1970s HPE Muskin Cat Dominator Mini Bike

I’m not sure who sent in the tip for this 1970s HPE Muskin “Cat” series mini bike called Dominator, but I wish you’d cut it out! I’m kidding, of course, please keep sending in these great tips but it’s painful because I don’t need another project. This one can be found here on eBay in Royal Oak, Michigan with a buy-it-now price of $1,799,99! No, really. Let’s check it out.

Mini-bikes, scooters, motorcycles, or any motorized two-wheelers are like drugs for me, I can’t get enough of them and can’t stop buying them. When they’re as soul-crushingly rare as this Dominator and have an asking price this high, it’s especially painful, especially when several hundred dollars worth of shipping charges are added onto the price. And, then there’s the restoration which may or may not be equally painful in locating parts for this rare 4-hp beast.

Truth be told, I’m not a huge cat fan, as in the animal. I love Arctic Cats, especially their minibike series, and also Tucker Sno-Cats, and the Cat series of bikes by HPE Muskin, at one time a wicked huge maker of several very cool mini bikes. I’m 6′-5″ tall and I ride my tiny bikes all the time, I could care less if I don’t look like a hairy-knuckle manly-man or not. Who cares what anyone else thinks, life is too short for that nonsense. If Dan Blocker didn’t care what anyone else thought, why should I? Just have fun with your vehicles, that’s all we ask.

One thing about “mini-bikes” as opposed to small motorcycles such as a Honda Z50, Suzuki MT50, etc. – they typically have a pull-start as opposed to a kick starter and the gas tank is attached to the engine as with a lawnmower engine. The sweet, “remote” coffin gas tank on this Dominator makes it really unique, as does the very flashy and cool seat and sissy bar. This model also had a shut-off switch as most of the HPE Muskin bikes had. The seller has taken quite a few photos showing the condition of almost everything, which is nice.

This should be a straightforward restoration project that most folks could tackle in their single-car garage over the winter months. The decals and other badges may be the hardest part to find unless you can somehow find a company to make reproductions. There are a few swing-and-a-miss decals available online that don’t quite match but could be used as templates. Once you’re done, though, it’ll be a show-stopper. The power for this sweet scoot is a 4-cycle, 4-horsepower Tecumseh single and it has spark and good compression according to the seller. If this one was half this price it would be hard to resist. Are there any mini-bike fans out there? If so, do you ride them as adults? Come on, we won’t tell anyone.

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Comments

  1. Fred W

    I was a mini bike kid in the early 70’s and learned quickly that I absolutely hated Tecumseh engines. I was a B & S kid (reminds me of the Ford/Chevy wars). Briggs never left me standing next to a dead bike, my friends Tecumsehs did constantly.
    My dad (the mechanical engineer) not to be outdone by any factory, fabricated a frame to hold an 8 HP Briggs and made a single spring front suspension, fitted it with Piper Cub tires and wheels, and engineered a manually controlled continuously variable transmission that was foot controlled. It went zero to 30 in about half a second.

    Like 23
    • James Simpson

      Your Dad was a body Man in Orange County, California? I saw a Salisbury variable drive clutch bike there in around 1971 ?? the engine tipped backwards and forwards to change the belt using a lever. The coolest I had ever seen up to that point!

      Like 2
  2. TBAU Member

    Not to be confused with the Norton Dominator.

    Like 3
  3. Chris In Australia

    Still a better exhaust note than a H-D!

