Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Mini Bike, Go Kart, Dirt Bike?

Ive been enjoying reading the “First Car” thread… Brought back a lot of memories… and one of those memories sparked the idea for this thread.

Its interesting to hear what people had as a first vehicle…and its more interesting to think about how those two entities in the universe were somehow cosmically brought together… theres always a story involved. While you can usually tell a lot about a person after you see what they drive and how they keep it on the road. I find it rather revealing of character (and your parents) to learn what, if anything y’all had as kids…before the license and during the time when your mom or dad could bestow upon you a Mini Bike or a Go Kart or the Holy Grail… a real honest to goodness knobby tire havin Dirt Bike… or Nothing at all because the “you’ll get killed on that thing” proclamation was exclaimed and in full effect. Which inevitably turned you into one of those kids who snuck out to ride their friends death traps…

The change to a little persons life is rather huge when they have one of these magical conveyances… I know i will never forget the feeling and how it has honestly changed my life. I would not be the character I am now, wouldn’t know what I know etc…were it not for the Motorized Childhood Deathtrap er I mean Fun Machine I was able to operate and own and maintain all on my own.

Personally at around 5yrs or so I inherited an old Rupp Minibike from the early 60’s. It had one of those 45degree single cylinder iron Briggs engines with… get this… an oil bath air filter, a V-belt drive my Pop pop retro fitted…a bent iron rod for a brake pedal with a piece of wood that rubbed on the back tire for braking. A piece of rope with a knot in the end you had to wrap round the flywheel hub to start the engine sans recoil starter…What recoil starter? Couldnt tell you how many times i whipped myself in the head or eye with that damn knot on the end of thar starter rope…crack! Lol

The things I learned, the places I went, the $&@t I ate regularly… but mostly…the freedom I felt…I can vividly recall all of it…including the thrills, spills, smells and even the most dangerous night time adventures with no lights… Good Times I tell ya…good times all.

So which is it guys n gals? Did you have a motorized childhood death machine? If so, what was it.


No minibike erc., but a bud had a go cart his dad put together powered by a chainsaw engine, we used to have time trials in their orchard. Used to use the cider press to make cider, a little cheesecloth on the top of a gallon jug to keep the bees out, let it ferment, seemed like the more bugs in the apples the better it tasted, then we went to high school. Not confessing anything more.

1 Like

I had bicycles when I was young. I spent one summer riding to the next town over for ice cream practically every day.

The family had mini bikes which were fun but I burned my leg on the muffler after falling in some gravel.

I also enjoyed snow mobiles.

1 Like

All we had was two wheel bike’s and if we wanted more had to put a card in the spoke’s. We were po folk’s


Honestly with my mother being a Nurse who used to tell my brother and I how she had to Scrub and pick pieces of a Coke bottle out of our dads knee after crashing on a motorcycle… by all rights I should never have been able to get near any motorized childhood conveyance.

Im told that I was simply not letting the concept go… they say i was absolutely transfixed with motors and things that made noise and moved… and I was…

I got really lucky and only now I think of how my mother must have wrestled with this idea and in the end allowing me access… Amazing parents I had… God rest their souls. Thanks mom and dad, it was worth the adventure!


@Barkydog I’ve heard that bugs carry native natural yeasts on their bodies…so they are part of the hard cider process. They’re natures brewers i guess… at least this is how i heard it told.

1 Like

Bicycles can be dangerous enough. We had a torture track set up, big hill. driveways, bushes etc, no can’t use the sidewalk until the end when you come to a skidding stop. Last time the guy at the end of the block had cut his grass and debris all over the sidewalk, skidding stop tumbled ended up on the other side of the street holding my leg together. Steve I broke my leg!, He did not believe me and went to get his mother as I sat there holding my leg together. One look at my leg and she said go get his parents. They come, lift me up by my belt loops, put me in the back of the station wagon and drove me to the hospital probably 10 miles away. Every bump I screamed in pain. Got me to the hospital, one er holding my foot and the other helping me on to a gurnee. Broken tibea and fibea. They had a blow up temporary cast until the swelling went down then a full leg cast for 3 months, it felt great, but had a leak and I would have to ring the buzzer every 2 or 3 hours, and the nurse would blow it up by mouth, the same thing you see on an air mattress. @Honda_Blackbird thanks for giving me the opportunity to think of things I have not thought of in 50 years. Thanks all for listening


