Motorbikes, Scooters

By -

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.

  • 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!

  • roland parry

    what are you talking about fs1e did not have a re

    ed valve

  • roland parry

    x7 suzuki had a reed valve not a rotary valve what are you talking about

  • roland parry

    yes was a bit twitcy around the bends

  • roland parry

    real biker

  • roland parry

    kawasaki kh250 noise what is wrong with you

  • roland parry

    i had one i did not think it was ugly

  • roland parry

    puch maxi not much street cred but you could tune them hey they race them now

  • roland parry

    yes long live two wheeled enjoyment

  • roland parry

    i doubt it. gearbox.? what gearbox they where automatic

  • roland parry

    cool

  • roland parry

    what can i say 7 pistons etc no more said

  • Joe Spud

    All Japanese motorbikes in the 1970s and 80s were 2 stroke machines and sounded like hairdryers, you obviously aren’t old enough to know that, you Muppet.

  • Joe Spud

    According to Wikipedia, and my mate, who bought a ‘Fizzer’, they became available in Britain in 1977, so, as this article was only written in 2015, they can’t be 40 years old, yet!!!!!

  • Loud Speaker

    Thanks Roland I stand corrected! Yeah it was a black plastik thing wasn’t it?….Long time ago you understand https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/37e091b551b34e5415cb4e9eaa74886c9c23bed7712bcae41a37f339a606d525.gif

  • roland parry

    ok fair enough yes it was a long time ago happy days

  • roland parry

    all japanese motor bikes in the 70s and 80s were all 2 stroke were they.? i dont think so. the british motorcycle industry where is it today honda kawasaki suzuki yamaha etc still selling. proper biker hey you sound like my dad

  • roland parry

    cool i rode the yam 350 lc pre ypvs hard to keep the front wheel on the ground. happy days.

  • roland parry

    kenny roberts rd500LC now you are talking

  • Joe Spud

    I might be old enough to be your Dad and certainly have the intelligence and knowledge of what I am talking about you bloody tvvat. I was a biker on Triumph Bonnevilles probably before you were even born, you stick to your 2 stroke shyte where you belong, Muppet.

  • Joe Spud

    Do some damned research before coming on here typing such laughable drivel, Wikipedia is a good start, sod off and see where you are so wrong, you must be Japanese to come out with such crap.

  • roland parry

    wow your intelligence overwhelmes me you aint no biker i doubt you could handle a triang trike. anyway must go gotta find some 2stroke oil for a 1979 suzuki gs750

  • roland parry

    you call me names shows how intellgent you really are i have owed and rode many motorcycles japanese and brit bikes bring it on see how clever you really are like i said you aint no biker

  • roland parry

    do you still ride bikes

  • Loud Speaker

    Ha! That triple 2 stroke Kwaka did indeed sound like a swarm of bees! I had a triple 250 and off the lights it was quicker than the X7 Suzukis and coffin tank Yams! On a long run though the middle cylinder tended to overheat and the bike would get slower and slower lol!…Happy days!!

  • Loud Speaker

    Nah mate. Last time I rode my 350 YPVS was in 1995 or thereabouts. Then some barsteward tried to nick it and mangled the steering lock.I got it in storage -a project for when I retire lol!

  • roland parry

    yea i had the rd350 lc pre ypvs stock not played with boy could it shift. hard to keep the front wheel on the deck. 1995 too long ago get it goin and get out there you know you want to

  • roland parry

    you are right about the bees. i had an s1 kh250 mates had gt.s rd.s etc my dad used to say you lot sound like a swarm of angry wasps. mind you still love the sound of them i had no probs with overheating with the s1 some towrag nicked it never seen again. so i brought a brand new kh250 b4 which did overheat 20 mins to let it cool down then back on the road again hey ho

  • roland parry

    i had one to same color cool

  • Joe Spud

    This article is about the Yam Fizzer 50cc moped from the early 1970s, you tvvat, we aren’t here talking about 4 stroke 750cc shyte from 1979, sod off and learn how to read.

  • roland parry

    kawasaki 250 your post. dur

  • roland parry

    man you really are an idiot

  • KevinC

    It was later than 71, I went up to a 250 at seventeen in 1979 and I know it was still legal for some time after that, I also had a CX500 with a sidewinder on it for hauling my tools to and from work and my girlfriend was able to ride that on L’s in the mid 80’s. Nevertheless you are quite right, they were Great days!

  • KevinC

    I had KH250 for a while, bloody thing scared the living crap out of me the first time I rode it, absolutely annihilated every other 250 on the road but man was that thing peaky.

  • KevinC

    Gobby twat.

    I was riding Bonnies, Tridents, Commandos and Dominators in the 70’s & 80’s, the first bike I ever restored was a BSA Bantam in 1975 and the second bike I rode was my uncles 1950’s Ariel Red Hunter 500 so don’t try pulling your bloody list of Brit bike royalty on me I was brought up on the bloody things.

