Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Honda NS50F

Wed, June 8th, 2011

1990 Honda NS50F
The little liquid-cooled, 50cc engine only does a merely adequate job of providing forward thrust for its intended street role, and being a two-stroke, it takes some concentrated effort to wring out all its potential momentum. On the other hand, it's that same GP-racer-like character that make it supremely entertaining.
It's so light that it's easy to throw around, but light weight doesn't excuse the skinny fork tubes and substandard drum front brake. Still, it's better than nearly any scooter of similar top speed.
The svelte chassis is ruined by a tail section that is too bulbous for such a small, unfaired bike. The drum front brake looks dowdy, and the rectangular headlight is dated. Pastel-colored graphics that were trying so hard to be hip and trendy circa 1990 now just look silly and overly feminine.
It's a small-bore two-stroke that will spend a lot of its time at or near redline, so don't expect Gold Wing longevity. But thanks to liquid cooling, it's even more reliable than Honda's earlier, bulletproof MB5.
The NS50F is much more suitable as an entertainment center than practical transportation. Many other little bikes can get you there more easily.
I'd pick up an NS50F only if I stumbled upon a killer deal.
Real 50cc 2-stroke street bikes are always fun, and rare in the United States, but the NS50F is not the pick of the litter.