22: The 125cc Mini Scrambler
It had dawned on me that I have not written about 22's build from start to finish. 22 is a "Noped" that Jeff and I built at the Fuel Haus.
It was a 2004 Jialing NP50-GL Chinese moped that had a 50cc engine. When I had acquired it, it was broken--all of the lights and gauges were broken and its pedals were gone. It was used for wheelies and jumps from a group of friends in Baltimore. When I had found it, I fell in love with it and wanted to give it a life that it never had.
We initially just got it to run the way it was but eventually the motor broke from its previously uses. So we replaced the original 50cc motor with a Lifan 125cc which included its own carb, which are cheap Honda knock-off engines. It's strange because the shifting pattern for these little motors is all up (four) and kickstart only. We also converted it from a 6V system to a 12V. So it went from going about 30ish mph to 50ish mph max. After that, I started to take it apart to begin painting and customizing it.
It took about $800 and a year but Jeff and I did all the labor and what pieces we didn't buy we fabricated. We painted the frame and the tank and wheels--the tank design came from a documentary on the Olivetti Lettera 22, a portable mechanical typewriter. But I named it after the small caliber bullet, .22.
The frame, tank, wheels, front fork, drum brakes, swing arm are all the original parts but painted. The bike had gotten a flat track/dirt bike style handlebar and front and rear fender with an integrated taillight , new rear black shocks that we took apart to paint accent yellow on, new kick stand, new grips, a mini air filter, Shinko knobby dirt tires matching front and back, new levers, all yellow and black switches, new classic round headlight. The seat was customized from cutting and fabricated from the original seat pan to fit and house the upholstery and padding from a straight safe racer styled seat which was glued onto the customized seat pan. I had to fabricate a cover for the battery and a tag bracket for its license plate.
Jeff and I worked together to completely wire it from scratch. We got it to run but had to make some adjustments to the tires and the tire steams--it did not sit on the wheels straight and the first test ride was janky af.
After some help tuning the carb and fixing the tire alignment from my friend, Chris, we were able to get it running pretty ok. The front and rear brakes need to be replaced or sanded down, they squeal and seem glazed over. But this bike isn't for long travels or racing--it's definitely a screw around bike. It's so light like a TTR125 dirt bike but low and tiny, you can literately whip it around.
After getting its title, insurance, and registration done--it's technically street legal.
I love it. Gave life into a little pretty fun thing and it was a fun project to spend with my roommate and best friend. It's these kind of projects that are done for passion that is really satisfying.
Maybe you will see it around Manayunk or Kelly Drive in the Philadelphia area. :)