Motorbikes, Scooters

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Looking back at the greatest mopeds of our youth:

Take a walk around the centres of the UK’s towns and cities at college closing time and you’ll almost certainly be able to pick out the piercing whine of a clutch of mopeds, 16-year-olds proudly perched on top, daringly racing off at traffic lights.

Riding a moped might bring a splash of cool to the lives of kids just out of high school, a newfound sense of freedom on the open road, but the truth is that the ‘peds of today are a far cry from the seventies sports mopeds ridden by their parents’ generation.

Gone are the iconic, vintage-styled mopeds that emulated full-blown motorbikes, the feel of metal and exhaust replaced instead by a sea of identical plastic Chinese scooters that ferry would-be rebels back and forth from school to skate park.

Well, enough is enough.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of our favourite moped, the unforgettable and irreplaceable Yamaha FS1E ‘Fizzy’, we’re throwing out the modern and harking back to better days with this, our guide to iconic mopeds of the 1970s and 80s.

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  • Keith Hibdige

    I had THE original NOT the FS1E but the SS
    Sixteener Special

  • Ray Jennings

    Good article but the illustrations don’t show the pedals!

  • David Green

    What? No Garelli Rekord or Tiger Cross? They were the stuff AP50 owners dreamt of!

  • William

    I had a very tired old Malaguti Olympique.OJE104M. Clouds of blue smoke, thousands of decibels but not much forward action beyond 35mph; despite being reputed to have a top speed of 55mph. Loved it though.

  • Name (required)Stewart Laney

    I had a Casal K190 good for 55mph,faster than the fizzy. Then I had a brand new Malagutti Olympique GT all show and no go.

  • Michael Cook

    The Fissy as it was affectionately known was for girls in our school…us men had the Gilera or if you wanted real bragging rights the Fantic Chopper. Happy days.

  • )bob

    I had an NSU quickly which I could ride backwards because I could start the engine in reverse.

  • Pete

    My Garelli Rekord pissed all over the 1976 FS1E, Puch was nearly as quick though.

  • David Broad

    The AP 50 would hit 60 downhill whereas the FS1E went flat at 50 downhill and ran out of breath at 40 on the flat. The Garelli Rekord was the best 50 with almost 60 possible on the flat. I had a 1963 Honda C110 pushrod 4 speed 49cc fourstroke which sounded great and ate FS1E s for breakfast. A friend and I “Tuned” a Honda SS50 ZB2 5 speed, with a bigger carb and megaphone exhaust, the gearbox broke.

  • David Broad

    That is a 6 hp C114 in the picture not a 2 hp SS50. A C114 would eat a FS1E for breakfast. It is not a moped though and was not 16 legal.

  • geff

    I may be thick but I am 60 this year and missed the bike licence age of 16 by weeks

    l rode the original bikes 43 years ago SO WHERE DOES THE 40 BIRTHDAY BIT COME FROM or am l going senile. As for making the Honda go quicker, all that was needed was a hacksaw blade to cut the Throttle slide down to the mark on its side to give another 5+mph BUT the noise and smell of the yammie was the best in the world

  • allannicho

    The great Era was late fifties and early sixties when working class teenagers
    could buy a Vespa or Lambretta lol. Get it right Dude.

  • scotsphil

    grow up!

  • ratty

    Long live the LC the best 2 stroke of all time & only the brave could ride them properly and still luv by many that remember them

  • Johny boy

    KUB 139N. My first ever bike a gleaming new FS1E in metallic purple and pre disk brake

    Best days of my life. Reamed out the baffles in the vain hope it would go faster and de-coked it every month

    Happy days

  • Matt Ware

    Haha, you’re not going senile. Fizzy was launched in 1973…so that’s when this article must have been originally written.

  • Matt Ware

    You’re right…we’ll change this

  • Joe Spud

    My next door neighbour’s lad had a Kawasaki 250, it made the most godawful noise in the Borough, glad he left home and got married when he left school, the memories of the 1970s still linger on.

  • Dr Nicholas Stone PhD

    Well I had a Garelli reckord 50cc it was hideusly ugly But went like the clappers ! Would do 60mph two up even on a slight incline ? Thease ideots of then an today that took the baffeles out of there 2-strokes, to make um faster ! Only for a short while to the loss of back presure made them sieze up, then went no where, job for ‘Shanksis pony’

  • William Smith

    LC was for the brave? Try the bigger Kawasaki 2 strokes they made the LC seem tame.

  • Neil S

    I had one of those, you could even do wheelies!

  • phil

    mine was red YMJ179L Paid £171.00 loved it

  • jonathan crone

    Id like a nice 70s moped or a bike any make model as long as it does the job and good
    on petrol or deasal I had an old Honda pc 50 ,it was wander full ,it went miles on one tank round the villages back wards ford from bishop stortfort herts ,

  • Rawboy

    I had a red with white stripes fizzy with Stan Stevens expansion exhaust Yay! It killed all the Suzuki Ap 50s, Puch Maxis and Honda plastiks in the neighbourhood!

