Video Tutorial: Does my moped turn over? How to start a vintage two stroke moped

This is the first Detroit Moped Works video tutorial, with many more to come. We will be starting very basic and progress into more advanced topics. We believe that understanding HOW things work is crucial. We will focus on that to make your moped ownership and maintenance experience as fun and interesting as possible. This tutorial teaches you how to figure out if your moped “turns over” through demonstrating the various ways that vintage mopeds start.



This information will be helpful with the following mopeds:

• Mopeds with a Morini motor such as Pacer, Bianchi, Motomarina, etc.

• Mopeds with a Puch motor such as Maxi, Newport, Magnum, Series B, Korado, Austro Daimler, Dart, Sears Free Spirit, Murray, JCPenney Pinto OR JCPenney Swinger.

• Mopeds with a Minarelli motor such as a Cimatti, Motomarina, Testi, Aspes, Fantic, etc.

• Garelli

• Sachs

• Batavus

• Solo

• Trac

• Vespa Piaggio

• French mopeds like Motobecane and Peugeot

• Indian mopeds like Kinetic and Hero Majestic

• Honda Hobbit

• Suzuki FZ50 and FA50

• Honda Express, Express II, Urban Express

• Yamaha QT50, Chappy, Champ

• Tomos

• Solex

Our YouTube channel is in its infancy so we want YOU to let us know what you want to see. Moped tutorials, product reviews, moped culture shenanigans, visual tours of Detroit on mopeds, advice for small business owners; you tell us!

The more likes, shares, and comments we get, the more we’ll be driven to put out new content.

Breaking in and maintaining your moped

Why should I break in my moped (cylinder) safely?

When your moped was new, the factory instructions were to not exceed 15mph for the first 300 miles.   A two stroke motor receives all of its lubrication from the oil and gas mixture.  Until the oil and gas mixture has run through your motor for a while, the motor is insufficiently lubricated for wailing on.  Although your moped is not new, the original components likely have not been lubricated through operation in years and will likely need a secondary break in for this to occur.  If you have a freshly built motor and/or new components, for break in purposes, you pretty much have a factory fresh motor.   It is important to run through 3-4 tanks of good gas / oil at low / variable speeds to get everything sufficiently lubricated / seasoned.   This is extra important if your moped has been modified to exceed the factory speeds.  

A secondary and maybe more important aspect of a proper break in is proper ring seating.  Breaking in an engine helps seal the pistons rings into the cylinder surface. Without a proper seal you end up with engine issues, sometimes sooner rather than later, but almost always inevitably later.  Your two stroke motor is an engine with lots of tiny parts moving at high rates of speed & you want it to last a long time, so break it in right!  

How do I break in and operate my new moped (cylinder) safely?

  • For the first 300 miles (3-5 gallons), run premium unleaded gas mixed with SABER® Professional Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil at a ratio of 80:1 (1.6 oz of oil per gal of gas).
  • After the first 300 miles, run premium unleaded gas mixed with SABER® Professional Synthetic 2-Stroke Oil at a ratio of 100:1 (1.3 oz of oil per gal of gas).
    • If you are in a pinch and must buy cheaper oil; run it at 2.6 oz per gallon
  • For your first tank of gas, you will be running heat cycles; do not run your moped for more than 15-20 minutes consecutively before letting it cool down for 20-30 min (or more)
  • For the remainder of the first 300 miles, you can/should take as long of rides as you want, but be sure to run a variety of speeds.   For example two miles at 25 mph; a half mile wide open;  a mile at 15 mph; etc.  The variable heat cycle will be best for breaking in your moped with today’s oil and gas; and it will be a lot more fun than 15 mph the whole time.   
  • If you have a performance modified moped, you may want to consider purchasing a Trail Tech digital 30-500°F temperature gauge ($40).  Monitoring your temperatures to ensure you do not exceed 400°F should keep your motor performing optimally and sudden spikes in temperature can help to identify problems such as air leaks, fuel flow issues, etc before severe damage occurs.   
  • After the first 300 mile break in period it is recommended to give the bike a once over and complete final adjustments.  This service is complementary on any bike purchased from Detroit Moped Works.
  • If anything sounds crazy, bring your moped in.  Catching issues early will drastically reduce major issues and down time during the riding season.    

What are some good moped maintenance procedures?

  • Follow the moped break in guide above (run good gas and oil!)
  • Store it out of the rain
  • During the winter, store it with the gas tank full to the top with mixed gas to avoid rust
  • Bring it in to DMW every spring for a tune up!  
  • In the hottest months, the air holds less oxygen and you may run a bit “rich” and “foul” a spark plug.  Keep a spare NGK spark plug on hand in case of emergency
  • Have fun!

How do mopeds work?

Mopeds are a great way to get around but can appear confusing to someone who’s never started one. They don’t start with the turn of a key but with the turn of the pedals!

How Do They Start?

  • The pedals are basically only to start the mopeds.  You can pedal it as a last resort, but you’ll have a really bad time.
  • Mopeds start in a variety of ways, but in all cases, the pedals serve to provide forward momentum which allows the crank shaft / ignition to turn and begin combustion.
  • Once the engine has begun combustion, it’s just a little motorcycle.
  • There is a twist and go throttle on your right.  You twist it back to accelerate and return it forward to slow down.
  • You have brake levers on your right and left hand, just like a bicycle.  Compress them evenly when stopping.

How Does the Motor Work?

Like every other two stroke motor!

  • Two-stroke engines do not have valves, which simplifies their construction and lowers their weight.
  • Two-stroke engines fire once every revolution, while four-stroke engines fire once every other revolution. This gives two-stroke engines a significant power boost.
  • These advantages make two-stroke engines lighter, simpler and less expensive to manufacture. Two-stroke engines also have the potential to pack about twice the power into the same space because there are twice as many power strokes per revolution. The combination of light weight and twice the power gives two-stroke engines a great power-to-weight ratio compared to many four-stroke engine designs.