Favorite Trailbike: 1972 Hodaka Ace 100B+

1972 Hodaka Ace 100B+

I’ve always appreciated motorcycles, but I’ll admit, I’m still learning about them. There are a lot of brands out there that I don’t know much about, but this bike comes from a brand I have never even heard of! With around 150,000 bikes built, you would think I would have come across at least one by now! This Ace 100B+ is a fresh barn find in complete condition. The seller notes that the toolbox cover is missing, but the motor turns over and the title is clear! Find this old trailbike here on eBay in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts with just a day to go and only one bid at $350.

1972 Hodaka Ace 100

Seeing as I’ve never heard of Hodaka, I decided I better do a little research. I’m really surprised I’ve never seen one of these bikes. They played a significant role in the development of the trail and dirt bikes. Hodaka had been building small motors in Japan for other motorcycle brands for a few years before they started building their own bikes. They opened a distribution business called PABATCO in Athens, Oregon to handle worldwide distribution and R&D. The people working at PABATCO turned out to be fans of trailbikes, so it is no surprise their interests had a huge impact on the kind of bikes Hodaka was producing.

1972 Hodaka Ace 100B+ Tail

Apparently things went well for the brand for the first few years, well good enough to have 17 different models and a total production of 150k bikes! They even caught the attention of Shell oil, who eventually bought PABATCO. They tried to even by Hodaka, but the deal got shot down. Sadly, the market took a turn for the worse and the company eventually sold their tooling to a company in Korea and closed their doors after a 14 year run.

1972 Hodaka Ace 100 Motor

These bikes are pretty simple, so there really isn’t much to this bike. As long as the motor is free and has good compression, it shouldn’t be difficult to get it running! The frame looks solid, but could use some new paint. I love that chrome tank, which looks to be in great shape. I’d just polish it up, clean up the motor, go through the brakes and electrics, and start riding this sweet little bike! And if you live anywhere near Oregon, I’d recommend making the trip up to Athens on June 23rd for Hodaka Days! It looks like a fun event and a great chance to try your hand at racing your trailbike!


  1. Dave Wright

    While in photography school we did some advertising photos for these……..very cool little bikes……..the combat wombat race version comes to mind……

  2. boxdin

    Oh Yea when we were riding around the mesas and valleys around Albuquerque in the early 70s the hot shots had Hodakas. But the coolest dude out there had a Puch. The Puch was like a Cadillac compared to my lowly Yamaha 100 enduro. Amazing I didn’t hurt myself out there back in those days that Yamaha had so little suspension travel yet I hung w the big guys part of the time. The fastest guy out had a Maico 500, a single cylinder two stroke. Man that was the coolest bike around.

    • ydnar

      The 2 stoke single 500’s were widow makers. Yamaha also made one, MX500, what a screamer. I should have bought it, but I was skeered of it, for good reason.

    • Blindmarc

      Boxdin, I grew up in Albuquerque too. Remember Weird Harold’s on lomas sold all the import bikes back then.

      • boxdin

        Yes I sure do ! How about that 14 mile loop around what is now Santa Ana casino and the dam. It has arroyos, sand, hills, flat speed runs, and if you could do two laps you were doing good.

  3. ydnar

    They were hot little bikes when new, better than most endures of the same size. The brakes are all mechanical, so not much to go wrong there. lube the cables and you are off. I am surprised this one is not bid higher. A friend had one and always beat my DT100E

    • ydnar


  4. Chris

    The Hodaka Road Toad. 😁

    Like 1
    • ydnar

      That puppy dog is very cool, and collectible I would imagine.

  5. TLouisJ

    http://www.hodakaclub.org/Hodaka_Days Hodakas were designed by and imported by some Athena Oregon guys after the Yamaguchi motorcycle they were importing closed its plant in Japan. Athena is my home town. When I was an early teen (circa 1963), the Yamaguchi’s were all over town, then the Hodakas. Harry Taylor who helped Jack Miley design the Hodakas became a famous racer. Click on the link above or travel to Athena (near Pendleton) to see a little town filled with Hodakas each summer. :-) Terry J

  6. angliagt

    I love those bikes – but they seemed SO much bigger back then.
    I used to get a kick out of their ads.When a new model came out,they
    called it “The New 4 Slicer”,in referance to the “toaster” tank.
    When these were new,they were about 1/2 the price of the other
    “brand name” bikes out there.

