AlphaSports LG50 1-year Review

Sep. 01, 2001 By
Back over  a year ago, the selection of 50cc ATVs was almost as extensive as it is today with upwards of twenty models to choose from. The choices spanned from several Chinese/Korean near look-alikes, to a few well known marques, to several unique models of varied design. After some research (which ultimately spawned the 50cc quad comparison) I opted for the AlphaSports 50 for my son due mostly to testimonials offered by local owners. The fact the LG50 had striking visual features similar to that of the 400EX, and that it had a functional headlight helped seal the decision.

This review is meant to offer an objective review of the 2000 AlphaSports LG50 after a year of ownership, in both good respects and bad. This particular machine has seen many hours of use in varied terrain and has been the first ride for over a dozen kids. Although used mainly for recreational riding, it has even seen some competition having been entered in a local fairgrounds MX.

Among the flood of Asian junior sized quads the Alpha has its roots with a company called Aeon that also markets the Cobra named version of the LG50. In fact, many of the parts on the LG50 have the name Aeon branded on them. It shares many of the basic features found on many of the other Asian machines (E-Ton, Kasea, Sundiro, Blazer, DRR, T-Rex) such as the automatic transmission-equipped Yamaha scooter-derived engine, full suspension, and front & rear brakes.

It'd be hard to debate that of the bunch the LG50 is one good looking machine. Stylish swoopy lines, bright yellow plastic, and twin headlights do much for its visual appeal. From pictures alone you'd think it was a full size machine rather than a toy designed for pre-K riders. 

P9100007.jpg (57598 bytes) More importantly, the LG50 is also very easy to ride, having been used to teach over a dozen kids to ride their first time. It has an adjustable throttle limiter (stop screw) and tether type motor-kill switch as many of the machines do. One gripe that became apparent fairly quickly was the overly stiff and non-ergonomic design of the thumb throttle. Young riders were suffering with thumb fatigue after only 15 minutes of riding- it would seem the throttle is more suited to 12-year old riders' hands.

To remedy the situation the throttle lever was cut and re-welded at an angle, and additionally the carburetor slide return spring was trimmed and stretched to decrease its taughtness.  P9100009.jpg (67257 bytes) Another issue that shortly reared its ugly head was the LH brake lever limit switch which not only closes the brake light circuit but allows the electric start to energize. The wires in the switch began to fray and needed repair within the first 10 hours of riding.

Some solder and shrink-tube was all that was required to fix it, but with a brand new machine you don't really expect these types of failures (I know of another owner that had the exact same issue).

It would seem that AlphaSports has some homework to do in the electrical department. If you plan on the type of adventurous trail riding that includes the occasional creek crossing you're in for some trouble (again, I have confirmation of this issue from another owner). The machine simply stalls and is hard to restart (thank god for electric start).

I've yet to determine the cause of this malady. Assuming you've made it through water without stalling, the LG50's drum brakes work well even when wet. Over the course of a year, the mechanical adjusters for the cables were only adjusted on the back, and the fronts showed little sign of wear. Braking effort even for the smallest riders was satisfactory and non-fatiguing.

The suspension is ample for most kids and can even handle carrying an adult. Due to the single A-arm style front suspension, the wheels change camber significantly (tilt inward) when landing jumps. However, the machine handles well and flies with good manners. The turn radius seems a bit wide which is worsened by the understeering tendency of the front wheels. Riders really need to shift their weight forward to get a good bite on the front end.

P9100008.jpg (66574 bytes) Trail riding is fine as long as you don't venture into rutted trails. Although the engine to ground clearance is adequate, the rear drum brake cover and rear sprocket cover continually hang up and high-center on rocks and ruts.

Not sure there's a lot that can be done about it, it's simply a matter of a relatively wide track and large diameter axle hardware. Removal of the guards might help a little, but realistically if it seems to be a particularly troublesome issue, larger tires (like that on the LG90) might be the better solution. 

P9140001.jpg (70499 bytes) The frame is constructed of fairly beefy steel tubing and appears to be substantial enough to take most any abuse. We did notice a weak spot in the area where the lower A arm mounts to the frame. If the rider should hit something (like the tree in our backyard) with his front tire even at <5 mph, the mounting perch for the A arm will readily bend. You'll notice a bit of toe-out and the wheel pushed backwards a bit (1/2" in our case). Straightening and gusseting this area should minimize future instances.

As far as engine performance goes, it seems quite adequate for the age riders it was intended for (6-12). The motor starts fairly quickly due to its automatic choke and warms up rapidly. It has decent performance with a fairly smooth torque curve- not at all pipey like two-strokes are known to be. 

After a year of ownership the AlphaSports LG50 had its share of issues, but really not bad for a machine that's essentially brand new to the market. Assuming they get these few glitches worked out the LG50 stands to be one of the better 50cc machines on the market and is sure to offer hours of riding fun for young, recreational ATVers.
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