We Know: All About Mini Cycles

What is a mini cycle?

Mini cycles are tiny motorized cycles, generally made at 1/2 scale or less and based on a popular style of motorcycle. They're also called pocket rockets or pocket bikes because they look like they could fit in your pocket. They are not rated for road use, and most aficionados either drive them on private roads or race them with other mini cycles. The top speed of most mini cycles is about 40 mph.

Mini cycles were first made and raced in Japan, though later manufacture was largely taken over by Italy. It might surprise you to know that many of the best motorcycle racers, like Valentino Rossi, got their start on mini cycle racing, sometimes called minimoto.

When they were first manufactured, mini cycles were often priced at $4000 or above; today, you can get an excellent-quality basic mini cycle for less than $500, and sometimes for less than $200.

Isn't a mini cycle a toy?

Though they are cute miniature versions of real motorcycles, mini cycles require the same attention to safety as any motorized vehicle. Don't make the mistake of thinking they're safe just because they look like toys; they aren't toys any more than a regular bicycle or Moped are. Riders should wear helmets and other safety gear with them, as well as gloves and long pants and shirt sleeves just as you would with a full-sized motorcycle. Know the laws in your area before driving a mini cycle on public roadways, and don't drive in weather that impairs your vision or makes the roads especially slick. Children should be supervised at all times.

What kind of fuel do they use, and how do you maintain them?

High octane gas from any gas station is fine; 91+ premium unleaded fuel is the best. Racing fuel is not a good idea. The fuel is actually mixed with 2-Stroke Motorcycle Oil in a 25:1 mixture for new engines and 50:1 on motors that have gone through three or four tanks of gas. To mix, use the provided bottle and shake for five seconds before pouring the fuel mix into the tank.

Tires should be inflated to 30 PSI for the front and 32 PSI in the back. The engine should be cooled off for ten minutes between tanks of gas, a little longer in hot weather.

Repairs are generally very easy, and replacement parts can be purchased from the company that makes your mini cycle. If the exhaust system is damaged (this is the most frequent repair), the mini cycle can still be ridden, though it will be loud. To fix the noise problem, take your mini cycle down to your local muffler shop and ask them to weld it for you.

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