Speedway Workshop

Today in Motorcycle History

The EiCoH Speedway Bike

Kazuo Honda from Japan was one of the family members involved in the development of the Kyokuto Speedway engine, but also produced his own speedway engine in the mid-sixties under the brand name "EiCoH", the name being derived from Engine Company Honda. The name "Honda" is in no way related to the present day Honda Motorcycle Company that we all know so well. Even though it was designed as a speedway engine, the first 500cc, 48bhp single cylinder motor was given to the Van de Goorberg brothers for the 1967 sidecar Motocross season. Probably in recognition of their confidence in the Kyokuto during the previous year.

The EiCoH differed from the Kyokuto in many ways and in others, was similar to the Hedlund. A tensioned chain from the crankshaft drove the inlet cam, which in turn worked a series of gears to operate the exhaust cam. The cams had a fierce square profile and were actuated via steel rollers on the rockers, which ran in needle rollers themselves. For a 1967 speedway engine this was quite advanced technology. The Mitsubishi magneto was also gear driven and provided one hell of a spark.

In typical speedway fashion, the engine worked on a total loss lubrication system. A much more efficient oil pump was sourced to combat overheating, which sometime affected the Kyokuto. Everything apart from the head and barrel were cased in alloy to keep weight down. Even the piston was very lightweight, with a very short skirt and only two rings, (no oil ring is needed in a total loss system).

Contemporary reports suggest that it was a tractable and powerful engine, but more through bad luck than anything else, the EiCoH never appeared on a speedway track outside of Japan. Less than twelve months after the first engine was released from the factory, dirt-track racing was banned in Japan. It would have been interesting to see if the EiCoH could have made an impact in speedway racing and challenged the supremacy of the JAP and the ESO. Kazuo Honda was so sure his engine could be a world-beater that he wanted to keep it quiet, hence the initial denial of its existence. There is no doubt that it did exist though as these photographs show.

March 2016
Justin Boyle of Riverside, California writes:
"An Eicoh speedway engine. The only one in existence. Been hiding in my garage. I've been trying to figure out the history for years. Nobody knew what it was."

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