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MotoMatic’s ’78 Sears Free Spirit – “Yuba 2”

Posted on November 1, 2012 by Andrew in Moped. 23 comments

Another day and, hey presto, another killer ‘ped build. I’m not sure sure where they are all coming from, but our super computer calculations show that at this rate, every man, woman and child in the world will be tootling around town on a bitchin’ custom moped within the next 4.27 years. Scarily, the builds won’t stop there and look set to continue amassing until we reach a moped armageddon of sorts where it becomes us against them, man versus machine, in a nightmare-ish future that will see the bikes test mankind to it’s very limits by blocking out the sun with vast clouds of blue smoke, all while getting great gas mileage and being very convenient to boot. The leader of this future moped master-race will be none other than this exact bike; Motomatic’s “Yuba 2”. And deservedly so. I, for one, welcome our new low-powered overlords… and their creator, Nathan Kiehn.

Here’s Nate. “I built the first version of the Yuba bike in 2006 for a friend. The concept of the bike was his, I just made it all work. The frame started out as a sears free spirit. On the first version I extended the original swing arm by 6″ and added the rigid struts. For the second one I made the whole rear end from scratch. Of all the bikes in my gallery, I get the most inquires about this one.”


“I got ripped off on my first order
to get the brass knuckles”


“The ‘Yuba Bike 2’ was a special order for a customer. He requested the white walls, the red rims, and the brass knuckles, the rest was up to me. I got ripped off on my first order to get the brass knuckles for this build they took my money and sent me nothing. Luckily I had a friend that had some but I had to restore them first since they were pretty scuffed up.”

“I am a one man shop and I did everything on this bike myself. I did all of the metal work, the powder coating, laced and trued the wheels, polishing, upholstery, along with the engine and pipe work. People think I cut the head tube and added rake but I didn’t mess with that part of the frame. I increased the rake by lowering the rear end. On a normal Puch, the engine sits pretty much level you can see by the angle of the engine here how much lower this bike is.”

“I think I put the most time into those wheels – they are made from the parts of 5 different bikes. The rims are new but the rest of the wheel is old parts that were restored. It’s not the most comfortable bike to ride, with the rigid rear end and the minimal seat, but it’s all about the look.”

(Spotted on the totally un-low-powered 1977 Mopeds Garage)

  • revdub

    Clean build. I really like that rigid rear section. All of the red powder-coated details are great as well. He’s even powdered the head tube cups! That’s attention to detail. The brass knuckle-holder is also pretty sweet. Awesome quality work, Nate.

  • Those are killer forks – what brand are they? I’m looking for a good front end for my Puch cafe. Lots of cool details on this build – the polished triple clamps musts have taken a lot of work. This is certainly not a stealth bike – it stands out like a deer in a herd of donkeys.

    • revdub

      Hey Manx. These are EBR’s. Check them out. I have used them on several bikes and they work great for the price.

      • Thanks, revdub – I figured you’d know. They look very nice and are the right scale for a moped.

        • revdub

          Anytime. Also, EBR’s come in hydraulic models and some are setup for a disc-brake caliper, for extra suspension and stopping power. Because, when you are going 60mph on a vehicle designed for half of that, you don’t want a pothole to send you flying into the next city! In all honesty though, I have done fine with the cheaper spring models like this.

  • arnold

    Neat bike. I took a ride on the 1977 Mopeds Garage link. I had no idea that alternative universe existed.

    • “You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes…”

  • Mike Cambareri

    Sort of a Schwinn Stingray for big kids. The brass knuckles are a little tacky, in my opinion, but otherwise it’s pretty wicked. That’s one of the coolest ways I’ve ever seen to get a hundred miles per gallon.

  • dddd

    another moped???? thats it i’m never coming back and going to bikeexif

    • Edit: I have removed my post out of respect for Scott and Andrew.

      • Chris is a good guy and a friend of both myself and Scotts. Despite the obvious competition, we talk to him regularly and consider him a mate. We appreciate the complement Tony, but we’d rather you not slam Chris in the process.

        • Sorry if I insulted you, but I have had my own dealings with him and my opinion stands. But, I will keep it to myself.

  • I’d rather ride this than most factory bikes any day.

  • Oldnbroken

    Elegant simplicity that you can still get home on if you run out of fuel. Especially where I live, no hills.


  • Hodge

    Woah, what do the knuckles activate? They pull up for the choke? I can’t tell from any pics but I’m curious as hell now.


    • arnold


    • revdub

      I’d say you’re spot on with the clutch. I don’t see another lever anywhere for that purpose.

      • the brass knuckles are the clutch actuator lever, indeed. pull ’em up and kick it over! this bike will get decent gas milage with that setup, too. hats off to nate, always such clean beautiful builds reppin’ sacramento!

    • Well spotted!

    • That makes it even cooler – a choke lever. I thought the nucks were for fighting off friends who want to ride it “just around the block”.

  • no

    Did I over look something, What is it the brass knuckles do? it looks as if they are attached to a cable.

  • sham

    you know, with that top end and carb that bike is getting very far from good gas mileage. that bike is a blaster, not a commuter.

  • Hunter

    Very nice vintage look. Where can I purchase one?