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A mid-50MPH Buddy 50 build...

 
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Footbag
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Joined: 19 May 2020
Posts: 21
Location: Scranton, PA
Buddy 50

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:14 pm    Post subject: A mid-50MPH Buddy 50 build... Reply with quote

I decided to post some info on my Buddy 50 for those who are doing planning something similar. I relied on a lot of posts here, but I plan on putting a lot of info in this thread for others. All speeds cited below will be GPS confirmed on slight uphill 2.5% grade.

First, the backstory... Last year, my best friend and his wife stumbled across some 50cc Tao Tao scooters. He ended up paying $500 for two barely used scooters. One had 29mi the other had 150mi. We had a great time riding around their neighborhood and my wife and I decided that we wanted to get a scooter. I started watching Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, hoping for a deal. It seemed like everything that popped up had some issue. Some didn't have titles, some had body panels missing, one had 65,000mi. My wife, on the other hand, called a bunch of Vespa dealers throughout the country. She spoke to one dealer who suggested Genuine, and she kind of focused in on those. Since the better scooter dealers don't tend to ship, and we don't have any near us; we both hit a wall. In about August, I told her to go to the local Tao Tao dealer and make an offer on a 50cc. I figured we could at least ride something, and if we enjoyed it, we could look for a better scooter in the spring.

We got the Tao Tao home and had a lot of fun, but the big problem was our main road to get home is a long 35MPH uphill where people drive 50MPH+. Chugging up it at 25MPH isn't really safe or fun. So, I bought a BBK, a racing carb and tuned it up a bit. I had a ton of fun, but it was the first 4 stroke I've worked on. Besides a BBK, it didn't respond to tuning like 2-strokes tend to. The advantage was that parts are dirt cheap. The Tao Tao ended up hitting 41MPH after installing all the parts.

This spring, I started looking for a new scoot. I almost bought a Yamaha Zuma, but she wanted a Genuine Buddy. When I found out the Buddy was a 2 stroke, I was sold. So I found a dealer in Philly. About 2 hours away. With COVID, it wasn't so easy to buy. Lots of back and forth over E-mail. But eventually, we did the deal and went to pick it up. The dealer de-restricted it even before I asked, but I was happy with that. Saved me some time with a dremel.

We got it home and I GPSed it. It was hitting 37MPH on my road which is a slight uphill. I use this particular road for all my tests and jetting runs because the slight uphill keeps it under load for the entire run. From experience, a flat straight road gives me an extra 4-5MPH, but there aren't many straight flat roads around here. But, it still dropped to about 30MPH on my main road, so I decided to tune it up.

The goal was to maintain reliability. No race configuration. Keep it under 9000RPM to keep the stock crank happy. Use a cast iron cylinder for additional reliability. Maintain electric start, center stand, electric choke and not have to use premix.

The following is my current configuration after a few weeks of tuning...

Genuine Buddy 50
-Malossi 70CC Cast Iron Street Cylinder
-6.5g rollers from stock 7.5g
-Yasuni R exhaust
-Stock carb (92 main jet)
-Airbox (removed Snorkel)

Performance wise, I'm getting 51MPH @8750RPM on my jetting runs. 2.5% uphill grade with slight curves. This likely translates to 55MPH on a strait flat, but it could be higher. I have never had a chance to really let either scooter fully hit their max due to my local roads. Acceleration is improved big time.

My build flow went like this if anyone is incrementally upgrading... Again these are on a slight uphill 2.5% grade with curves, so top speed is likely 4-6MPH faster on flats.
Stock derestricted- 38MPH
Malossi 70CC Cylinder (upjetted to 85)- 43MPH
6.5g rollers - 44MPH
Yasuni R exhaust (had difficulty balancing jetting at throttle positions, 85 jet best for 1/4 to 1/2, 88 best for WOT) - 49MPH
Airbox Snorkel Removal (upjetted to 92) - 51MPH

I'm pretty happy with the performance as it is now. I may try firmer clutch springs and I think it could use a firmer contra spring because as I go over rolling hills, it's not so quick to accelerate when it's in the higher gears. I need it to downshift a little more readily. I do wonder how it would respond to a new transmission kit like the NCY. The stock variator seems like it could pickup some travel, and the ramps don't seem perfectly optimized. But as with anything, upgrading isn't certain to improve performance to your liking.

Overall, I had a lot of fun tuning it. If you can do the work yourself, I think it's well worth it. If you need to pay a shop to do it, or don't enjoy or feel comfortable doing it, then you're probably a candidate for a 125. A friend has a 125 buddy, and I'm planning on taking it over their house and seeing how they compare.


