Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pit Bike 101: Speed and Fun in a Small Package

In our world where everyone seems to only care about “thinking big,” it’s somewhat refreshing to come across big thrills in small packages. While having a ‘big bike’ of 300 to 400cc really catches attention, a pit bike or mini bike peaks an observer’s interest more—and with good reason. A pit bike is not just a kid’s toy miniature motorcycle, and it definitely was not meant to be one when it was conceived, because the little motorcycles pack their own speed and thrills, along with dangers.

Mini bikes are by all means smaller versions of motorcycles. Traditionally running on four stroke engines (though some run on two stroke engines and electricity-powered motors), nowadays they’re more or less normal to encounter every once in a while. The pit bike is pretty much like go-carts in that they were made from spare parts in enthusiasts’ garages. Taking up their first informal label ‘pit bike’ from their use as pit bikes in the drag racing pits of the 1950s, they proved quite useful in the tight pits as they maneuvered well, were small enough to fit in the back of a pickup, and were faster than previous modes of transportation. Soon enough, neighborhoods have seen these mini motorcycles when the racers brought them home. As interest for the pit bike rose, so did the demand for it. Soon companies such as Rupp, Fox, and Arctic Cat took up the yoke of supplying for the new demand for mini, speedy pit bikes and other power toys. Come the late 1960s to the early 1970s, the pit bike era was at its summit. Famous brands gained a cult following of enthusiasts and owners, and pit bikes, having more people patronizing them, faced new uses and misuses.

Mini bikes’ legitimacy differs from country to country, and of course where they are cleared for public use, safety precautions similarly employed in using their larger counterparts should be taken. The several varieties of mini bikes may be small, but in their 30-something to 50-something cc frames they could pack as much as 15 horsepower, thus being able to whirl past at 30 to 70 kilometers per hour. Pit bikes have also been used in racing competitions resembling motocross rallies and such, aside from being used for their original purpose. Being small, convenient modes of transport, they can also be seen being used in neighborhoods and in virtually all terrains (in the countries where they’re legal, of course), as they efficiently tackle even difficult and challenging terrain.

All in all, from the looks to the uses, mini bikes could even rival their original motorcycle counterparts if not for practicality reasons (where a larger built man would probably need a larger bike). Kids have taken a liking to these miniatures too, and some have even become akin to pro-racers in circuits where they come and race. These small pit bikes do big things, perhaps a fitting reminder for us today that not everything significant needs to come in big packages—the small things matter as much.

1 comment:

  1. I have enjoyed reading your articles. It is well written. It looks like you spend a large amount of time and effort in writing the blog. I am appreciating your effort. .

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