EL GATO ALL-FAMILY MIDI-CYCLE
An odd-looking little bike,
El Gato (Spanish for "the Cat") claimed it was not a mini-bike, but a midi-bike, whatever that is. Like many bikes
of the very early '70s, it used a Fuji engine, the fore-runner of the Hodaka. Here's what the company had to say about El
Gato in their advertising literature:
The Muskin Corp. is introducing El Gato, a thoroughly tested all-family midi-cycle. Powered by an 80cc Fuji two-stroke,
single-cylinder engine, the bike delivers 6.6 hp, has a four-speed, constant-mesh transmission and curb weight of 125 pounds.
Well balanced on a 44-inch wheelbase, El Gato's overall length is 67 inches with seat height of 27 inches. The 3.00 x 16 knobby
tires give maximum traction. The machine's seat-tank combination is finished in chrome yellow. Leading link front and swing
arm rear suspension, front and rear internal expanding 105mm brakes, noise emission-approved spark arrester exhaust, flexible
fenders and folding footpegs complete the package.
FANTIC CABALLERO 125RC
This neat small-bore enduro bike
was powered by an Italian Minarelli engine and did quite well in European events. It saw some action in the early 1980's and
a small number were sold in Europe.
Engine: Single-cylinder two-stroke, with piston-port induction
Capacity: 124cc (55.2 x 52mm)
Carburetion: 32mm Dell Orto with enrichening circuit for cold starting, breathing through oil-soaked foam
Claimed maximum power: 26bhp at 10,500rpm
Lubrication: P11 Goldfire at 40:1
Transmission: Primary drive
by gears to six-speed gearbox. Wet clutch
Electrical equipment: 55-watt Motoplat generator with pointless ignition and
6-volt DC lighting
Fuel capacity: 8 litres (1.75 imp gal) (including reserve)
Suspension: Marzocchi leading axle
front forks giving l0 inches of travel.
Twin damper swinging arm controlled by Sachs Hydracross units giving 11 inches
of travel at the rear wheel
Frame: Full duplex
Tires: 3.00 x 21 in. front; 4.50 x l8in rear, both Metzeler motocross/enduro
Brakes: 6 inch s.l.s. by Grimeca front and rear
Ground clearance: 12 in.
Saddle height: 35
Claimed dry weight: 209 lbs.
A whole slew of mini bikes came
out of Italy, but this one might just be the most bizarre. For some reason, it never caught on with anyone. Here's what Cosmo
Motors, the distributors, had to say about this ... thing!
Cosmopolitan Motors has made available the world's first "midi-sidecar," powered
by the 65cc four-speed Dynamo series of midi-bikes. The sidecar features a 10-inch steel wheel and knobby tire, stainless
steel fender, plush velour upholstered seat, leg cowling and a hand rail. Though firmly affixed to the Dynamo frame, the sidecar
can be easily removed for servicing or solo riding.
The Austrian engine builder, Rotax, sold
motors to a whole bunch of companies who made just a frame, bought all the other components, and slapped their name on the
tank. This one was built in 1980.
Engine: SWM/Rotax single-cylinder two-stroke with disc-valve induction
Capacity: 248.23cc (72 x 61mm)
Claimed power: 38 bhp at 8500rpm
Carburetion: 32mm Dell Orto
with ratios to rider's choice.
Primary kickstarting with wet plate clutch
Ignition: Motoplat CDI with 55W generator.
