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1981 Honda C70

The Intended Purpose

Classic Velocity

This is what the machine was intended for. A short jaunt of 12 miles total to head into town and stop at a few places, pick up a few small things, and get back. No issues other than top speed. With a lighter pilot aboard, 50mph is probably possible. In this case, more like 40mph. That is barely adequate for a few stretches and not good for any extended uphill segments! 

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Fully Faired

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Not only is the C70 back to full operating status, it is serving as backup/rescue vehicle. A recent trek with the Sachs Suburban was a slow motion adventure where the Honda was along to ensure that all went well. It did, and the C70 was a pleasure to ride at very slow speeds or medium speeds.  It is nice to feel likje the machine is bulletproof again, after the fueling issues which were no fault of the bike.

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Back in the Circle

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Back in May, the C70 left me stranded about 3 miles from the garage. It just gradually lost power. After cooling down for a while it started right up, but then quickly deteriorated again. After diagnostics back at HQ, I suspected the coil. It was harder to find than it should have been, and then had to be modified slightly by drilling out some rivets to get mounted. With everything back together, the machine started and ran ok on the first concentric circle around the block. Since the issue was after running for a while, I tried the 5 mile circle. I took along tools and a fully charged cell phone. All was fine. Next step, a new air filter, and some extended running..... 

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Out and About

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This was what this machine was made for. A trip that was 6.5 miles each way to run an errand in town where you are in no danger of exceeding 50 mph. This was the maiden voyage since full reassembly, and I discovered a few things. First, there is not a lot of power in any gear, so you need to ride using momentum. Second, the machine is hard pressed to get above 40 mph with this pilot aboard. I swear that I went faster all the time on a Honda 50, but then I was half this weight. Third, it draws attention. College kids and old timers alike think it is kind of cool. Fourth, the rear shocks are shot. A few things to work on, but you really do meet the nicest people on a Honda.....

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Above Freezing

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With the garage finally getting above freezing, the few items needed for the C70 seemed like a good way to get back in the swing of things. First a simple blown bulb. Once common dual filament 6v bulbs are now available only via mail order. I ordered a half dozen before the supply dries up. Instant tail light. Next up a mirror. The tap and die set came out to turn the pass through into a threaded passage for one of many mirror stalks laying around. Last, the headlight bucket needed a cleaning of a few connections and replacement of the headlight.  

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It Goes and It Stops

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The Holidays provided some quality wrenching time, and the C70 motor is back together. Valve timing is spot on, and ignition timing set. It fired on the second kick ! And, it idles perfectly. A few throttle adjustments, some inline fuel filters, and the machine is back in business. A trip to a local Japanese salvage yard produces a hard to find fairing, with a few blemishes and a crack along one seam, but it matches the rest of the machine. A new seat cover was found online. It looks almost too nice, but I'll live. This thing now looks and runs like the rider that it is. A few electrical gremlins to sort out yet, and still no electric start, but real progress.

Making Progress

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A few hours is all it takes to remove the head, reset the cam timing, and then set the valves. Meanwhile, the new throttle cable is installed, the flasher relay is replaced, and the battery is charged. The clutch seems to be in fairly good shape upon examination. The gas tank gets cleaned and the non-reserve spout gets unclogged.

Next was the mounting of the brand new carb.  

 

Undiscovery

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This can not be called a true discovery phase as I might normally call it, because I already knew just how bad this machine was. No carburetor, missing battery, a disintegrated seat cover and foam, unknown electrical, etc. There were three positives; the motor turned freely, the miles were super low, and so was the price. Perhaps there is a fourth positive; Honda made 4 gazillion of these, and parts are plentiful and cheap...let the online ordering begin...

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The Facts

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1981 Honda C70 Passport


1981 Honda C70 Passport

  • Like the 1980 model with only a few exceptions
  • The VIN had the 17 digits which indicated the country (first character), manufacturer (second character), year (10th character), and factory (11th character)
  • Example: JH2DA0107BS100001
    • J=Japan
    • H=Honda
    • B=1981
    • S=Suzuka factory
  • Colors:
    • Parakeet Yellow
    • Angel Blue
    • Monza Red
  • Long seat: black and white
  • Leg guard/cowling: white
  • Cowling now had another cutout next to the cylinder head
  • Accessory: basket and rack were mounted above the front fender and a short luggage rack was mounted behind the seat
  • "PASSPORT" logo appeared on the fuel tank
  • It had a six-volt system like the previous models
  • Ignition: breaker points
  • Starter: electric start
  • Engine: 72cc OHC single cylinder
  • Transmission: 3-speed with an automatic clutch
  • Serial number began JH2DA0106BS100003

Pit Bike

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The first motorcycle I ever rode was a Honda 50 step-through. It was the first Passport, and arguably the most important machine of the 20th Century. The quest for a cheap bike to run around Limerock, Mid-Ohio, etc had been going on for some years. Craigslist is great for this kind of machine. Cheap, cosmetically challenged, possibly not running. This C70 was all of those things. The seat had no cover left, the carb was not on the bike, there was speaker wire connecting things, no leg fairing. Bad news, but this holds the record for being the most produced machine in the world. I should be able to find parts....