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The Wacky World Of Mini-Choppers

Updated on March 20, 2011

Ride On Down The Highway With Your Butt 12" From The Road

They're everywhere you turn. You can't sort through the reams of them on Ebay Motors to find any real bikes. You can't pass by an empty parking lot without some kid blasting by on one. You'll even find some very righteous bikers complete with full leathers and a bad-a$$ attitude riding hopped-up versions down the street and somehow keeping a straight face! They're mini-choppers, and they're the latest and very mad motorcycling craze!

Take a modern custom chopper. Wash it in really hot water until it shrinks... way down. There you go! You have a mini-chopper.

Mini-choppers are usually built around 50cc - 110cc single cylinder four stroke engines (although there are electric versions, lawn-mower engined versions, etc.). The most popular motor is one of the myriad Chinese clones of the old Honda 50cc Mini-Trail and 90cc Step-Through engine.

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They may look like a $50,000 OCC Creation, but they really are very small!
They may look like a $50,000 OCC Creation, but they really are very small!
They may look like a $50,000 OCC Creation, but they really are very small!

Designed in the early '60s, this little Honda and its clones are distinctive in their almost horizontal finned cylinder arrangement. These motors are cheap to build, and if they come from a respectable clone manufacturer are virtually indestructable.

There are some other engines that are fitted into the mini-choppers, such as the Chinese clones of the Honda CB100-125, which feature a more conventional upright finned cylinder that looks more like a "real motorcycle." These are the favourites of the "hop-up" crowd as it is fairly simple with off-the-shelf third party hop-up kits to bring these single cylinder bikes to 200cc or more, allowing the mini-chopper rider to experience freeway speeds while being held up barely a foot off the ground by a spindly bicycle-thickness frame. Now that's scary!

There are precious few states and countries that will legally allow you to register, insure and ride your mini-chopper down the street. So, what do you do with a mini-chopper? Good question, and one that has a direct relationship to the burgeoning number of classified ads in the local papers selling "Mini-Chopper: Like New. Barely Ever Ridden."

That's because there really isn't anywhere to ride these things. The extended front end, skinny front tire and general flimsiness of the bike rule out riding them off-road on anything but the most manicured lawn. It seems like they're caught in the Segway Catch-22: "I'd buy one if I could ride it somewhere, but I can't, so I won't."

However, with an average street price below $500, the mini-choppers are less than 10% the price of an equally unusable Segway, thus more people take the plunge. If you shop carefully, you can be the proud owner of a 50cc mini-chopper, brand new, right out of the crate from China, for $199. Now you can take it home and wax it, since there isn't much you really can do with it, unless you have a really long private driveway.

Some of the mini-choppers come from China with various homologations which allow them to be road-registered, like ECC for the European Union, but those are few and far between, and are generally far more costly. More critical even if you were to be in a jurisdiction that allows the registration of mini-choppers for road use is how you're going to convince your insurance company to cover an underpowered, fragile, tiny vehicle that keeps your face at the level of an SUV bumper.

However, since the continent is tilted and everything that's loose rolls towards California, you will find a fair amount of riders who have gone through that state's regulatory hoops and have figured out a way to get a legal license plate on their mini-choppers. These are usually hopped-up to around 150-200cc, have top speeds near 70mph (gasp!), have the frames beefed up to put up with the stresses of freeway riding with a full-sized adult's weight on the thin tubing, and should feature some form of prayer beads that the whole thing doesn't break in half going over a bump with a Peterbilt on your tail.

Mini-choppers come in all shapes and sizes, and some versions can cost well over $3,000! They're fun to look at and the girls think they're cute... but where can you ride them??? And why would you want to???

 

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    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Yikes. Good luck. I've tried looking around and I can't find anything that size. Have you checked with the dealer or importer?

    • profile image

      nosman350 

      8 years ago

      where can i find a rear tire for my scorpion 200cc mini chopper its a 205-50-14

    • profile image

      funpages 

      8 years ago

      i knew i liked motorcycles, but i never knew that mini-choppers were just as cool!