Last edited by Footbag on Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:59 pm; edited 2 times in total
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skipper20
Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2012
Posts: 837
Location: Des Moines, WA
170i

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:48 pm    Post subject: Re: A mid-50MPH Buddy 50 build... Reply with quote

Footbag wrote:
I decided to post some info on my Buddy 50 for those who are doing planning something similar. I relied on a lot of posts here, but I plan on putting a lot of info in this thread for others.

First, the backstory... Last year, my best friend and his wife stumbled across some 50cc Tao Tao scooters. He ended up paying $500 for two barely used scooters. One had 29mi the other had 150mi. We had a great time riding around their neighborhood and my wife and I decided that we wanted to get a scooter. I started watching Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, hoping for a deal. It seemed like everything that popped up had some issue. Some didn't have titles, some had body panels missing, one had 65,000mi. My wife, on the other hand, called a bunch of Vespa dealers throughout the country. She spoke to one dealer who suggested Genuine, and she kind of focused in on those. Since the better scooter dealers don't tend to ship, and we don't have any near us; we both hit a wall. In about August, I told her to go to the local Tao Tao dealer and make an offer on a 50cc. I figured we could at least ride something, and if we enjoyed it, we could look for a better scooter in the spring.

We got the Tao Tao home and had a lot of fun, but the big problem was our main road to get home is a long 35MPH uphill where people drive 50MPH+. Chugging up it at 25MPH isn't really safe or fun. So, I bought a BBK, a racing carb and tuned it up a bit. I had a ton of fun, but it was the first 4 stroke I've worked on. Besides a BBK, it didn't respond to tuning like 2-strokes tend to. The advantage was that parts are dirt cheap. The Tao Tao ended up hitting 41MPH after installing all the parts.

This spring, I started looking for a new scoot. I almost bought a Yamaha Zuma, but she wanted a Genuine Buddy. When I found out the Buddy was a 2 stroke, I was sold. So I found a dealer in Philly. About 2 hours away. With COVID, it wasn't so easy to buy. Lots of back and forth over E-mail. But eventually, we did the deal and went to pick it up. The dealer de-restricted it even before I asked, but I was happy with that. Saved me some time with a dremel.

We got it home and I GPSed it. It was hitting 37MPH on my road which is a slight uphill. I use this particular road for all my tests and jetting runs because the slight uphill keeps it under load for the entire run. From experience, a flat strait road gives me an extra 4-5MPH, but there aren't many strait flat roads around here. But, it still dropped to about 30MPH on my main road, so I decided to tune it up.

The goal was to maintain reliability. No race configuration. Keep it under 9000RPM to keep the stock crank happy. Use a cast iron cylinder for additional reliability. Maintain electric start, center stand, electric choke and not have to use premix.

The following is my current configuration after a few weeks of tuning...

Genuine Buddy 50
-Malossi 70CC Cast Iron Street Cylinder
-6.5g rollers from stock 7.5g
-Yasuni R exhaust
-Stock carb (92 main jet)
-Airbox (removed Snorkel)

Performance wise, I'm getting 51MPH @8750RPM on my jetting runs. 2.5% uphill grade with slight curves. This likely translates to 55MPH on a strait flat, but it could be higher. I have never had a chance to really let either scooter fully hit their max due to my local roads. Acceleration is improved big time.

My build flow went like this if anyone is incrementally upgrading... Again these are on a slight uphill 2.5% grade with curves, so top speed is likely 4-6MPH faster on flats.
Stock derestricted- 38MPH
Malossi 70CC Cylinder (upjetted to 85)- 43MPH
6.5g rollers - 44MPH
Yasuni R exhaust (had difficulty balancing jetting at throttle positions, 85 jet best for 1/4 to 1/2, 88 best for WOT) - 49MPH
Airbox Snorkel Removal (upjetted to 92) - 51MPH

I'm pretty happy with the performance as it is now. I may try firmer clutch springs and I think it could use a firmer contra spring because as I go over rolling hills, it's not so quick to accelerate when it's in the higher gears. I need it to downshift a little more readily. I do wonder how it would respond to a new transmission kit like the NCY. The stock variator seems like it could pickup some travel, and the ramps don't seem perfectly optimized. But as with anything, upgrading isn't certain to improve performance to your liking.

Overall, I had a lot of fun tuning it. If you can do the work yourself, I think it's well worth it. If you need to pay a shop to do it, or don't enjoy or feel comfortable doing it, then you're probably a candidate for a 125. A friend has a 125 buddy, and I'm planning on taking it over their house and seeing how they compare.


