Transmission Swap? 1971 Honda CT70 HK0

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Honda Trail 70s are coming out of the woodwork lately, they seem to be the “it” bike of choice for restorers and sellers, even more so than the Honda ZA50 monkey bikes. The 70 is more adult-friendly for riding than the much smaller Honda 50. The seller has this 1971 Honda CT70 HKO listed here on eBay in Indianapolis, Indiana and the current bid price is $3,250, and there is no reserve.

This bike is a bit of a head-scratcher for me. Or, the seller’s description is, maybe that’s it. They talk about the color being Candy Sapphire Blue, which wasn’t a color offered on the “H” version of the CT70 KO. The “H” designated a four-speed manual transmission as opposed to the three-speed semi-automatic model. They say that the color should be Candy Blue Green, which is true.

They go on to say that even though this one is, or at least was, an “H” model with a four-speed manual, they say it has a three-speed semi-automatic now, and here’s their description of this bike, which is confusing: “The H motor was likely inoperable or it was switched because the owner preferred the easier 3-speed configuration. The paint color was likely switched to Sapphire blue in order to have continuity changed the paint color to sapphire blue which was one that was always configured with a semi automatic 3-speed.” Does that make sense to you? My brain hurts.

Also, it was restored, or is a “reconditioned original”, according to the seller, who sells a ton of these CT70s. I think I’m starting to figure out the “H” part now. From what I understand after reading the seller’s description for the 47th time: 1) There may have been a problem with the original engine and/or manual transmission so it was changed. 2) The original owner really wanted a semi-automatic transmission model. Or some combination of those two things. I think that hurts the value a bit. Hagerty is at $4,600 for a #3 good condition bike and $7,300 for an excellent one, but those values are for the four-speed manual version.

Whatever the case, this looks like a nice bike. The engine is Honda’s 72-cc SOHC single, which would have had six horsepower when new. There is a replacement carburetor but the engine was “refreshed” and runs well. The seller does have an H-code engine if the next owner wanted to return this one to its original spec, but that would be a lot of work and expense. Any thoughts on this one?

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  1. Evan

    Nostalgia runs rich for some people on these small-bore Hondas, but the prices are getting ridiculous. Especially considering that Honda now offers all sorts of very similar small-bore bikes in their MINIMoto line with modern features like FI and ABS.

    Like 6
  2. K. R. V.

    These were great little bike, that cost around $400 brand new! So it just too bad spoiled kids grew up with the means to drive the price up to a market of buyers who have more dollars than sense. So once again history repeats, with those of us on the wrong side of the tracks are limited to the old style minibike with Briggs&Stratton pull start engines with centrifugal clutch drive. Just like in the day.

    Like 3
  3. Rob

    Wrong shift lever, and the 4 speed went much better for adults sure to the fact that you have closer gear ranges.

    Like 0
  4. Jack Quantrill

    Had a ‘70. These will pitch you over the handlebars if you aren’t careful!

    Like 0
    • K. R. V.

      That’s the result of the small front wheel!

      Like 0
  5. robert lewis

    another result of Hagerty and Barrett-Jackson driving up prices…i bought my 78 for 500 bucks 10 years ago… use as a pit-bike

    Like 1
  6. Howie

    I had a 50 and always wanted a 70, like i have said before i have seen some go for just over $10k.

    Like 1
  7. Randoman1Member

    I got mine in 1991 with 490 miles and no compression for $50 with original Pink from CA. Turns out someone tighten the valve too tight, easy fix.
    32 years later and 1500 miles, all in camp grounds, still running great.

    Like 0
  8. Howie

    Sold $3,300.

    Like 2
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      Thank you, sir!

      Like 1
  9. srtguy

    So I guess selling my Trail 70 for $50 wasn’t one of my best financial decisions when I was 15…

    Like 0
    • Jack Quantrill

      Don’t feel bad. I sold mine for $100. You never know what you’ve got til it’s gone!

      Like 0
  10. Bill

    The stripe is wrong for a 4 spd. model, should be angled not vertical if I am remembering mine correctly. Maybe they just went for a full 3 spd. auto conversion, stripe included.

    Like 0
  11. Rainer Beran

    Had a Honda Z 50 years ago as a pit bike. loved it as it would carry my young son and i without any problem in the pits put extra heavy duty shocks to do that. wish i still had it. Grew up with these in the 70,s,we had a whole gang of us that used to ride these 70,s and the 50,s on the 300 acres of open space land we owned in Wisconsin,great times back then.

    Like 0

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