This is the motorcycle that started my infatuation to 50cc bikes- a 1984 Yamaha RX-50. Looks kind of like a Virago cruiser, doesn't it? That's not surprising if you know the history of the bike. According to CycleChaos, Yamaha released the RX50 in 1982 as part of a promotion for their much larger displacement Midnight Special motorcycle line, in red and black. Each dealer received one RX-50 2-stroke cruiser to raffle off to customers as a sales incentive to bring people in to see the larger bikes.
Despite the tiny engine, this bike is a screamer. The engine and transmission are shared with the Yamaha YSR, an entry level road racer. Red line is 10,000 RPM, although tuned engines can go a little faster. Peak power is around 7.5HP, and top speed is around 60-65 MPH. If you shift at around 8-9,000 RPM, this bike is a rocket.
And yet the RX-50 is a great beginner's bike. It's small and light (under 200lbs), and easy to handle, and the low power and narrow power band forces the rider to learn good shifting and clutch technique. In first gear, you can you can ride at a walking pace, which makes it easy to give instruction to a beginning rider.
It's easy to start, too; mine has seldom needed a second kick, even when cold. And the brakes are probably the best ever put on a bike this small. The huge front disc will stop this bike in short order.
The RX-50 was only imported for two years, 1983 and 1984, and only in two colors, red and black. It's kind of a rare bike, but thanks to the popularity of the YSR, engine and transmission parts are easy to come by. I've seen bikes in running condition go for anywhere from $250 to $1600, depending on condition and geographical location.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Posted by michael edelman at 6:55 PM