  • Sindento 1

    You didn’t need to pass a proficiency test pre 71.You could ride any bike up to 250cc with L plates or any size bike with a sidecar attached.Great days!

  • Sindento 1

    They only held just over 5 pints of petrol so you couldn’t go that far actually,it just seemed it as they were so snail like.

  • Sindento 1

    Yes,the H2 was er,”interesting”

  • Tonk

    Ah, the golden memories of a guy called Dave Sampson, crying “Wheelie” as he tried to get his Yamaha to do one and failing dismally, and, at another school at the other end of the country another guy heading off down a really rural bit of the then A74 on a Puch Maxi and him not being seen at school again . . . wonder where he went?

  • Andy

    I had the purple version of the FS1E, TVW53N, went on to own GT250, CB550KE,CB400/4 and now in my 50’s I have GSX1400 after having Bandit 600 and Bandit 1200, once a bike, always a biker, long live two wheeled enjoyment

  • Derek Fisher

    I am 90 on 13th August and had a Philips Gadabout a great bike
    Derek Fisher

  • Steve

    Great days as a motorbike mechanic in the 70,s the best made were the FS1E and the Suzuki AP50 not forgetting the four stroke slow one Honda ss50 the Garelli and Malaguti were the fastest but not that reliable sad today only a few sports mopeds available Aprilla RS 50 is one of them at the cost of £3500!!anyway still riding regularly my 1000 Honda CBF1000 !

  • alan randall

    i had a berini moped for years and loved it

  • CHRIS C

    Had a Raleigh Runabout for some years in the 1970s. Used to get 170 mpg out of it, mostly flat out at 25-30mph. It had a 9pt tank IIRC; 2-stroke of course. Mind you, the saddle was bum torture after an hour or so and the brakes were a bit lacking. Woolly hat on my head as a ‘helmet’ : super fun ! Only ever fell off once …

  • darren cafferty

    I had a RD400E pre LC days, it was air cooled and had appalling handling due to a Frame that flexed all over the place. My mate Dave had an old Suzuki T500 – Now that was designed by Undertakers I think, more dangerous than a Porsche Carrera GT 😉

  • darren cafferty

    Do you still Ride, I hope you do 🙂

  • Gary Taylor

    I had the brown block striped Fizzy (YJO656R) If anyone knows where it is let me know I want it back.

  • Alan Hewitt

    I had a ss50 5 speed and loved it to bits.I put a 22m carb on from a cb 100 and made a straight through exhaust,Noisey was not the word but could do 50 two up and chest on tank 60 No problem.Fizzy killer… 🙂

  • Alan Hewitt

    I use to love the competition of small bikes and I had a GP100 which after 7 pistons and replaced small end and big end bearings I raised the port timmings mucked around with the transfer and exhaust ports/the disc valve was fun to play with..oh and not forgetting the exhaust complete tuned with variable stinger at the end …That thing flew I pinned the speedo but sadly it was too much fun and like a firework it blew in the end 🙂

  • Alan Hewitt

    My first bike was a pc50..The petrol tank was under the seat..Very small tank 0.66 imp gal easly see 200 mpg.All sounds good until you come to a roundabout…From a standing start you had to pedal like hell to get some speedup..but still here to tell the tale..:-)

  • Alan Hewitt

    The LC yams were fun but I liked the x7 (just like the rotary valve you can play with)…But the bike that scared me the most was the Kenny roberts replica RD500LC mate had one and rode it and this could eat anything.I had only just turned 18 and wanted to live a bit longer….

  • Carlos

    Back in 1973 when I was 17 I bought off my brother a Honda 50 sports, 4 speed manual clutch.One mate of mine had a Yamaha Fizzy, and two mates had Puch Mopeds. Great memories of all of us riding around the South Manchester streets…..

  • ebbo

    I had a Suzuki A50, the pre pedals Suzuki 50. It must have been tuned a bit more than the AP50 because it ate all mopeds for dinner

  • disgustedred

    I had one too but moded it by tuning the engine, fitted a gearbox from an American moped, made fairings and a racing seat, better wheels with drum brakes and telescopic forks from a previous model and got 80 MPH out of it.

    BTW they are the only true mopeds amongst all these others mentioned here as they had bicycle pedals and could be ridden without the engine powered which is the true definition of a moped.

  • Alan Hewitt

    ahh still in love with it. 🙂

  • Alan Hewitt

    How can you even think of putting a puch maxi on your hit list.. 🙂

  • Loud Speaker

    Ah! But Chris Pedros’ Puch Maxi was far from the run of the mill girly Puch Maxis! 🙂

  • Loud Speaker

    I remember going for my full bike licence just before the 2 part test was introduced -cant remember the year now…But I remember every north london test centre was fully booked. I managed to get a slot Northampton way! What an adventure that was! And yes I passed first time! 🙂

  • Loud Speaker

    You actually used the pedals?

  • Loud Speaker

    I bet you could also hit 50 MPH downhill with a gust of wind for aerodynamic assistance hey! 🙂

  • Loud Speaker

    Still got my Yam RD 350 YPVS 🙂
    Not sure if its legal to ride in London nowadays though!