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Bike Bug

In the late 1970's mopeds were selling about as fast as they could be unloaded from the boat. We forget that $320 to $500 was a fair amount of money at the time, (according to the calculator on the American Institute for Economic Research, comparing the dollar of 1977), this would be $1,163 to a whopping $1,817 in today's dollars!

Sold by the same company as the AquaBug outboard, the Bike Bug offered an alternative to a new moped by mounting a small (Ohlssen & Rice?) 2-stroke engine onto almost any bicycle. Power to the road was supplied by a friction roller on the front wheel and engaged by a slender chrome lever. The throttle is a small chrome lever that attaches to the handlebar. At about 1/3 of the least expensive (real) moped, no doubt a number of penny wise, pound foolish people purchased them.

My bike bug was purchased at a garage sale for $20 and was in the original box with all the parts and the manuals. Other than some deterioration of the friction roller due to age, I don't think it was used more than once. It has now been used twice..... While it mounts easily and starts and runs well, frankly, it is a horrible thing! The excess weight on the front of the bicycle makes it handle very poorly. (and forget about using your kick-stand, no bike will stand upright with the motor mounted) The engine does not have enough power to move the bike except on level ground and it causes your handlebars (and the entire bike) to vibrate. It also pumps noxious exhaust into your face despite the muffler being mounted on the bikes lower fender.

Maximum speed mounted on my Raleigh Grand Prix 10-speed was about 15 mph on level ground.

Summary: Forget it.


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