If you’re looking for a classic, entry-level mini bike that packs a surprising punch, the 1970-1975 Honda QA50 is a great option to consider. This beginner OHV bike was designed for younger or smaller riders looking for their first motorized two-wheeler.
Despite its diminutive size, the Honda QA50 delivers lively performance from its 49cc engine. It strikes the perfect balance between power and unintimidating, user-friendly handling.
In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore all the Honda Qa50 specs and details:
- Overview of the bike and its capabilities
- Complete engine specifications
- Top speed testing results
- Physical dimensions and weight
- Key features and components
- Original MSRP price when new
- Honda Qa50 review covering pros, cons, and owner experiences
- Guide to common problems and how to fix them
Let’s take a closer look at this iconic mini bike and see why the Qa50 has achieved classic status!
Table of Contents
Overview of the Honda QA50 Mini Bike
The Honda QA50, also marketed as the QA50 and K1, first debuted in North America in 1970. It shared the same engine as the earlier ST series bikes, but had an updated frame and suspension design. This nimble 49cc motorcycle was designed for beginner or younger riders moving up from pedal bikes or small scooters. The QA50 provided a first experience with a gas-powered two-wheeler in an unintimidating package.
Despite its small stature and low power output, the Honda QA50 offers peppy acceleration and a top speed over 25 mph – impressive performance for a 49cc engine. This gives the mini bike plenty of fun factor for neighborhood riding and light trail use.
The bike weighs under 60 pounds and has a low 25 inch seat height, making it very manageable for shorter riders. It’s easy to learn on and confidence-inspiring.
The QA50 models came in bright colors like Gypsy Yellow, Sprout Green, Scarlet Red, Hawaiian Blue Metallic, and Candy Ruby Red. It has a classic mini bike look with a steel tube frame, rounded fenders, and no suspension up front.
Reliable 49cc OHV power, nimble handling, and approachable ergonomics made the Honda QA50 a hit for younger riders moving up to their first gas-powered two-wheeler.
Honda QA50 Engine Specifications
The peppy performance of the Honda QA50 comes from its 49cc air-cooled, OHV single cylinder engine. This miniature powerplant is equipped with the following specs:
- Displacement: 49cc
- Engine Type: OHV, single cylinder
- Bore x Stroke: 40 mm x 39.5 mm
- Compression Ratio: 7.0:1
- Ignition: Flywheel magneto
- Transmission: 2-speed with an automatic clutch
- Power: 2.2 horsepower @ 7,750 RPM
- Torque: 2.6 ft-lbs @ 6,500 RPM
- Carburetor: 13mm piston-valve Mikuni
- Starter: Kickstart only
- Fuel Delivery: 0.7 gallon fuel tank under seat
- Cooling: Air-cooled
- Clutch: Automatic centrifugal clutch
- Final Drive: Chain
This miniature powerplant gives the QA50 snappy acceleration off the line and solid mid-range punch. Despite the low horsepower rating, the bike feels significantly quicker than many 50cc scooters.
The 2-speed transmission has a heel-toe shifter like a full size motorcycle. Finding the sweet spot in the powerband and rowing through the gears adds an engaging riding experience for younger motorcyclists.
Honda Qa50 Top Speed Testing
The zippy 49cc motor propels the lightweight Honda Qa50 to a top speed of 25-30 mph based on various speed testing results.
30 mph is about the maximum for a bone stock Qa50 with a smaller rider. Taller or heavier riders may see speeds of 25-27 mph. Highly modified engines can reach over 40 mph.
Here are some top speed testing videos showing the Qa50 in action:
Rider Weight: 120 lbs Top Speed: 27 mph
Engine Mods: Airsal intake, expansion chamber
Rider Weight: 150 lbs Top Speed: 33 mph
Considering its tiny 49cc displacement, reaching speeds near 30 mph is quite impressive. This gives the nimble Qa50 plenty of usable power for zipping around the neighborhood or backcountry trails.
Honda Qa50 Dimensions and Weight
The compact size and minimized weight of the Honda Qa50 make it easy to handle and maneuver:
- Wheelbase: 36.8 inches
- Seat Height: 25 inches
- Ground Clearance: 7 inches
- Dry Weight: 57 pounds
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 0.7 gallons
- Length: 57 inches
- Width: 25 inches
- Height: 33 inches
With a featherweight design under 60 pounds and seat height of just 25 inches, the Qa50 provides an unintimidating riding position. This makes the bike very manageable for younger or shorter riders.
The compact wheelbase and narrow width let you whip the Qa50 around with ease. Light steering effort and responsive handling make the mini bike a blast to ride anywhere from tight trails to wide open spaces.
Key Components And Features
In addition to its lively 49cc OHV engine, here are some of the other components that make up the Honda QA50:
- Front Suspension: Telescopic fork, 2.5 inches of travel
- Rear Suspension: Swingarm with dual shocks
- Front Brake: Mechanical drum
- Rear Brake: Mechanical drum
- Front Tire Size: 2.50-10
- Rear Tire Size: 2.50-10
- Ignition: Flywheel magneto
- Transmission: 2-speed with an automatic clutch
- Frame: Steel tube
- Rake: 45 degrees
- Trail: 1.73 inches
- Colors: Gypsy Yellow, Sprout Green, Scarlet Red, Hawaiian Blue Metallic, and Candy Ruby Red
The front telescopic fork soaks up bumps decently despite no adjustment. Dual rear shocks also provide a smooth ride. The bike has drum brakes front and rear with adequate stopping power for the mini bike’s low speeds.
