The Honda S65
Little Black Bomber
Except for a missing chainguard, our photo bike looks pretty much as it did when it left the factory in 1966.
Years produced: 1965-1969
Claimed power: 6.2hp @ 10,000 rpm
Top speed: 56mph
Engine type: 62.9cc single-overhead-cam, air-cooled single
Weight (dry): 77.6kg (171lb)
Price then: NA
Price now: $600-$2,000
MPG: 190mpg (claimed)
Small and approachable, the shy little Honda S65 embodies everything that makes up a classic 1960s Honda motorcycle.
From its little four-stroke pumper to its comfortable standard-like ergonomics, the Honda S65 is an excellent choice for a classic, pint-sized city bike. Everything about it feels and acts like the solid little machine that Honda wanted — and needed — to keep the youth market it had captured earlier in the decade interested in their products.
Heritage runs deep
Hot on the heels of its Cub 50-based C110, Honda introduced two small and sporty tiddlers to the U.S. market in the mid-1960s. One was the hugely successful S90 model, which generated a tremendous buzz thanks to its sporty good looks and peppy 90cc performance. As far as Honda was concerned, the S90 was the head of the class, grabbing all the attention. But a few rows back, with its hand raised ever so slightly, was the Sport 65, waiting patiently to be called on.
Read Paul Enz's review of owning and riding a 1965 Honda S65
Like most small Hondas of the time, the S65 (also sometimes known as the Honda CS65) owes much of its upbringing to the granddaddy of tiddlers, the C100 and its sporty C110 derivative. Despite the obvious difference of the pass-through versus the conventional tank-over-frame design, the basic layout and many significant mechanical components are shared between the bikes. This becomes even more obvious when you place the two bikes side-by-side. Let’s see now, hmmm, those front forks sure look familiar. So does that rear swing arm. Oh, wait, that taillight is the same, too.
And yet, the S65 retains a completely unique look and feel, and an appearance that should endear itself to a small-bike enthusiast looking for that perfect middle ground. It is something more grown-up than your typical pass-through scooter, yet not overtly sporty to the point of being single-minded in its purpose. The S65 really is the smart kid in the class, with the correct answer for nearly every situation.
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