6V DC lighting system
Fuel capacity: 12.7 litres (2.8 imp gal)
Frame: Single backbone with duplex engine cradle
and twin shock
Tires: 3.00 x 2lin front; 4.50 x l8in rear. Metzeler motocross/enduro
Samfis front forks with 12.4in of travel. Rear, Bitubo
dampers with external reservoir ... 11.8 in of travel
Front, Grimeca 5 in; Rear, fully floating Grimeca, 5 in
Wheelbase: 50.2 in
Saddle height: 36.4 in
Dry weight: 224 1bs
SPEEDWAY SUPER SPYDER
This tiny and spindly-looking little
bike came with a whopping 125 cc Sachs engine, which made for a lot of power in not much of a chassis. Still, the makers bragged
up it highly in their 1970's ads:
On the trail, leave the others looking at the tailpipe of your Super Spyder. If your
bag is winning, go
with the name that consistently wins -- Speedway. Our bag is making top performance machines. To prove it, check out the "maximum
mini" - the Speedway Super Spyder. Its 125cc Sachs engine, kick start, and five- speed synchronized foot-operated gears
make you feel you're riding one of the big bikes.
All things considered, I never heard of a Super Spyder winning any race, anywhere. By the way, Speedway also offered
other models with fancy names, like the Scorpion and the more-than-aptly-named Widowmaker.
Not too sure if you like boys or girls, or
both? Then this Bi-Car should fit the bill nicely. Here's more info from the makers in the year 1972:
Traditionalists may flinch, but here's
a totally new concept in two-wheeled touring vehicles. And adventurous souls just might find that "something different"
they're looking for in the Bi-Car. Eight years of research and development have gone into the Bi-Car, so it's no spur-of-the-moment
idea. Bell Vehicle, Inc., IS serious about the project, and has even more expansive plans for the future. The vehicle seats
two passengers in tandem and utilizes standard motorcycle controls. At lower speeds and when stopping, the Bi-Car features
a retractable landing gear that comes down to stabilize the machine. In addition to a sturdy, close-fitting shell, an optional
canopy offers protection from dust, rain, noise and wind. Shown is the Saturn 500 model; it's 9 feet, 10 inches long, 33 inches
wide and weighs 470 pounds. Powered by a 500cc, 60-hp engine that gets up to 40 mpg, Saturn models are in production and sell
from $1590 up.
SPORTY SNOWCO TRI-SCAT
What a sad name for this 1972 three-wheeler. "Scat?"
Isn't that slang for ... well ... never mind. Three ways to "dump" it? Anyway, the makers were proud enough of this
no-suspension device to write some glowing copy:
The Snowco line of three-wheel vehicles offers utility as well as sport. And a front ski attachment which replaces
the front wheel permits year-around use. Sportiest is the Tri-Scat with metalflake fiberglass body (shown), leather-type bucket
seat, and low-bar, low-pressure ATV tires. It's available with 5-hp or 7-hp engine, and the 7-hp model comes equipped with
standard head lamp and roll bar. The 7-hp Tri-Scat is also available in a deluxe model with 12-V key starter, head- and taillights,
chrome front fork, roll bar and hubcaps. More utilitarian is the Nomad, also available with 5-hp or 7-hp engine, and equipped
with wide, low-pressure knobby tires. Headlight and roll bar are standard on the 7-hp model. Addition of an optional cargo
carrier makes the machine a utility vehicle for hunters, fishermen, farmers and many other users. The "baby" of
the line is the 2 1/2-hp Mini-Scat, produced especially for youngsters, but far from a toy.
Yet another midi-cycle from Benelli. I'm still puzzled as to
that midi-cycle name that was used only for a few years in the '70s. Looks pretty much like a mini-cycle to me. Either way,
this was their enduro model and among other claims, they figured it was ready for the roughest terrain:
Benelli's new midi-cycle is styled after
their well known Mini-Enduro. The Banshee has an all-new 90cc, five-speed two-stroke engine. Pirelli moto-cross tires (2.75
x 15") and enduro suspension smooth out the toughest terrain. Full electrics, battery, and a 44-inch wheelbase make the
Banshee street-legal. Other features include an upswept exhaust, skid plate, Dell'Orto concentric carburetor, radial cylinder
head finning, and performance that will embarrass many 125's.
