Small Bike Big Influence: 1965 Honda C100

There have been many important vehicles over the decades, but not many are so highly praised by so many different sources. This is one of the most important vehicles, not to mention the highest-production motor vehicle of all time. The Honda C100 is that vehicle and this 1965 Honda C100 looks like a nice example. This one can be found here on eBay in Saint Petersburg, Florida. The current bid price is $2,650 and there is no reserve.

I’m a huge fan of these small bikes and obviously a few other people are, too. Honda has sold over 100,000,000 of them. That’s one hundred million. A company in China has sold over 500,000,000 (!) bicycles, the Flying Pigeon, but Honda supposedly holds the record for powered vehicles – not pedal-powered but motor-powered.

Honda started production of the C100 Super Cub in 1958 so that’s a solid 62 years of production with no signs of slowing down. The C100 Honda is an underbone or step-through design with built-in leg shields and no, they aren’t a manly-man motorcycle. They’re for “nice” people as in the famous 1963 ad, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”, arguably the first lifestyle advertising campaign. There are no chrome skulls and/or skull and crossbones anywhere on this Honda.

The seller says that this Honda was purchased new by a serviceman and was then owned by their uncle, who was also in the military. It has fewer than 3,000 miles on it and the current owner has only put 10 miles on it in the last 15 years since their uncle gave it to them in 2005. It isn’t perfect but bidders have driven the price up to almost Hagerty’s #2 excellent condition value of $3,000.

The engine would be Honda’s 49 cc four-stroke single-cylinder with 4.5 horsepower. It’s in great running condition and it has no leaks and they mention that it’s all original but go on to list about a dozen things that have been replaced. I guess original-spec or mostly-original is more of what they meant. Whatever the case, it is clearly ringing a bell with the bidders. Have any of you owned a similar bike?

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Comments

  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    Another one! Proof that they’re still around. I might just be tempted to ride something like this around my neighborhood. I’m sure half the people would know what it was while the other half would wonder other things entirely.

    Like 4
    • Dave

      If you visit the Bahamas, they’ll be glad to rent you one. They’re an excellent way to see the island, provided that you don’t get yourself killed because they drive on the wrong side. Been there, done that!

      Like 4
  2. Howard A Member

    “It’s not a big motorcycle, just a groovy little motorbike”,,I apologize if you can’t get that song out of your mind now, it helped sell a LOT of Hondas. I think the Beach Boys made peanuts on that song, and eventually changed the lyrics. As some may know, or if you don’t, this was my 1st bike 55 years ago. In case you don’t know the story, in late ’65, my dad came home with an almost new Honda 50 just like this. It had been vandalized, who we figured by a bunch of bikers. It was Milwaukee in the 60’s, and you had a lot of guts riding one of these. It had like 500 miles on it, and every cable, spoke and wire cut, torn seat, I think my dad traded a window air conditioner for it. We repaired it, and me and my brother literally put that thing through hell and back. It never failed. It started a lifelong love affair of motorcycling for over 50 years. Granted, it’s not the dual sport I ride today, with it’s double overhead cam single with almost 40 hp, disc brakes, 8 inches of suspension and close ratio 5 speed,,, but you had to start somewhere, and for me, it was the Honda 50. Get your hankies, folks, that was me and my late sister, circa 1966.

    Like 19
    • Howard A Member

      Special thanks to Scotty for featuring it.

      Like 7
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      As soon as I see a pic of one of these, that song comes to mind and I go the entire day hearing it. But it isn’t at all unpleasant; it goes back to a time when things were far more laid back and people really cared about each other. Well, Paul Harvey shocked the world with his editorial, ‘If I Were The Devil,’ and we all thought how far-fetched that was. In so many ways I would love to go back to that time with my Honda 55 Sport and my brother’s Suzuki 150, the neighbor’s Honda 125, and the cousin’s Honda 90 (no, the other Honda 90, the real ugly, black one). My Dad’s El Camino. It’s sometimes sad to see things as they are today, and yet there are some glimmers of hope, like a really great spring after a nasty winter. Hopes for the future, like anticipating Grandchild #8 (due in Oct). Life is good. Sometimes I’m terrified about my future but then I get a Facetime with the grandkids and everything else doesn’t matter. I’m so sorry about your sister, Howard. Although I’ve lost both my parents and numerous friends, I’ve never experienced the loss of a sibling. I have no doubt that you think about her riding behind you whenever you look at that photo. Be safe out there…

      Like 9
      • Howard A Member

        Thanks, pal, yeah, that was a long time ago, almost 20 years she’s been gone.
        While these are horribly outdated for today, in the early 60’s, travel was still pretty much confined to cities. Aside from Harley, and the “smoking” import jobs, that were unreliable, at best, there was very little to chose from. Honda’s timing couldn’t have been better. Here was a reliable motorcycle, even had electric start( not on this one) and no clutch, it was perfect. It’s amazing to see the transformation from this, the humble beginnings, to the bikes of today. Like I said for other examples, like comparing a Model A to a new Mustang. In light of recent events, I’m not sure how far we’ve actually come.