That part of your storey about the cut grass is one of my pet peeve’s around here when people mow the yard they go in a direction that blow’s a lot of the grass on the road as we live on the back roads not enough traffic to blow it back off the road if it happen’s to rain or you come into a curve it can get pretty slick.


Aww man… ouch @Barkydog

The image in my mind with the nurse came straight outta 1980 and the movie Airplane…except instead of a nurse it was a stewardess and in lieu of a mattress it was an auto pilot… but otherwise its exactly the same trust me… haha

Damn auto pilot malfunctions…


When I was a lad of about 6 or 7, my parents got me a (1972?) Honda QA50 minibike. My older brothers got Honda SL70’s, one of which I ended up with a few years later. My paternal grandparents had some country acreage where we used to tool around. The QA50 only had a top speed of about 25 mph, so it probably wasn’t too dangerous for a little kid. I could go faster than that on a bicycle. I had lots of fun on those minibikes. No serious injuries.

While at the Honda motorcycle dealer where the minibikes were purchased, I remember seeing the first generation Honda Civic cars in the showroom right alongside the motorcycles.

1 Like

Well now that you mention it, I guess my first car was a Royal Norseman go cart. I paid the neighbor kid $15 for it with no engine and picked up a non-working Briggs for another $5. Can’t remember how old but somewhere around 10. Everybody had something in the neighborhood but we mostly made or bought our own stuff with some help. Nothing given to us. One kid had a replica 58 Plymouth with a maytag engine. Another a home made mini bike. Another a Cushman, etc. Fun times. I learned how to limit torque on a head bolt to avoid breaking it and also where to get new head bolts after breaking them. Computers are great now and I’m still a stickler for recording all model numbers etc. after trying to find parts for stuff the old way.

1 Like

I was 17 and still stupid. I really did grow up by 23 by the way. I had bought an old Honda 350. A couple months later I bought a makeshift bike with a Kawasaki hardtail frame equipped with a little 350 Honda engine with extended forks. That was my chopper. I thought I was so cool. Even chopped out I could do some pretty cool wheelies. I had to do some work on the front tire one day. As I lifted the front end off the ground, the front forks slid right off and onto the garage floor. Pictures of yesterday’s wheelies came to my mind and was very grateful to be alive that day. Really, I did grow up by 23. And I don’t share these stories to my kids.

1 Like

From a motoring perspective, my childhood sucked. Dad was a lawyer and mom was a chronic worrier, which meant things like dirt bikes, ATVs, etc were out. I’d either break my neck or break someone else’s neck and get my parents sued. :wink:

I couldn’t even have one of those battery-powered toy cars because we lived up in the Rockies on a gravel road and had a gravel driveway, and those hard plastic wheels had no chance.

On the plus side, we lived up in the Rockies in the middle of nowhere and so Dad would let me drive around on the back roads sitting on his lap. I was under strict orders not to tell Mom. I don’t think she knows to this day.


I was born and grew up in Brooklyn, NY, no motorized stuff for me, just a Huffy bicycle.

1 Like

I had bicycles. My big adventure was riding on the DC beltway with a friend down to the American Legion Bridge, hanging out, and then riding back. We rode right down the middle of the center lane! Well, it would eventually become the westbound center lane. It was a dirt road when we rode on it, but a might fine dirt road!

1 Like

I was older, had a driver license, but I had one of those Honda 50s. I think mine could have been a “trail 50,” but it had the small wheels and folding handle bars, very compact. However, it was a very robust, able little motorcycle with a comfy seat, nice shifting transmission and no bad habits.

