Sporty-looking European mopeds like this Spanish-built Derbi kick so much ass. I’m not sure if it’s because my 50CC Honda MB5 has been dormant for too long, or because I’ve been playing Hollywood Holt’s “Throw A Kit” on repeat for the last two years, but I have a strong desire for something with a tiny engine and ‘80s graphics welling up deep inside of me. And for good reason. Motor Pedals rule!
Derbi, now a subsidiary of Piaggio, used to be an independent bike manufacturer in Spain, and it is rapidly approaching its 100th anniversary. The company won a number of tiny engine class Motorcycle Grands Prix, taking the 50cc class championship in ‘69, ‘70, and ‘72. In the ‘80s, when the class was increased to 80cc, the team won four championships in a row. It’s fair to say Derbi know how to build a small engine.
You know what else kicks ass? Derbi got its name from the Catalan phrase Derivats de bicicletes. I love weird factoids like that.
There is something exhilarating about riding a bike that tops out at about 30 mph. If you think a Miata is a good example of a momentum vehicle, you’ve never ridden a two-wheeled contraption with horsepower measured in tenths. You are forced to take stuff like this to its absolute limit with every corner. You find yourself tucking out of the wind to try to eke out a few more miles per hour. It’s a game, to see if you can beat physics. To see if you can make it from point to point without slowing down enough to require pedals.
With tires only two inches wide, a modern compound makes all the difference. The Michelin Gazelles on the rear of this bike are about as good a tire as you can get for a ‘ped, and help keep your speed buried firmly in the upper limits.
It’s a whole new world to experience, the world of Moped. From pre-mixing your fuel to tuning reed valves, even the parlance is different. You’ll spend hours perusing MopedArmy and Treatland for parts, hop up ideas, and customization. You want your moped to be YOUR moped. It’s an addiction.
I thought I’d kicked the habbit, but evidently not. If you want to save me from myself, you could bid on this Sport Laguna on eBay right now. It looks like a winner. Maybe I’ll just watch Throw A Kit one more time.