    Like 8
  4. Howard A Member

    Oh, the “mini-bike” craze, we took many a lump, but was all in good fun. Mini-bikes were the hold over from bicycles to real motorcycles, and with the poor handling, you either got good, or got hurt. Usually, these didn’t go fast enough to kill yourself, and a little “trail rash”, hammer the footpeg back with a rock, and off you go. The “suspension seat” helped some, many had nothing. Like hotrods, for kids. Usually, something conjured up from spare parts, or wheelbarrow tires, this was what fun was all about for kids. Wise parents knew that and supported them knowing, it was good for them.
    Tecumseh motors, made in New Holstein, Wisconsin, when Tecumseh partnered with Lauson Power and were superior to Briggs, in that, they always had more power. Their downfall was that miserable Tillotson carb, and I think they had weak cams that wore out, making them hard to start. Briggs no better, did you know they use PLASTIC CAMSHAFTS??? Got to make them wear out somehow, that metal lasts too long.
    Anyway, rural folks can still enjoy this stuff, but in the city, no way. Used to be, everybody had an open lot near them, and around and around we’d go. Not today. Great find.

    Like 14
    • Terrry

      You’re talking about the Briggs ‘Quantum” engines, which they no longer make. They were plastic pieces of garbage. But the ones that powered mini-bikes, lawn mowers and just about anything else back in the day (60s-70s) were indestructible.

      Like 8
      • Howard A Member

        Got that right, Terrry. I grew up in Milwaukee, Briggs City, my uncle worked there for 45 years ( his only job), even I worked there,,,for 2 days. The amount of motors they put out was astonishing. I seem to remember the “Quantum” now that you mention it. I read in 1962, Briggs produced their 30 millionth motor. There were 4 major employers in Milwaukee, Briggs, H-D, AMC, and A.O. Smith. Most of the population worked for these 4 companies and were proud of it. We made simply the best products. Whatever happened to that?

        Like 3
  5. Dave

    Too bad they cancelled the Isle of Man races this year, but maybe whomever buys and restores this could strap on a GoPro, and with the help of a Go Fund Me account, take a hot lap around the Mountain Course next year.

    Like 4
  6. Ralph

    Well at least the price is not high. The world has gone insane on what people think stuff is worth.
    I’m gonna raise the price of my 72 Pinto wagon (that Alice Cooper farted in) to 48K or else I’m gonna be screwed by some flipper down the road…
    Not to be a crabby old fart here, but the asking is more than I paid for ANY car till was in my early 30s.
    BTW, my mini bike had a MAC 91 go cart engine. Still miss that toy.
    YMMV

    Like 3
  7. ChevelleSS

    Not to throw more dirt, but, always a Briggs fan here too but that changed a year ago when I went to buy a new lawn mower. The Toro mower I had still ran great with it’s B&S motor, but was getting worn out everywhere else after 20 years of use. Yes, 20 years. So I was too happy to go and grab another Toro with a shiny B&S motor on it. Well, I got it home, started it and it ran like crap. Seemed like something ignition based. Everyone’s allowed one clunker I guess, so I took it back and got a replacement. This one started right up and ran great until I stopped after an hour to get a drink of water (yes, from the hose!) and when I went to restart it, nothing. Dead as a door nail. Well, two strikes was enough. I took it back and this time paid the additional bucks to get the Honda motor. It’s been working great. Sad day really. B&S when to BS. At least for me.

    Like 4
    • Terrry

      The current ones have a cheap Chinese carburetor too, that will clog up if the engine sits a month. And it’s made of plastic, so if you’re lucky enough to clean it without dissolving it, it will run until it clogs up the next time.

      Like 2
      • Rick

        Everyday pump gas with ethanol will clog up just about any small engine’s carburetor. I run ethanol free 89 octane gas in the lawnmower, generator and old school 2-stroke moped and, so far, no problems at all.

        Like 2
    • Patrick Anderson

      There’s Honda motors and then there’s Honda motors. The ones that come installed on mowers from Big Orange or Sears are a “budget” motor made for their junk.

      Like 3
  8. Robert White

    I bought a rural building lot and used B&S lawn mowers to clear my whole lot, and ditches. I destroyed the first B&S mower when I found the Surveyor’s Spike as the blade hit the spike and the engine died a horrible shock death instantly. After realizing I cracked the block I had to get B&S #2 which lasted a bit longer because I knew where the Surveyor’s Spike was and saved the blade from hitting it again.

