Going to the Extreme In a Small Way

20120726-123620.jpg A few years ago, I remember seeing “pocket bikes” everywhere. When I watched Freddy Rodriguez flee a zombie infestation on a diminutive crotch rocket in Planet Terror, I realized that the mini-bike has moved from fad to cultural phenomenon.

A few months later, I wasn’t overly shocked to one for sale in AutoZone, or to see mini-biker gangs participating in local parades.

But last spring, I was a bit alarmed when my four-year daughter found a pink pocket bike at Toys R Us and demanded it for herself. This wasn’t a wimpy 12v toy; it was a gas guzzling 50cc death machine with disc brakes and a chain drive.

So, of course she wanted it. It was just her size, after all, and pink!

But what few parenting skills I have kicked in, and I firmly told her: “You have to learn how to ride your bicycle first. Without training wheels.” I couldn’t fault her for the years and ensuing fit: she’s not the first Oden to cry over a motorcycle, and she wouldn’t be the last.

So, on another trip to AutoZone, I ran into a gentleman on what appeared to be an undersized sports bike or an oversized mini-bike. Apparently, there was an unserved niche in the motorcycle market: Extreme Mini Racers (XMR).

The first motorcycle I rode myself was a 50cc Suzuki dirt bike. This little monster was a serious motorcycle, but it was designed as a trainer for kids, not a real racing platform.

But these XMRs, with street tires and 110cc engines, are definitely targeted towards adults (a term I use loosely here) who have more spare cash than common sense, but not much of either. In other words, I want one!

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