Back in 2011, Adrian Van Anz introduced the world to the Derringer Cycle, a hip, 49cc, board-track style scoot capable of reaching 35mph and traversing up to 300 miles on a 1.8 gallon tank. Van Anz says the DC was a product born out of him “trying to come up with something that filled the gap between my Schwinn and my Ducati”. This would be the catalyst of what started as a one-off project but would eventually become a full-on “moto-cycle company”.
“I got the idea of building a board-track tribute machine powered by a small-capacity engine like that in the little Aprilia SR50 scooter,” explained Van Anz. Unsatisfied with the budget Chinese-made engines, the SoCal resident would research small-displacement motors before landing on a compact, Honda, four-stroke GXH50 OHV industrial engine – often used in water pumps and cement mixers. After ordering an engine he sourced a high-tensile tubular-steel bicycle frame to house the small, pull-start, Japanese power-plant.
From there a strutted springer front end copied from a ’50s-era Schwinn Jaguar was fixed up front while a high-end sprung Brooks saddle from England performs rear suspension duties. The vintage board track style handlebars are in fact nothing more than regular modern bicycle handlebars that have been turned upside-down before being fitted with a conventional throttle and a front brake-lever controlling a 70mm drum unit. In back the brakes consist of a Shimano Coaster assembled with custom shoes. A pair of 26-inch wheels were also selected for the 1920’s style scoot.
A direct-drive transmission with 5:1 gear reduction and centrifugal mechanical clutch and freewheel – meaning the pedals can remain stationary while the engine spins away – are paired with the 49.4 cc, air-cooled OHV pull-start single (41.8mm x 36mm bore and stroke, 8:1 compression ratio) that reportedly makes somewhere between 2.1hp and 2.5hp @ 7,000rpm. The Derringer has a claimed dry weight of just 65lbs and sold for $3,500 new. That price includes a handful of custom options and accessories, as well as a matching helmet, and even packaging if shipping is required. “We have no such thing as a standard model, because there are 250 color options. By mixing and matching these, we try to make sure that no two Derringer Cycles look the same,” explains the company’s founder.
After the first 500 units were assembled in Derringer’s Los Angeles facility, the company shipped bikes to customers who’d placed orders from all over the world, including Japan, Australia, and Europe. (Though it supposedly only meets the old 1996 Euro2 regulations so I don’t know how it’s sold in Europe). Interestingly, these little 35 mph runners are 100-percent street legal, sans license, registration, or insurance – a feature that is very much by design. “We basically do what’s needed to make them street legal wherever they’re headed,” says Van Anz. This allows the product’s appeal to transcend far beyond just licensed-motorcycle folk, with an approachable, non-intimidating package that still packs enough punch to have fun.
According to those that have ridden the stylish, Honda-powered two-wheeler; the Derringer is pretty on par with most small-displacement scooters and motorized bicycles in terms of performance. Having said that the Derringer obviously isn’t a performance-oriented machine and its appeal lies in its style and the vast array of personalized options. BikeEXIF even ran a story on some bespoke Derringers the Los Angeles-based company had cooked up for marketing purposes.
Derringer Cycles also made news back in 2015 when the company launched a Kickstarter campaign to garner support for a trio of electric models: the $3,500 Heritage Series, the $4,500 Signature Series, and the $6,500 Bespoke Series. Each of the E-board trackers featured chromoly frames, powerful rear hub motors, and lithium ion batteries but the campaign was unsuccessful with $32,433 out of $75,000 raised.
There are dozens of motorized bicycle companies out there, but there are a handful of factors that make the Derringer Cycle particularly noteworthy. The machines boast more than just a passing nod to the wild racers of the 1910’s and 20’s with a handful of subtle, period-correct details such as genuine copper rivets, Brooks saddles, and white tires. The design definitely takes some artistic liberties that stray from tradition board trackers, though the Derringer’s genre is still pretty blatant.
This particular Derringer Cycle example appears to be in pretty immaculate shape. It was outfitted with a yellow and black paint scheme with matching engine-cover, and dual-sprung Brooks saddle. The sale also includes removable matching yellow luggage rack and vintage-style helmet.
You can find this Derringer Cycle for sale here on Craigslist in Los Angeles, California with a price of $2,000.