Thanks for sharing this. Sounds like a worthwhile project. Are your MPHs GPS confirmed or actual speedometer readings?

Bill in Seattle
'84 NN50 Honda Gyro red
'86 TG50 Honda Gyro S red
'09 Buddy Blackjack - surplus
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Footbag
Member


Joined: 19 May 2020
Posts: 21
Location: Scranton, PA
Buddy 50

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:13 pm    Post subject: Re: A mid-50MPH Buddy 50 build... Reply with quote

skipper20 wrote:
Footbag wrote:
I decided to post some info on my Buddy 50 for those who are doing planning something similar. I relied on a lot of posts here, but I plan on putting a lot of info in this thread for others.

First, the backstory... Last year, my best friend and his wife stumbled across some 50cc Tao Tao scooters. He ended up paying $500 for two barely used scooters. One had 29mi the other had 150mi. We had a great time riding around their neighborhood and my wife and I decided that we wanted to get a scooter. I started watching Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, hoping for a deal. It seemed like everything that popped up had some issue. Some didn't have titles, some had body panels missing, one had 65,000mi. My wife, on the other hand, called a bunch of Vespa dealers throughout the country. She spoke to one dealer who suggested Genuine, and she kind of focused in on those. Since the better scooter dealers don't tend to ship, and we don't have any near us; we both hit a wall. In about August, I told her to go to the local Tao Tao dealer and make an offer on a 50cc. I figured we could at least ride something, and if we enjoyed it, we could look for a better scooter in the spring.

We got the Tao Tao home and had a lot of fun, but the big problem was our main road to get home is a long 35MPH uphill where people drive 50MPH+. Chugging up it at 25MPH isn't really safe or fun. So, I bought a BBK, a racing carb and tuned it up a bit. I had a ton of fun, but it was the first 4 stroke I've worked on. Besides a BBK, it didn't respond to tuning like 2-strokes tend to. The advantage was that parts are dirt cheap. The Tao Tao ended up hitting 41MPH after installing all the parts.

This spring, I started looking for a new scoot. I almost bought a Yamaha Zuma, but she wanted a Genuine Buddy. When I found out the Buddy was a 2 stroke, I was sold. So I found a dealer in Philly. About 2 hours away. With COVID, it wasn't so easy to buy. Lots of back and forth over E-mail. But eventually, we did the deal and went to pick it up. The dealer de-restricted it even before I asked, but I was happy with that. Saved me some time with a dremel.

We got it home and I GPSed it. It was hitting 37MPH on my road which is a slight uphill. I use this particular road for all my tests and jetting runs because the slight uphill keeps it under load for the entire run. From experience, a flat strait road gives me an extra 4-5MPH, but there aren't many strait flat roads around here. But, it still dropped to about 30MPH on my main road, so I decided to tune it up.

The goal was to maintain reliability. No race configuration. Keep it under 9000RPM to keep the stock crank happy. Use a cast iron cylinder for additional reliability. Maintain electric start, center stand, electric choke and not have to use premix.

The following is my current configuration after a few weeks of tuning...

Genuine Buddy 50
-Malossi 70CC Cast Iron Street Cylinder
-6.5g rollers from stock 7.5g
-Yasuni R exhaust
-Stock carb (92 main jet)
-Airbox (removed Snorkel)

Performance wise, I'm getting 51MPH @8750RPM on my jetting runs. 2.5% uphill grade with slight curves. This likely translates to 55MPH on a strait flat, but it could be higher. I have never had a chance to really let either scooter fully hit their max due to my local roads. Acceleration is improved big time.

My build flow went like this if anyone is incrementally upgrading... Again these are on a slight uphill 2.5% grade with curves, so top speed is likely 4-6MPH faster on flats.
Stock derestricted- 38MPH
Malossi 70CC Cylinder (upjetted to 85)- 43MPH
6.5g rollers - 44MPH
Yasuni R exhaust (had difficulty balancing jetting at throttle positions, 85 jet best for 1/4 to 1/2, 88 best for WOT) - 49MPH
Airbox Snorkel Removal (upjetted to 92) - 51MPH

I'm pretty happy with the performance as it is now. I may try firmer clutch springs and I think it could use a firmer contra spring because as I go over rolling hills, it's not so quick to accelerate when it's in the higher gears. I need it to downshift a little more readily. I do wonder how it would respond to a new transmission kit like the NCY. The stock variator seems like it could pickup some travel, and the ramps don't seem perfectly optimized. But as with anything, upgrading isn't certain to improve performance to your liking.

