California Cool: The Derringer Cycle
The pint-sized but classicly-styled Derringer is just about the coolest pit bike ever made.
The Derringer Cycle designed by Adrian Van Anz.
Photo by Steve Bohn
Top speed: 35mph
Engine type: 49.4cc air-cooled OHV pull-start single, 41.8mm x 36mm bore and stroke, 8:1 compression ratio, 2.1hp @ 7,800rpm (at countershaft)
Transmission: Direct drive with 5:1 gear reduction, centrifugal mechanical clutch
Tires: 2 x 26in front and rear
Weight (dry): 65lbs/30kg
Price: $3,500 tax free in Los Angeles, crated for delivery
In today’s cost-conscious climate, industrial designer Adrian Van Anz has hit on what may just be the perfect formula for low cost, low speed gas-powered personal transportation — the classically-styled, decidedly high profile Derringer Cycle.
Under California’s motorized scooter regs, you don’t need registration or insurance to ride this modern salute to the fearsome board-track racers of the 19-teens and 1920s, just a regular driving license. Powered by a 49cc Honda GXH50 OHV industrial engine more often seen operating concrete mixers and water pumps, it returns 200mpg at its 35mph-limited top speed. Of the 400 or so Derringers built so far, examples have gone all over the world, including to Japan, Europe and Australia, as well as to the four corners of the U.S.
“We basically do what’s needed to make them street legal wherever they’re headed,” says Adrian during a recent visit to his boutique bike shop in western Los Angeles. Each Derringer is custom built in Derringer Cycle’s Bel Gardens factory on the other side of downtown L.A. The bikes are priced at $3,500, which includes crating for shipment, to meet the city’s tax-free retail price exemption. “We ship them fully assembled, so all you need do is rotate the handlebar 90 degrees after unpacking it, stick some gas in, and you’re ready to go,” Adrian says, adding, “We have no such thing as a standard model, because there are 250 color options. By mixing and matching these, we try to make sure that no two Derringer Cycles look the same.”
Order the November/December 2011 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the Derringer Cycle, including a road test by Alan Cathcart. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.