Mid eighties 80cc Nippi
I’m not sure if 8hrs is a record between Brisbane and is close neighbour, The Gold Coast, it is only 100km of good highway after all. My first journey in my newly acquired Nippi had started in rain, finished during a tropical downpore and involved a major dose of sunburn in the middle of the day. I felt like a record breaker, that journey was the hardest, but most rewarding, trip I’d been on before or since.
After 16 years in taxi’s my barn yard find came about from the realisation that choosing to build a house on a hill for the views severely limited ones ability to go anywhere without first calling a cab. For 2 thousand dollars, plus a similar amount to a fabricator got me and my Nippi on the road traveling to work and generally going places.
My particular Nippi was imported into Australia in the mid to late eighties. Nippi, who still build the machines in the UK, are purpose designed, drive from your wheelchair, trikes. Powered, in my case by a 80cc two stroke, driving one rear wheel, the Nippi remains one of the few commercial options if your upper body strength is limited and you can’t, or don’t want to, transfer..
Two major mods were required to adapt my bike; firstly we extended the handle bars rearward with a tiller extension of 30cm. Together with the flattest, widest, dirt bike bars you can buy, the leverage allowed me to steer, problem No. 1 solved! With my mate Hutch and the fabricator Jeff pushing me around Jeff’s back yard we proved the steering worked but also proved, by a dent in the shed, that the brakes didn’t. These were cable operated drums and I could push for all I was worth, push like a grocer pushing pumpkins at Halloween, but this brakes weren’t doing anything for me.
Jeff’s solution for the brake problem was ingenious, he grafted on the front end, together with disc brake, from a Honda 250cc scooter found at the wreakers. Problem immediately solved! The photo below displays the new front end.
With steering and braking sorted I rode the bike home in a four hour cross-city journey. Not previously traveling faster than 10km/hr (in an electric wheelchair), 20 and 30km/hr felt pretty freaky but with that first journey I had a religious awakening, I’d seen the light and it came from the headlight of a rampaging 80cc two-stroke.
Subsequent trips around the neighbourhood gave me the confidence to tackle the Brisbane – Gold Coast journey. Gradually over three years I got that journey to visit my mums down to 4 hours. I regularly saw 80km/hr downhill coming home from the pub, I wound the odometer three times around the clock, and I recouped all my initial costs from the avoidance of taxi fares in the first six months of owning the outfit. I’ve moved on to bigger outfits but none may be better than the original Nippi in achieving it’s purpose of giving mobility to wheelies.