    – Doug

  7. Bill

    I rode one of these that belonged to a friend back in the 70’s. Handled poorly, most likely due to the rake on the front forks. My ’74 Honda handled much better. I’d be nervous over rust issues inside the gas tank. Some were aluminum, most were not. Given some of the surface rust in the photos, it’s possible this could be an issue.

  8. jim s

    the ones we had came with a countershaft bearing on each side of the sprocket. hard to compete with honda bikes then and now, just ask cannondale along with a lot of other companies. nice find.

    • ydnar

      The Honda’s of the era were mostly 4 strokes, so the main competition for these were the other three, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. Honda was pioneering small 4 strokes and was doing a great job. Honda did have the Elsinore (2 stroke), but it was built strictly for motocross racing.

      • jim s

        i rode honda xl’s, 125/250, for years.

  9. splod

    I had one – exactly – like this in junior high and high school. I loved that thing. It would climb a tree! If I was closer I would get it.

  10. Howard A Member

    As mentioned before, I’ve had many bikes and in the 70’s, I had a Bultaco 200 Pursang and a Suzuki TS400, so I was totally into dirt bikes. My good friend had a Triumph TT500 and another friend had a Yamaha DT250, and we did a LOT of off road riding. Dirt bikes were hot then, and there were many makes, like snowmobiles. A guy we rode with had a Hodaka Wombat, and to be perfectly honest, it really wasn’t anything special, kind of a cheap way to get into dirt bikes. It’s probably not so crazy that Josh has never heard of them, as they seemed to come and go in a hurry, and many that puked were probably discarded ( or in a barn somewhere) as the owners, rather than fix them, usually moved on to better bikes. They are rare now, but at one time, they were all around. Great find. More bikes, please :)

  11. Lee Hartman

    I grew up in Boise, ID, and there were a lot of Hodakas running the foothills trails back in the ’70s. I think that Herb Uhl was the dealer back then. If this thing was in Boise, I’d seriously think about trying to get it. I’ve been wanting to fix up an old Japanese bike.

  12. Harvey

    I had one )1972) that was totally stripped of any road legal parts and wiring. So the ignition was always on and you stalled to shut it off. We got parts at a place in Winnipeg. rebuilt the engine at least once. Even in 1978 they were in Manitoba.
    Top speed was 42 mph courtesy of an oversize rear sprocket but you could go anywhere with that 5 spd tranny.
    Still have it but it needs total restoration.

  13. brakeservo

    It’s Athena, Oregon, near Pendleton or Milton Freewater and there appears to be an attempt to open a Hodaka Museum there as well, but the doors were still closed last time I was there, (about a year ago.)

  14. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I had a Penton, six day enduro with the Sachs engine I used to ice race back in the day. Could never keep up with the Elsinores.

    • ydnar

      I always thought that the Penton was the cat’s meow. There was only one in our town, a 250 I believe, and he tore up the track.

      Eventually everywhere we rode got shut down.
      One rider was so pissed that a golf course was taking our place to ride, he took his mom’s Grand Safari station wagon with a 455 and did donuts on the golf course!
      Funny thing, he did not even own a motorcycle.

  15. Doug Towsley

    Aye Grasshopper Josh, You have much to learn my son. (more motorcycles please, if you need help, just ask) How can you not love a dirt bike company with names like Dirt Squirt, Combat Wombat and many of the others. Someone already posted a link to the website so I was headed there next to post it. I live in Oregon and know some of the people who used to work there (PABATCO) as well as the guys who run the Hodaka club. The Oregon Vintage MC hosts an annual Bike show and swap meet in Corvallis Oregon and one part of the show field is always dedicated and comandeered by the Hodaka club and enthusiasts. Been a featured show Marque in years past. If weather cooperates we always have over 100 bikes in the show. One year there was a minor upset. The Hodaka club guys felt slighted for not getting the recognition they deserved. Most successful show in the OVM history and reason was the Hodaka club hosted a reunion at the OVM show and many of the original workers and their familys FROM Japan showed up. I was running a booth at the show looked around and all of a sudden there was tons of Japanese people many with cameras slung around their necks. Many of us didnt know the significance at the time. I was embarrassed and felt as a club we should have communicated better and supported each other. At the time i thought “Holy cow,, did a tour bus stop or something? Where did all these Japanese people come from?”
    I think its truly amazing that so many people from Japan came over to Oregon just for that.

