Cheap Thrills: 1968 Honda CL90

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

| September/October 2019


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.


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:

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.

8/16/2019 3:46:57 AM

My first bike was a Honda S90. Bought it used from our local Honda dealer in 1969. He had a shop in an 8' by10' hed out back of his house. Honda was just getting set up in Atlantic Canada in the early 1960's and there were a lot of these backarddealers back then. His son was graduating to a larger bike and he was selling cheap. It was a fun bike, the only issue I ever had was when putting your foot out to dab when trail riding, I managed to hit the park plug and break it a couple of times. Scotch tape kept it running until I could get to town ad pickup a new one. Couldn't afford a car so I drove it year round, little rough at 20 below. Kept it or a number of trouble free years, until I graduated to a 300 Dream. Wish Honda would bring back the 90s again.

8/15/2019 7:10:35 AM

I picked my 1965 S90 from a friend of mines widow. My buddy, Rodney, had purchased it upon returning from his stint in the Army in Vietnam. It had sat since 1968 and barely had 4000 miles. I completely disassembled the bike to clean and polish each and every part and was able to retain all of its original black finish, only having to repaint the footpeg mounting bar. It even has the Washington state license plate issued on day one. You are so right about the fun factor these bikes provide what with their light weight and ample horsepower. I ride to work on nice days along a winding two lane road that follows the beach front with the Olympic mountains in the background with a smile thinking of my pal, Rodney

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