Yamaha FS1E

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The Yamaha FS1-E (originally FS1) was the definitive UK 1970s sports moped. The un-restricted form of this machine was capable of up to 50 mph (80 km/h). Machines registered in the UK after 1 August 1977 were restricted to a maximum of 30 mph (48 km/h).


The Yamaha FS1-E (commonly known as the "fizzy") was the definitive moped for 16 year-olds from its UK introduction in 1972 to the late 70s, when in 1977 the British government introduced new legislation to restrict the maximum speed of mopeds to 30 mph (48 km/h). Imports continued in this form until 1980.


The Yamaha FS1-E has a 49 cc single cylinder 2-stroke air-cooled rotary disc-valved engine with a four-speed gearbox. It was originally only available in one colour, Candy Gold, and this was known as the SS model, the later Candy Gold ones were badged FS1-E in 1974. Honda also made a moped that looked a little like the Yamaha FS1E, but it had a fourstroke 49cc engine badged as the Honda SS50. In 1974 a second colour was introduced, Popsicle Purple and the model name on the side panel was changed to the now infamous "FS1-E". The model was FS1 and the suffix "E" stood for England (differing from the models sold in other countries as the FS1-E had more cycle parts in common with other UK-imported Yamaha models). Yamaha changed the colours and graphics over the years (Baja Brown, Competition Yellow, etc) and introduced various improvements such as a front disc brake (FS1-E DX.) and later an autolube model with a 2-stroke oil tank and oil pump (so no need to manually mix 2-stroke oil into the fuel tank any more).

The FS1-E has enjoyed a renaissance in the past few years as the original 16 year-old owners have now become 40+-year olds with some spare cash who are looking to relive their youth by buying and restoring these wonderful classics. Such is now the demand for Fizzys, the prices for both the mopeds themselves and the spare parts have risen sharply with some restored models fetching £3,000+. A very few lucky 16 year-olds run these classic Fizzys, enjoying dizzying performance in comparison with modern mopeds.

Various enthusiast clubs and websites cater for this renewed interest. The extent of work carried out varies greatly, from simply getting a bike running to complete restorations and engine transplants (often from the similar Yamaha YB100).

About 200,000 were produced for the UK market and it is estimated that 1,000 to 2,000 still exist. However, finding one in a barn or old lock-up is becoming increasingly rare. An award winning short film was produced in 2006 and is available entitled 'Fizzy Days' encompassing the bikes and the era.

Originally the FS1E was built as a 5-speed transmission light motorcycle, with a topspeed of 90-95 km/h and 6 bhp. It was originally called the FS1. Due to the regulations in Europe, the FS1E was downtuned with a 4-speed transmission.


The FS1-E had the ability to be powered by pushbike type pedals since this was a legal requirement for registration as a moped in the United Kingdom and some other European countries at the time.

The special pedal cranks allowed both pedals to be rotated forward so that the pedals would form motorcycle-style footrests in normal operation. To engage the pedals, the left-hand pedal crank could be rotated forward and locked and a drive gear engaged allowing the user to pedal. A short chain connected the pedal drive to the main engine-chain drive system. Pedaling was hard work for the rider: there was no freewheel and the pedal gearing was very low. The engine could be started with pedal drive engaged, causing the pedals to rotate under engine power when the bike was in gear. In practice, the cam and shaft arrangement to engage the pedals frequently seized (in normal operation, a rider would very rarely engage pedal-drive as it was less tiring to push than to pedal).

Design of pedals

The design of the pedals was done by Henk Dullens, a former employee of "Het Motorpaleis" in The Netherlands. The pedal system was designed for a Yamaha F5, which was basically the ancestor for the FS1E.


Engine: Two Stroke single cylinder 4.8 bhp (3.6 kW) rotary disc valve induction, 4 gears, running on a 20:1 mix of petrol.

Frame: pressed steel tubular backbone type.

Electrics : Magneto ignition with integral 6V AC for the main running lights (including high and low beam on a switch). The indicators, brake lights, neutral light and horn ran separately on 6v DC from a 3-cell lead acid battery that received a trickle charge from the magneto. On most models the 3 position ignition switch (on a key providing off, run and lights) was mounted on the L/H side panel, however the switch was moved to the conventional position between the handlebars on the DX.

Performance: Maximum Speed approx. 45 mph, 95 mpg or more. Right hand side panel contains a basic toolkit in a plastic case, pliers, 3 spanners, double ended screwdriver, plug spanner.

The competition

The second most popular moped of this era came from Honda, the SS50. They had a similar speed, were cleaner, more economical and potentially longer lived though without quite the same acceleration or style. All suffered the same legislative fate in 1977. For a short time after this date some smaller manufacturers (particularly Italian) brought in machines that could easily be derestricted without the use of any additional parts or any machining.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Yamaha FS1E,
which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

More Pictures

Yamaha FS1-E side panel

Yamaha FS1-E tank