Originally Posted by mrchjohnson
What put Honda Motorcycles on the map
The bikes they make now are high-tech marvels. They get astronomical amounts of hp from each cubic inch. But for sheer numbers of people having fun and great transportation, I think we need to look to the earlier small bikes, like the S90, the passport and the Cub.
The Honda 50 is a great choice. They also sold a bunch of the Honda 55's. The 70's were keepers too, the Passport 70 I think is the most common motorcyle in the world, going by the number produced. The Cub 90, which looks just like the Passport, is a big seller too. I may have these reversed, not 100% sure which was the biggest seller. I have owned a whole buncha Trail 90's. I like them too. SO durable. I had a Cub 90, rode it hundreds of miles, from Fresno CA down to Venice CA. 275 miles. I rode my Trail 90 from LA to almost the Canadian border in ID. 1400 miles. Great trip.
Currently I have one of the original Honda 50's, think a 1964 model. In original condition, too, un-restored because it doesn't need it. Also a Trail 90 in similar condition. I have a couple of knock-around CT70's too. 1969. One has a brand new engine in it, I got from a bud who worked for a Honda shop that went belly-up. It was still in the original packing. I fella just gave me a brand new 70cc engine from a Chinese import. It will fit, but I hafta squirrel around with the electrics. You can have a LOT of fun on a CT70.
The Honda 450 was never the world's favoite, but it was a significant motorcycle. It was Honda's first entry into the Big Motorcycle market. they really over-built in in some senses. They made it almost indestructible. Hot rod it or baby it, you could keep it forever cuz it never broke or wore out. It would blow off all but a handfull of the Big British twins. Don't raise your eyebrows at ME, son, I was there, I did it! I had two of them, a '65 and a '66. They first came out in 1965. People didn't like them because they turned such high rpm. The Harleys and the Limeys were all much lower rpm. I used to ride with the HD club hereabouts. Our runs were mostly in the foothills and mtns. I could out run them all. Most, I could take anywhere, some, I hadda take em from the light, or in the curves cuz some of the Sportsters could take me on the top end. But not the 'Glides, they couldn't stay with me. Once, coming north from Newport Beach on the Harbor Freeway, I was going right into the wind. The Santa Ana wind was REALLY kicking up. I was rocking back and forth between 3rd and 4th (they were four speeds till like 1970) trying to punch through the wind. It was also in a constructon zone. This bike cop had to call ahead to catch me. I was well into my ticket by the time the tired old Harley finally caught up to me where his bud had caught me. His bike was sitting there panting and creaking. And the cop wasn't too happy either. This was in 1969 I believe.
The accountants designed the Honda 350. It had lots of power and speed for a 350, but inside it was built SO cheaply. Nowhere near like the 450. But they sold a lot of them.
My vote, and my all-time favorite is the S90. It handles great, looks like a motorcycle, is easy to hop-up, is very durable, gets great mileage and is pretty fast. Easy to work on too. I had one almost completely restored. My bud cried and moaned until I let him have it, he wanted to finish the restore. Then he started stepping out on his ole lady and got divorced and gave my bike away to some chump (prolly, I don't know who got it).
It was fun riding it. Folks would pull up beside me, stare, the break out in a huge grin, "Hey! That's a Honda S90! That was my first bike! You wanna sell it?"