OHVALE sounds like something that Linda Morselli would whisper into the ears of Valentino Rossi during an erotic session between the sheets. Maybe Marc Marquez was shouting such expletives in the gravel traps of Malaysia? However, OHVALE is also an Italian brand of motorcycles currently setting trends, attesting size doesn’t matter.
Human instinct has witnessed radical adaptation to the UK’s inclement weather. Racers now utilise indoor kart tracks to hone their skills during winter months, spanking minimotos, pit bikes and other motorised derivatives to ensure they stay sharp. Ignorance and naivety would suggest these pocket rockets are simply toys. Witnessing the likes of Scott Redding, Luke Hedger and Fraser Rogers would suggest otherwise.
We were invited down to Swindon Karting Arena to sample OHVALE’s latest collection of ‘small motorcycles’ (we’re not allowed to call them pocket bikes or MiniGPs). The GP-0 is basically a minimoto on ‘roids for normal-sized humans (slightly smaller than a CRF150 pit bike), powered by a Japanese-built 190cc motor churning out a claimed 29bhp. It brags a steel trellis frame as the centrepiece for other quality components – not the usual feast of Chinese gorgonzola-esque qualities.
It was certainly intimidating on a cold, damp, murky winter’s morning, even after being dressed in tyre warmers (yes, actual tyre warmers) for half an hour. If you imagine riding your favourite supersport bike that’s been downscaled by 75% without compromising performance, that pretty much encapsulates the GP-0’s riding experience: the brakes are monstrously powerful, it handles like sex, and its 29bhp felt more like 290bhp amongst the narrow confines of SKA with a lovely spread of power on tap. OHVALE claim there’s a weight distribution of 53%/47% in favour of the front-end, and that’s immediately apparent. A culmination of 66kg and that steel trellis frame providing oodles of racey chassis stiffness equates to the GP-0 steering with mind-blowing pace. Being truly race-inspired, that stiffness can often lead to twitchy manners and proves it’s no Tonka toy.
Knackered limbs and feeble joints mean I have to be craned off a minimoto after a five-minute session. The GP-0 is far more accommodating and easier to move around.
There’s now an official UK importer run by Aaron Brown (of BSB support class fame) and big plans for a race series in Blighty, and even K-Tech are producing fork cartridge kits for the 33mm stanchions. Back in native Italy, there’s a championship that runs alongside the CIV national superbike series racing on proper tracks such as Mugello and Misano. 40 fully-grown adults spanking these little pocket rockets round GP circuits? I’d pay to watch that.
Yes, it’s an expensive toy, but it’s also a proper weapon capable of far more than meets the eye, and the ‘made in Italy’ badge is an enticing one. Prices start at £2,699 for the 110cc automatic and the full-factory GP-0 comes in at £3,599. Check ‘em out here…