Paper Boy Special: Whizzer Motorbike

Although there was little separation between early 1900’s motorcycles and bicycles, motorbike kits would grow to be popular for bicycles in the 1940’s. Whizzer was one of those motorbike kits you could purchase to motorize your bicycle. Whizzer began in 1939, and even continued production during WWII and into the 1950’s. For young paper boys and other bicycle riders a Whizzer kit was a dream come true to having a little more speed and freedom. Although this Whizzer converted bike is missing its engine, it still offers a great start to a Whizzer project. This bike can be yours to the tune of $350. Check it out here on ebay out of Knightdale, North Carolina.

Although it may be hard to look past the missing engine, there are still some great parts on this bike. The Whizzer tank is in fair shape with no apparent dents or dings, and much of the water slide on each side of the tank is still in place. Also take notice of the cool “Art Deco” handle bar stem on this bike. One thing very apparent from this image is the auction tag that is still attached to the handlebars. My guess is the seller is looking to flip this recent investment.

There is a lot of rust present, but beneath all that rust there is still some factory paint. An Oxalic acid bath would do wonders for the frame, and would likely reveal a fair amount of surviving factory paint. The head badge is missing from this bicycle, but it would appear that it is a Monark brand bicycle. The remaining Whizzer parts consist of an engine mount bracket, throttle cable, drive belt and drive wheel, and the “clutch” lever that put tension on the belt to transmit power to the rear wheel. Both tires are roasted, and the rear wheel is missing a large section of rim that looks to have been lost to rust. The original seat is still in place although wearing ripped and weathered oil cloth. The only severe rust present is the rear wheel, as the frame appears nice and straight.

The idea of adding an engine to a bicycle really seems to have been a genius idea for the time. Basically a light weight motorcycle, these balloon tire bikes look so right with the beautiful yet small engine inside of the frame. The whizzer engines evolved over the years of production and horsepower ranged from 1 to 3 depending on the year, offering plenty of scoot for a lightweight bicycle. The only thing scary about these old bikes is the lack of brakes. As you can see the only stopping mechanism on this bike is a coaster brake that was designed to stop a bike at reasonable speeds on mostly flat surfaces. I am positive that there were many young speed demons out there that learned a lot from these bikes, and how to handle them on the open road.  As mentioned before, an Oxalic Bath would likely do wonders for this bike, and then you could easily leave the bike in its cleaned patina and start sourcing a wheel, and an engine. A great winter project for a father and son duo, this Monark would be fun to work on and give a kid some hands on mechanical experience. Have you ever ridden one of these Whizzer powered bikes before?


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  1. Rube Goldberg Member

    While a cool find, it’s missing the most key part to a Whizzer, the drive mechanism. Without it, it’s not much more than a “rock crusher, Schwinn style” bicycle. When introduced, it seemed like a novel idea, as bicycles were still a main mode of transportation for some. These weren’t cheap, and retailed for over $150 in the early ’50’s ( or about $1,424 bucks today) clearly, putting it out of a paperboys salary. And like car pickups, they didn’t do either job well, too heavy for a bicycle, and too underpowered for a motorcycle. I wouldn’t worry about the brakes, as one could probably pedal faster. I read, a company reissued the Whizzer in 1997, but didn’t do well, as even scooters have evolved way past this. Looks like parts for a better restoration project.

    • TriPowerVette

      +Rube Goldberg – As usual, you nailed it. This level of decay almost screams for a glass case, and display as industrial-era art.

      • TriPowerVette

        However; for those given to the masochistic, there seems to be ample supply of Whizzer engines /accessories on eBay for a fairly reasonable outlay. The pic above looks like a pretty good start at an engine and miscellany for $250. They have complete, new engines for $350 or so. Looks like you could assemble one of these, with a period bicycle for under $1000. Jus’ sayin’.

  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    That is so sad to see the engine is gone. The engine is the MAIN part of this. There was one showed up at a local swap meet a few years ago and it was complete. I think the vendor had a hefty asking price but he sold it. I’ve got a parts book/service manual for one in my motorcycle archives.

    • TriPowerVette

      +geomechs – THIS would be a good parent / child winter project! Rather than the above, parent / child winter exercise in frustration.

