The History . Introduction

Mr Soichiro Honda


Mr Soichiro Honda Born in November 1906 in Tenryu, Japan, and died in August 1991 (aged 84), Mr Honda founded in 1948 the Honda Motor Company

 

The Honda Trials History begins in the early sixties. As all these stories the start is not exactly clear, but I'll try to give a little light on this not very clear history. Of course any help will be welcome, I'm open to receiving any information and pictures in order to share to everybody interested on this  exciting world of four-stroke Honda's engine.   Brieve Introduction

In 1947 Honda made, manufactured and sold his first complete motorbike. It has a ½ horspower and was known as Honda A-type, but maybe was most known as the name of “Chimney”, why? Because it gave a lot of smoke and a stench of turpentine.

 

 

In 1953 Honda produced one four-stroke motorbike, a sophisicated 90cc , 3,8 horspower engine, was known as the Benly that means in Japanese lenguage convenience. The bike was a great success and were sold as a rate of a 1.000 units a month.



In 1958 Honda introduced in Japan and later in 1959 the US the world’s best-selling motorbike, the C100 Super Cub. 30 million units sold!!



The Super Cub used a 50cc four-stroke OHV engine with three speed gear box. The innovarive frame without cross bar became so popular with the ladies population and set a new trend in conmuter motorcycling. The word “scooter” born at this moment to denominate this style of motorbikes wich sold in 50, 70 and 90cc engine capacity versions.
In 1959 first Trials transformations were made as this nice document shows us. Thanks to Shizuo Ito (on the picture) to sent me this information.


   m                             

Shizuo Ito sent me this picture taken in October 1959. The bike an Honda Cub C100



At early's 1965 Ken Ives was a UK Honda dealers that made one of the first transformations from the "street" Hondas to ride on Trials races.   Ken Ives took a 1965 Honda S90 and made several modifications and improvements to well adapt on atrials riding.



One of the reported original ones pictured, thanks to Olivier Barjon
 One of the first Ken riders was Cleve N Mills in 1965. Picture thanks to Andrew Mills.
At same time the Japanese Hideo Tanaka made his own transformation and rode with his S90. Tanaka, some time later was working on the RTL305 development.  
  In 1968 Honda introduced a new concept motorbike, a new word to described it born: “Superbike”     The bike was shown at Tokyo Show in 1968, the fastest and powerfull bike on the world at this moment. 750cc, four cylinder that was called Honda CB750 Four.

   

In 1970 Honda entered on the off-road market with a two-stroke motocross bike and later with different trail versions, the MT125 and MT250.
  Also no more time later, in 1972 Honda introduced the four-stroke SL125 and the SL 250 equipped with a long travel suspension achieving a good and succsseful off-road motorbike.

                         
  In 1971, Toshi Nishiyama took place at the SSDT (first Japanese rider to compete there) with this Montesa Cota 247.
  Based on the SL engines, Honda produced the also successful XL versions in 1973 with improved off-road performance. These XL off-road engines were the basis for the development of the well known Honda Trials bikes.

  

The TL 125 first in 1973 and the TL 250 in 1975 were the first production Honda Trials motorbikes. The begining of the nice and amazing history of this brand on Trials line narrated here at this webpage: The Honda Trials History.
In 1973 three Japanese riders to0k place at SSDT with the little TL 125, Nishiyama, Narita and Mazawa.

Peter Gaunt was one of the first UK engineers who in developed a transformation using a Honda bike as a base. The bike was sold under the Jefferies Honda name, this is because Jefferies bikes, located at Shipley, Yorkshire, was the dealer.

  Honda seriously began on the Trials Bike competition in 1974 with one of the most important persons on the Honda Trial Bikes History: Sammy Miller. He was a key person on the Honda Team, as a rider, as a bikes development and as a strategist.
 

 

Bougie NGK DR8ES-L

Sammy Miller

In April 1974 Sammy Miller flew from Heathrow to Tokyo, Japan. Sammy signed a contract with Honda for the new range trials bikes development.

Sammy was impressed on his first travel to Honda R&D headquarters. High security level, special sections constructed for testing new trials bikes, and everybody waiting for him.