    While my collecting is mostly vintage British bikes, I do have a very cool 1972 Suzuki TS250 enduro. Street legal, its a blast to ride. Some of the local vintage clubs host small bore and 2 stroke rides.
    I also have from a friend his 1976 Penton/KTM 400 high breather. (At that time depending on part of the US the bikes were labeled KTM or Penton ) I have the original sales invoice, Original 1976 title, dealer literature, Factory service manual, and all the original body work as when Gary brought it home, He bought it for himself as a college graduation present but intended to race it. So it was stripped and the body work put away, and he fitted Preston Petty body work. Raced it a few times and put it in storage. I bought it from him and show it at events from time to time.
    For those who are interested. The Penton story is amazing. There is a really cool documentary out now, Look it up. One of the bike clubs here in Oregon commandeered a movie theatre and showed it for a week straight. The filmmakers and some VIPs attended the opening.

    • ydnar

      After all of that no pics?

      • Doug Towsley

        What in particular do you want to see pix of? I posted a second comment with links to websites, but its awaiting moderation so probably not live yet. Might even get squashed. I try to respect the barn finds website and not post too many pictures, The links i posted can be followed and lots of pictures there. One is the OVM clubs website and if you scroll thru, we have pictures of the last 10 years or so of the Corvallis show class winners including featured marque and Hodakas.
        My Suzuki TS250 was a rescue from an estate. One of my old shop customers lived next to the deceased and saw the bike being wheeled out of the garage. The old chestnut “Whatcha gonna do with that old bike?” and when he heard they were gonna scrap it, he saved it. Traded it to me in exchange for some Triumph chopper parts. I had source the chopper parts from a Washington collector who hated choppers and used to cut them up with a sawzall. I convinced him to instead set that stuff aside for me as I had an active customer base for my shop that liked such things. So, Win Win Win for all parties.
        The Penton/KTM I have as well, and I display it at the OVM show in Corvallis and some of our museum events. Both are currently in one of my storage areas, but i could wheel them out and snap a pix. If people on this list dont want to see such drivel, you can email me at my throwaway email acct and Ill email you back from my home acct. (I only post publicly on the web my yahoo addy to cut down on S P # M) I check from time to time at NopeNotDave@Yahoo.com
        I have thousands of pictures of projects, restorations, and events. While I find them interesting, Not everybody does.
        A while back I posted about Our Museum, and A Indian Motorcycle we have, (WW2 model) I also mentioned a really great young lady who is a profeshional model. You can find her on “Model Mayhem” Miss CJ the model. We toned things down a bit being the museum and a family event. I paid her to assist me running a Annual show I put on at the Museum. She helped with registrations, Info, Kids coloring contest and trophy presentations. I have a bunch of pix of her with cars, bikes and presenting trophys. People did ask about that and I dug up the disc with her pix. Heres one presenting the trophy for “Best American” for another Indian bike that rode in to the show. Because people asked, Here it is. Before i clog up this list perhaps a moderator should weigh in with their thoughts out of respect to their website.

      • Doug Towsley

        Heres another with the lovely Miss CJ the model inside our museum for the 2013 show season. We change the displays constantly so always something new to see. We had her go with a 40s pinup girl style for this event. She was a big hit and tons of people had her pose and took pictures. She was also featured on the Cover of our Museums newsletter. She also does other types of modeling but we kept it PG for this event. Very professional young lady and was great to work with. Last I heard she relocated to Chicago, so cant use her for my local events anymore. I am looking for someone who can dress up in a English rocker or Period English model such as the infamous Norton girls of period 1970s advertising for the Upcoming San Jose Show at the annual Clubmans show. Its a paying gig. Must be dependable, profeshional, and able to handle large crowds with Sass and class. If anyone has a recomendation for someone who is not a flake let me know. Early april show dates and ash paying gig. You will be representing our museum and myself so there is conditions and rules.

  16. Doug Towsley

    For those who are around the west coast or might consider traveling here for events you might want to check out the Oregon vintage motorcycle club, For example there is the Moto Piccolo ride coming up which is bikes limited to 250cc and smaller, Used to be 350cc but i threatened to bring my 350cc Kawaskai S2 2 stroke triple and they got upset. So, lots of fun small bore ride. Hodakas have shown up in the past. Thats April 23rd. Dont have to be a member to show up.
    Our annual Banquet for the OVM is this coming Saturday Feb 13th. The Corvallis OVM Swap meet and Bike show will be on May 23rd and the Saturday before (May 22nd) will be a 100 mile club ride in great scenery and roads. There will be a large gathering of Hodakas and Owners at Corvallis. For more information see the OVM website at: http://www.oregonvintage.org/about.php