    B&S today can’t take any wear & tear whatsoever and they are disposable lawn mowers that are only good for two seasons at best and then you need a new one.

    I would never purchase anything except a commercial grade law mower now that I have experienced the planned obsolete nature of today’s engineering.

    B&S is pure junk IMHO.

    Bob

    Like 2
  9. Howie Mueler

    $1,800 for this rust bucket? And not even a sweet Honda. GLWS.

    Like 9
  10. steve

    Got a frame/seat/wheels off the pile at the dump SCORE! Now for an engine. Well, on the farm we had some old equipment with cast iron B&S engines. Maybe about 3 HP. Dad wasn’t looking so we “borrowed” one and stuck it on the frame. The older engines were long stroke and TALL which put the spark plug up though the frame in front of the seat. All was well until my little brother slammed on the brake, slide forward on the seat and…..Man…he came off that thing like he had springs on….The first time I ever fell down laughing..

    Like 8
  11. 9k2164S

    I found an HPE Muskin Duster at the dump a couple years back. Same frame, fork and wheels. Also had the same lime colored paint under a bad red repaint. It has a 3.5hp Clinton with fuel gauge tank that runs great. I took it apart to shine it up in hopes of making a couple hundred bucks on it. Perhaps I should dig out the boxes and finish the project?

    Like 5
  12. John Oliveri

    I had a 73 Chopper with Chrome front end and bicycle tire, tecumseh 3.5 hp motor, never had a problem, this rust bucket is worth 200.00 at the most

    Like 3
  13. AMISHTRUCKER

    Since we’re rolling down memory lane, I traded some skateboard wheels, and a few semi valuable beer cans for a frame with tires, and a cardboard box that contained pieces of an 8 horse Briggs & Stratton. I took it home, and my brother who is the best mechanic that ever lived, had that engine put together and running inside of an hour. The throttle worked on the bike, no brakes, no lights, no Muffler. You just started doing the Flintstone stop about Twenty Yards ahead of when you wanted to stop. Rode that thing for a month until I came over a hill and officer Kelly had his patrol car parked sideways in the road waiting for me. He followed me home, threatened me with about eight different citations, the mini bike was shipped off to my sisters and I never saw it again.

    Like 4
    • Howard A Member

      It’s what it’s all about here, memory lane. BTW, I get a kick out of your “handle”. In all my trucking, I never met an “Amish trucker”. They wouldn’t go near those devils contraptions,, :)

      Like 2
  14. Gary Rhodes

    I had a Rupp back in the day, suspended get and rear with a Briggs. $1800.00 for this turd, no way, $180.00 is more like it.

    Like 4
  15. Kenn

    You could build one for half the ask, and even if you used a Honda engine you would be out of pocket less.

    Like 1
  16. Howard A Member

    Not that we cared, as kids, but I read, these motors are incredibly inefficient and polluting. A vintage lawn mower engine running full throttle for an hour, puts out more emissions than 6 modern cars going 60mph for the same period. :O
    Now you know,,,

    Like 2
    • John Oliveri

      There’s so many other things to worry about, than this Lil mini bike motor, go buy a golf kart, no emissions

      Like 1
  17. Tony T

    easy wheelie

  18. AMCFAN

    I had a Rupp around 1971. Wasn’t the one everyone wants now. I had the econo model. (My old man was thrifty) Hardtail frame and Tecumpseh Had the Rupp mag wheels and a chrome tank. Haven’t seen one like it and don’t know what model it was called. I like old mini bikes but honestly hate to say it.

    For the going price of this restoration project (a lot of coin) I would buy a used Honda Monkey for a little more that can be ridden now. New they are $4100. but used in the $2300-$2500 range. Can ride it on the road and has EFI. Top speed is 65 mph. Looks like a vintage 1969. Comes in White/Blue or Red Blue. Electric start. The cool thing is you know it will start. It is something the whole family will enjoy.

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