Size Doesn’t Matter
To quote William E. Butterworth, Author of “Mighty Minicycles” (1976 Harvey
House publishing), “A minibike is a two-wheeled motor vehicle which is not a moped,or a motor scooter, or a minicycle, or a full-sized motorcycle”.
Minibikes came about in the 1930’s by do-it-yourselfers, who would weld together a frame and an engine. They were constructed using mainly adapted bicycle parts. After World War II small gasoline powered engines became a familiar sight. These engines were removed from gardening equipment and made the construction of minibikes easier. In the 1960’s, minibikes were being manufactured in mass production. Many minibike companies emerged, such as Bonanza and Steen’s famous “Taco” minibikes. Some minibikes were actually street legal, but the majority was not. This resulted in many a young man getting his first pre-license experience with the law!
Similar to the demise of the go kart, (featured article July 2012 DrivenWorld) the minibike lost popularity due in part to injuries. Furthermore, the Japanese took the idea and incorporated their more powerful small engines and better suspension designs and crushed over the U.S. market. By the early 1970’s, most U.S. minibike manufacturers were out of business.
Recently there has been a re-birth of the nostalgia of the minibike era…Taco minibikes are being reproduced. Small companies are making a business out of restoring and reproducing classic minibikes.
For the guy who has everything, here is one more thing that you have no business operating, but is guaranteed to bring a big smile to your face!