Funky Mopeds!: The 1970s Sports Moped Phenomenon

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Funky Mopeds!: The 1970s Sports Moped Phenomenon

Funky Mopeds!: The 1970s Sports Moped Phenomenon

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Buying advice Build quality is generally good, Peugeot scooter mechanicals are proven and it’s the sort of machine that should get looked after, so we’ve few concerns here.

The GPR 50 is a fully-faired sports 50 version of the Senda 50 which the Spanish firm officially brought into the UK from 2004-2009, although some later versions do turn up. As a stylish, well-equipped, 49cc two-stroke from the home of lightweight sportsbikes it’s great fun and fairly highly strung, but still limited to 30mph (although many have been derestricted). Bags of style when you’re 16. ELO celebrated the only way they knew how – with another gruelling American tour, playing 65 shows in 76 days. Don Arden had listened to Sharon’s criticism and accepted that ELO – ostensibly seven blokes with long hair and varying degrees of facial hair – were not showmen. Arden shelled out for some lasers to dazzle the audience in the downtime between McDowell flinging his cello in the air and Gale blowing his up. “The lasers were there to compensate for us,” admitted Lynne.Roy Wood and Bev Bevan, The Move’s frontman and drummer, shared Lynne’s misgivings, and ELO was born. Described in New Musical Express, as “a 10-piece mini orchestra”, their self-titled debut album was trailed by a UK hit, 10538 Overture. An unimpressed Lynne later called the LP “a self-indulgent non-event”. The ELO line-up had now settled around Lynne, Bevan and pianist Richard Tandy, cellists Mike Edwards and Hugh McDowell and violinist Mik Kaminski. The newest member was Kelly Groucutt, he of the Brillo pad hair and moustache, who’d replaced original bass player Mike de Albuquerque. From now on, ELO would spend a ridiculous amount of time on the road, doing the things bands did on the road. “There was such a thing as an ELO groupie,” said Lynne, although ELO only trashed a hotel room once – in Washington DC, the night before visiting the White House: “And we felt terrible about it afterwards.”

BUYING ADVICE Peugeot quality and reliability has always been among the best in the scooter class and the new Speedfight maintains that tradition. They’re generally robust, refined, and well built. Just look out for the obvious signs of abuse or previous accidents. Vespa remains the classic, retro scooter and its re-imagined ‘Primavera’ family is the latest interpretation of the theme. Available in both 50cc and 125cc forms it’s the easiest entry into Vespa ownership and as a round-town scoot they don’t get much more classically cool. Now four-stroke powered, they’ve never been cheap but they are stylish, well-built and equipped. Small wheels make them a bit nervous over bumps, though. Physically bigger than the Niu, it should carry two people comfortably. With a 4kW rear hub motor delivering 171Nm, it tops out at 56mph and has a claimed range of 44 miles, or 87 miles for the optional twin-battery set up. Keep to a steady 25mph and Super Soco claims you can ride up to 112 miles, but maybe not in the real world. Highlights are the Bluetooth-enabled Niu and the bargain basement Lexmoto Yadea. Big names are getting in on the act too, with Vespa and Honda both launching electric scooters.The pattern started on A New World Record, which contained several of what the group punningly called “bad salads” (sad ballads), including Above The Clouds and Telephone Line, the latter about the perils of a long-distance love affair. “ Telephone Line was the saddest of them all,” said Lynne, who was inspired to write it after calling his American girlfriend and getting no reply. Lynne’s voice sounds truly desperate when he croaks the opening line, ‘ Hello, how are you?’ This was the heartache of Roy Orbison’s Crying reconfigured for Top Of The Pops and Britain’s tank top-wearing, Chopper bike-riding youth. So what's available? Until recently there was nothing between a few feeble electric mopeds aimed at the likes of Uber Eats delivery riders, and BMW's full-power CE 04. But the last couple of years has seen a new generation of smarter e-bikes arrive, capable of zipping silently up to 50 or 60mph, with bigger batteries for a better range and a tad more sophistication. It’s pretty much impossible to thrash a 50cc machine as the engines are designed to be redlined most of the time so as long as the servicing has been completed then reliability should be ok for recognised manufacturers.

Engine: rotary-valve two-stroke, 49cc, five gears, 4.8bhp@8500rpm, 3.05lb.ft@8000rpm. Colours: Maui blue metallic, candy rose. The Fizzie did 45 but would hit 50 on a good day; a well-sorted Garelli (no such thing) could hit 55, even 60 down a big hill. In fact a big hill was a vital accessory for Garelli owners - they were murder to start. Touring with ELO was like running an old-age pensioners’ club,” complained Sharon Osbourne, who accompanied them on several jaunts. “All they wanted to do was sit in their rooms doing their knitting. I was so bored I would drink to amuse myself.” Artisan is one pioneer electric scooters, available in the UK since 2016 and starting out with a low price and low tech lead-acid batteries. It has since progressed to the industry standard lithium-ion cells and the price has gone up, but it's still one of the cheaper options. Artisan also offers a tilting three-wheel moped aimed at fast food deliveries. Our latest electric scooter review is the retro Čezeta 506/02. What to look for when buying a 50cc motorbikeThe bikes were mopeds, but looked like 'proper' motorbikes - sports mopeds. Sports mopeds were a clever response to new road safety legislation of 1972 which restricted 16-year-olds to 50cc mopeds. The government imagined those to be naff, impotent, safe step-thrus. But the manufacturers, facing a huge loss in motorcycle sales and, potentially worse, an effective squeeze on young new bikers into the market, rose to the occasion. They started building sports mopeds - hugely attractive bikes which looked like proper motorbikes, would go like stink and conformed to the letter of the law, rather than the spirit.

Not such a Victory. The US brand is not the only bike company to go out of business this century... Enter ELO’s fourth album, Eldorado, and its big ‘tune with a tune’, Can’t Get It Out Of My Head. But it didn’t come easily. Lynne devised the story of Eldorado about a young man who escapes his dull everyday life by escaping into a fantasy dream world. Here, in his alternative universe, he hangs out with Robin Hood, fights medieval battles and becomes irresistible to women.

What is a CBT?

When it comes to getting onto two wheels for the first time, 50cc machines restricted to 30mph (to comply with the AM licence you can be eligible for at 16 if you have an AM licence and CBT certificate) remain the only way to go.

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