I started riding motorcycles in the late 70's after my father agreed to help me buy a new Indian MX100R. 

 

Growing up on the coast of Maine, I'd been lobstering with my Uncle all summer and making good money for a kid. That bike set me back $400.  It had a very narrow power band, hated cold starts, had crappy suspension, rubber coated foot pegs which fell off in one day - and I LOVED that friggin bike! 

 

Motorcycles have been a part of my life ever since.

I've owned many bikes for different types of riding over the years from street to, motocross, to enduro and dual sport.  Most recently I've caught the "scooter" bug.  Though technically a small bore automatic clutch motorcycle the way most people set them up, in many states they are considered scooters.  I'm talking about the Chinese, Honda Ruckus clones affectionately known by the generic term "Chuckus". Though only somewhat resembling a Ruckus, these scooters are primarily manufactured by Huzhou Daixi Zhenhua Technology Trade Co., Ltd in China and imported to the US by a number of distributors, the best known being Ice Bear which sells the bikes as "Maddog" though officially named by model in China as PMZ50 or PMZ150 with hyphenated numbers further designating generation and special builds. 

 

They all have the ubiquitous GY6 engine, either in stock 49cc or 150cc though easily bumped up to about 80cc for the 49cc engine and about 171cc for the 150cc engine.  Though the frames are identical for both engine sizes, the mounting positions for the engines are completely different and does not allow dropping a 150cc engine in a frame set up for 50cc without welding in a top mount bracket.

 

The GY6 engine is believed to be a Honda design that never made it into a Honda bike, but was none the less manufactured in Taiwan by Tadia but quickly copied by mainland China resulting in it being one of the most widely used engines in the world. The best GY6 engines and parts tend to come from Taiwan, with quality control sometimes being questionable from Chinese manufacturers, overall the engine design is simple, reliable, very affordable, with easily found parts online, and rapidly growing aftermarket parts market.  Add to this a minimalist frame and electrical system and I think it makes the perfect storm for all the exciting bits and pieces of on-highway motorcycling to come together.

Though my interest in any particular bike is often passing, my belief in the sport and motorcyclist lifestyle led me to being involved several motorcyclist organizations and currently serve as the state coordinator in Maine for the American Motorcyclist Association.

If you are not a member of the AMA I invite you to join me and many others in advocating for and enjoying the motorcyclist lifestyle.  Click the logo below.

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​© 2020 by John L. Painter

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