    This coming weekend is one the Nations fastest growing and influential motorcycle shows. “The 1 Show” Thor Drake of See See Coffee & motorcycle shop is the founder and one cool guy. Thor races and you will find a wide variety of bikes from Mini bikes to full on choppers, cafe racers and restored originals. Race bikes of interest also get a lot of space. It also features an art show, 21 Helmets are show and contest, Mini bike races and live music. FREE Admission and discount beers and food. Show runs 3 days and one big party. Will be international press coverage with a LOT of people flying in from Japan. many of the bikes on display you will see in magazines over the next year. See their website and look for videos. Some really REALLY well made videos out there on VIMEO made by people associated with the 1 show and See See coffee. See the wedsite here: http://the1moto.com/
    And, On Sunday the 14th there is the 1Show pro Moto race in Salem Oregon with an $8,000 purse sponsored by HD & PBR what could be more romantic than taking your sweetie for Valentines day to a Indoor flat track race? See: http://the1moto.com/events/

  17. Doug Towsley

    Oh heck, For those who like Vintage 2 stroke street legal Enduros Im posting one more. This is a Kawasaki 2 Smoke (Seizure later!) that also rode into my show in 2013. He took best Enduro award. I dont know about elsewhere but in Seattle, Portland and Bay Area, the vintage street/enduro scene is very popular with some people. A lot of vintage clubs host 2 stroke rides and small bore rides including here in Oregon, the VME and WVMC in Washington and the BSAOC and VJMC in California. For some real fun, do a websearch about the Sang Froid Riding club Alley Sweeper ride. Its for Enduro bikes and does the back streets and Alley ways in Portland Starts with an early morning blast of coffee and donuts and meetup, culminating in a big party at the end. It got so huge it was shut down by the host club. Lots of pictures on the web as well as newsarticles. Literally several thousand noisy smoky bikes riding all over. Was a blast. The Sang Froid website is also pretty entertaining and worth a look.

    • ydnar

      Very good! Pics of real folks having fun with their cool toys. Thank you.

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Thanks DT for all the links! As most of you know, I am not a computer guy. I have seen BF evolve and wonder if they could have some kind of sub forum for people interested in a post to banter back and forth without bothering the other members with boring stuff to them. Great site and very nice to see more scooters. Take care, Mike, and being Fat Tuesday, I have to go looking for some beads!

      • leiniedude leiniedude Member

        I forgot to add, maybe the sub forum could be called Barking in the Barn.

  18. Howard A Member

    I remember the chrome gas tank was kind of their coolest feature. One site sez, the Hodaka Ace 90 (not 100) retailed for $379 dollars in the late 60’s. ( about $2,000 today) Any kid that had a paper route ( there’s a job from the past) could afford one. I don’t remember if there was a dealer for them in Milwaukee, and I think a hardware store or something, carried them as a side line. Suburbs hadn’t grown like now, and everybody had access to fields and woods, and many would make their own tracks with jumps and “whoop-de-doo’s”. We had a blast. Must have drove the neighbors nuts, but for some reason, it was ok.( probably because their “little Jimmy” had one) As suburbs grew, riding areas dried up, along with laws prohibiting such deviant activity, and off-road riding faded out. It’s a shame, as it was a great past-time and taught the riders a thing or two about fixing a bike. Even though my folks hated them, ( my old man, “get those Gxd-damn dirt bikes out of my garage”) I loved it. I don’t think you can have that kind of fun anymore.

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Say Howard, after two weeks of being off line I am happy to see your comment. Hard to believe your Father wanted the scooters out of the garage. I picture him as a motorhead as well. Take care, stay warm, Mike.

  19. Tom Driscoll

    Agree with Howard, kids don’t have the opportunities we did in the 70’s. The local municipal building where I lived in Troy, MI had a 40 acre field behind it specifically for dirt bikes and dune buggies, what a blast, kids don’t have that today. I loved riding the Hodaka there, but it would often foul a spark plug, and the key was to turn off gas to the carb while it was sputtering, and she’d open up within a minute or two and back on your way!

    • Dave Wright

      That is why we live in Idaho……..over 100 acres of our own and surrounded but thousands of acres. but my kids in California all have ranches where the grandkids play and build motocross tracks with there dad’s backhoes. It just depends on how you choose to live. My 8 year old grandson drives his dad’s 53 chev pickup better than his grandmother and gets 40 feet of air on his KTM motorcycle.

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