The Weird, Wonderful World of Pocket Bikes
1 August 2018 - RideApart
A quick look at the pocket bike phenomenon and what makes these tiny bikes a ton of fun
Today we're going to take a look at pocket bikes. What is a pocket bike? Pocket bikes are mini-motorcycles with small wheels, small frames, and a motor size of 125cc or less. They are equipped with two- or four-stroke engines, automatic gearboxes (for the most part), occasionally full-on suspensions, and have possibly the best fun to dollar ratio of any bike going.
Why buy a pocket bike? Well, honestly, lots of reasons. Their main selling point is their price—they're really, really cheap. A quick web search brought up dozens of options starting from $239 for a 50cc, two-stroke Cagllari to the top rated Honda Grom at $3,000. Most pocket bikes are for off-road or private-property use, so keep that in mind when buying one. Police are not very tolerant of folks blasting through neighborhoods on bikes that are clearly unlicensed. Teenagers especially need guidance here, trust me. Pockets also make great pit bikes for track days and can be bought in convenient six packs so you can start your own race series with friends.
For tinkering types there is an endless variety of hot rod options. Most pockets are governed to a top speed of 30 miles per hour, perfect for first timers and kids. While that may be a bit slow for adults, a range of hot rod parts are typically offered to double the wide open speed. This makes for a pretty exciting ride. Better brakes and suspension come next! Pockets are easy to work on, cheap if you break something, they are the best gateway drug for the mechanically curious.
You do get what you pay for though, and a known quantity like the Grom is the best option if you want a long service life, parts backup, dealer support, and the ability to really ride it a lot. It's important to remember that your local motorcycle shop probably won't work on pocket bikes, so you'll be on the hook for most maintenance and repair. Most are made in bulk in massive Chinese factories and rebranded by importers to suit local markets. This means that while getting a spare piston may be easy enough, a tank decal may be next to impossible.
So, what are we looking at when it comes to pocket bikes and features? Well, for example, the GP-RS-R sells between 250-350 dollars with a sportbike design and a surprisingly good monoshock but no lights or turn signals. The X7 line ranges offers machines like a 110cc chopper and a 125cc café racer and come complete with lights, signals, a horn, and everything they need to be mostly street legal. If you want sheer speed, faster bikes come with 110 or 125cc Honda clone engines and are hoot to ride. These bigger bikes are typically either off-road only or a full-on road motorcycle with legal and insurance requirements like the Grom.
Pocket a bikes are solid moto social lubricant. Get together with group, set up some traffic cones and go racing. Minipocketrockets.com is web based shop I have some experience with, they offer more in depth comparos of popular bikes. There is something that will fit you. I'm 5 foot ten, but still have a blast every time I ride off on a pocket, knees flapping in the breeze. Take a look, for not much money pocket bikes, are loaded up with fun and might open a new moto pathway for you.