    I was also riding many a Japanese four stroke too. Hondas in particular but also Suzukis, Kawasakis and Yamahas.

    If you think the Japs only made two strokes through the 70’s and 80’s you either know a damn sight less about bikes than you claim or you had your head so far up your ass you were unable to see what was going on in the real world.

    Pillocks like you were part of the problem with the British motorcycle industry, so full of your regressive fear of anything different you squealed like stuck pigs whenever they tried to modernise, far from protecting our motorcycle heritage you had the designers and manufacturers so scared to move out of the 60’s you killed it.

    I worked in engineering R&D, I’m immensely proud of our history as being the finest engineers in the world I grew up three miles from the old Vincent factory and spent many an hour chatting with George Brown in his bike shop that was literally a hundred yards from the former site of the factory, he could be a cantankerous old git at times but we all loved him, I even got him to write out a note saying if Nero or Super Nero ever went on the market I would get first refusal (all in jest you understand), I showed him a bonus cheque for fifteen grand once and said “I’ll take Super Nero in the morning after you’ve polished it” his answer was “for that, you couldn’t get the fairing” with a rare huge grin on his face.

    My 72 CB750 four (which I bought second hand from George) made Bonnies and Commandos look like out-sized paperweights and my CX500’s would not only outlast any Brit bike on a run but do it faster and cheaper too, in fact the only bikes you mentioned that would last the pace were Guzzis, I’ve had two of those too, a 1980 T3 California and a 1971 V7 Sport, an oddly similar ride to the CX500 because of the gyroscopic effect of the engine, but then you wouldn’t know that because you are still stuck in the early 60’s.

    Most of you idiots who bleat on about “proper bikers” would crap yourselves if you were asked to do some of the runs I did as a despatch rider on “Japanese shyte” in the late 70’s & early 80’s, I very much doubt you have ever ridden from London to Edinburgh and back as many as three times in a week on any of your precious “properly engineered” British machines.

    I suggest YOU “Do some damned research before coming on here typing such laughable drivel” and yes “Wikipedia is a good start”.

    Now you can clear off and get back to reading Classic Bike while reminiscing about the glory days of the industry you and your backward thinking ilk killed.

  • KevinC

    He may sound like your dad but mine who started out on a 47 Matchless 350 and worked his way through various BSA’s Triumphs and Nortons loved the GS400 he bought in the late 70’s and my CX500 he asked to “take for a spin round the block” came back four hours later with almost 250 more miles on the clock, my girlfriend was terrified he had been in an accident and all I was worried about was if he was going to gas it up before he brought it back (he didn’t) the only thing he regretted about Jap bikes was waiting so long to buy one.
    This cretin doesn’t have the first idea, as you say he certainly doesn’t sound like a biker, probably had a Raleigh Runabout when he was sixteen and has spent all the years since fantasising about being a bad ass biker with cool shades and a bunch of teeny boppers asking to ride his chopper.

  • KevinC

    Yep, and he was bitching about that too, probably hated it out accelerating his third hand Opal Kadett, those furry dice really didn’t make it go faster did they?

  • roland parry

    yea mr spud is nothing like my dad. error on my part he just used to make fun of me and me mates. he to was a biker and me grandad must be in the blood they both rode british bikes it was there era. back in 1980 i had a gsx75016v he had a go on it he loved it he.s old now but i know he would like to ride again if he could. i have a cx500 at my ex wifes house been there for 20 years must get it back

  • roland parry

    i think that was me i remember passing an old rusty kadett joe and shaz on windscreen left it standing in a haze of 2stroke smoke

  • roland parry

    all the mopeds mentioned here had pedals and could be ridden without the engine which was the law back then

  • roland parry

    come on we all added at least 10 mph on top of the real speed tbh

  • roland parry

    i remember the sidewinder great loophole in the law. and yes they were great days

  • KevinC

    My dad was 84 when he passed, only two weeks before he was asking if I could get a lightish bike from one of the lads in my club to take for a spin, old bikers never give up.
    I loved the CX’s I had three standard 500 tourers and another one bought just for parts at one time, over the years I also had a CX500 custom a CX650 custom and a CX650 Turbo, the third 500 was bought from a guy who was emigrating to New Zealand, he was asking £550.00 for it and I only had £350.00 on me I’d taken so I could hold the bike until I got paid in a few days, he had looked after that bike like it was one of his kids it was in showroom condition and he really wanted it to go to someone who would appreciate it, he was leaving in two days and as we talked he went into his garage picked up the paperwork all the service history receipts and a full Honda workshop manual for it handed those and the keys to me and said I’d rather let you have it for £350.00 than some tosser who knows nothing about them for the asking price and I rode it away that day, best compliment of my knowledge of a bike I ever got. They weren’t for everyone but I always loved them, I took my girlfriend at the time into London one Saturday and just spent all day poodling around happily, seldom shifting out of second gear all day in no particular rush to get anywhere no overheating incredible MPG and thanks to the low centre of balance an effortless ride all day long. Of the forty odd bikes I’ve owned since 1978 (I had fourteen at the back of my flat at one point) the CX500 is without doubt in the top three of those I’d have again without hesitation. Summer will be here soon if I were you I’d get round to the ex’s and get it on the road ASAP. I’ve been off the road for about six years as I developed a balance disorder shortly after I had a heart attack but It’s gradually coming under control and I have an 84 CB125 Superdream in the garage waiting for a few parts that will get me on the road when the time comes, once I’ve built the confidence in my ability to ride again and depending on cash flow I’ll be looking for either a CX Custom another 79 XLH Harley Sportster or the one that got away but caught my heart as a teenage boy a 77 Low Rider. Possibly a little ambitious considering I still have days when I wobble around like a sailor on a one day pass but we all have to have things to aim for in life no matter how old we are or what life throws in our way.

