Cheap Thrills: 1968 Honda CL90

Don Stockett revives a $348 Honda CL90 acquired after a Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club run.


1968 Honda CL90

Engine: 89.6cc, 2-valve overhead cam, air-cooled 4-stroke single cylinder, 50mm x 45.6mm bore and stroke, 8.2:1 compression ratio, 8hp @ 9,500rpm (claimed)
Top speed: 70mph (factory claim) 62mph (tested, with 200lb rider)
Carburetion: Keihin III 20mm
Transmission: 4-speed, left foot shift, chain final drive
Electrics: 6v, coil and breaker points ignition
Frame/wheelbase: Pressed steel, swingarm rear end/47in (1,194mm)
Suspension: Telescopic forks front, dual shocks rear
Brakes: 4in SLS drum brake front and rear
Tires: 2.5 x 18in front, 2.75 x 18in rear
Weight (dry): 202lb (92kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 1.8 gal (6.8ltr)/176mpg @ 25mph (claimed)
Price then/now: $275 (est.)/$1,600-$4,000

Don Stockett, one of the principals of Vintage Motorcycle Rescue, a classic Japanese motorcycle restoration business near Sacramento, California, was on a ride through the Sierra foothills with the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club when one rider had a carburetor problem.

1968 Honda CL90

A bike needing a little roadside TLC is not uncommon on a vintage run. Everyone pulls over, and the more mechanically adept attendees get a chance to show off their wrenching skills. What happened next on that day, however, was a little unusual. As Don tells it:

“We had all pulled into a parking lot and one of our members was taking the carburetor apart. This guy pulls up in a pickup truck. He yells out the window, ‘I’ve been following you guys for miles hoping you would stop. Anyone here interested in buying a CL90?’ I asked how much he wanted for it. ‘$300.’ I knew what that bike’s value was, and figured that even if it was a total basket case it was worth $300. I told him I would buy it.”

8/20/2019 10:56:09 AM

When I was a kid, I lived on Okinawa. I wanted to buy an S-90 so badly, freedom to explore the island. But, my parents said NO since I would have to be on their insurance policy. Maximum speed limit on the island was 30 mph. sigh, it would have been fun .

8/19/2019 7:22:54 AM

Nice photographs here.

8/17/2019 4:44:36 AM

This CL90 was judged at the 2019 Dixon National AMCA meet and scored 96.5 points to earn its Junior First national award.

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5.00 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $29.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $34.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter