The first thing that came to mind when reading about Briton Bees Motorcyclettes was, “what the heck is a Motorcyclette?” Then, like they had read my mind, I found the answer on their website: “Elementary, my dear boy. Moto: from the Latin “propulsion”, cycle: “movement by wheeled means”, and ette: from the French, “small or smallish”. Giving us a small engine-propulsed two wheeled vehicle.” Briton Bee are the latest in a swarm (sorry) of young builders using mopeds as donor bikes. These sweet handmade bikes are built in Asheville, NC using a mix of parts from Europe and the U.S.
Here’s how Briton describe what they are creating; “A fresh take on an old classic, Briton’s combine the best from the world of professional bicycle racing with the motorized features of European mopeds, all in a stylized package reminiscent of the early 1900’s board track racers. These are not your father’s mopeds. Yes, they still have the same gas-efficient 2-stroke engines, capable of 100-120 mpg. All controls are hand-operated, and they are street-legal 50 cc engines (check individual states’ requirements for license and DMV registration). But the weight difference between our new-technology frames and the old-school moped allows more power for your ride, while our fully customizable designs means you create your own look.”
At this stage, they offer two versions of the ‘Motorcyclette’: the MotorDrone, which is a board-tracker style bike, with a Puch 17” front and rear spoked wheels; and the BioCyclette which is their “green” bike, with 26” tires, and an engine that runs on bio-fuel. It is also built with a pedal-start so it can be purely people-powered when the motor is not running.
Briton Bees frames are constructed from 4130 Cromoly aircraft-grade steel and all come stock with the Franco Morini S6T engine, Dell’Orto carburetor, Magura controls, and a classic Brooks saddle and saddlebag. These classically styled motorcyclettes weigh in at a very light 50-75 lbs, making it super easy to carry these things up the stairs to your apartment – as long as your queen bee doesn’t mind having one in her hive.