RUPP Mini Bike Information Chronological Guide.|
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Overall Rupp History.
Rupp Manufacturing, Inc. was founded in 1959 by Mickey Rupp, with eight employees
in a 3,000 sqft facility in Mansfield, OH. During that first year, Rupp manufactured Dart Karts
(no mini bikes.)
Rupp Mini Bike History and Information.
In 1960 Rupp expanded their production to making mini-bikes. Rupp made 1,000 mini-bikes that first year.
By 1964 Rupp created a few snowmobile prototypes and in 1965, became a snowmobile manufacturer
making 500 machines.
By 1969 Rupp employed over 400 people in a 180,000 sqft facility, producing a multitude of
recreational machines including mini-bikes, ATVs and go-karts, and five models of Sno-Sport
In 1970 Rupp sales topped $30 million and owner Mickey Rupp was honored as one of
the "Outstanding Young Men of America." Rupp produced 35,000 snowmobiles that year.
By 1971 Rupp employed 850 people, and featured a research center,
administration building, all-purpose proving grounds, a styling building,
and even had some automatic computerized operations. In addition, owner Mickey Rupp
served as a director of the International Snowmobile Industry Association.
But by 1972, fueled by a soft market created by a couple of years of poor snow conditions,
Rupp's profits dwindled and the company began to lose money.
In 1973 Mickey Rupp was forced to sell the company which was facing bankruptcy.
On April 1st, 1973, Rupp sold a controlling interest in the company to an investment
group led by Joseph Hrudka. 1973 would also mark the end of the Rupp partnership
with the Japanese engine manufacturer Tohatsu. Then in 1974, Rupp would make the design
change to using Kohler powerplants in their snowmobiles.
In 1974 and 1975, Rupp saw a decline in overall sales. This was likely due to rumors of the company
going out of business, nagging quality control issues, and the transition period under
new ownership of Hrudka from the extremely popular and company founder, Mickey Rupp.
In 1976, Rupp seemed to be poised to make a major comeback with the introduction
of snowmobiles with liquid cooled Xenoah powerplants. The 1976 liquid cooled Nitro
model was tested by SnowSports magazine and "was the top performer or close to it in every speed run."
Despite the popularity of the new models, Rupp continued to experience financial difficulty.
By the Spring of 1977, the ownership of Rupp filed for bankruptcy and enlisted
help from Arctic Cat. As a result of this partnership with Arctic Cat, snowmobile
production was cut in half and down to just three models - a 295cc fan cooled Sport,
and two liquid cooled Nitro models. Although Rupp designed, engineered, and marketed
their 1977 line-up, the Rupps were actually produced and assembled by Arctic Cat.
The 1977 Rupp 440 Nitro was heralded as one of the fasted tested muscle sleds by
snowmobile magazines and featured an 80HP motor capable of attaining speeds in excess of 80MPH.
But by the Summer of 1977, the writing was on the wall and the 1978 model year would be the last for Rupp.
Rupp Manufacturing, Inc. would go under in 1978, never to resurface again.
The very first Rupp mini bike was the Dart Cycle of 1962.
Used a 2.25 HP 4-cycle Lauson engine, Fairbanks-Morse clutch, 5” Internal Expanding rear brake,
and only $199.
1962 Rupp Dart Cycle minibike.
Then in 1964 to 1967 the Rupp Minibike lineup consisted of the "Continentals".
All models used Lauson engines and 6" wheels.
1964 Rupp Continental mini bike.
- Continental Electra: 3.5hp Lauson engine, front and rear suspension, front and rear lights, red, gold or blue
- Continental Custom: 3.5hp Lauson engine, front and rear suspension, red, gold or blue
- Continental Special: 2.5hp Lauson engine, front suspension, red.
- Continental Cub: 2.5hp Lauson engine, no suspension, gold.
- D-300: go kart with Tecumseh HS25 2.5hp engine, live axle.
- Dart Concession Kart: Tecumshe HS35 3.5hp engine.
- Chevy Jr: Tecumseh HS35 engine, scaled down version of a Chevy SS car, fiberglass body, blue with white stripes.
