There are few certainties in life, yet there’s one thing I know for sure: I married well. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard a guy say “I used to have a bike, but my wife made me get rid of it.” I have one consistent, unapologetic response:
“It sounds like you should have married better.”
When I bought my first powered two-wheeled machine, The Mrs bought her own a few months later. When I started thinking about motorcycles, she bought herself an ’81 Honda CM400 a week before I got my first moto.
Now her general awesomeness is too extensive to go into here, but when it comes to her comfort and interest in motorcycles, that relates to the other aspect of my marrying well: her parents. Her dad has owned something like 37 motorcycles since he was a kid. While I don’t share his love of Harleys, he’s also a Honda man going way back. He’s even still got a couple.
Out behind his cabinet shop, there lay a forgotten old Honda Trail 70 — a parts bike for his own Trail 70. Last time we were down at their place, he said I could have it if I wanted it as a project. And as anyone at BlueCat can tell you, I’m always looking for another project.
This particular Trail 70 is the H version — which featured a manual clutch and a 4-speed transmission (as opposed to the 3-speed semi-auto transmission in the standard Trail 70). It’s in super rough shape, and it’s not complete, but there doesn’t appear to be any significant rust rot on it. Parts are plentiful both vintage and new and thankfully, they’re pretty cheap. There’s even significant upgrade hardware out there like disk brakes and upside-down fork front ends.
I’ll be going over the bike from top to bottom, and really, that’s the appeal. I wanted a basket case — a bike that would force me to touch every aspect of it. The Trail 70 is a great, simple bike and rebuilding it is about as simple as it gets. I’ll take the bike all the way down to bare and bring it back as something special. I’m not intending to do a museum restoration here. I’m going to do something custom. One, because I can; and two, because I sort of have to. At 6’3″, I don’t really fit on a Trail 70. I have a plan though, so stay tuned.
In the end, I’m looking forward to this bike becoming a groovy little motorcycle I can toss in the back of The Mrs’ car and take anywhere.