Mini bikes are small, motorized bikes used for racing. They were developed alongside their more popular cousins, go karts, after World War II. In the fifties, the U.S. defense manufacturing industry began selling smaller gas powered engines for new peacetime machines such as lawnmowers. Soon hobbyists built the first small motorized bikes with lawnmower engines and re-fitted bicycle parts.
The first commercial mini bikes, also called minimotos or pocket bikes, came from Japan's Honda factories. The earliest model, the CT70, boasted a 4 cycle engine that revved up to 9000 RPMs (rotations per minute), significantly higher than competing engine designs. The extra power boost made mini bikes superb racing machines. Instead of being souped up toys, they were truly small motorcycles.
Due to the success of the CT70, Japan was one of the first countries outside of the U.S. where mini bike racing gained an enthusiastic following. England, France and Italy followed suit with their own clubs, race categories and commercial mini bike manufacturers.
Today riders all over the world are attracted to mini bike racing for the affordability, the ease of transporting a mini bike and the relative safety of riding. For about $2,300 USD you can get started on a 40 lbs. (18.14 kg) minimoto with a two-stroke engine that cranks out 6 hp (4.5 kW) of power! These bikes have only 1 in. (2.54 cm) of clearance off the ground and can attain speeds up to 40 mph (64.4 kmh).
As long as you wear a helmet, keep your mini bike in good condition and observe safety rules for handling gasoline, riding a mini bike can be a fun and rewarding hobby.