Want to build your own ill-handling, no-suspension mini bike? Well,
you could in 1972, if you coughed up a few hundred bucks. Here's how:
ALL-TERRAIN TRAIL BIKE KIT - Heald, Inc., is now marketing a new Trail Bronc,
model VT-3. Company officials state that the VT-3 has been improved in performance, reliability and riding comfort over previous
models. Powered by a 172cc Tecumseh engine, the new Trail Bronc utilizes a sensitive torque converter transmission and heavy-duty
No. 40 chain in the final drive. A big 8 ? inch wide rear tire and 6 1/2-inch wide front tire provide the traction and stability
needed on the trail. Their low pressure design coupled with the telescoping front shocks, damped coil spring rear shocks and
large - padded seat smooth out the rough spots encountered in trail riding. The 8-inch ground clearance and engine skidpan
enable the bike to go over almost any obstacle. Full steel fenders both front and rear (decorated with a sporty racing stripe)
serve to keep mud and dirt off both bike and rider. There are just two simple controls, a hand-operated brake lever and safe
spring return twistgrip throttle. A stop button is also mounted on the chrome plated handlebars. The handlebars telescope
down for easier transport and storage. The bike can be ordered with alternator engine for powering the optional road approved
lighting accessory. A front ski is also available so the machine can be used the year around. This rugged bike is ideal for
hunting, fishing, camping, farm and ranch, work or play. The Trail Bronc comes in money-saving, easy-to-assemble kit form.
CHAPARRAL "FAMILYWEIGHT" MINI-CYCLES
What happens when a '70s snowmobile
company wants to get in on the dirt bike boom? Well, they build a carbon-copy of just about every other below-average mini-cycle
ever made in that time frame. But they seemed proud of their effort, as the copy below illustrates:
Chaparral Industries, fastest growing major
snowmobile company in the country, has recently added mini-cycles to its product line. The bikes will be available in three
models: the Bullet ST80 (shown), the Bullet T80, and the Bullet T172. Built primarily for trail riding, the ST80 and T80 are
four-speed bikes powered by a two-stroke, 80cc Fuji engine that pumps out 7.5 hp at 6800 rpm. The T172 has a 172cc Tecumseh
four-stroke powerplant and torque-converter for shift-free riding. Top-of-the-line ST80 weighs 125 pounds, has hydraulic front
suspension with rear coil springs. On this model, lights, horn and speedo package are standard. Trail-ready T80 version is
stripped for action, has torque-tuned exhaust with spark arrester.
Priced any mini bikes lately? Chances are
you're not going to find brand new bikes in the $300 range, are you? But, back in the early '70s, this was just about the
average price. Here's another one that never caught on, in spite of the low retail price:
Marco's new Enduro model, designed for trail enthusiasts,
is available in two versions. Both are four-speed two-strokes: a 60cc, 150-pound, 5.5-hp model, and a 90cc 169-pounder that
provides 8.5 hp. Other dimensions are the same. Wheelbase is 42 inches, ground clearance 7 3/4 inches, seat height 28 inches,
peg height 9 inches. A Mikuni carb is standard, and fuel capacity is 2 1/2 gallons. The bike incorporates a double-loop frame,
Ceriani-type suspension, 6-volt battery, mufflered exhaust. Tires are 2.50 x 17-inch front, 2.50 x 15-inch rear. Suggested
retail price of the 90cc Raider Enduro is $389; for the 60cc model it's $325.
RUPP 80CC INTERMEDIATE BIKE
This one almost made it, and actually had a following
of sorts in the late '60s and early '70s. But even though their first bikes were decent, they never changed and fell by the
wayside. Still, as their ads show, some good parts were used way back then:
Here's a first from Rupp - their RMT 80. Primarily for off-road
use, it's also street-legal in 45 states. Designed like a big bike, the RMT 80 has a flat-out torque curve through the entire
4000-7500 rpm range. Motorcycle-type muffler is quiet but performance tuned; built-in spark arrester makes it woods-approved.
There's a 29 1/2-degree front fork rake for precise turning, plus smooth oil-damped front and rear coil suspension. Tires
are Rupp-designed road knobbies. The RMT 80's frame is a double downtube, single backbone type made from 4130 chrome moly.
