Monday, February 23, 2009

Coast to Coast on 50cc?

If you're looking for a real 50cc challenge, how about this one, sponsored by the Iron Butt Association: Ride Coast to Coast in under 50 hours. And to make it more interesting (and to fit into the theme of this blog) do it on on a 50cc motorcycle, scooter or moped! Now that could be a great adventure.

The real 50cc challenge isn't for 50cc displacement bikes- the "50cc" stands for "50 hours coast to coast"- but this is a blog about 50cc displacement, so I couldn't help but speculate. Is it even possible?

I wonder how many 50cc bikes could survive 50 hours of continuous riding? My first choice would be an old Honda Cub. The new Ruckus might make it. Perhaps a 50cc Vespa? And I'll bet my old 50cc Yamaha RX50 could have done it, too; that's one indestructible bike.

It's not just enough for the bike to last- you need enough speed to get there in time, too. The shortest route would be around 3,000 miles, which means an average speed of 60mph! How many 50cc bikes can do that? A very light rider on an up-geared RX50 could pull it off. The other question is how to do it legally- 50cc bikes aren't allowed on freeways. You'd need to find a lot of fast two ane highways.

Last, riding 50 hours straight is a recipe for serious fatigue and a very high likelihood of an accident. I'd want a 4-6 hour sleep break in there, which means we need to average 65-68mph. Maybe a custom bike with a fairing and a CVT or a six-speed gearbox. Or a 50cc TT race bike with a 10 speed gearbox and a fairing.

The IBA has a lot of other challenges, ranging from 1000 miles to 100,000 miles, on bikes of all sizes. How about Key West to Deadhorse, Alaska, in 30 days or less? Check 'em out.


Tim said...

How about a Honda NS50F?

Bob Munden said...

That NS50F has again been further modified. Should be capable of about 80 mph top with a sustained 70 for long rides. Will be doing another SS1000 to finish at the annual iBA dinner in Jacksonville next week as a trial run of the new improvements.
Bob Munden
Windsor, Ontario
ride report of 1500 (1600 actually) in 33 hrs. on req. to

michael edelman said...

Great bike project- definitely a LOT better looking than the original, too. Hey Bob- you're right across the river from me.

Jerry White said...

I'd love to see Bob run the NS50F in the Iron Butt Rally. I wonder if would qualify?

IBR rules:

A propulsion system that enables the fully-loaded motorcycle with rider to maintain a cruising speed of at least 65 mph on a 7% grade under calm wind conditions at all elevations up to 4,000 feet above sea level. A motorcycle with an engine that produces at least 40 horsepower (as rated by the manufacturer) will be presumed to comply with this performance requirement.