European Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Troyce Collection Vintage Japanese Motorcycles

1973 Kawasaki Z1

1973 Kawasaki Z1 900cc

Rode one of these, same color and model, in 1974 to from Birmingham AL to the CA border other side of Las Vegas and back. What a miserable seat to sit on for that long, but at least we got there in a hurry! Bought this one in 2001, still had very nice original paint, just needed the new set of OEM exhausts I had squirreled away years ago.

1965 BSA Rocket with Rev-Counter

1965 BSA Rocket with Rev-Counter

In 1980 I responded to the classified advertisement for this bike in the local paper in Huntsville AL. The US Serviceman had bought it new in England while he was stationed there, and brought it home with him several years later. Bike is still perfectly original with the larger-volume British home-market fuel tank sporting the original blue candy-apple paint. Has always started - almost - on one or two kicks. A wonderfully laid back backroads old Sunday-Bike.

Honda C200 Mid 1960s

Mid-1960s Honda 90 C200 in White

Having put almost 30,000 miles - quite a feat at an average of 35 mph or so - on one of these beauties in the 1960s through the early college years of the 1970s, I can't resist them. This is the most perfect visual of any of the classic 1960s Honda motorcycles in my estimation. Better looking even than the famous CB72/77 Hawk/Super Hawk models.

1957 Honda JC58 Benly

1957 Honda JC58 Benly

A client of mine in Japan came across this little beauty late in 2002, and asked me if I might want it. Silly question. It is an example of a model that was quite successful in homeland Japan, so it isn't especially rare there. This model was not offically imported to the North American market, so it is somewhat rare here. I'm aware of two or three other examples here in the U.S. Close scrunity of the specs including pushrods and shifting pattern - neutral at the top - indicate it is the father of the successful "Honda 90" C200 as sold in the American markets.

1954 Honda Dream 4E

1954 Honda Dream 4E

Also imported from Japan. Engine is 220cc OHV (pushrod) single, with two exhaust ports. Three-speed tranny with a lever throw of about seven inches. Bike runs quite well, if a bit noisily - although having never heard another run, perhaps they all do that. It certainly gets attention at the shows, once folks realize it isn't a Euro-classic, and is in fact a Honda.

1953 Honda Dream ME

1953 Honda Dream ME

Also imported from Japan. Engine is 248cc OHC single. Engine is same as the, I'm sure well-known by all, SA single that came before, but chassis a bit upgraded for a better ride. By the time this model came about, the die was cast for Honda to assume world-leader market status.  The bike was as modern as any being produced anywhere in its era.

Honda 1963c CA95 TokyoRose

Early 1960s Honda CA95

Two distinct versions were sold of the C(A)95 motorcycles in the U.S. Market. This is the 'early ' version, sold with blackwall tires, as opposed to the wide-whites on the 'late' version, and with the forward curving exhaust headers. This particular example was supplied in an odd pink or chartreuse color, referenced in the road test in "Cycle" magazine at the time as "Passionate Pink." Upon first glance I thought I had managed only to drag home a faded red C95, but in rubbing the paint out, and removing components to see the original color, determined it was not the standard Honda Scarlet Red at all. Subsequently, I found a few other examples across this great country, and all were within approximately 30 serial numbers of one another. American Honda, in response to several queries, denies they ever sold a bike this color.

Honda CE71 Dream 1960

1960 Honda CE71

This one is awaiting restoration, got a long way to go before it's done, but it will get done. Pretty rare bike, tickled to get it!.

1962 Honda M80 Juno

Story goes that this luxury scooter was not much of a success anywhere.  Honda built a couple versions of the Juno in a much more elegant Art-Deco style in the late 1950s-early 60s, but with a more conventional single-cylinder engine. The Juno incorporates a 'boxer' twin of 125cc in the M80 as shown, and went to 150cc with the M85 the next year. However, the scooters were over-complicated with and over-priced for the world market of the time, and did not sell well. The design includes a 'hydro-static' transmission, so that the ratios are increased by merely twisting the left grip as speed is gained. What speed there is. Electric-start and indicators are fitted as well.

Honda CB400F

1976 Honda CB400F

The first generation of the fine little cafe bike created by Honda in the mid-1970s. Bike did not sell well in the states, with its low 'bars and rear-set 'pegs, and so was on the market here only three years, with the final generation of 1977 incorporating high 'bars and forward-set footpegs. Since that time, they have become somewhat more popular, and have a sizeable following.

1950s Rikuo RQ 750

1950s Rikuo RQ 750

In the early-mid 1930s Harley-Davidson established a factory in Japan, including blueprints and tooling, in partnership with a Japanese company. This was in response to Harley's failing fortunes during The Depression plus the appearance of a lucrative market already established in SE Asia by certain importers of Harley products there. This factory originally produced motorcycles with the Harley-Davidson name/logo. After a few years, WWII began to brew and HD was forced out of the country, with the name of the motorcycles then changed to Rikuo.  This means, approximately, "Land King" as translated from Japanese.  This example was imported by myself in 2005, and runs like a top. Transmission is three-speed, and is shifted by hand using a foot-clutch, just as on the bike it emulates: The Harley-Davidson WL/WLA 45 cu. in. model.


Mid 1960s Honda Super Hawk CB77 Chrome Edition

Another in the series of chrome-bodied models delivered to high-volume American Honda dealers in the 1960s, this bike sports chrome pretty much everywhere but the seat, tires, and tank body. I have personally contacted owners of three others of factory-chromed bikes, and all verify that the chrome is of a quality consistent with that usually found on Japanese bikes of the time - to say, not that great.

1982 Ducati Darmah

1982 Ducati Darmah

For those who have never ridden one of these long-legged Italian Stallions, the classic Bevel-Drive OHC Desmodromic-valve L-twins, drop what you are doing and go out and do so immediately. There is nothing else like it. The powerful thudding splats of the big jugs that sound and feel a bit like a certain antiquated Milwaukee design, but without the ridiculous vibration and harvester-like mechanical din. Plus, they handle. A wonderful Big Bike. This one was taken in trade for an earlier "boat" seat model, but that had a bad engine bottom-end. This one runs like a top.

Honda 1983 Passport and cart

1983 Honda Passport C70, Wife, and Cart

Our version of the little bike that has sold millions, if not billions, of copies the world over. This is the 12V version, much preferable since the electric-start will actually work if the battery is kept in fettle. We have added a trailer-hitch of sorts, and use this thing to haul trash-cans out to the end of our half-mile long driveway, and brush and cuttings to the woods, etc. It is the single most dependable motorized vehicle I have ever owned.

SwapMeet Special 125

SwapMeet Special 125

See and hear it go backwards!

Junk CT90 Frame to start, added XL125 forks, smaller wheel, some fender. Put TRX125 Four-wheeler motor into frame.  Now I got reverse and electric-strart! Works great, gets what I want - lots of attention.

Honda GL1000 Cafe 1977

1977 Honda GL1000 Cafe

"Cafe" might be a little optimistic, but it sure draws a lot of attention at shows. Looks fast and mean, but is not as quick as a good 500, and is clumsy to boot. Once up to speed, it handles fair, bit it ain't no Ducati.

1998 Honda Dream 50

1998 Honda Dream 50

Whiney underpowered little thing in stock form due to being overly restricted in intake and exhaust.  Sure is purty to look at, though. We hope to help the beans with recently purchased 98cc kit + carbie + meggas.

1972 Suzuki GT750

1972 Suzuki GT750

The "Water Buffalo" "Kettle" etc. I sure like riding this one.  Sounds like an outboard motor, and is fun to listen to the cylinders come online one at a time.