  • roland parry

    sorry to hear that your dad passed on hope he got his last ride. true biker and i hope you get fit enough to get on the road again. cb125 nice looking bike i think they where a twin. if memory serves me correct. i can tell you love your cx500.s fair play. i also love your choice of the harley davidson always wanted one ohh and the indian. my fave bikes of all time the harley. indian. vincent. kawasaki z900.s i still ride i love to get old bikes and do them up making streetfighters etc.

  • KevinC

    Sorry for the delayed reply I’ve been a bit under the weather for a while.
    Thanks for the thought but sadly Dad never got his last ride out, he was taken suddenly by a brain aneurysm one night, in truth he knew it wasn’t really an option, he could barely walk let alone ride but his heart was always there, I like to think that if there is an afterlife he is riding large with mum with a good road and the sun on his back, we had always said if either of us ever came into the right money to take a couple of moths off we’d do the PCH ride stopping at every biker and live music bar we could find so perhaps they are doing that together now, he was certainly more of a biker that bloody wanker Joe Spud will ever be in a thousand lifetimes, I don’t often swear online but that fucker has no damned idea what it’s all about, he would have lasted about three minutes in my old pub where we had real old school bikers by the dozen with all his shit, I probably would have had to protect him out of the door, it wouldn’t have been the first time.
    I’m giving all sorts of consideration to the next ride, part of me knows that he next one will probably be the last so it has to be a good one, I’m thinking about Harley or Indian now if I can make the budget stretch to it, if not then I have a mate who has a couple of late 70’s 750 fours and a first generation 650 Nighthawk cruiser rebuild which I could more than cope with as a ride, not what I really want but at least I can tale a spanner to them without a panic and they’ll tool me around wherever I want for as long as I want them to.
    It looks like I may have some company on my long awaited ride to visit my cousin in Madrid so a big bugger that can cope with a few saddle bags seems like a favourite, no matter what it has to have bars that come up halfway to meet me, I can’t be doing with all that footrest scratching shit I did when I was proddy racing at 55.
    Ride safe bro.

  • KevinC

    I don’t see you coming back at me you shit for brains prick.
    You have no fucking idea what you are on about so do yourself a favour and don’t comment on threads where your lack of knowledge will be shown up so damned fast you’ll crap your pants..
    Now fuck off back under your bridge you pathetic troll.

  • roland parry

    hiya i hope you are better now just get whatever bike you can and go for it lifes too short i know 2 brothers and 1 sister gone all aged in mid 40.s all bikers i also hope there are in the after life sun behind them riding towards a bar where all the greats have gone jimi hendrix janis joplin gary moore prince david bowie etc are having a jam where the beer is free. thats heaven.ur mum and are there. there is nothing better than 2 wheels n rock n roll so pls bro get a bike and do your trip life is too short. bikes are freedom

  • roland parry

    you tosser you dont know what you are talking about dim wit

  • roland parry

    i doubt you know what a triumph bonneville is ashole

  • roland parry

    all bikes n scooters are cool

  • roland parry

    80mph yea right i dont think so dreamer

  • roland parry

    same engine as ap50 yea right it did

  • roland parry

    two up 50mph yea right

  • roland parry

    and how did you graphed a gearbox on to this moped intresting

  • roland parry

    cool

  • roland parry

    we all added at least 10mph on the real speed to impress mates.etc come on

  • roland parry

    it blew i am suprised

  • roland parry

    you know what you are talking about thanks

  • darren cafferty

    TWITCHY! Fucking thing was possessed I think lol 😂

  • darren cafferty

    Ah bless, may she rest in peace. I had a Honda ns 125 r which led a similar life. Brings a lump to the throat thinking about her… 😅

  • roland parry

    yea i think so aswell still bloody good fun though still love the sound of them old RD.S

  • 44yearsAfan

    Kreidler florett standard was a pretty nippy machine too, had 1 that would get upto 50 on a flat but was knackered when the gumischutzkappe broke, whatever that was,

  • roland parry

    wow so you had of those in the pic when.?