We Bought A Pair Of Honda CT70 Barn Finds!

I recently walked into the Barn Finds’ office and was greeted by a bright green 1969 Honda CT70s motorcycle. Jesse has long been into bicycles and it isn’t uncommon for me to find a new bike sitting in our office, but this was the first time that the bike had a motor strapped to it, so it was a bit of a surprise, to say the least. He had mentioned an interest in getting into motorcycles, but I didn’t realize he had actually gone out and bought one. And boy, am I glad that he did, as it set us down one fun rabbit hole!

It turned out that Jesse had spotted this Honda while surfing craigslist, he was actually looking for a Honda Ruckus, but this one was cheap and was in a barn. Since it was a weekend, he went over to the seller’s barn to look at it without me and he decided to buy it after the seller fired it up and drove it around. Since these bikes were built for new riders that likely didn’t own a truck and trailer, the handlebars fold down so you can load one into the back of a station wagon. So, he worked a deal and loaded it into the back of his Volvo wagon.

The Honda Cub Trail 70 isn’t a powerful or fast bike by any means. The 74 cc motor is good for just 5 horsepower, but with either a 3-speed semi-automatic or a 4-speed manual, it is capable of reaching about 40 mph. They are quite basic and very easy to ride, making them the perfect bike for first-time riders like us. That being said, we were initially a little intimidated by the idea of riding it on the street so it sat in our office for a couple of weeks. Thankfully, a parking lot just across from Barn Finds HQ received a new coat of asphalt and is big enough to learn to ride. As soon as it was done, we decided to attempt a first ride. This being a 4-speed manual, there was a bit of a learning curve, but once we started to get the hang of clutching and shifting we were both eager to have our own.

And that’s where this blue 1970 comes into play. It isn’t much fun taking turns, so Jesse put out a few want ads for another Honda CT70 and within a day the seller of this example called up! He had purchased the bike a number of years ago for his girlfriend, but she couldn’t master riding it, so it sat at his shop amongst CNC machines and lathes collecting dust. When our want ad popped up, he decided it might be time to move it along. It’s a 3-speed, so it’s a semi-automatic, meaning there’s no clutch to operate. Shifting it was a bit awkward after learning to use the clutch on the other bike, but that quickly passed!

Both bikes need work and we need safety equipment, but both tasks are already underway! If you are looking for something to restore this winter, I’d highly recommend tracking one of these down. They are still pretty affordable to buy and the parts supply is absolutely incredible. For about $200 we were able to buy most of the parts our green bike needs, with many of those being original Honda parts! We captured the experience of bringing the blue bike home and our first time taking both out together in the video above, so be sure to watch and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. And be sure to stay tuned in to find out where the rabbit hole these bikes sent us down leads to!

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Comments

  1. Raymond L Saunders

    Had a ST90 wish I kept it…

    Like 1
  2. CJinSD

    Looks like you guys are having a great time! Nice cars in the background too.

    Like 2
  3. Mike Tarutis Staff

    Dear Josh:

    In the wild or in the parking lot, Mutual of Omaha has a policy that’s right for you!

    I would recommend that you choose the [ ] “don’t ride or drive vehicles in racing type speed events” box so that you can actually receive the policies.

    Let me know who you’d like to name as beneficiaries. . . I would surely be able to draft you guys a really nice buy/sell agreement in the event of a catastrophic tragedy that may harm your business and family.

    Don’t wait. Act now, and you can get year end savings on Whole Life policies as young as you are.

    All kidding aside, these Little Tikes Bikes were the BOMB at New England Dragway or any other dragstrip in the 70s and 80s with pit passes that cost an extra half day’s pay. May not have had as much flesh hanging over the sides of the seat as now, but hopefully about 110#s in the tires will be OK.

    MJT

    (I am in no way shape or form an insurance agent, this was for humorous effect only; but I would draft you a fine buy/sell agreement.)

    Like 6
  4. MattR Member

    That’s awesome. I grew up with a Trail 90. They are a blast. Enjoy!

    Like 2
  5. Fred W

    As a kid, the most fun I ever had was on a Trail 70. The semi automatic was great and despite not having a fan and shroud like most air cooled engines, you could seemly sit and idle all day. Very smooth riding on rough terrain. Only weakness I can remember was the metal seat frame would eventually crack in half.

    Like 3
  6. Rob

    FYI- The 4 speed manual was only offered in 1970 and was optional.

    Like 1
  7. Rich

    Good luck finding one of these for any kind of reasonable price. The prices for these have gone through the roof! For no good reason.

    Like 2
    • bry593

      I think people around 50 years old remember these from when they were knee high to a grasshopper. Maybe their rich friend had one and they were always jealous. Now that they have the means, they are bidding up their childhood dreams. That is the reason, and is reason enough to command $4000 price tags for a semi-auto and $5k+ for an HK0 or 1 (4-spd man). The best of the best being the ’72 HK1.

      Here’s a tip, the emerald must be late ’69 since early were silver tag and this looks black to me. I’d bet the original title is most likely 1970. My 1972 K1 has a black tag that says 10/1971. But, when I got a Title-42, it was issued as a 1971 (H0).