Bike weighs in at 135 pounds. Fenders are flexible; lower yoke and brake pedal are forged. Frame-mounted gas tank is cushioned,
footpegs are retractable. High/low SAE-approved headlight, 80-mph speedo, horn, two-way kill switch are standard. So are brake-
and taillight, as are six Class A reflectors.
TWO CHEETAHS - TAKE YOUR CHOICE
Actually, one of these things would be too many
for my garage. The Cheetah was typical of the junk mini-bikes of the '70s, with a cheap tube frame, no suspension at all,
and barbaric Tecumseh engines. Even worse, they were three wheelers! Gack!
Recreational Technology has designed a pair of Cheetahs, the 7-hp
Model RT-250 (shown) and the 5-hp RT-200. They're powered by Tecumseh four-stroke 250cc and 200cc engines, respectively, with
pull-cord starting and magneto ignition. Both utilize automatic torque-converter transmissions. Knobby tires are 21-inch diameter,
11 inches wide, on 8-inch rims, Inflation is 2 psi for off-road, 5 psi for hard surface use. Hand-operated Kelsey-Hayes brakes
are caliper types on 8-inch diameter discs. Fuel capacity: 1 gallon (tank is chrome-plated on the RT-250). Reinforced 7/8-inch
O.D. steel tubes, mig-welded, comprise the frame. Head- and taillight are standard on Cheetah 250. Wheelbase is 45 inches,
ground clearance 10 inches, length 66 inches, width 30 inches. Weight: 150 pounds.
Whoops, another goofy three wheeler, and this one made especially
for the dunes. From the photo, it appears like it would be much more at home on a flat dirt field not too far from your truck.
But back in 1972, they were proud of these beasts. Read on:
Starting a couple of years ago with one model, Allied Pacific Engineered Products
now offer six race-proven Dunecycles, with horsepower ratings that range from 5 to 14. The three-wheeled vehicles, first introduced
by A.P.E., started a whole new form of competition, and the firm's machines have continued their superiority - both in organized
racing and off-road pleasure riding. Not a motorcycle, not a dune buggy, they're in a unique category that appeals to people
with leanings toward either two or four wheels. Space limitations preclude listing of all models and complete specifications.
For example, you can get them with Briggs & Stratton, Tecumseh or McCulloch engines; lights are available on some but
not on others; tire sizes vary as do ground clearances; three models have front suspension and three don't, etc.
GEMINI BOSS 80
In the late '60s, the folks in the Orient saw that a whole bunch
of American manufacturers were building mini bikes and making money, so they decided to jump into the business. After all,
they were supplying engines and frames to the US, so why not a whole bike? However, to cover their butts, they also continued
to sell the bikes without engines, frames alone, or just engines. Here's what they had to say about the Gemini:
San Tong has jumped into the two-wheeled
field with a pair of Gemini mini-bikes (50cc and 80cc) and their larger Gemini Boss 80 mini-cycle (shown). This machine puts
out 8.5 hp at 7000 rpm from its two-stroke, single-cylinder, rotary valve engine, has oil injection and four-speed transmission.
It utilizes magneto ignition and telescopic front forks. Tuned exhaust system, lights and speedo are standard. Wheelbase is
46 inches, ground clearance 7 inches, seat height 30.2 inches. Tires front and rear are 2.50 x 15-inch, with optional 2.25
x 17 front. In addition to their Gemini bike line, the firm also supplies frames, sans engines, for mini-bikes.