        Like 4
    • Ohio Rick

      I think The Hondells has the hit with it (wonder where they came up with that name?), but Brian Wilson penned it.

      Like 1
  3. Poppapork

    When i was a kid growing up in east central Europe bikes like these were made locally by a lot of the Warsaw pact countries. They had to be under 50cc (thats under 0.05 liter engine!l) and were classified as mopeds. They had about 1.7-2 hp and were two stroke- loud and obnoxiously smokey but fun. Favorite mode of transportation of a lot of my friends grandpas (gas was expensive and hard to get with monthly limitations-the military force used up all the gasoline).
    Real fun was when grandpa wanted to take someone for a ride in the back (two stroke of that size has no torque) then both had to push themselfs with legs and looked commical when you add the two stroke revv sound and smoke and two older people pushing themselfs by feet
    Here is a picture of a “mosquito”:

    https://pl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romet_Komar#/media/Plik%3AKomar_2330.jpg

    Like 4
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      A friend of mine had a Jawa. It was a horizontal single on a step-thru chassis. I well remember the smoke and the noise. I often wonder what happened to that…

      Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        I had a friend that had a Cimatti 150 (1966?) It would leave me and the poor Honda 50 in a cloud of smoke. He used to run 20:1 boat gas in it. :)

        Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Cimatti! Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in 50 years! Only saw pics of them, none up close and personal. Completely purged from my memory banks and yet I remember reading a roadtest in one of the many magazines (Cycle? Or maybe Cycle Guide? Sure wasn’t Big Bike).

        Like 1
  4. Bob19006

    I had a Honda trail bike I believe a CT-50 (city-trail) with small tires but street legal and sold it and bought a used street legal CT-90 (90cc) that looks a lot like this 50cc moped. Left it in good working condition in my parents garage for over 10 years through the late 1970s-1980s and sold it (not starting) for I think $125.

    Like 1
  5. Troyce Walls

    The poster-sized foldup Honda ads placed on the seats of the bikes in the showroom made the bikes appear as candies to be plucked from the page. Still get the same “I want” feelings when I see an example, especially in the most common white/red combo. Here my collection of most colors available, ca 2005. All gone now.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/19iwa6e38cnhp62/C100s%20four%20colors%20stbd.jpg?dl=0

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/4ao9r2519o9zhp4/White%20Skirt%20City%20C100.jpg?dl=0

  6. SourPwr Member

    Honda still sells a new version of this. Old fashion quality at a modern price.

    Like 4
  7. Robert Eddins

    CL in Phoenix has many 90.s…110.s for half of this.

  8. Gerry Member

    Still the number one vehicle for the entirety of the Japan Postal System though its a slightly modified version of the pro series.

    Still offered new here in Japan with LED headlights and electronic ignition

    A 110 model will cost you around $3-$3500 U.S.

    There’s a Pro model most every delivery place has one for news papers and even modified for Dominoes and other food.

    There’s even a cross model for light off roading / dirt roads etc…

    Like 1
  9. Gerry Member

    Street Versions

    Like 1
  10. Stephen Brodie

    These were truly indestructible machines but had some weird quirks. If you put one into 1st gear and then stepped on the back of the shift lever it effectively held the automatic clutch open. You could then rev the hell out of it then take your foot off the lever and it would do a very rapid wheel stand unceremoniously dumping the rider on his behind. The front fenders were made of plastic and if you hid a pothole the front wheel would pivot up enough to send the front half of the fender skywards. We bought the next upgrade a C110 in ’62 for $331 and still have it, we drove it 11,000 miles. one could drive it hard and the engine would get hot and seize, you’d get about six siezes until the rings were totally shot and then for $30 have the local Honda dealer rebuild it. As it got more worn it would go faster downhill, we got one with three teenagers on it up to sixty MPH down a long river hill, but it wouldn’t pull itself up the other side. These were totally reliable but didn’t hold enough oil in the crankcase for long distance high speed (just over 30mph) on level ground. The best machine I ever owned.

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      We found that out early on, the clutch thing. If you took the white fairing off, it looked more like a regular motorcycle, and in the racing hunch, maybe added 2 or 3 mph top end. Taking the air filter out, another 1 or 2. The muffler was good for ankle burns too. Also, when shifting, it was , one back for 1st, 2 forward for 2nd and another forward for 3rd( just the opposite of most bikes) That 2 times for 2nd was clumsy. Most newbies that didn’t have the foot/hand thing down, always kept the throttle on while shifting, essentially making “power shifts”. They were pretty tough.

  11. Ron L.

    I had one as a teenager. Used it as a dirt bike, beat the crap out of it and it never failed. We used to sneak out on the roads all the time as well, had quite a few encounters with the local law, but they always let me go. Great memories! Crazy what prices they are getting for these now, I paid $90 for mine.

  12. Stevieg

    No secret that I am a “Harley guy”, but I have an appreciation for all things wheeled (2 or 4).
    I have a good friend whose uncle gave him something like this about a year or so ago. This very kind uncle, who I also knew, passed away 4 months ago. I think I will offer to help him get it going so he can ride it in honor of his uncle.
    Attached is a picture of it. It might not be exactly the same, but to my eyes it sure looks similar.

