Whenever I'm in Spain I find myself ogling the really cool mini roadrace motorcycles racing in and out of traffic.
Youthful displays of speed and daring on motorcycles are as much a part of the Spanish culture as cigarettes and long siestas.
The ever-present scent of two-stroke exhaust and the sound of diminutive motors tapped at full throttle are imbedded in the Spanish psyche, leaving little wonder how the region has managed to produce such top caliber racers as Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, and Carlos Checa.
The leading manufacturer of these fully faired pint-sized motorcycles is Barcelona-based Derbi, which owns a significant portion of the small displacement motorcycles so essential to the Spanish way of life; whether you're talking functional transportation or stylish sporting fun.
Derbi has garnered 19 125cc World Championships in a storied history devoted entirely to small displacement development.
Transforming that rich racing legacy into street legal application are the Derbi GPR 50 (2-stroke) and the GPR 125 (4-stroke).
The two Derbi GPR models have a surprisingly aggressive big motorcycle presence for such small motorcycles. At first glance one might think they're looking at a top-tier 600 or superbike.
The 50cc version is intended as the ultimate entry-level machine for young and beginning riders while the 125 is better suited for some experience and makes a more practical commuter (while also providing some spirited weekend romping on twisting back roads).
Both Derbi motorcycles sport an aluminum twin beam perimeter chassis with gull wing-design swingarms. A full fairing with wedged tail section give the bikes racing aerodynamics while rear-set footpegs, drop bars, inverted forks, disc brakes and under-slung exhaust pipe reinforce the racing persona.
The GPR 50cc and 125cc engines are carbureted and liquid-cooled with electric start. No power output was available for the 50cc, but the 125cc is claimed to produce 15 hp at 9,250 rpm.
Both bikes have six-speed gearboxes and are fitted with 12-spoke, 17" wheels.
With cool small displacement motorcycles like the Derbi GPR 50 and GPR 125, lenient traffic cops, and plenty of smooth, twisting pavement, it's no wonder Spain owns all the MotoGP world titles for 2010.
And right now, dashing through the streets and villages of Spain, another generation of world champions is getting their first taste of speed and adrenaline courtesy of Derbi.