Post Listing Update: This Nova was pulled off of eBay “because the item was lost or broken”.
Based in Gardena, CA, “Nova Products of Calif.” called themselves a “developer of recreational vehicles” with a lineup of mini-bikes and even a mini-boat called the Guppie. One of their five mini-bikes was a trail model called the Ruff Rider, itself available in two options (50cc/100cc).
Either way, you got 8″ wheels, a front suspension, collapsible handlebars, a 1 gallon tank (100 mpg claimed), and my favorite feature: “motorcycle type brakes.” According to a factory brochure, the 100cc motor was supposed to be paired with a 5-speed transmission and some rear suspension for your trouble with the bigger motor, too. On Old Mini Bikes there’s a thread about the Ruff Rider, and a couple of weeks ago someone left a post stating that the model was introduced in 1970. He states that he was “currently restoring one from the ground up which came from a 85 year-old Gardena resident who says this one I have was the original 100cc demo model that was never sold by the Nova Company and acquired by this man after the Nova company was first sold in 1980.” Who knows if that’s true…but that’s the bike that’s for sale today.
Back in March the seller was restoring the engine and sourcing original tank decals, but it looks like he wasn’t able to find the latter as the bike is now rocking some Honda tank emblems. The seller is apparently a motocross instructor who also maintains a fleet of vehicles for use in film. He’s got a page dedicated to this bike with 60+ photos. Despite the brochure’s claim that this model should have a 5-speed, this example has a 4-speed transmission – it’s all down to if you believe the story of this being a prototype. I wasn’t able to find anything conclusive either way. Frankly, I had never heard of a Nova Ruff Rider before today, anyway!
Find this Ruff Rider for sale in Menifee, California with a BIN of $6,500 or best offer here on eBay.