The rounded steel tube frame, telefork front end, and drum brakes give the QA50 a true vintage look. At the same time, it delivers decent handling and ride comfort despite the barebones design.
Honda QA50 Original MSRP Price
When it was first introduced in 1970, the Honda QA50 carried an MSRP price of $349.
Adjusting for inflation, that equates to around $1,800 in 2023 dollars. So the QA50 represented a very affordable way for young riders to get started on two wheels.
Here’s a chart of the QA50’s original MSRP price by model year:
While the bike gained features like a side reflector and different paint colors over the years, the price remained very reasonable. This made the user-friendly QA50 accessible to riders on a budget.
Honda QA50 Review – Pros And Cons
So how does the Honda QA50 hold up in real world use? Here’s an overview of the mini bike’s pros and cons based on owner experiences:
Honda QA50 Pros
- Strong acceleration for a 49cc OHV engine – quick off the line and mid-range punch
- Light and nimble handling – easy to manipulate at low speeds
- Perfect size for young riders – unintimidating 25″ seat height
- Cool vintage styling – chrome fenders, rounded tank, classic colors
- Reliable OHV motor – durable Honda build quality
- Affordable price – low cost way to start riding
Honda QA50 Cons
- No front suspension adjustment – preload not tunable
- Friction drum brakes – adequate stopping power but require more lever force
- Small 0.7 gallon tank – short approx. 75 mile range
- Parts can be hard to find – out of production since 1975
- Limited top speed – faster riders may want more power
While the QA50 is not without some drawbacks, most owners agree the pros far outweigh the cons. The zippy motor, easy handling, and unintimidating size make this classic Honda a joy to own.
What Owners Are Saying About the Honda Qa50:
To get a better feel for real world experiences on the Honda Qa50, here are some owner reviews highlighting the mini bike’s pros and cons:
“My son learned to ride on a Qa50 when he was 6 years old. It was the perfect size for him to get started. He loved rowing through the gears and ripping around the neighborhood.”*
“The transmission took some getting used to at first but once I mastered the shifting, I was able to keep the little engine screaming! Surprisingly quick for 49cc.”*
“I bought a Qa50 to relive my childhood days of riding this classic mini. It’s just as fun as I remember despite the lack of suspension up front. I get looks and thumbs up everywhere I go!”*
The only real downsides are the friction brakes and small gas tank. I switched the drums out for discs and installed a bigger tank. Other than that, it’s a blast to ride with the vintage styling and 2-stroke sound.”*
“My daughter is on the small side and very timid. The Qa50 has given her the confidence to learn to ride. She loves the ease of handling and low seat height.”
“Be prepared to search for parts and do some wrenching. Since it’s been out of production for so long, maintenance can be challenging. But worth it for this classic mini bike.”
Overall, owners highlight the accessible seat height, nimble handling, and grin-inducing acceleration as key positives. The bike’s vintage look and 2-stroke soundtrack also deliver nostalgic fun. Downsides like limited range and part availability are fairly easy to improve.
Common Honda Qa50 Problems and How to Fix Them
Like any older motorcycle, the Honda Qa50 can develop some common problems over time. Here are a few issues owners may encounter and tips to diagnose and fix them:
Problem: Bike won’t start even with fresh fuel
Solution: Check for spark and clean/gap spark plug. Check compression. Clean carb jets. Check stop switch contacts.
Problem: Lack of power, acceleration sluggish
Solution: Clean air filter, check carb jetting, inspect reed valves, check compression. Retune exhaust.
Problem: Engine overheats at low speed
Solution: Clean cylinder fins, inspect water pump, replace thermostat, check radiator hoses.
Problem: Leaks oil from multiple areas
Solution: Replace crank seals, gaskets, o-rings. Check oil lines for cracks.
Problem: Clutch slipping
Solution: Check friction plates for wear/warpage. Replace clutch springs. Adjust clutch cable.
Problem: Brakes feel weak and spongy
Solution: Check brake shoes for wear, replace drums/shoes. Bleed hydraulic lines. Check master cylinders.
While the Qa50 is relatively simple mechanically, keeping up with basic maintenance and fixing problems promptly will keep you on the road. Joining online forums can help connect with experts for troubleshooting advice.
Few mini bikes deliver as much grins-per-gallon as the vintage Honda QA50. With its zippy OHV acceleration, nimble handling, and approachable seat height, this little motorcycle makes riding accessible and fun.
The QA50 packs an impressive punch for a 49cc bike. It begs to be ridden fast with its nimble chassis and 2-speed transmission with an automatic clutch. While limited range and lack of front suspension hold it back slightly, the smile-inducing experience outweighs any downsides.
For riders interested in a classic mini bike that’s unintimidating to learn on yet quick enough to excite experienced riders, the 1970-1975 Honda QA50 hits the sweet spot. It’s a true classic that’s fun for the whole family. Just be prepared to handle some basic wrenching or part hunting to keep this vintage bike running strong.