He started working with the TL125 and XL250 engine. The TL125 was the first Honda Trials attempt using the small 121,9cc two-valve sohc engine from the SL125 Trail Honda.

Honda R&D team was benn placed at Sammy's disposal to develop the new Honda Trials bike and Sammy decided to start with the XL250, but found a lot of difficulties to adapt it from the Trails needs to Trials requirements.

Sammy did a giant work on this development, big efforts to improve carburation, completely new frame (he based on its also designed High-Boy for the Bultaco trials), new upper yokes, also replaced the rims for alloy ones, and a lot of work on the suspension definition.
The silencer was also redefinedto obtain the maximum efficency. 

In 1974 Sammy scored several wins on the Honda 250 first prototype. In October of this year, Sammy Miller won his first victory with the second prototype Honda at Sturminister Newton Trial at Gillingham.

This second prototype had a 248,6cc (74 X 57,8mm) alloy cylinder barrel with chromed bore, four-valves, using 24mm Keihin carburetor. 

This prototype was famous for having the number plate SAM 1N.


Bougie NGK DR8ES-L

 

Description: 

Plug NGK DR 8ES-L

Price: 5,95 €

Shop: 

France Trial Classic

www.francetrialclassic.com.png

1982-83-84 World Trials Championship

The bigest success on the Honda Trials History arrived at 1982 by the hand of the most important rider that never Honda had, Eddy Lejeune. He won the Honda first Worl Trials Championship!!  After long time fighting practically alone on four-stroke trial bikes (Spanish, Italian, Japanese and French bikes were two-stroke engine) Honda had his recompense, Eddy also won the World Trial Championship in 1983 and 1984.  
Thanks to John Moffat for this picture. The History of this rare and speciall bikes is for the four-stroke engine fans really exciting!!   Eddy Lejeune at 1983 World Round in Texas, picture thanks to Albert Wing.   Take a llok at this interesting Eddy interview made by James Brown from Retrotrials.com The best interview ever of the legend Thanks James to share!   http://www.retrotrials.com/the-best-eddy-lejeune-interview-ever-page-1.html  

 

Maybe the best trials bikes that never nobody did

From the Sammy Miller first prototypes bikes to the nice RTL 270SW Rothmans through the special RS's or the world champion RTL 360, Honda made maybe the best and nicest trials bikes that never nobody did.   1988, The pink RTL250S (Ex Lejeune 270cc, supplyed by Derrick Edmonson) from John Shirt at Irish Experts Trial. Picture thanks to Stuart Martin.   Again, John Shirt Jr. at the SSDT 1988 with the nice RTL disk brakes. Picture thanks to John from Trialmag. *John Shirt Snr. Picture Copyright   Here, thanks to Patrick Jay from Aspen Cafe at Samoëns, French Alps we can see a representation of some of the most excellent, historic and rare trials bikes on the all world!! © Copyright of this picture by Jean Caillou. Thanks also Jean for its comments and information about these pictured bikes    
  1. Honda 305 Long Stroke, 1974 SAMMY MILLER Prototype
  2. Honda RTL 305 Long Stroke, 1975 Marland Whaley
  3. Honda 1977-78 RTL 306 (short-stroke) as ridden by Marland Whaley at the SSDT (hence the big alloy tank).
  4. Honda RTL 360, Eddy Lejeune 1982
  5. Honda RTL 360, Eddy Lejeune 1984
  6. Honda RTL 270SW Rothmans, Saunders, Lejeune.

These Extraordinary Hondas were joined at 2008 Honda Meeting in the French Alps. Organizer was the RTL Honda Club Europe.
The RTL Club Europe is an association of fans and collectors of historical four-stroke Honda trials.http://rtlr.club.free.fr/




The Aspen Cafe is famous for its whiskey and usually hosts trials meetings. Located in a lovely place, Samoëns, has a long history and tradition. www.aspencafe.com


 

 

 


 

 Pat (Aspen Cafe owner and Trials passionate) and Joan (The Honda Trials History) at Aspen Cafe bar last winter 2011. Aspen Cafe is an important meeteing point for all the natur lovers and trials bike passionates. You can find there people from everywere of the world, Japanese people, French, English, Spanish, Italian, German,....from everywere!! Charm place, carried from a friendly and hospitality way by my friend Pat.


