Right about the time some kids are climbing aboard a balance bike, others are learning to twist the grip of a PW50. This model has been around so long (it debuted way back in 1980) that it’s a genuine institution in family OHV areas. Powered by a 49cc two-stroke engine tuned for easygoing performance, the little PW serves as a fine moto intro for the youngest riders. The reed-valve motor is kickstart only (on the left side!) but other than that it’s as easy as pie to use. The automatic clutch and single-speed automatic transmission eliminate as many duties as possible for beginners.
Safety is the PW50’s middle name. The throttle has an adjustable limiter to keep speeds down as low as the parental units want, and a shaft final drive eliminates any possibility of getting hands or feet caught in between a drive chain and sprocket. Forget about riding it yourself though, folks; with 10-inch wheels and an 18.7-inch seat height, you’ll look like a monkey riding a coconut if you do. Like, that’s a bad thing?
Likes: Truly built for kids, ultra-low seat, mild performance
Dislikes: Odd left-side kickstarter; centerstand but no sidestand
Verdict: A reasonable and responsible starter bike