Rare 4-Speed Minibike: 1970 Honda CT70H

The thought of your child venturing out onto the open road on a motorcycle for the first time as a young adult can be a daunting one. All that we can do as parents is to prepare them for this experience when that day finally comes. A starting point is to help them develop the basic skills of control and balance, and that is where classics like this 1970 Honda CT70H fit into the equation. It can help them hone those skills on a machine with modest power before they graduate to something that offers more performance. The Honda is located in Villa Park, Illinois, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding currently sits at $3,150, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

When I reflect on my childhood, I will always be grateful that my parents bought me a small motorcycle like this Honda. Endless hours of belting around fields meant that by the time I finally hit the road, all of the skills involved in braking, cornering, and throttle control had become instinctive. The buyer might choose to follow that path with this one, or they might want to purchase the machine to display in their shed or garage. The CT70 was introduced in 1969 and remained in production until 1982. It was reintroduced in 1991 and was sold until 1994. This one is from the second year of production, and its condition is extremely impressive when you consider its age. The Candy Emerald Green paint has a beautiful shine to it, and all of the stickers appear to be in good condition. The paint isn’t perfect, because it does have a few dings and marks. This is to be expected when you consider the type of life these little classics tend to lead. However, actual paint damage is far lower than you might rightfully expect on a motorcycle that was marketed for children. The seat looks spotlessly clean, and the chrome holds a high shine and shows no signs of corrosion.

Powering the Honda is a single-cylinder engine with a capacity of 72cc. This little 4-stroke powerhouse pumps out 6hp, which is fed to a 4-speed manual transmission. Therein lies one of the great attractions of this Honda. Many bikes of this size are fitted with manual transmissions with centrifugal clutches. While developing riding skills on this one might be slightly harder as learners develop the skills to use a manual clutch, they are more indicative of what they will later experience when they do hit the road. This engine presents superbly, and it isn’t merely about the appearance. The Honda has recently been treated to a new cylinder and piston, along with new transmission gears and a new clutch. The owner states that it starts easily, idles quietly, and runs smoothly. I think that one of the most encouraging signs for me is that it appears that no-one has molested this little beauty. It was common for the exhaust to be swapped for something with an expansion chamber to extract a tiny increase in performance. The lack of changes combines with the overall condition to suggest that this is a machine that has been treated with a high level of care and respect.

If considered on a purely “dollars-per-pounds” basis, classic motorcycles punch well above their weight in the market today. This Honda would tip the scales at around 140lbs, and the reserve hasn’t been met with the bidding to date. That works out at around $22/lb. That’s an impressive figure, and it will undoubtedly go higher. Looking at recent sales results, I wouldn’t be surprised if bidding eventually pushes up towards $4,000. If I had a young child today, and if their leanings were more towards motorcycles than cars, I would be seriously considering buying this Honda. It could represent a great investment in their future health and wellbeing. The fact is that motorcycle riders are more vulnerable than car drivers on our roads, and the more advantages we can give them, the better. When they have finished with it, the buyer would still own a classic motorcycle that would look fantastic on display in their workshop. That sounds like a win/win proposition to me.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Great writeup, Adam, your 2nd paragraph pretty much summed up the main purpose with these, teach the basics of motorcycling, without going 100 mph. For many, these were the 1st 2 wheelers after our 10 speeds, and the 1st machines we really got hurt on, and took many a lump,,but it was all in good fun. These bikes were trashed accordingly, and the only reason this one looks like this, is someone took a flop, and probably never rode it again. Still a toy, however, and don’t get me started on what a ripoff THAT industry is, and a bit pricey for a toy, that few have any interest in today. From a time when this was good enough, and it didn’t cost thousands of dollars,,,but here we are.

    Like 5
  2. Jesse Mortensen Staff

    There must be a few people who still want these Howard. It’s bid up $3,200 with 32 bids and 129 watchers. Josh and I just picked up a 4-speed ourselves and it’s been great fun so far!

    Like 8
    • Steve R

      You are right. These do have a strong following, especially among racers who use these as pit bikes and are craving a bit of nostalgia.

      Steve R

      Like 3
    • Howard A Member

      Perhaps, it’s just, back in 1970, we didn’t have fancy dancy DRZ400’s,,,oh, don’t get me started on THAT POS, which, btw, wouldn’t start the other day, turns out, the vacuum operated gas shutoff didn’t shut off, the float stuck, and flooded the motor with gas. I was so pixxed, I called the local atv shop to come get it for $1000 bucks, he was happy, I was VERY happy, everybody happy,, where was I,,oh, yeah, and this was almost as good as it got back then. I think today, people with no prior knowledge of these, may be a bit disappointed when they spend 4 figures on one. I think the novelty will wear off pretty quick, and wifey still didn’t get her bathroom done,,, :0

      Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        I refer to that DRZ as kind of a warning to all my friends here, if you’re thinking of a used dual sport, or ANY kind of fun vehicle, take my experience to heart, they are NOT for someone on a fixed income. It’s as if anything that is fun, is a open flood gate for these people to cash in, and generally, people that have those things, money is not an issue.
        This little bike? They are great fun for, like William said, $690 bucks but severely limited as to what to do with it. $4g’s, for me, would buy a much nicer toy,,but I learned my lesson there. I think I’ll spend it on my teeth instead.

  3. pzak

    I would think this has been restored somewhere along the line. Also , just so you know, expansion chambers are for 2 strokes and would give no power increase on a 4 stroke like this. These often go for a shocking amount of money which is hard for me to understand. Reliving your childhood I guess.

    Like 6
  4. Edward t Thron

    My dad bought me one identical to this one used in the early 70’s . I rode the wheels off of it , great beginners bike . Indestructible and easy for a kid to maintain . I put an oversize rear sprocket on for more hillclimb power .

    Like 2
  5. Cycle Salvage Kevin

    ” It was common for the exhaust to be swapped for something with an expansion chamber to extract a tiny increase in performance.” As pzak said, on a four stroke you want less restriction, not MUCH restriction. At a distance, how do you know which Trail 70 is the 4 speed model and which is the automatic? Easy! The automatic’s frame stripe is vertical. Honda sold gazillions of the automatic but precious few of the 4 speeds. I’ve owned many automatic Z50A’s and early CT70’s but much prefer any manual clutch motorcycle or ATV. Those little Honda’s never hung around for long, no matter their condition. That also includes the highly sought after SL70….no sissy automatic there!

    Like 2
  6. William Bonsack

    My father bought a 1969 CT-70 for hunting after suffering a heart attack. It was red and he added a muzzle down gun scabbard to hold his rifle. I rode the hell out of this thing in the woods as a kid. Once I got my motorcycle license at 16, my friend who had a CT-70 would take to the streets at night for a ride. Top speed, wide open was 51 according the the police radar on flat ground. So many memories. It was sold after mom passed away in 2000. I think dad paid $690 for it new.

    Like 3
  7. BobH

    This ad blew me away, because we have two of these in the family that we bought new. One is the green shown, and the other is Gold. Both of ours have been sitting for a long time. One of the ways to identify a CT70 from a CT70H was the color. Green and Gold were H, and blue was 3 speed.

    Like 3
  8. angliagt angliagt Member

    I wonder how many of these are bought for way too
    much money,& put on display in their den,etc.?

  9. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Yep my 401k are sitting in my shed !

    Like 1

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