HONDA RSC and HRC

 

The Honda Research & Development

For the development of special racing motorcycles and parts Honda created a separate company, first in 1970 this company was called RSC, Racing Service Center Corporation, later in 1982 the company was renamed as HRC, Honda Racing Corporation. Best Honda Trials bikes were designed and developed by RSC or HRC company.


Racing Service Center

RSC


In the early 1970's Honda created a separate company to oversee racing, the company was called RSC, Racing Service Center. In 1973 RSC was established as a separated entity from Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
Later, in September 1982, RSC changed to HRC and began the Honda's racing, endurance, trials and motocross racing programs.     Honda Racing Corporation
Honda Racing Corporation 
The HRC logo began to be applied on 1982. Honda Racing Corporation was founded on September 1982 replacing RSC.
His first President was the legendary engineer Shoichiro Irimajiri.
HRC Division headquarters is based in Saitama, Japan and Aalst in Belgium. Tetsuo Suzuki is the President and Shuhei Nakamoto his Vice President. The main service is the Research and development of racing motorcycles and parts Its main mission the development, manufacture and sales of motorcycles and parts for racing. Since then HRC has become a byword for high-performance engineering excellence and winning performance.   ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------   The Honda Trials History also at:   Honda Trials History Blog: http://www.honda-trials.blogspot.com    Honda Trials History Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Honda-trials-history/314251327372     Thanks to all Honda Trial fans for his collaboration in this page. worldwideweb: www.onlytrial.com email to: honda@onlytrial.com

Honda Riders (by name)

SORRY, UNDER CONSTRUCTION FOLDER

Hideo Tanaka
 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship British Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
1963  Honda S90 Proto       
         
         
  
Peter Gaunt
 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship British Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
1973  Jefferies XL250       
         
         
  
Sammy Miller
Born 11 November 1933, Belfast, Northern of Ireland.


 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship British Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
1974 250 Proto       
1976  RTL 306      
         


Toshi Nishiyama 
 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship British Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
1973  Honda TL125      SSDT 
         
         
  
Nisiyama Tosoki



Gordon Jackson
 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship British Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
1974  Honda 250 Sammy      
         
         

Bob Nickelsen
 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship British Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
1975  Honda TL250       
         
         

Marland Whaley
 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship British Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
1975  Honda TL250       
         
         

Nick Jefferies
 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship British Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
         
         
         

Brian Higgins
 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship British Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
         
         
         

Bob Colein
 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship British Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
         
         
         

Derek Edgar
 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship Japan Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
1977 TL 250      -- 
         

Hiroshi Kondo

 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship Japan Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
1976  RTL 306      
1977 TL200R   1st   
1978 TL200R Special     1st  
1979     1st  
1984 Honda Kondo      
  
Rob Shepherd


   
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship British Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
1977 200 Seeley  4th     
1978  RTL305 long S. 5th    
1979        
       
 
  
Mark Eggar
 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship British Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
         
         
         
  
Eddy Lejeune
Born in April 1961, Verviers, Belgium.



Year   Honda Bike used World Championship Belgium Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
1979   15th    
1980 200 Seeley  4th 1st 12th 
1981   4th 1st  
1982 RTL360  1st 1st  
1983 RTL360  1st 1st  
1984 RTL360   1st 1st 2nd
1985   2nd 1st  
1986 RTL250SW  3d 1st  
1987   9th    

Taneyasu Maruyama
 
Year   Honda Bike used World Championship British Championship SSDT Scottish Six Days
         
         
         
  
Kiyoteru Hatori
 

Honda Riders (by date)


1963 
Hideo Tanaka, Japan. Honda S90 Prototype.

1973 to 1988 First "Official" Honda Trial Riders
1973 
Peter Gaunt, UK. Honda Jefferies XL250
1974
Sammy Miller (1033), Belfast, UK. Honda 250 Prototype, XL250 Engine based.

Sammy Miller

1973
Toshi Nishiyama, Japan. Honda TL125

1974 
Gordon Jackson, UK. Honda 250 Sammy Miller

1975
Bob Nickelsen, USA. Honda TL 250
Marland Whaley (1958), California, USA. Honda 250
Nick Jefferies, UK. Honda 301 RTL
Toshi Nishiyama, Japan. Honda TL250
Brian Higgings, UK.

