A common question we hear is: “Can I ride my moped on dirt or gravel roads?” which always raises our eyebrows as adventure riders.
We love their curiosity, but question their sanity at the same time. Then again, the following comes as a surprise to many.
You can ride mopeds and petrol 50cc scooters offroad on dirt tracks and gravel tracks, and even try a few small jumps. However, they aren’t designed for this purpose and you may void your warranty. You can, however, ride on unsealed roads to access your home without a problem; just ride slow.
So not all is lost if you happen to live on a rural property, though for adventure-riding, it’s best to upgrade to a better motorcycle. Even something affordable like the BMW 310GS or Honda’s CR250 would be enough for most people.
Taking a moped offroad
To take a moped offroad, there are some things to keep in mind. Essentially:
- You’ll need to ride slowly at no more than 25mph. This is to reduce damage to the undercarriage and not to place too much strain from the constant bumping around.
- The front shock absorbs aren’t designed for so much strain, so keep this in mind.
- Your braking distance will be longer because you’re most likely to skid with a moped on a dirt road, similar to as you would if the bitumen was actually soaking wet.
- You can expect dust to get into everything so cleaning your moped will certainly become a mission!
- There is a high risk of punctures when riding mopeds or scooters offroad. These tyres aren’t designed to withstand the brutal nature off gravel tracks.
It’s not something we envision for you and only something you should do if you really must.
Two examples of mopeds offroad
There are two shining examples of where you could take a moped offroad. Well…sort of.
Firstly, in Australia, their postal delivery service called Australia Post uses small motorcycles that look like mopeds and have 110cc engines. They are affectionately called posties and traverse every town and suburb daily in Australia to deliver the mail.
Interestingly enough, given their reliability, they’re also used by people learning to ride a motorcycle offroad. Their semi-automatic gearbox (4 gears) and ease of power make things very easy for the end user. You’ll find people doing mini tours and group rides with this bike since they are very affordable with parts available everywhere.
Then someone decided to take this a step further. In fact, a lot further!
So secondly, we have Nathan Millward who rode a CT110 postie bike 10 years ago from Sydney to London, with many times traversing dirt roads and many times in countries which have never before seen a postie bike. What a mission!
So you could even say that it’s possible to ride a moped around the world!
Since then, Nathan has created his own YouTube channel which inspires others to get out there and see the world. If you have been on the ADVRider forums at all, you probably have came across his story.
It’s generally a bad idea to go ‘bush bashing’ with a moped, however there are some bikes such as the Honda CT110 which are built tough. You have to consider whether it’s worth the effort or simply spending the extra few dollars on a true adventure motorcycle.
Just remember that in asia, mopeds are often used for years on bumpy roads, both bitumen and otherwise. So it’s very much possible, but not so comfortable either.
As for doing jumps, it’s very difficult to have much fun on mopeds when riding on MX tracks and the like. Their power is just too soft and the suspension isn’t up to the task ahead. These days, dirt bikes have become so much more affordable, so you may wish to consider 2 bikes. One for the daily commute and another for the weekend pursuits!