I have always been the biggest of fans of the Honda 50, have owned at least one most of my life. They are timeless, classic, functional, beautiful, utilitarian, brilliant and always a heck of a good time.
While I do understand how much fun they can be, I must admit that I have never shared the same affinity for the CT-70.
It is deeply rooted in a childhood defeat.
I grew up in a household not at all different from the one the Great Santini Novel and Movie portrayed. Nearly all of my formidable years were spent living in Marine Corps Base housing. Most of my friend’s fathers were like that, battle tested warriors. A generation of True American Hero’s who were much better at serving our country than things paternal.
I, like most of us, had the greatest desire to own a machine with 2 wheels and an engine. I fought a much better battle than Ralphie did trying to get that red rider BB gun. My battle was fought over many more years. While many of my peers were blessed with the freedom of a magical ride, I was forbidden. It was not even open for discussion.
I managed at age 11 to procure a basket case 1960 something Honda s65, literally in pieces. With my Dad on deployment, my Mother did not halt my project when I brought several loads of parts in milk crates and a filthy skeleton home. She believed wholeheartedly that I would never get it to work. I was a very energetic kid a project to keep me occupied was good for everyone.
It took about 6 months to get it to roll under its own power, mostly due to a sympathetic neighborhood Dad with mechanic skills and a very supportive Jr High School Industrial Arts Teacher (thanks Bill Duffy!). Shortly after my maiden run, my dream project was taken and sold because of the smallest grade infraction. Really because “the Colonel” came home and had not approved of the bike, having clearly stated that I can “get a motorbike when I am 18 years old and on my own”. My response was far greater academic disappointment and a cimmerian dive they could not have imagined. They had stolen my greatest accomplishment after only a few short rides.
About 6 months later a remedy for my complete withdraw and lack of any social interaction was attempted with a Birthday gift; a used CT70, replete with the ugliest of folding handlebars and no visible gas tank.
Please forgive my lack of appreciation but I had dreamed of owning a real motorcycle. I had earned all that it cost. I had assemble it, acquired all the parts it needed and made it work without assistance from my family. I was relieved of it without input or appreciation. I had dreamed of a 1970’s mini dirt bike; a Harley 70, an Indian MM, an XR70 or a Yama GT80. I had at least gained a real motorcycle. It had a real tank and seat and handlebars and belonged in the same family of machines as those ridden by Steve McQueen and James Dean.
Now, instead of resembling Kelly from the Bad News Bears, I would look like the fat old couple at staying at the local KOA campground.
With apologies to my mini trail friends.