association offers the following categories for you to test your Mini Moto.
Junior Lights (4.2 hp) Age 6 - 15 up to 35.9 Kg
Junior Cadets (4.2 hp) Age 6 - 15 over 36 Kg
Junior Production Age 9 - 15 no weight limits
Lightweight Production Age 16 + up to 74.9 Kg
Senior Production Age 16 + over 75 Kg
4.2 Senior Age 16 + no weight limits
Supers Age 16 + no weight limits
Race meeting are held around to the country at Go Kart and Mini Moto Tracks. There are also many ‘Arrive and Drive’ practice sessions hosted by tracks around the UK.
Matt Tong owns and maintains the website http://www.minimotosandmore.com/ he has been riding and importing Mini Motos in to the UK for two years and can offer help and advice for newcomers to the sport.
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