    • profile image

      Mike 

      8 years ago

      I have a 125cc mini chopper for sale if anyones intrested just email me and i will send you pictures asking 1200 or best offer the bike is brand new email me at MPMartelli@yahoo.com

    • profile image

      raunak 

      8 years ago

      am raunak here frm india[bangalore] am keenly intrested in making a mini chopper i jus wanted 2 know what all parts would i b needing...!!

    • profile image

      jamel nelson 

      8 years ago

      oh yea must be 200cc or 250cc

    • profile image

      jamel nelson 

      8 years ago

      hey my name is jay and i really wanna get amini chopper but the ones i seen is to much and are to far im looking for the scorpion one in the new york city area looking to spend 800 or 900 on it my email is jamelnelson78@yahoo.com

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Sounds great! Make sure he rides safely! :)

    • profile image

      matt 

      8 years ago

      yes they do .... my son has the California El Diablo & he loves it !!!!!

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      You should be just fine on it, but by all means sit on it in the dealership and see if they'll let you take it for a test ride.

    • profile image

      jake isler 

      8 years ago

      im 5"4 would a 200cc mini chopper be the right size bike for me? or would it be 2 big?

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      8 years ago from Toronto

      Yeah, you can get mini choppers that are basically monkey bikes with extended front ends and the Orange County chopper styling. Check around as there are many different models.

    • ab420 profile image

      ab420 

      8 years ago from MA, USA

      These are really cool, I'd love to get one for my son when he gets older. Do they make any that are more geared towards kids?

    • profile image

      Daniel 

      8 years ago

      Can I get my mini chopper registered in victoria, australia.

      my bikes the ninth one from the top ( the silver one)

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      Some of them can get 75+ mpg... if your jurisdiction will allow you to ride them legally on the streets.

    • johnr54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      9 years ago from Texas

      These look like a fun way to "save on gas". A lot easier on the wallet, too.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      All street legal motor vehicles must meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and I can assure you that there are precious few minichoppers that do. The best thing you can do is to contact the Idaho DMV's Special Plates and Passenger Vehicle Registrations at (208) 334-8649. Then you'll quite probably have to get compliance certifications from the manufacturer, who is most likely in China and is likely to provide that certification when you can have snowball fights in Hell. It doesn't look good, but you can try! Let me know if you succeed!

    • profile image

      Smallgirlneedschopper 

      9 years ago

      Hey everyone i am looking for information on how to to turn my mini chopper into a street legal motorcycle. unfortunatley i am in idaho. I needed a much smaller version of thus because of my small size. Help!

    • profile image

      dave 

      10 years ago

      shawn, i'm in AZ i'll give you $250 if it has a clear AZ title!!! shovelhead@asu.edu

    • profile image

      shawn 

      10 years ago

      i bought a 200 scorpion at a garage sale for a 100$ with an arizona title

    • profile image

      BIKER MIKE 

      10 years ago

      THANX ,DUDE FOR THE INFO

    • profile image

      tattoo 

      10 years ago

      I'm waiting to pick up my own Scorpion, again without it being street legal... it really is difficult to justify this purchase...

      oh yeah, here's the link for the $1299.00 price, Mike

      http://www.tomaliscooters.com/pd_scorpion.cfm

      ___

      http://www.grindcore.com

    • profile image

      biker mike 

      10 years ago

      were did you see the scorpion for $1,299.00 id like to purchase one also,, thanx biker mike my email is ( hazletsalazar@aol.com )

    • profile image

      Louis Lawson 

      10 years ago

      i'm tryin to find the silver and gold Scorpion chopper for a low price...so far i found one for $1,299...do u know any cheaper ones

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      11 years ago from Toronto

      Darth, you'll find a whack of them on eBay. I just saw one for $199 new!

    • profile image

      DarthMidget 

      11 years ago

      hey i have been looking for a mini chopper for no more than 300.00 dollars if u find one thanks call me at 357-1402 thanks. and these bikes are stinkin awesome

    • thecounterpunch profile image

      thecounterpunch 

      11 years ago

      Great :)

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