TYRAN 125 MX
Racers from the early '70s might recognize this bike, but only
if you were one of the hard-core guys. Not too many of the Tyran bikes made it to the track, as they cost around a grand,
when all the great Japanese bikes were in the $700 range. They were also faster, shifted better, and were more reliable. It's
no small wonder then that the Tryan is no longer with us. Below are the specs:
DISPLACEMENT: 122 cc
ENGINE TYPE: Sachs two-stroke single
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed, left side shift
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER: 18 (DIN at 8500 rpm
CLAIMED WEIGHT: 190 pounds
WHEELBASE: 54? inches
GROUND CLEARANCE: 8.5 inches
FRAME: Duplex cradle - Reynolds
FRONT SUSPENSION: REH forks
REAR SUSPENSION: Girling shocks
FRONT TIRE: 3.00x21 knobby
FUEL CAPACITY: 1.5 gallons
COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE:
PANTHER 175 BLACK SHADOW
When this bike first came out, half of the guys on
my magazine staff were very, very pissed off that the name Black Shadow was used on a real piece of crap from Taiwan that
was a dead ringer for an old Yamaha CT-1:
ENGINE TYPE: Two-stroke single
IGNITION: Mag. flywheel
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed, left side shift
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER: 17 @ 7500
CLAIMED WEIGHT: 210 pounds
WHEELBASE: 51 inches
GROUND CLEARANCE: 10 inches
FRAME: Mild steel tubular
FRONT SUSPENSION: Telescopic forks
REAR SUSPENSION: Hydraulic shocks
FRONT TIRE: 3.25x19 knobby
FUEL CAPACITY: 2.5 gallons
INSTRUMENTATION: Speedo. lights
COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE:
POWER DYNE - GRINGO 300/250DISPLACEMENT: 352 - 250 ccs
Another rip-off copy of the early '70s Yamaha MXers,
the Power Dyne bikes even fielded a team in the National series, but soon ran out of money. The bikes were fast but unproven,
and since they were highly modified (higher compression, big ports, etc.) they had more than their share of problems. Also,
they claimed to be built in the US, but were reportedly built in Taiwan.
ENGINE TYPE: Two stroke reed valve singles
IGNITION: Flywheel magneto
5-speed, left side shift
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER: N/A
CLAIMED WEIGHT: 215 pounds
WHEELBASE; 55.2 inches
FRAME: Double loop chrome moly
FRONT SUSPENSION: Betor forks
REAR SUSPENSION: Betor shocks
FRONT TIRE: 2.75x21 knobby
REAR TIRE: 4.00x18 knobby
FUEL CAPACITY: N/A
COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE; Claimed: USA?
This bike was actually popular for
a while, then the company got sold and the leadership floundered. Effectively, progress stopped on the bikes while the Japanese
came in with better and better products. By 1973, the Steen was history.
PURPOSE: Racing, trail riding
PRICE (Suggested Retail): $399
DISPLACEMENT: 98cc (also available in 80cc)
ENGINE TYPE: Piston-port, two-cycle (Hodaka)
IGNITION: Flywheel magneto
5-speed, constant mesh, left side shift
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER: 9.8
@ 7,500 rpm
CLAIMED WEIGHT: 125 pounds
WHEELBASE: 44 inches
GROUND CLEARANCE: 9 inches
FRONT SUSPENSION: Leading link
REAR SUSPENSION: Swingarm w/shocks
FRONT TIRE: 3.00x16 knobby
REAR TIRE: 300x16 knobby
COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE: U.S.A.
BRONCCO APACHE 100
Another painfully ordinary trail bike of the early '70s era.
It was for sale for a year or two, then vanished. Poof! Quite possibly because it was about $150 more retail price than a
comparable bike. The spelling of BRONCCO was the result of some sort of lawsuit from Ford, we were told.
PURPOSE: Enduros, trail riding
ENGINE TYPE: Piston-port, two-cycle
4-speed, constant mesh, left side shift
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER: 12 @ 7,000 rpm
WEIGHT: 165 pounds
WHEELBASE: 50 inches
GROUND CLEARANCE: 11 inches
FRAME: Tubular, double loop
SUSPENSION: Telescopic forks
REAR SUSPENSION: Swingarm w/shocks
FRONT TIRE: 2.50x19 knobby
REAR TIRE: 3.00x17
FUEL CAPACITY: 1.5 gallons
COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE: U.S.A.