  3. elrod

    This fine machine was parked in front of the Gilmore Automotive Museum in Michigan. They have a small motorcycle display in one of their many buildings. Since it wasn’t a real full fledged motorcycle, my guess he was left out in the cold to rust some more…

    • TriPowerVette

      +elrod – Now THIS is great little project! Doesn’t appear to be in any way too far gone. NICE find!

  4. crazyhawk

    It’s a hodgepodge. Schwinn frame w “fireball” graphics, monark style sprocket. The bike hobby is just like a mini car hobby. Guys trying to flip crap to buy a better one. Parts are swapped out, etc. The bike hobby has become big and bikes are all over. I think it’s waning now.

  5. Jay E.

    Get yourself a Stihl 661 chainsaw with a Maxflow filter and tuned pipe and install it between the rails! You could really have some kind of hot rod here.

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      I was thinking maybe a weed wacker motor, but I like your “Tim Allen” approach better.

  6. Oldog4tz Oldog Member

    When I was a kid in Vicksburg in the late 50s we built a Schwinn Wizzer with a royal Enfield single. Was a blast until it was a pile of parts in a ditch

    • TriPowerVette

      +Oldog – NOW THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. People of our generation just had more guts and imagination. We did’t see any limits, did we?

      I had a Sears go-kart in the early 60’s. It was really snazzy, but the engine was only a 3 H.P. Briggs. When the oil slinger slang itself out the crank case, my friends and I put a 16 H.P. Saietta Italian motorcycle engine on it. Wow! Did that ever wake it up.

      My friend paced me in his Ranchero, and said I broke 100 M.P.H., before I had a driver’s license. I was 14.

      Thank you for your post, and for reminding me.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi TriPower. You would be in competition with a friend of mine who slung a JATO pod onto his go-kart. He didn’t know how fast he was going but he said that the wind was peeling his cheeks off his face. And once you light them you can’t shut them down….

      • TriPowerVette

        +geomechs – Good times, huh?

        My father used to use a bunch of them to get airborne in his Boeing B-47.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        That’s how my friend got hold of them, through his father’s connections. His father was a pilot during and after the war, first running transport over ‘The Hump,’ then running air transport everywhere.

        My friend was actually planning to run (2) JATO pods but somehow his pre-adolescent brain gathered up enough common sense to try one at a time.

        This is a great site. A lot of fun. Trouble is, I sometimes spend too much time here, when I should be doing other stuff….

  7. Oldog4tz Oldog Member

    To be fair, I think we probably spent $20. Most of the stuff came from our parent’s sheds

  8. Mountainwoodie

    I was into collecting bikes once…still have a girls ’50 or ’51 Schwinn Phantom. Once looked at a cherry Whizzer on the Schwinn for 800.00 bucks… I was like no way! Too cheap as always! Dummy!

  9. Mountainwoodie
    • Tony, Australia.

      The drive belt on this Ebay one sure hasn’t done the rear mudguard any favours if you look closely, she’s a bit torn and split.


    Att. Mike Wolf.

  11. Jack Quantrill

    I did my paper route in 15 minutes on one of these. Sadly. crank broke, was put in a barn, and never seen again!

  12. the one

    until ya ride one, you will never know how fun these wee motor bikes can be.

  13. Ron Bunting

    I think a lot of us were apt to power things with motors found on lawn mowers etc. A mate found a go kart at the local tip and because his daqd had a redundant 500CC matchless motorbike in the shed we decided it had to be joined t gether . it’s a good thing we never got that thing to run properly ( on a budget of zero ,even fuel had to be liberated from cars….) because it would smoke the go kart tires at half revs …

    • TriPowerVette

      +Ron Bunting – Crikey! I can’t stop smiling, mate. Thumbs up.

      Like 1
  14. Leon

    I put a 10 horse lawn mower engine on a go-cart for my boys with an old 3 spd. and reverse from when lawn mowers had seperate transmissions not transaxels.
    The trans. was just behind the double seat and you would reach back and snatch it thru the gears. The fun was, every time you shifted, it would change lanes. What awesome power. The boys loved it. They had the only cart with a reverse on it.

    • TriPowerVette

      Reverse! That’s what we needed.

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