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Mopeds And Motorcycles. Any Difference?

  Posted at 02:00:00 PM
  File under  Entertainment Editorial
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France

Note: For clarification, I use the word moped for any 50cc vehicle. I know a lot of you think a moped is a pedal powered 50cc, but for ease of use, moped mean any 50cc bike.

I remember way back when I was young (I'm really, really, old now), the "in" thing was riding a moped. At 16 (depending on your country) we were already allowed to ride one, and you felt like a big boy (or girl), just like a real biker.

Mopeds were allowed to be taken out on the day of your 16th birthday, with no lessons whatsoever, unlike today (at least here in France), were you need to spend sometime learning the basics and rules of the road.

But in those days, a moped looked like a ... moped. They had a 50cc 2-stroke engine, and usually pedals to start the bike and go a bit faster.

Moped Garelli
Moped Garelli

The best you could do to make things go faster was tune up the engine, lower the handlebars, change the exhaust, and for the daring amongst us (yes, I did do it) put nitro-methanol into the fuel tank (but your engine couldn't run for long).

Moped Puch
Moped Puch from 1977

But no matter how you did it, you were still a moped. No real motorcycle rider would give you a wave or nod, and believe it or not, girls were not impressed, no matter how much noise you made.

Some manufacturers actually started making mopeds that looked like a "real" motorcycle, but you could see it was a moped within a second. Here's one I had:

Moped Puch Chopper
Moped Puch

The yellow thing on the front was a Dutch thing, to indicate that it was a moped.

But if you switch to this decade, and look at the 50cc world, it has changed dramatically. Mopeds have come of age, and look more and more like the real thing.

Just having a look at Peugeot Open link in a new window, a brand not exactly known for motorcycles, they have some very "real" looking mopeds. Their XP6-Track Open link in a new window enduro moped looks like a KTM. Imagine riding on the road coming across this bike. It used to be that the tires were a give away, but even that is no longer valid.

Here the Peugeot XP6, a liquid cooled 50cc engine, with a total weight of 83 kilos and 80/90-21 front and 110/80-18 rear tire:

Peugeot XP6 Track
Peugeot XP6 Track

and here's a KTM:

KTM 690 enduro 2008
KTM 690 Enduro

Not much difference at first glance. Now, let's look at Peugeot's "street" bikes. Here's the XR7 Open link in a new window, a 102 kgs street moped, with a liquid cooled 50cc engine developing 2.4 hp at 7500 rpm, with 100/80-17 front and 130/70-17 rear tires.

Peugeot XR7
Peugeot XP7

Now compare it with this Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. Looks close, doesn't it?

Honda CBR 1000rr Fireblade abs
Honda CBR-1000RR Fireblade

And here's Peugeot's latest motorcycle, the NK7 Open link in a new window, with a Trelis frame, 100kgs, liquid cooled engine, 100/80-17 front and 130/70-17 rear tires.

Peugeot NK7
Peugeot NK7

... compare that to a Ducati Monster....

Ducati Monster 695 Black
Ducati Monster 695 Black

It's uncanning how close to real motorcycles these mopeds look. To be a teenager today has its advantages... doesn't it? And who knows, when I loose my license, maybe I'll be getting one of these. at least, I'd still feel a biker.

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