- Fun Kart: 2.5hp Lauson engine,
In 1968 the introduction of the "eye candy" mini bikes from Rupp.
Models included: TT-500, XL-500, XL-350, C-500, C-350, C-250, Cub.
Three colors available: metallic blue, metallic red, metallic gold.
All bikes had 6" turbine wheels.
Also cable operated disc brakes (1968 was the only year of disc brakes on a Rupp).
1968 Rupp XL350 mini bike.
- TT-500: Tecumseh HS50 engine, 2 speed, lights front & rear, jackshaft.
- XL-500: Tecumseh HS50 engine, lights front & rear, jackshaft.
- XL-350: Tecumseh HS35 engine, lights front & rear, jackshaft.
- C-350: Tecumseh HS35 engine, front and rear suspension, blue.
- C-250: Tecumseh HS25 engine, front suspension only, red.
- C-220 Cub: Tecumseh HS25 engine, no suspension, gold. (available in kit form too.)
- Chevy Jr: Tecumseh HS35 engine, scaled down version of a Chevy SS car, fiberglass body, blue with white stripes.
- D-300: Go kart with Tecumseh HS25 engine, live axle.
- Fun Kart: Tecumseh HS25 engine.
The 1969 models showed subtle changes from the 1968 lineup. They included:
Roadster, Goat, Scrambler, Digger, Sprint, Banchi, Chopper.
All had 6" turbine wheels and Tecumseh engines.
Roadster & Scrambler had rectangular headlight (new for 1969) and tail/brake lights.
Five colors available: Blue metallic, green metallic, red, yellow, orange.
1969 Rupp Roadster mini bike.
- Roadster: 2 speed and Tecumseh H50 (5hp) engine with lights.
- Goat: 2 speed and Tecumseh H50 (5hp) engine, no lights.
- Scramber: Tecumseh HS35 3.5hp engine with lights, single speed jack shaft
- Digger: Tecumseh HS50 5hp engine, no lights, only came in blue metallic
- Sprint: Tecumseh HS35 3.5hp engine, no lights, only came in green metallic
- Banchi: Tecumseh HS25 2.5hp engine, no lights, no rear suspension, only came in yellow
- Chopper: Tecumseh HS25 2.5hp engine, entry level bike, no bells or whistles, only came in orange
1970 was a big year for Rupp. Entirely redesigned from top to bottom.
Motorcycle type minibike frame, angle mounted engine, Torque convertor drive (known as the TC-1),
and 10" spoke rims (Roadster, Enduro, Scrambler only). This is the ONLY year Rupp
used a 10" spoke wheel rims.
10" models included: Roadster, Enduro, Scrambler.
6" turbine wheel models included: Sprint, Chopper.
Available colors: metallic blue, red and orange.
All engines and gas tanks were silver metallic.
All but Chopper had headlight brackets. Number plate was used in place
of headlight on Enduro, Scrambler, and Sprint models.
1970 Rupp Roadster minibike with 10 inch spoke wheels.
- Roadster: lights front & rear, TC-1, Tecumseh HS40 4hp engine, 10" spoke rims. Exterior front fork springs.
- Enduro: number plate, TC-1, Tecumseh HS40 4hp engine, 10" spoke rims
- Scrambler: number plate, Tecumseh HS35 3.5hp engine, 10" spoke wheels, no front brake
- Sprint: number plate, Tecumseh HS35 3.5hp engine, No TC-1, 6" wheels/tires
- Chopper: Tecumseh HS25 2.5hp engine, entry level bike, no bells or whistles
In 1971 brought more changes and refinements to the minibike lineup.
New 12" spoke wheels on three models (Roadster2, Enduro, Black Widow),
new 10" slotted mag wheels on two models (Hustler, Scrambler).
The introduction of the famed & fast Blackwidow.
Roadster2 and Enduro available in red, green metallic, blue metallic. Interior front fork springs
now used (instead of exterior front fork springs).
Purple metallic offered only on the Roadster2.
1971 Rupp Roadster2 mini bike in Purple (12 inch spoke wheels).
- Blackwidow: Tecumseh HS40 4hp engine, Dell'Oroto carb, TC-1, straight pipe exhaust,
12" spoke rims, motocross tires, 24 or 28 spoke rims were used, black only.
