It’s 1981 and Honda have not one, but two, two-stroke single-cylinder mopeds providing big bike fantasies to 16 year-olds up and down the country, charmed by the hi-specs of the MB-50 (known as the MB-5 in the US) and chassis-sharing of the off-road styled MT-50. The MB had it all; A big cockpit fairing, Comstar wheels with a front disc brake and while the speedo only read up to 40mph the rev counter went all the way to 10,500rpm. In reality it hardly needed any of that as it only made 2.5bhp and was restricted to 30mph. Fortunately, it looked the part and together with a low price of £399 sold well in the UK.
The air-cooled, 2-stroke, reed-valved 49cc motor is impressive in terms of aesthetics but in standard restricted UK form makes a paltry 2.5bhp, which is barely enough to hit 30mph with a slight headwind. Throw in a hill and 5th gear is next to useless. The US version is better, making a healthier 7bhp which is just enough to de-skin the rice pudding and Honda even made an 80cc version for the German market. Let’s just pretend that that’s the one in this version then, shall we?
The Cross line backbone frame gives the MB a cool look that still looks modern today so we’ve made our own version with thicker tubes to handle our upgraded motor. The wheels and alloy plate section of the frame is from Honda’s own SFA concept and the swingarm is designed to compliment the main frame tube. Low clip-ons get the rider out of the wind as every single mph matters. Our MB continues the highly-specced theme of the original and sports a twin disc brake set-up, radial front caliper, USD forks and rising rate rear monoshock. Overkill? Hell, yes, and we LOVE it.
The lines of the original MB were ahead of its time, using the frame and engine as a major visual point with no cradle downtubes to hide any of the view. Our bike keeps it simple and the oil fill-up tank is still located in the compartment at the front of the fuel tank. The cowl and headlight is a modified CB500 item and there’s an optional flyscreen as shown on the blue bike. See you outside the chippy…