Rikimbili (also spelled Riquimbili): A term coined in Cuba to describe a certain kind of motor powered 2 wheeled vehicles that started their life as bicycles.

Exhibit #1:
An authentic cuban rikimbili
This is a racing version, notice the weight saving plastic fuel tank. The throttle is on the right hand, rear brake on the left hand. The clutch is on the left foot and requires pressure to tighten a belt and transmit power. There is no front brake.

The engine comes from different sources: motor powered misting backpacks, or russian tank AC generators. They are typically less than 100cc.

In the background you can see cuban children wearing the red uniform that will be required until 6th grade.

Exhibit #2:
An authentic riquimbili in action.
Another beautifully motorized and mostly stock Flying Pigeon. The drive system looks elaborate, with many drive pulleys. The frame has been reinforced by welding a steel plate to the down tube. Notice the small (1.5 liter perhaps) fuel tank in the front, while a bigger container (perhaps for gasoline or kerosine) is strapped to the rear.

The man is wearing a brown Army (FAR) uniform. Ministry of the Interior (MININT) uniforms are green. He is clearly looking for supplies of some kind, fuel maybe.

Exhibit #3:
An old motor powered Bicycle.
An exhibit in an art exposition. Looks like a proper, boring and safe motor bicyle. Notice the disc brakes in the front, a small fuel tank.

Exhibit #4:
A Jet Powered Bicycle from Malta.
This is not in Cuba. This could not be cuban. This is a nice BMX diamondback attached to a 4000 model airplane turbine. Top speed is 80km/h.

Exhibit #5:
A detail from the drivetrain.
A detail from the drivetrain. Notice the russian engine, a fuel tank from a 50cc Karpathy or a Riga motorcycle. The clutch is of the push to engage type. The seat looks rather uncomfortable...

Exhibit #6:
El Vampiro.
Vampiro, what do you mean by Vampiro?

This one sports a 150cc motorcycle frame with suspension, but the fuel tank and the front wheel belong to a smaller 50cc russian motorcycle. Notice the bicycle headlight.

Exhibit #7:
Side view.
Another picture showing the basic design. The motor is bolted to a black Flying Pigeon chinese bicycle. We used to call these bycicles "the black corsair", or "the iron lady". The handlebars are not the stock chinese ones with the brake levers, but seem to have been replaced. The front fork reinforcing bars can be seen though. The stock stand which lifts the rear wheel completely off the floor is still installed. Except for the handlebars and the lever braking system, this is an almost stock bike.

This one does not seem to have a cushioned seat, I only see the cargo platform in the rear. Perhaps this is to force the rider into a more aerodynamic position (notice the racing fuel cell and the crystal clear gasoline).

Exhibit #8:
The new 2006 VW Bilis
A couple of locals talk in a Cuban dollars-only fast food restaurant (El Rapido). Maybe one of them is the VW fan who owns this creation. Notice the rubber horn and the rather large seat designed to take two passengers (big feature). The fuel tank is close to the pedals, as most of the rikimbilis on this page, it is a plastic soda bottle.
Photo Rod

Exhibit #9:
Commercial Kit #1
This picture was taken in the US. With the recent increase in gasoline prices to $3+ a gallon, motorized bicycles are starting to look to some like an attractive, albeit risky form of transportation. This one is a cheap way to take a quick trip to the gas station to buy some beer.

Exhibit #10:
Commercial Kit #2 (Mitsubishi TLE43)
A clean installation of a commercial kit. The owner claims 90 mpg (38 km/l, or 2.6 liter per 100 km). Notice the reserve tank is larger than the main reservoir.

Exhibit #10a:
Close-up of the engine.

Exhibit #10b:
The other side, a pinion touches a flat top wheel. There is a quick release lever for adjusting how strongly the pinion contacts the wheel.

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