Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Eau de toilet seat: 1971 Honda CT90

You meet the nicest people on a Honda.  Back in the early 60's, motorcyclists had a bad reputation in no small part from the late 50's teen gang movies - especially Brando's Wild One.  Honda, with its "nicest people" ads and the Bruce Brown movie On Any Sunday, changed that.  One of the Honda's that changed that perception was the step through Super Cub and its off-road-ish successor, the CT90.  Find this 1971 Honda CT90 for sale in Shelton, WA for $1,395 via craigslist.

The Honda Super Cub was a step through frame urban run-about.  According to rumor, American Honda employees noticed a dealer in the Mid-west converting Super Cubs to light off road duty and selling them to farmers and outdoors-men.  And thus Honda went back to the drawing board and created the CT "light-roader" based on the Super Cub.  The CT was sold in various displacements from 50 to 125 ccs with the 90cc version the most prevalent.  The CT90, or Trail 90 as it was also known was powered by a four stroke OHV air-cooled single and equipped with an automatic gearbox with a high and low range.  In high, one could hit 55 mph, down a hill, with a tail wind.  Our subject bike's powerplant is a bit scruffy, but seems to be all there, down to the overflow tube from the carb. The plastic frame fairing does have a large flat washer securing it.  Also, the skid plate looks to be straight and true and not caved in.

The gas tank on this step through is located under the seat and one lifts it up like a toilet to access the cap.  We used to call them toilet seat 90's.  Behind the seat is a chrome cargo rack that could be equipped with a buddy seat.  The air intake for the motor is located under the cargo rack just behind the seat.  This gave the fisherman on his way to his secret spot the ability to ford small streams.

The ad implies that the indicated mileage of 2,200 is true and all the lights work.  One other interesting thing is that the large handle between the handlebar clamps could be lifted, allowing the bars to be swiveled 90 degrees, so you could carry the Trail 90 on the front of your pickup truck - back when pickup trucks were used for things other than urban commuting...

See a better thing to putter around the campground with? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com

Gianni is Daily Turismo's Pacific Northwest correspondent.  


  1. You meet the nicest people with a burned inner right thigh on a Honda. After a few months I assume some kind of tough scar tissue/callous would build up, but for the first few hundred times driving this thing with my favorite pair of Magnum PI shorts would be really uncomfortable.

    1. i was wondering the same thing - honda says: "the complete wrap-around heat shield on the exhaust pipe guards against leg burns"


    2. I don't remember any issues with leg burns with ours. We had a 1970 Trail 90. It was a tough old bird, my brothers and I and our friends beat that thing mercilessly.

    3. Legs really sit so far forward on these that it's not an issue. I rode mine every day for two years in college in only burned myself a handful of times, mostly while horsing around with someone else on the back. These things probably aren't rated to carry much more than 200 lbs, and I routinely burdened mine with double that between me and a buddy who needed a ride to class. Fun, and dumb, times.

  2. I've had 3 of these, last one was stolen about 7 years ago. Still pisses me off. They are fun, easy to ride bikes that are great around town and cheap to maintain. The website dratv.com has pretty much every part you need to keep one alive.

  3. The big east coast city police department I worked for for 30 years had these for park patrol. They held up pretty good under some fat cops.


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