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.
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.
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.
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.