      Another tip, check to see if the engine VIN matches the frame. Some claim the numbers need to be within a few hundred. But all of mine have been an exact match (all were/are ’72 and earlier).

    • Grumpy Ivan

      Parts for these are pricey, and all the rubber and wires of a ’70 will have perished.

      I just finished a light refurbishment of one of these and spent $400+ on parts including tires. If I needed to charge for my time there is no way I’d sell one of these in running, ridable condition for less than $3k. Anybody doing so would be losing their shirt.

      They’re expensive for a good reason.

      Make sure you don’t pay the big bucks for one that still needs all that work!

  8. Mark

    I had one and can tell you a 10 year old kid can get one of those things a lot faster than 40mph,
    I wish I still had mine but once I got about 17, me and my friends decided to take turns who could stay on it longest while running it into a barn foundation. We never did destroy it and it was eventually buried somewhere. I always resented doing that.

    Like 1
  9. Rick Beaty

    I had a 70 model with the three speed. Was a absolute blast riding logging trails and oil right of ways. Would love to experience those days again.
    Rick

  10. cmarv

    The “automatic” will do awesome wheelies if you neutral drop it at WOT . Try it and make sure the cameras rollin’ .

    Like 2
    • Derek

      I broke a C70’s swingarm doing that…

      It was quite rusty, but!

      Like 1
      • bry593

        You should have no problem pulling a wheelie without a neutral drop. Just put it in first, lean back and roll the throttle.

    • Joshua Mortensen Staff

      Once our helmets arrive, we will see which one is better at doing wheelies!

      Like 1
      • On and On On and On Member

        I am interested as to which helmet you guys chose for motorcycling. Please post. Motorcycle Safety school asks one question.”How much is your head worth to you?” And gloves too boys, when you go down what goes out first? Please leave the shorts and flip-flops in the office too! OK, back to my morning coffee now.

        Like 1
      • Howard A Member

        Safety equipment? Bwak, bwak,,just kidding, I’ve worn a helmet since I was a kid, but getting hurt on these was almost a right, or expected. If you didn’t dump one, you weren’t pushing it hard enough. They didn’t go fast enough to get killed,,generally, we’d hit the ground, spin around, obtain some “trail rash”, dust ourselves off, straighten the bent handlebars, and off we’d go again. Took many a lump, but was all in good fun. After that dismal experience with a modern dual sport, simplicity is the key, and they don’t get much simpler than this. Have fun!!

      • On and On On and On Member

        These boys are not kids Howard and that’s asphalt they’re playing on. You are correct though if you didn’t spill you weren’t doing it right. Most folks survived unscathed, but not all! Remember your crazy cousin? How do you think he got that way?

        Like 1
  11. Darrun

    In 1970, there was an older Gentleman (probably 35) that would ride one past our house. We lived on the main road, and even as a 10 year old kid, I thought that was probably risky. I believe he’s still living today, he had the enjoyment of cruising a Honda 70 down the highway, and lived to tell about it. Something not many could say.

  12. Comet

    Rob,
    I just got off of my original 1972 CT70H K1 four speed. In my family since new.

    Like 4
  13. Johnny

    Glad I still have my trail 90. Thinking about getting it running in the spring and take it next deer season. Its in nice shape and only has about3,000 mile on it.Great little bikes.

  14. ricky Whiting

    My 1971 CT70 was the bike that got me interested in dirt bikes. Next was a 1972 Suzuki Savage 250, then a 1974 Suzuki TM250. Finally a 1984 RM250. Loved them all, but my fondest memories are of the one that started it all ….the CT70. Thanks Honda. Wish I could afford to buy one now, but they’re too darn pricey for my “stay at home” salary.

    Like 2
    • Howard A Member

      Big thumbs up there, pal. Actual testimonials from real people, like diesel fuel, gets in your blood for life. Let’s see, for me, it was a ’65 Honda 50, a ’66 Suzuki 80 ( that my brother still has in his barn) a ’67 Honda CL450, a ’74 TS400, a ’76 Bultaco Pursang 200, a TY250 ( that was a fun one, I shoulda kept) couple GoldWings and that DRZ400, and while the DRZ was a fantastic bike, I was wowed by the suspension and 39 hp, I’ve found, I’d really rather have something simple, like these again. The only glitch with older bikes, is parts. Enough were made, it shouldn’t be a problem, however,,,I read, many of these were sidelined for the same problem, say a spark coil, shift fork, or something, and THOSE parts are hard to come by.

  15. K. R. V. Member

    The only thing better for good simple fun burning gas, is a 3 speed CT 70! The only thing better than that is a 4 speed CT 70! But the only thing better than that is an SL 70, that actually looks like a real motorcycle, just half scale.

  16. Old trips

    That video inspired me to pull my 74 CT 70 out of the shed where it has been sitting for years! I am going to clean it up in the basement over the winter and get her going!

    Like 1
    • Joshua Mortensen Staff

      Send us photos of your CT as you clean it up! I’m sure everyone here would love to see your progress.

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