Tuesday, January 26, 2016

New Traditionalist: 1986 Honda Elite Scooter

In the 1980's Honda was ready to give the past the slip and establish new traditions for scooters.  They were ready to eliminate the ninnies and the twits and create a beautiful world, and that's good.  Why believe in things that make it tough on you; it is your duty now for the future to find this 1986 Honda Elite CH125 Scooter for sale in Beaverton, OR for $600 via craigslist.

The Elite scooter was revolutionary when it was released in 1984.  Instead of its European cousins air-cooled two stroke, the Elite had a liquid cooled 125cc four stroke.  It also featured 80's design dead ends like a digital dash and a flip up headlight.  This one's headlight is stuck, like so many are now - luckily it's in the up position.

In addition to technical innovations, the Elite's design was 80's angular and futuristic in contrast to the traditional scooter's rounded design that hadn't changed much since the end of WW2.  The bodywork was also plastic instead of metal.  And they featured fully automatic transmissions for the shift-less.

Honda used a celebrity advertising campaign featuring such 80's icons as Devo, Lou Reed, Adam Ant, Grace Jones and Miles Davis to bring new riders into the scooter scene, much the way they did with the "Nicest people on a Honda" motorcycle campaign in the 60's. 

Have an uncontrollable urge to get a modern scooter? Email your finds here: tips@dailyturismo.com

Gianni is Daily Turismo's Pacific Northwest correspondent. He's not sure about the brain eating apes.


  1. Every time I see one of these, I'm reminded of the Gobot character, Scooter:


  2. Last night my boys showed me the Macklemore moped video. Now I want one. I went on CL to try and find a good cheap one to buy. It would be so fun to paceline behind it through town, taking down Strava KOM times.

    1. ha! - great video - thanks for the link - can't wait to show it to my kid

  3. Man, nice liquorcycle! I remember borrowing these all the time in college to get around campus....they were fantastic ways to sleep late and make it to class in time without having to worry about parking 2 miles away in the nearest parking lot. With that said, there is a serious dignity hit when these are pulled out of a college/dense urban environment.

  4. I've always loved these things. Back in the mid '90s I had the chance to get a beater one for free when my buddy had to move across the country for school. At the time I had nowhere to put it and didn't need the hassle. Should have picked it up.

    I was watching the original Terminator movie a couple of days ago and Linda Hamilton rides this same scooter in a few scenes early on. Same color too. There are better shots of her riding it if you look on Google images.


  5. I have the 250cc version of the Elite in the stable. Yeah, it's pretty dorky, but it's got enough grunt to keep up with traffic and a higher top speed than is appropriate for such small wheels. I've used it as a beer run/neighborhood errand bike for a number of years. It'll haul a passenger if needed.

    I'm a big guy and I tended to ride it with a 0 or 100% method on the throttle. Sadly running home from work last summer (110+ degrees out) it did something really bad internally when I snapped the throttle open from a corner, and is no longer a runner. I haven't taken it apart to look for the carnage yet. I suspect it sucked a valve, or something. Maybe skipped a couple of teeth on the cam chain.

    1. "I'm a big guy and I tended to ride it with a 0 or 100% method on the throttle."

      I wrenched at a Honda shop, EVERYONE does that on an 80cc scooter. Protip: Remove the restricting flag off the mixture screw and give it more fuel at low throttle. Dramatic improvement in off throttle fueling and driveability, that is, when you're not pinned at wide open throttle.

  6. Did it come with a devo hat helmet?

  7. My college transpo was the Aero 125, this model's lower-spec brother. It did 60 on flat ground and never gave me any trouble. Ditto the throttle habits of all or nothing. I remember when my grandfather gave this is to me he basically told me to jump on and figure it out. I was 16 and had never driven anything with two wheels before so I tipped it on its side about nine times that day before I got the hang of it. I just couldn't seem to prepare for the engine revving higher despite constant throttle application... It's a good thing he had me self-teach scooter piloting on his neighborhood golf course or I would have been lucky to end that lesson with any skin left on my legs.


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