Two months ago I was sitting at my desk grinding away on our trail bike shootout when MCUSA president Don Becklin called me into his office. Normally, passing through the golden arches to his office is an exercise in patience as he scolds me for foosball games that have run too long, or makes a simple request to address the spelling and punctuation errors that inevitably slip through the cracks. Actually, it’s never that bad, but there’s always that shadow of a doubt that creeps into an employee’s mind when they cross over to the “other side.”
But today was different. Don had a story idea, and a good one. Don announced our latest project: take four Honda XR50s and hop them up to make mini rippers out of them! The office went from work environment to Romper Room in a matter of seconds, with grown men jumping around and laughing maniacally like they had been shooting Pixie sticks for the better part of an hour.
The plan was simple; divide the company into four groups representing various departments of MotorcycleUSA; the Content/Editorial Department, Graphics/Tech, Superstore/Customer Service, and Warehouse/Retail. Each team would receive a XR50 or CRF50 and $2000 to hop it up any way they saw fit. When all the teams completed their modifications, the bikes would be judged on performance, appearance, and ridability on a mini track.
Don hadn’t even finished explaining the project when teams began huddling in secrecy over the direction their bikes would take. In many of the whispers, I could faintly hear plans to forego any kind of aesthetic appeal. Others conspired to build an all-around machine, but quickly found that achieving mechanical and aesthetic balance is much more difficult than we could have ever been imagined. With two grand to blow on parts, it should be easy right? Wrong. For the next two months, teams set about building their respective machines, and what we found was building the ultimate mini requires more money and time than we ever thought.
Over the course of the next five weeks we’ll give you the low down on the parts, the build, and the ride of each individual bike. Finally, two months of blood (literally), sweat, and tears will culminate in a mini smackdown on the track with all the bar-banging action in a story complete with photos and videos, in addition to commentary on the entire carnage-laden event.
May 12th marks the first installment of our mini-build extravaganza when we take you through the Warehouse/Retail Team build. We don’t want to give away too much but it involves a 110cc Super Stroker kit, a shattered tibia, and the smell of fear, lots of it.
We’ve also teamed up with Mini Moto magazine, which will carry our XR50 mini-build story in their next issue due out on May 1st. Stay tuned as MotorcycleUSA grabs a fistful of mini throttle and joins the 50cc craze.