    Like 2
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Wow! A 50 Sport! I had a 55. Not much difference between the two except the 55 had chrome front fender. I question if there was (really) any difference in the engines. I wouldn’t turn one of those down if it showed up at my place. I might add that I’m a Harley fan too but all bikes are someone’s pride and joy…

      Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        Ha! I agree, a Sport 50, now who was “Sportin” that kind of cash? You know, you speak of the Honda 55, I don’t think I’ve seen many of those. There was the Honda Trail 55, then jumped to the “65’s”. According to this picture, the “55” was a Cub without the leg fairing and like you say, a chrome fender. I see a handle on the left, did yours have a clutch? I’m not sure they called this one a “Sport 50”, but a C110 “Super Sports Cub”, that also had a clutch. The Sport 65 and Sport 90’s were altogether different bikes than their “regular” counterparts. Matter of fact, I don’t think they made a “regular” 65.
        https://i.pinimg.com/originals/67/8a/d9/678ad90c3a9cd5db716f4cbaf73cec1b.jpg

        Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Honda had a lot of different models even back in the 60s. Mine was the only 55 I ever saw. All the others were Sport 50s (or vice versa). Mine had a clutch and a 4 speed and topped out at 50. I don’t know how long they made the 50 Sport but I remember Cycle Guide doing a feature on a whole bunch of 50 cc bikes back in the fall of ‘67 (I think?). The new Honda 50 Sport looked like this white one. Mine was a 1965. A friend of mine bought a 65 Sport in the fall of 67. It looked just like this white one too but it had the OHC and the tank was shaped more like that of the S90. I remember him idling it around town because he was scared to death to rev it up lest it blow up. We traded bikes for a short time and I made sure the carbon was blown out of it.

        Like 1
  13. Stevieg

    When did the make the bike I pictured? My friends uncle told my friend he thought it was a 1951, but in my mind it looks newer than that.
    My friend didn’t receive the title when he got the bike. I should ask him if he ever got it before his uncle passed away. I hope so.
    With that thought in mind, my friends Dad & uncle both grew up in Italy. They immigrated to the states in the early 1970’s. This might be something Uncle Giovanni owned while still in Europe. Who knows, might have never had a US title.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Sg, I read, the C110 was offered from 1959 to 1962 so it’s pretty rare.

      Like 1
    • On and On On and On Member

      I have a Honda identification guide that shows it as a Model CA110 Sport 50 imported from 62-69. The C110 Super Sports Cub was imported from 59-62, the difference being no chrome side panels on the tank, solo seat with no strap, and 3speed instead of a 4speed. Both were manual clutch with a 49cc engine. From across the street they sure looked the same!

      Like 2
      • Stevieg

        Hey On&On, and howdy Howard, thank you to the two of you along with Geomechs for any and all information on my buddies Honda. I first saw it when I was still at Milwaukee Harley.
        My friend, along with his Dad & Uncle, own (owned, as far as the uncle goes) an Italian restaurant that I work at.
        Mario, the son/nephew that owns this vintage Honda, called me one day & told me the restaurant has a regular customer with a low mile V-rod for sale, he wanted me to look it over. I went to Mario’s house to meet with him before going to see the V-rod,and he showed me this Honda. He told me Gianni gave it to him. I fell in love with the little bike on the spot! It is so small & cute (like my exwife when I met her).
        I saw the feature bike & I knew someone here would be able to tell me about Mario’s little Honda.
        I am screen shotting this thread & will text the shots to Mario. Hopefully he will learn something about his cool little bike!
        By the way, the V-rod was owned by a blind customer, had less than 20 miles on it.
        It was purchased by the sellers brother from Milwaukee Harley. The guy rode it home, went to bed that night & never woke up. It sat in that garage until the summer of 2018, it is a 2011 if I remember correctly. The bike now only has a couple hundred miles on it. Mario primarily rides it from his house to the restaurant, about a half mile ride. It is absolutely pristine!

        Like 2
      • Howard A Member

        Thanks, Gregg, I figured you’d know. That’s what’s great about this site, the things I don’t know ( or are wrong about) someone has an answer. Stevie might remember, the 1st Honda dealers in Milwaukee were Hertings Honda on Appleton Ave.( I think became Southeast Sales) and the other was AFL Honda on like 19th and North. I had a fold out brochure from one of the dealers, that showed all the early 60’s models. That brochure is probably worth as much as the bike.

        Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I’m going to guess at 1964/65. Thinking back to that period the Cub was commonplace, then I saw the 90 and then the 125. The Sport 50 showed up around then, and then a Suzuki dealer started up. Then all hell broke loose. I saw a ’59 catalog from a dealer in Spokane and it showed a 50 Cub and a 305 Dream with the upswept exhaust pipes. They were in the last pages while BSA and Harley Davidson took the front half. How the times have changed.

  14. DKW

    Looks like the ones they used to use in the ads: “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”

    Like 1

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