- Roadster2: Tecumseh HS40 4hp engine, lights front and rear, TC-1, 12" wheels 24 or 28 spoke rims, trials tires.
- Enduro: Tecumseh HS40 4hp engine, no lights, TC-1, 12" wheels 24 or 28 spoke rims, motocross tires
- Hustler: Tecumseh HS40 4hp engine, TC-1, slotted 10" mag type rims, motocross tires.
- Scrambler: Tecumseh HS35 3.5hp engine, slotted 10" mag wheels, trials tires, no front brake, green only.
- Bandit: Tecumseh HS25 2.5hp engine, No TC-1, slotted 10" mag wheels, trials tires, no front brake, blue only.
- Rascal: Tecumseh HS25 2.5hp engine, entry level bike, no bells or whistles, purple only.
In 1972 the product line downsized a bit. Left over Blackwidows were being sold as 1972 models,
Roadster2, Hustler and Scrambler were all almost identical to the 1971 models.
The big change was black frame (frame no longer painted the color of the gas tank, as in 1971).
Also the swing arm and triple tree on all bikes were black (no longer the color
of the painted gas tank). The mechanics of the bikes were basically the same as 1971.
Enduro model was dropped. Hustler & Scrambler models only came in red. Roadster2 had one
new color available: Copper metallic.
1972 Rupp Hustler (black frame) with 10 inch mag wheels.
Then in 1973 to 1976 began a new era at Rupp with all models having Tecumseh engines
being dropped, except the newly designed Roadster2. It featured painted front fender,
no headlight reflectors and no rear shock reflectors. The decal package was all new.
Fenders now had stripes too. Available in brown metallic, with gold decals & brown seat,
or Magenta purple with silver decals and black seat. All had 4hp HS40 Tecumseh engines
with the new larger blower housing. Both Roadster2 models had lights front and rear.
1973 Rupp Roadster minibike in Magenta with painted front fender.
In 1972 Rupp's small motorcycles were the beginning of a new frontier for Rupp,
a small motorcycle, and the Rupp RMT-80 was born. Featuring a Fuji 80cc kick start engine,
manual 4 speed transmission, headlight w/hi-low, tail/brake light, horn,
true hydraulic suspension, 17" front and 16" rear wheels/tires. Built only in 1972 and 1973,
the last bike to be designed by the master mind and original owner of Rupp Industries, Mickey Rupp.
Rupp RMT-80 mini-cycle aka mini bike.
The 1973 Rupp SS-5. A small cycle, equal in size to the RMT-80 but featuring a Tecumseh HS50 5hp
and TC-1 drive system and D. Alloy front forks, alloy wheel hubs, silver in color with red/white/blk
accenting decals. Rear wheel is 16 inch and 17 inch front wheel.
This was the only large frame Tecumseh powered bike built by Rupp. (The Tecumseh
HS50 has a longer power shaft, which is a bit different than a standard HS50 motor.)
Dellorto MB22A carburetor is used. Last bike with design help by Mickey Rupp.
Rupp SS-5 mini-cycle aka mini bike.
In 1973/1974, two more new models were introduced. The L-80, L-100. The Rupp RMT-80 of 1972 was
redesigned and now called the L-80. The dual beam headlight, brake light,
speedometer were all deleted. New larger type rear shocks, redesigned rear fender,
alloy front forks, Candy apple red with black decals for accents.
The L-100 had the same mechanics as the new L-80 but for a 100cc Fuji engine that
featured a 5 speed manual transmission. Blue gas tank and baby blue decals for
In 1975 the new MX-80 was introduced. It appeared as nothing more than a rehashed
combination of the RMT and L-80/L-100. Bike was basically a stripper version of all
Rupp's small cycles from years prior. Fuji 80 motor, 4 speed manual trans,
alloy front forks, alloy hubs, green only. By this time financial problems for Rupp
had set in, this bike is believed to have been engineered for one reason:
to diminish existing inventories of spare parts from the previous model years.
1975 was the last year Rupp made any minibikes/cycles.