Mini Bikes or Pocket Bikes or Mini Motos as they are often known have seen a massive growth in popularity in recent years. These small bikes are very popular with adults and children and include racing or Off Road Bikes, hybrids and Quad Bikes.
There is often a lot of confusion about the terminology for Minimotos. Mini Moto is sometimes used for all types of Mini Bike. Some suppliers prefer to call small mini bikes either Mini or Pocket versions of brand names and types of bike, i.e. Mini Dirt Bike, Mini Chopper and then just reserve the term Mini Moto for the mini racing varieties. Sometimes mini bikes are used to describe only the cheaper small bikes designed as fun for children. These are also known as Mini Motos. When searching for Mini Bike manufacturers and websites Mini Moto is by far the more popular search term on the web while Mini Bikes is not far behind.
A Mini Moto pocketbike is a scaled down racing motorbike. They are about 15 to 18 inches high depending on the model and brand and weighing anything from 35 to 55 pounds. Pocketbike racing is a fast growing sport for children and adults. Although they often look like toys, mini motos from the better manufactures are built to very high standards of accuracy, proportion and performance and they can reach speeds of up to 60mph.
The trend for Mini Bikes shows no signs of fading away with an increasing variety of products flooding the market. Pocket bike and 'minimoto' racing organizations and fansites are also springing up all over the UK and overseas. The Motor Cycle Industry Association estimated sales of mini-moto-type vehicles increased from about 10,000 in the UK in 2002 to about 100,000 in 2005. The reason for this is that there is something very enjoyable about driving Mini Bikes. They are a lot of fun.
The racing version of the mini bike, usually with fairing stylings. Generally capable of faster speeds.
These include all the Mini Motards and other Motards. Motards are often just an interchangeable name for Mini Dirt Bike with more stylized frames. More of a Motocross style. Some dirt bike versions are known as Pit Bikes which are the strongest and most durable of the smaller dirt bike models and more expensive.
These mini dirt bike varieties also include different sub categories. Supermotard along with Midimotards and Minimotards are all, in essence, smaller Off Road/Dirt Bikes.
Defined as a Motocross bike with 17-inch wheels, road race tires, and an oversized 320mm front brake and slightly stiffer suspension. Super Motards are mainly used on smaller kart tracks and road courses and increasingly on parks to the consternation of some.
These are the much smaller version generally used Off Road by much younger children.
There are also Midi versions available of the main styles. These are generally slightly larger versions of both the Mini Moto and the Mini Motard/Mini Dirt Bike). Midi Motos are more of a Street Bike look compared to the Mini Moto racing style while Midi Motards are the same style as the Mini Motard just bigger.
Others varieties include Mini Quads - i.e. four wheelers. Lots of these are on the market now. Mini Customs are basically Mini Harley styles, Mini Choppers, Mini Cruisers etc. These are increasingly popular. Mini Scooters and Monkey Bikes (chunky durable little off road bikes) are also available.
The craze for Pocket bikes, mini bikes, mini motos, or mini motorcycles as they are known, began in Japan, a country known for its trend in developing miniaturized versions of the full scale products. A specialist sport spread across Japan and into Europe where Italian manufacturer Polini began producing higher quality racing Minimoto bikes based on the original cheaper Japanese versions. The craze has now spread out into a mass market and it is now common for famous adult motorcycle racers to get their start in the sport as children via minimotos. Until recent years high quality mini bikes were inaccessible to consumers due to the high costs involved but the manufacturing technology has now caught up on a bigger scale.
Mini Motos have been available in the UK for about ten years now.
They are usually only about 15 to 18 inches heigh and weigh about 35 to 55 pounds.
The first bikes used small 2-stroke engines, often referred to as industrial engines. Now though the better quality models are true miniatures of the Super bike, achieving high manufacturing standards. Most models have two-stroke, 47cc engines, which run on a combination of petrol and two stroke oil. In the better models all the details going into modern high performance bikes of today are scaled down and reproduced including quality wheels and bodywork. Rest assured the more expensive models include advanced engineering standards associated with the classic full scale models.
Like many things you pay more for quality. European, Japanese and American manufacturers may provide better quality. European companies like Blata and Polini offer ultra high performance models which will set you back £1,000s. The less expensive models tend to be from the Chinese market and cost in the hundreds of pounds or less in some cases. Popular quality racing minimoto brands include Blata, Polini, GRC, Pasini and BMS, Vittorazi and Gem. Some very good deals can be found online. Read Review Centre user reviews for tips on bargains and the best makes of mini motos on the market today.
Pocketbike racing or Minimoto racing or Mini GP racing as it is known, is a full on category of motor sport with high performance miniature racing motorbikes. Pocketbikes and minimotos are raced around kart tracks. It is a popular growing sport in Japan, Europe and the US. A typical minimoto racer is approximately one quarter the size of a regular bike and is powered by a two stroke internal combustion engine. Despite their tiny size both adults and children race them at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour in organized racing leagues and clubs.
The ease of transporting them and the low cost of some of these bikes make them affordable for youngsters to learn about motorbike racing. There are always risks with any motor vehicle though and especially motorbikes. Always use a helmet, boots and leathers if possible. They should always be properly supervised when younger children are concerned and training is essential with an experienced adult. In most countries, a license is not required to ride these miniature bikes. However, they are usually not street legal and should be ridden on private land only, such as car parks, gardens or on race tracks. There are kits available to restrict power if required.
Here are some tips:
Clean the bike and check all nuts and bolts are tightened fully.
Check brakes and adjust if necessary.
Adjust handlebars and foot rests to suit rider.
Check and clean plugs, oil, and radiator regularly.
Check chain alignment and maintain with oil especially before racing.
Check tire pressure and ignition.
Warm engine up before riding.
Avoid jumping off ramps or curves.
Never ride on flat tires.
If riding in rain or dirt clean your mini moto afterwards.