The phone message back in 2011 said, “Please go to this address and pick up **garbled static garbled** Badass.” Cool, another badass motorcycle for CMG.
The $3,499 Sachs Madass looked interesting in a minimalist, BMX kind-of-way with stacked headlights, a large single downtube frame that doubled as the five-litre fuel tank, and a single shock. A Honda CT70 on steroids.
The dry weight was 100 kg and the 120cc four-stroke, single cylinder engine produced EIGHT horsepower – less grunt than the pony ride at the Havelock Fall Fair.
It idled way too fast, which played hell when shifting the agricultural four-speed transmission, and it popped and backfired like a top fuel dragster running on Mexican gas.
Riding it home, the Madass sputtered to a halt several times and I diagnosed a fuel cap that wasn’t venting. When I got home, I drilled a small hole to vent the cap and had no further issues. With the fuel anyway.
I then spent two hours going over it front to back, tightening loose bolts and screws (including the main steering stem nut and motor mounts), adjusting things and setting the idle speed. Unfortunately, the air screw adjuster was sealed so the backfiring would continue.
The Madass accelerated with the urgency of the last dollop of toothpaste leaving the tube. Even at full throttle, you were in imminent danger of being run over by Rascal scooters when the local senior’s centre breaks for lunch.
The minimally-damped hydraulic forks were harsh over bumps, yet they almost bottomed when grabbing a handful of front brake. The rear shock is mostly spring with little or no damping, which likewise did nothing for ride quality or handling.
The 16-inch wheels helped a bit, but cornering was a series of lurches and weaves, front-wheel feedback seemingly classified by the Official Secrets Act.
And then, the battery went flat. Fortunately, it had a kick starter but a 75 kilometre ride did nothing to charge the battery and when the turn signal was activated, the engine started misfiring, as electrons were diverted from the spark plug to the indicators.
Once sorted, the Madass might have appealed to students or city dwellers as a means to get from point A to point B. As long as B wasn’t too far away.
Sachs had a Madass. And I wasn’t too happy myself.