This Just In: Italy’s Still Running the Moped Game
A minty moped-turned-drag racer is a sight for sore eyes
Mopeds are a divisive topic in the moto world, skirting between scooter, bicycle and motorcycle, but not quite any of those things. Whatever you think of their looks, we fully endorse riding them, and they’re a fun transport option when you’re traveling new places.
And when a pedigreed garage turn their wrenches on a vintage build, it can get wild. Case in point: this rebuilt 1982 Piaggio Ciao PX, built by brothers Marco and Mario Troiano from Italy’s OMT Garage. The garage took home 1st Small Bore in the Milano Deus Bike Build-Off in 2016.
OMT Cafe Racer (2 images)
At first glance, the bike doesn’t scream moped (though it does scream Wes Anderson), and that’s first, because the pedals are gone, and second: the Troiano brothers put in long hours to make the original silhouette almost disappear, as evidenced in the photos above.
On his Deus Bike Build-Off web page, Mario writes that the original idea was to redesign the moped for drag races. In order to handle those conditions, the chassis was reinforced, lengthened and lowered. And the two-stroke engine was enhanced from a 49cc to a whopping 75cc.
Not going to outrun any motorcycles on this, but you’ll make friends tooling around town and have a lot of fun.
OMT Cafe Racer 2 (4 images)
As for the dramatic aesthetic changes, the fork was rounded (which Mario cites as the most aggravating task, taking around 40 hours in a two week build). Also, the saddle was refashioned with cork, a material used in the handlebars as well, which have their own quirk — the rear (and only) brake is controlled on the left handlebar lever, and the right lever controls the throttle. A new exhaust and tank were also made by hand.
If the whole endeavor seems a bit eccentric, Mario has solid reasoning: “It [was] the first motorcycle me and my brother had when we were 14, and probably this is why we felt [we] had to express our particular thanks to it.”
Thank you, Mario. Now hand over the bike.