Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe AR80 represents a rare one-year only model here in the U.S.. Let’s see if this tiny two-stroke’s price makes that the year of living dangerously.
Wow, fully 85 percent of you took one look at yesterday’s custom 1987 Pontiac Fiero and decided that you didn’t like the cut of its jib… er, roof. That was the Crack Pipe vote that greeted the V8-powered chop top and its $18,000 price tag.
You know, the Fiero was originally positioned not as a sports car, but oddly enough as a two-seat economical commuter. That was to appease Chevy’s Corvette team who didn’t take kindly to in-house competition. It was also pure bullshite.
Back in the early Eighties when the Fiero debuted the United States was still feeling the effects of OPEC flexing its muscles and demonstrating how it could affect our economy simply by turning on or off the black gold taps.
The gas crises that led to the wholesale downsizing of most American-made cars and tucks also for a short time engendered the popularity of an odd form of transportation, that being the pedaled scooter or Moped. Poor at being a motorcycle and worse at being a bicycle, they were all the rage for a time, crowding bike racks in front of America’s high schools and emergent coffee houses.
Along with the Mopeds arrived a series of full motorbikes that featured moped engines, but lacked the manual labor aspect of motion and hence requiring a full motorcycle license to ride. Some States allowed Mopeders access to the road without any license at all.
These tiny bikes eked out crazy levels of fuel economy, and produced just enough power by way of their two-stroke engines to get out of their own way. The most popular of these was probably the Honda MB5, since… well, Honda. That bike came to America for a single model year, 1982. Not to be outdone in the tiny crotch rocket category, Kawasaki released the AR50 the same year, and with the same short life span.
Kawasaki actually released two bikes, the 49 cc AR50 and today’s contender, the 1982 AR80. This one ups the ante on its little bro with a 78 cc reed valve two stroke. That made it good for—wait for it— 12 horsepower. Those passed through a six speed gearbox—one more cog than the AR50—and could theoretically take the bike to 60 miles per hour. More given the downward slope of a significant cliff face.
The AR80 gained a reputation of being able to bait bigger bikes as its performance was belied by its tiny tim looks. Those looks include an audacious and aspirational front fairing, Uni-trak rear suspension and cool gold and silver Enkei five-spoke alloy wheels. A hydraulic front disc brake and mechanical rear drum provide stopping power.
This one looks to be in excellent shape and based on the video only sports 1,476 miles. The dash is comprised of an ignition switch, 80 mph speedo and 12K tach. Sadly, we don’t get to hear the bike at full chat but if you want to fully understand the aural experience, go kick a bee hive. We’ll wait.
We do at least get to hear the bike run and it sounds just as lumpy as you would expect of an old two-stroke. The seller says that it comes with a big bore kit, but offers no details following that tease. He also notes that the bike comes with a clean title and current tags. A box of mechanical and aesthetic parts are available for extra cash should you be so inclined. You might want to be as parts for these bikes are a bit hard to find here.
That’s because these bikes came and went like that * snaps fingers * and there weren’t all that many of them sold while they were here. You can find them for sale from time to time, but like M Night Shyamalan movies, good ones are seemingly few and far between. Yes, this is a bike with limited potential, that is true. You’re not going to use it to commute to work if your drive involves freeways or the like. It’s really for bombing around your neighborhood and maybe showing off at the local Dairy Queen on Friday nights.
The cost? That’s $2,500 without the box of parts. That gets you what seems to be a turn-key bike. I can’t tell the condition of the tires and brakes from the ad or video, but those consumables would probably be first on the list of replacement anyway.
What’s your take on this AR80 and that $2,500 price? Does that seem like a fair deal to put a tiny rocket in your crotch? Or, for that much is this a classic Kawasaki that doesn’t let the good times roll?
H/T to glemon for the hookup!
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