*Restored* 1965 Wards Riverside 150

Posted: 08/11/2015 in Search Our Archive (no longer available)

1965 Wards Riverside 150-D that was made by the Italian motorcycle company Benelli and sold by Montgomery Ward under their Riverside badging.  This moped was their base model and came with the same 49cc engine as the 250-D but with a standard saddle seat and a few less extras.

1965 Riverside Wards Moped 1965 Wards Riverside Moped

The older Benelli engines are very well built and include a simple single-speed drive and a automatic clutch that is very similar to the style that is found on single-speed Puch mopeds. The engine cylinder is made of heavy cast iron and the piston uses the same 40mm x 1.5mm chrome plated rings as Honda Hobbits do. What that all means is your engine should last for another 50 years with even basic care and maintenance. We can’t give you a 50 year warranty but we will include a full 30 day warranty on the entire moped. $975.00 delivered and full of gas!

A little more history on Montgomery Ward’s mopeds and motorcycles. 

Much like Sears, Roebuck & Co which sold rebadged Puch and Gileria motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, Montgomery Ward sold imported bikes as well through their catalogs and stores. Their earliest models from the 50’s and early 60’s where French made Motobecane mopeds that consisted of models like the AV88 and 78 and also some scooters that were made by Japan’s Mitsubishi and Italy’s Bianchi companies.  In 1965, the retailer changed manufacturers and opted to sell mostly machines from the Italian company Benelli. Benelli offered not only a few different moped models but also a line of 2 stroke/single cylinder motorcycles that could compete in the marketplace with the Austrian Puch motorcycles that Sears was selling under their Allstate brand. 

By 1970 the moped and motorcycle sales went away for the two department store retailers primarily due to the Japanese invasion with highly engineered, reliable and powerful 4 stroke motorcycles under the likes of Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki. Also, in 1970 a new government regulatory board was created to oversee and combat increasing pollution and air quality issues; the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA). Smokey 2 stroke motorcycles and other high emission vehicles would be one of the agencies first targets.

In the late 70’s when moped sales and popularity exploded, Montgomery Ward (and Sears) began selling 2 stroke mopeds again. This time around, Wards sold the re-branded German-made Solo/Columbia Commuter moped along with a couple of USA made AMF models and also a re-branded Italian moped with a Minarelli engine. Sears, once again, also started selling Puch powered mopeds but under their Free Spirit moniker. Catalog and department store retailer J.C Penney also got in on the moped action in 1977 by offering its own Puch based mopeds under the names of Swinger and Pinto. By 1980 the moped craze was over and all three department stores discontinued selling mopeds; this time for good.

….and now you have the rest of the story!

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