At the time I owned a Volkswagen Super Beetle, the real kind, not some “new beetle” darn thing. I could quite simply reach under the front of the passenger side front seat, unhook a spring, depress a handle and slide the seat forward right off it’s track. Then I’d simply lift out the seat and put it aside.

The space created when the seat was gone was a perfect parking place for that little Honda. I was a hit when I’d show up at picnics, beach, etcetera.

I wish I had kept that machine. It was one very cleverly designed and engineered bike and it was flat out fun.

Oh, and that Honda SL70…
I had the SL90, another fantastic machine of its day. I could take it on trails and it had tall enough gearing to haul my butt down the highway in short order. For a 90cc, it acted much bigger.

I’ve owned 7 Honda cycles and in fact still have one 1977 CB750K squirreled away in a back corner of my northern garage.
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

1 Like

I have restored two of those QA50 Honda’s… I had thought the mini trail 50 was the smallest of the Honda’s but i was wrong… i didnt know anyone with a Q50 when i was little and only realized they existed when I was asked to restore the first one about 10 yrs ago.

I knew friends with the “Monkey Bike” the Mini Trail 50 The Trail 70 all were excellent machines and are rising in value today.

I have had countless childhood motorcycles after my first Rupp minibike… The only one I still have is the motorcycle that saved the Honda Motor Corp… My CM90… Black and White…the one with the plastic leg shields. The one advertised by saying “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”. What a fine machine she is. I always wanted an S90 with the manual clutch but never had one… i have my eye open for one to this day but their prices are getting a little “up there”.

Lol… I have 2 Honda 250cc scooters (03’ Reflex and an 85’ Elite) they will both push 70mph and are a hoot to drive and yet here I am looking for a 60’s era S90… go figure.

Rational thought processes are still being undermined, all over nostalgia.

You just triggered a small implosion in my dead memory cells, but my best friend (man, do I miss him, my best friend) had a Royal Norseman go-cart!

He advanced(?) from that to a father/son homemade mini-bike project (plans were probably in Mechanic’s Illustrated), and from there to a Shriner’s Parade motorcycle, a Simplex! I remember it had crash bars, actual little “floorboards” for your feet, and I believe an “automatic” transmission using belt drive, kinda like a snow mobile, eh! Don’t ya know? It didn’t have enough power to get out of it’s own way and look like an old police Harley from Drag Net.
t had a gas tank the straddled the frame creating two chambers. When you’d run out of gas on the side with the drain, you’d lay the bike over enough to let gas from the “reserve side” spill over into the drain side and off you’d go. High tech!

I got a special motor bike license when I was 14 or 15. I was riding my Sears Allstate (Puch made it in Austria) moped, with a 2-speed transmission. If I recall, to shift, you’d pull in the clutch and then turn the entire left grip assembly (with the clutch handle attached) to the desired gear, 1st or 2nd.

Then in 1965, while we were still in high school, Honda came out with the all new… wait for this…
Honda 65!

The “65” was for 65cc displacement. We both rounded up $356 and both of us bought brand spanking new ones! We were fart’n through silk! Kings of the neighborhood, to be sure.

We were sit’n high in the saddle compared with one kid’s (Bob B.) Cushman Eagle, another kid’s (Ken B.) Vespa scooter, and another kid’s (old what’s his name?) Lambretta scooter.

Another kid (Robert S.) who had nothing at first, did eventually buy a new light blue Tohatsu Run Pet Sport 50 bike and it was really cool, a 2-stroker if I recall.

I’ve had a bunch of other Hondas, a Suzuki dirt bike, and an Ossa 6-Days Replica trials/dirt bike, but I’m running a bit long here. I’ll save those tales.
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

1 Like

Mine could have been a Mini Trail 50, I’m not sure, but it was pretty compact. It was easy setting it into the VW bug on the passenger side floor, that I remember.
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

1 Like

Pull that 750 out and take it to Florida. It’s a great place for a ride. Think of all the fun you’ll have getting back on the road too.

1 Like