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Preparing yourself to become a mini dad can be quite an ordeal but I was keen to track down a Honda QR50. Here's how our build went.

With my boy’s fifth birthday approaching it was time to relocate the Honda QR50 from the garden to the garage work bench. I wanted the bike to have new tyres and tubes, hand grips and a new seat cover to give it a fresh feel. The existing seat cover was a replacement job that looked crap so I found a OEM replica online and had Steve from SPMX fit it for me. It came up a treat.

Next on the agenda was fitting the new tyres and tubes. Bloody hell it is not easy fitting 10-inch tyres. I waited for the warmest day of the week and left the new tyres out in the sun for an hour before I started. With a spray of window cleaner to assist, I wrestled those little bastard hoops on with minimal swearing.


The handlebars looked puss with what appeared to be a hand-paint job in blue. I took the ’bars off and scrubbed them back to bare metal before giving them a coat of black paint from a spray can I found in my shed. They actually ended up looking pretty good.

With the paint dry I fitted the new grips but wasn’t happy with the throttle action. I rubbed back the handlebars where the throttle tube sits and cleaned the throttle housing. The throttle return still wasn’t perfect so I decided to remove the throttle cable from the carburetor and this is when things went pear-shaped, big-time.


I was surprised to find the two bolts holding the intake manifold to the carburetor were finger-tight. I undid them, inspected the carby, the throttle cable return spring and the slide and reassembled. When I tensioned the intake manifold/carburetor bolts they kept on spinning.

My heart sank and I felt sick then angry and extremely frustrated. I dropped my head and my bundle and fairly cracked the shits. I was just a few days away from my boy’s fifth birthday and this was to be his big present. Bugger.

My brother in-law has the world’s biggest shed with a bunch of tools so I scrambled up to his place for a rescue job. With a beer in one hand, he tapped a fresh thread into what meat was left in the bolt holes of the carby. I removed the airbox so there was no conflicting pressure as I gingerly bolted the carby back against the inlet manifold. It worked.

I applied way too much thread-lock and had been saved by the skin of my teeth. Or the skin of a bolt thread. You know what I mean. The stress was killing me.

When I tried to start the bike I got nothing. I had fuel flow but no spark. A fresh plug didn’t fix the issue and then I found it, an exposed and broken earth wire from the CDI. With zero days to spare I darted into Auto Pro and bought some wire and joiner terminals.

I carefully threaded the last few strands of wire into the new wire, joined them and crimped the bastard tight. I fitted a new terminal ring to the end of the wire and we were in business. She fired up and ran like a trooper. Man was I relieved.

The throttle worked fine so I stopped looking for more things to fix because I was only going to find more problems. I fitted the new graphics and stepped back to admire this little beast and enjoyed a cold beer.


The big day arrived and I handed over the Honda QR50 to my son on the morning of his fifth birthday. He was beyond excited and jumped straight on, making bike noises as he pretended to ride it. After getting into his new Alpinestars riding gear we headed out for the first ride.

I was nervous as hell. I had the throttle governing screw wound in half-way but my biggest concern was teaching my boy how to stop. We drilled the braking technique as I pushed him around with the engine off then it was time for the real deal.

With very gentle throttle application he was off. My braking drills must have worked because every time I yell, “brake!” he promptly grabs the brakes. The only thing yet to overcome is the death-grip on the throttle. Despite applying appropriate amounts of brake, he tends to keep the throttle on. We’re working on that.

He pesters me almost every day to go riding and we’ve been a couple of times. But when we get there he rides for about five minutes then wants to go and play. He literally spends more time getting in and out of his riding gear than he does riding. Truth be told, I don’t mind because it keeps my nerves in check and the bike in one piece.


Bike: $450

Tyres and tubes: $119.99

Grips: $30.00

Air filter: $7.95

Seat cover: $65.00

Graphics: $160.00

Fuel cap: $46.10

Hours in the shed: 8

Total: $879.00

Stephen Tuff