Overall, I had a lot of fun tuning it. If you can do the work yourself, I think it's well worth it. If you need to pay a shop to do it, or don't enjoy or feel comfortable doing it, then you're probably a candidate for a 125. A friend has a 125 buddy, and I'm planning on taking it over their house and seeing how they compare.


Thanks for sharing this. Sounds like a worthwhile project. Are your MPHs GPS confirmed or actual speedometer readings?

Bill in Seattle
'84 NN50 Honda Gyro red
'86 TG50 Honda Gyro S red
'09 Buddy Blackjack - surplus


Every speed I cite is GPS confirmed. I use the Vidometer app to confirm both the speed and the altitude. I use the same 2.5% grade uphill for all of my testing and jetting runs. I don't count downhills or tuck. I try and be as conservative and consistent as possible.
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Point37
Member


Joined: 08 Mar 2018
Posts: 387
Location: Southcoast, MA
'13 Buddy 125 Seafoam

PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sound like a solid build...good job...i'd be interested in your comparison to the 125
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'10 Triumph Bonneville SE (sold), '00 Yamaha TW200 (sold), '08 Husqvarna SM510R (sold), '05 Honda CBR 600RR (sold), '03 Honda CBR 600RR (sold)
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Footbag
Member


Joined: 19 May 2020
Posts: 21
Location: Scranton, PA
Buddy 50

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally got to compare my modded 50cc to my friends 125cc Buddy. The 125 is mostly stock, but the owner changed the carb and he said it “picked it up” quite a bit.

So... Off the line, my Buddy will take it by a good amount. On the hills and at the top end, the 125 has the edge. I’m going to estimate that it has about 3MPH edge on my 50. We went on a very hilly ride and I definately felt the benefit of the 125 there. I think if I played with the rollers on the 125, I could pick up a good amount of performance, but I really wanted to compare it to a stock 125.

One noticeable and unexplainable difference was that the 125 felt a lot heavier. There’s only a 25lb difference, but it felt like a lot more. It kind of felt glued to the ground whereas mine felt slightly more agile. On curvy roads or in town, I’d rather have mine. For long strait highway runs, I’d rather have his.

He was surprised by the punchiness mine has, and I was impressed by the hillclimbing torque that his has. They really felt completely different. Very surprising for such a similar platform.

I can’t tell if its just 25lb weight difference. If it was mine, I’d probably open up the airbox and roller mod it. I think it would be easy and cheap to give it the punch mine has.

The difference could be the suspension. Mine is very stiff. I wish it absorbed more bumps. I didn’t feel many bumps at all with his. I prefer his suspension. I like not feeling the road. Our roads arent good, and either is my back. Lol.

He’s looking for a new scooter now. He may get a Buddy Kick. I can’t wait to try that out!
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Footbag
Member


Joined: 19 May 2020
Posts: 21
Location: Scranton, PA
Buddy 50

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New Update:

I installed a 1000RPM contra spring in the clutch. I was having an issue where when I would go over a rolling hill or come out of a rolling turn, the CVT didn't downshift and acceleration wasn't so good.

Specifically, on my way home from work, there is a big uphill with stoplights and lots of traffic that leads to a 35mph zone on a pretty decent uphill. If I would come to a stop, I could accelerate perfectly fine right up the hill and to my turn. If I had to slow down, but not stop, then it wouldn't accelerate as well. Now, when I let off the throttle slightly, it drops into a more powerful gear and allows me to power right up hills.

I love the way it feels. It's like you immediately have a ton of power right there with no delay. Perfect for merging or getting out of trouble.

I asked my wife to take it for a spin and as she was pulling out of the driveway, I heard her go "woooo". It also happens to keep the acceleration in the 7000RPM range. My motor/pipe combo has max HP at 9250RPM from the stock 6500RPM. So if I wanted to increase acceleration, I could.

Now, because of this mid-high end acceleration, the takeoff feels a bit slow. I don't think it slowed down, I think it just feels that way because the mid end got so powerful. Now, I'm considering adding my clutch springs to bring the engagement from the stock 4500RPM to 6000RPM. I am actually a bit concerned it will be too fast on takeoff. I don't want to wheelie.

I also noticed the stock contra spring was very soft. The 1000RPM contra spring was considerably stronger.

The other thing I noticed is the stock variator, clutch and maybe belt isn't very well optimized. I don't get full outward/inward travel on either the clutch or variator face. Sharpie test on the variator leaves 2.5-4mm. This costs me low end acceleration and top speed. I'll bet it costs me about 5mph on the top end. That said, I'm not sure of a fix. A longer belt could help, but I'm not ready to go there yet. A new CVT could allow for considerable gains if it allows better belt travel. I need to do some testing to figure that out.
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