Even though this isn’t an item we sell at Cheaper Than Dirt!, our survival and backcountry Chronicle readers might want to take a look at Motoped’s new Black Ops edition survival bike.
As is, there’s too much chrome and bare metal on the bike to be as “black” as we’d like, and we’d prefer a rifle mount on the back, but as an emergency exfil machine when TSHTF, Motoped’s Black Ops has promise.
Pricing on the Black Ops model has not been announced, but a Motoped rolling chassis sells for $1,999 without drivetrain.
The Black Ops is—and isn’t—like the moto-bike you may have built as a kid with a a sturdy Schwinn bicycle, a 3-hp gas engine, and a friction drive putting power directly onto the back wheel. You’d pedal to get it started, then keep a tight grip on the handlebars to go up to 30 to 40 mph.
Motopeds are much more sophisticated — they’re downhill mountain bike–style moped kits to which you add an engine, such as a four-stroke Honda 50cc. Motopeds are street legal in most states as a motorized bicycle, so they can serve as on-road and off-road conveyances. The downhill mountain-bike parts are mounted to a light custom frame and swing arm and have tough mountain-bike suspensions.
When the motor is on, the rider can either choose to pedal or not. Whatever is sending the most power to the jack shaft will turn the rear wheel, so the rider can also help the motor by pedaling. According to the maker, riding it with the motor off on a steep trail feels like the rider is pedaling a heavy mountain bike.
The Motoped’s drive train combines the engine drive with the pedal drive through a jack-shaft located in the swing-arm pivot. Thus, the rear-wheel drive chain is not loosening and tightening as the rear suspension travels through its arc. Also, this allows for one chain going to the rear wheel, unlike most motorized bikes which use two chains to the rear wheel.
Motoped says that with a stock 50-cc engine, the bike will go about 30 mph. With 4-speed transmissions and bigger powerplants (88-cc, 110-cc, and 140-cc engines), speeds rise to 45 to 65 mph. Any Honda or Import 50cc to 150cc horizontal OHC motors can be mounted to the Motoped frame.
With pedals, and an engine not more than 50cc, it may be able to be ridden on the street as a motorized bicycle without motorcycle registration (the laws on this vary by state, so check your local laws at the link below). The disadvantage of a motorized bike is you usually have a 30-mph speed limit, but the cost advantage of a motorized bike is there’s no registration and insurance.
Also, in day-to-day use, you get to ride in the bike lane, which can be a huge advantage over a motorcycle or car in an urban area with a lot of traffic and congestion. Another advantage a motorized bike has is parking — you can park it anywhere you can park a bike. A motorcycle can not legally be ridden up onto and parked on a sidewalk. If you live in an area where parking is impossible, this is probably best benefit of all.
The Black Ops features a naked frame, OD-green gas tank, a rear rack, and a sizable collection of accessories, listed nearby. One more accessory we’d like to see is a small single-track trailer.
The bikes are reported to get between 90 and 120 mpg, depending on speed, load, grade, and conditions, of course. However, if you run out of gas, you can still pedal to the next gas station or fuel cache.
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