1976 
Sammy Miller, UK. Honda RTL 306
Bob Colein UK. Honda TL 300
Hiroshi Kondo, Honda 306



Picture © The Honda Trials History webpage thanks to Mr. Hiroshi Kondo (property of the Picture)

1977
UK Honda Team: Sammy Miller, Rob Shepherd (5th position at world trial championship)and Nick Jefferies. US Honda Team: Bob Nicholson, Marland Whaley and Mark Eggar Hiroshi Kondo, won Trials Japan Championship.

1978 
Hiroshi Kondo, 1st Place at Trials Japan Championship.
Rob Shepherd, UK (5th position at world trial championship)

Rob Sheperd at Oberiberg, Switzerland for the 1978 World Trials Championship. 
Please respect the Copyright of this picture that was kindly sent to me by Pat Criou.


Marland Whaley at Oberiberg, Switzerland for the 1978 World Trials Championship. 
Please respect the Copyright of this picture that was kindly sent to me by Pat Criou.   1979 
Hiroshi Kondo, 1st Place at Trials Japan Championship.
Rob Shepherd, UK (6th position at world trial championship), Eddy Lejeune, Belgium.(15th position at world trial championship)

   Eddy Lejeune at World Trial Championship, Italy. Picture thanks to Gabriele Milan

1980
 
Taneyasu Maruyama, 1st Place at Trials Japan Championship.
Eddy Lejeune, B (4th position at world trial championship), Rob Shepherd, UK (9th Position at world trial championship), Kiypteru Hattori, Japan.
   
 Kiyoteru Hattori at SSDT 1980. Picture thanks to Jimmy Young. © Jimmy Young 1981 
Eddy Lejeune, B (4th position at world trial championship), Kiyoteru Hattori, JP (22th position at world trial championship)

1982
Masaya Yamamoto, 1st Place at Trials Japan Championship.
Eddy Lejeune, Belgium (1st position at world trial championship)
 


Picture from Masaya Yamamoto thanks to The Honda Trials History friend Ryosuke Ikuno

1983
Masaya Yamamoto, 1st Place at Trials Japan Championship.
Eddy Lejeune, B (1st position at world trial championship)  

 

1984 
Masaya Yamamoto, 1st Place at Trials Japan Championship.
Eddy Lejeune, B (1st position at world trial championship). Hiroshi Kondo tooke place at Scottish Six days with this special Honda. Picture thanks to Hiroshi Kondo.



     Picture © The Honda Trials History webpage thanks to Mr. Hiroshi Kondo (property of the Picture)

1985
Masaya Yamamoto, 1st Place at Trials Japan Championship.
Eddy Lejeune, B (2th position at world trial championship), Steve Saunders, GB (3th position at world trial championship).  

1986 
Masaya Yamamoto, 1st Place at Trials Japan Championship.
Eddy Lejeune, B (3th position at world trial championship), Steve Saunders, GB (2th position at world trial championship)   Steve Saunders

1987 
Eddy Lejeune, B (9th position at world trial championship) this year, Eddy left Honda Trials Team.

1988 
John Shirt Junior, Honda RTL250 (HRC 270cc works Ex-Lejeune)

1988, The pink RTL250S (Ex Lejeune 270cc HRC special bike) John Shirt at Irish Experts Trial. Picture thanks to Stuart.

John Shirt Jr. at the SSDT 1988 with the nice RTL disk brakes. Picture thanks to John from Trialmag. *John Shirt Snr. Picture Copyright

1989
Takumi Narita, 1st Place at Trials Japan Championship.





Coming soon with more information. Your help will be welcome. Send please at honda@onlytrial.com   Do you have riders pictures? please send me at honda@onlytrial.com    

Copyright

Thanks to ask to Honda Trials History web page owner before reproducing any part of the publication inside this website. The success of this web page is the result of the efforts of the HTH owner with the valuable help and collaboration of the all Honda Trials History fans and collaborators. *The Honda Trials History owner has the permission for the use of all pictures sent by his collaborators to be used for only the purpose of this website. For this reason the use of any picture shall be authorised by his owner through The Honda Trials History web page.