100 MPG Madness: Project Aprilia RS50
By Mike Kojima
In these days of ever increasing fuel prices, MotoIQ's penchant for quirky small bore two wheel projects strikes again. MotoIQ was conceived in a time when fuel prices were spiraling out of control and fuel prices actually touched $5 dollars per gallon. We started a bunch of small two wheel projects at the time as it seemed like keeping our gas guzzling high powered rides parked only to be driven on special occasions might be a reality. We wanted to show that fun could still be had at 100 MPG with the modification of alternative transportation.
|Here we are somewhere midway through the assembly process. We had some of the rusted steel bits re powdercoated by Embee Performance, these were the subframe, engine cradle, various brackets, swingarm and kickstand. These parts were all a rusty black as the stock black oxide coating had rusted through. We redid them in silver. Embee also redid the wheels and fork sliders. The rusted fasteners were fixed by soaking in penetrating oil and wirebrushing to get the white corrosion off. The alloy frame looked brand new with just a cleaning.|
Fortunately the price of gas dropped rapidly and things came back to normal. Lately though, fuel prices have begun a slower more insidious march upward, this time gradually over a longer period of time. We think that this is because of ever greater demand of emerging transportation markets with a growing middle class such as Asia, India and Latin America. With growing demand, we fear that high fuel prices may stay high and that $4 per gallon prices may be normal by summer 2011.
|Putting together a bike, even a small one is harder than it looks. It took us about a week to build the bike up. Check out the carbon fiber gauge surround. AF1 used to sell this part, but now you can only find it on EBay.|
With the specter of high prices once again looming over our heads, we bring you yet another fuel sipping project; Project Aprilia RS50. You might wonder what an RS50 is; it is really a very unusual machine. It is a street legal, two stroke 50cc GP replica bike. The RS50 was born in Europe as a source of cheap but sporty transportation for teenagers. In most European countries, teenagers must ride 50cc restricted speed bikes until they can pass more stringent licensing tests and get older. Bikes and Scooters under 50cc are much cheaper to insure as well. This is the reason why there are many pretty sophisticated small bore scooters on the market. There are also a bunch of cool small bore motorcycles made by several manufacturers like Derbi and Cagiva.
|Our RS50 starts to emerge reborn from a pile of rusted junk.|