Friday, May 20, 2022 |
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LIHU‘E — Rey and Albert Agcaoili are very aware of the laws, rules and regulations surrounding the operation of mopeds.
Albert Agcaoili has been racing mopeds at the Mana Raceway Track for the past two years, his fleet of three bikes, all Honda Elites, capable of reaching top end speeds close to 80 mph.
“We’re still testing,” Rey, Albert’s cousin, said. “He knows the bike can reach 80 mph-plus, but something is holding it back on the top end, so he keeps testing and tuning.”
Mopeds normally operate at 35 mph maximum, but the Agcaoili family have tweaked their mopeds to where the little vehicles can literally fly down the quarter mile.
“I only drive mine on special occasions,” Rey said. “I know the laws and the rules and we respect them. We also don’t want to give a bad name to moped riders because we respect our community. In fact, I don’t even have gas in mine. This one is kind of like a race bike.”
Rey’s moped is a 2006 SYM which he purchased on O‘ahu because Kaua‘i has no dealers.
Since then, the Agcaoili cousins have done whatever kind of tweaking they could to the small bike starting with a motor change.
The stock motor has been replaced with a Honda DD50 mill that displaces 125 cc and outfitted with a special carburation setup featuring a more efficient air intake. To cool the motor which was imported from the Mainland, the Agcaoili’s installed an auxiliary air cooling fan as well as a water cooling system driven by an independent electric motor.
“This has been a family project from the start,” Rey said. “Albert races mopeds and some of the things he does to his bikes, he does to mine. He has at least five exhaust systems for his bikes because each one does different things. He even brought one in from the Philippines where they have a lot of mopeds.”
Joining the Honda mill, the Agcaoili’s changed the gearing and outfitted the bike with a special exhaust system which Rey said really needs a coat of paint.
In addition to the power plant, the SYM moped has an upgraded disc brake system, custom wheels as well as cosmetic upgrades that create a clean slick look to the bike, eliminating the stemmed turn signals and incorporating them into the front and rear cowlings.
“A lot of people confuse mopeds and scooters,” Rey said. “This is a moped — a souped up moped! After we got through with some of the upgrades, I had to learn how to ride it all over. It took me two days just to get used to how it rides.”
Rey said what he and his cousin did to the stock moped is what people do to stock cars, and there are dealers everywhere who have after-market products.
“People consider mopeds small putt-putts and a lot of people ride them because they’re fun and affordable,” Rey said. “On O‘ahu, they’re everywhere.”
But in its stock configuration, the mopeds have a maximum speed of about 35 mph which makes them dangerous to ride between towns on Kaua‘i.
“It’s alright if you just drive around Lihu‘e,” Albert said, suggesting the government look into creating a wider bike path that can accomodate mopeds due to the large number of people using them. “But once you go out of town, you really have to watch out because cars can go fast and you cannot. The roads are only so wide.”
The Agcaoili cousins agree that people should not abuse the law because it gives everyone a bad reputation if you do.
“We would like to see more people come to the race track if they want speed out of their bikes,” Albert said. “Right now, I’m the only one racing mopeds in Mana, but with the handicap system, I can race with other motorcycles.”
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or email@example.com.
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