I created this web page to find a buyer for my Honda Trail. It sold at the asking price October 4, 2008. I am leaving this page up for informational purposes and so that Google Images can use the photos. If you are a prospective buyer/seller you may be able to determine what sort of a CT110 you get for $1600. If you are an owner you may find some information here that is useful in restoring and maintaining your own Honda Trail. If you want to see how a Canadian model differs from a US model my photos will show you that. When I launched the web page I included an audio file of the bike starting and being ridden, plus a video tour of the bike and some footage of me riding it, but I have now removed those files.
WHO AM I?: I am Ralph Walker. I live in Arlington, Virginia, USA. My specialty is not Hondas but Marushos and Lilacs. You can visit my website at MarushoLilac.com. I still have 4 Hondas (2008 Ruckus, 1980 NC50 Roadpal, 1978 CT90 Trail and 1965 305 Dream) and have had 5 others in the past, but am not a Honda expert. However I am patient, read what other people have written and follow their advice.
HISTORY: I bought this bike from a seller in Herndon, Virginia on 9/11/2003. It came with a signed-over Ontario off-road vehicle registration. I was unable to immediately title it in Virginia. I titled it first in Maine and then in Virginia.
The bike is essentially the same as the US model, but with different government-mandated stickers. The VIN falls in the range that PowersportsPro.com gives for the 1980 model, specifically JD01-5000001 to JD01-5009733.
ABOUT THE 1980 HONDA CT110: This was the first year for the larger engine (110cc vs 90cc), but that doesn't mean this is a better bike than the earlier ones. At the same time Honda added horsepower they took away a bunch of standard features. Most obvious were the lack of the 2-speed transfer case and the missing center stand. The center stand parts are available and so I bought and installed them ($40 including shipping back in 2004). Apparently Honda had never anticipated anyone checking the oil or changing a tire. I didn't care about the 2-speed feature as I have it on my '78 and never used it. If you care, buy an earlier or later model. Other cost-cutting moves by Honda in 1979-80 include dropping the trip odometer and changing from chromed to plastic turn signals, removing the rear brace from the luggage rack and eliminating the passenger footpegs. In all I count about 20 features that were dropped. It is not possible to install a left rear footpeg on this bike, as it was on the CT90.
Honda did get something right in dividing the charging system into a headlight/ignition coil and a battery-charging coil. So if your battery is dead the motor and headlight will still work. What they got wrong in this respect is that you had better not run this bike without a good battery or you will blow your light bulbs. There is no voltage regulator (a favorite Honda trick). If your battery can't absorb the charging current the voltage will spike and blow the filaments. When I started the bike this summer to prepare it for sale my battery was not too good and I blew the neutral lamp and the tail light. I have installed a new battery (on 8/30/08) and included in the sale another new, correct battery for the new owner to use in 2009. Bulbs on this bike are hard to find being 6V so you should heed this advice. I included some spares (details below). All blown bulbs were replaced.
APPLES AND ORANGES: The ancient design lives on in the Australian CT110 AG model, which is virtually identical to what I sold except it has CDI, a front rack, no extra gas tank and no turn signals (not street legal). It costs AU$3990, which today is US$3389.35. Because these bikes are still being built we are able to still get many parts from Honda.
Here, in exhaustive detail, are the answers to the questions I would ask if I were buying this.
Headlight: Both filaments work; headlamp is original Stanley sealed beam. As a bonus you get an appealing-looking red headlight guard meant for a Yamaha FS1E, which I bought from an ebayer in the Netherlands. See photo of spare parts below.
Taillamp: The taillight filament of this 2-filament bulb is burnt out but I am including a spare bulb so I can say that all the bulbs work. The stoplight filament in the installed bulb works. If you have no intention of riding the bike right away I suggest leaving the bad bulb in.
Turn Signals: All 4 bulbs light brightly and flash at the correct rate.
High Beam Indicator Bulb: Works
Neutral Indicator Bulb: Works
Turn Signal Indicator Bulb: Works
Speedometer Bulb: Works
Horn: Works, nice and loud.
Battery: 24-month off-brand (Yacht) 6N-2A-6 installed 8/30/08; second new battery included.
Kill Switch: Works
Alternator: Charges like it's supposed to.
Keys: One original #313 + one copy included
Locks: This one key operates the ignition, fork lock, spare gas can/helmet lock. All three of these locks work.
Spare Gas Can: Perfect condition, looks sexy as it is supposed to, has no practical use.
Tool Kit: You get a brand new and unused original Honda 89010-102-730 tool kit. All the tools in it match the diagram in the owners manual. See photo with spare parts below.
Owners Manual: Original English/French edition included, somewhat worn. See photo with spare parts below.
Shop Manual: I paid a whopping $93 + shipping for a CT90/CT110 original manual on ebay and I need this for my '78 CT90, so I couldn't include it in the deal. You can buy a the same manual for $68.70 on ebay today (9/1/08) or possibly find a pirated copy for less.
Parts Microfiche: Also included was a correct Honda microfiche, which I bought on ebay. It is not possible to scan a microfiche on a flatbed scanner, even when equipped with a slide/negative function, so unless you have a fiche reader there isn't much you can do with these. There is probably little use for this as PowerSportsPro.com has excellent graphics of the parts, and that's what I use.
Speedometer: As I said, this motorcycle has the kilometer speedo, which reads to 100 km/h. But I have purchased an ebay-fresh US CT90 speedo which reads to 60 mph and indicates 2921 miles. It is in good condition appearance-wise and I was assured that it works. This is included in the sale. The same 3 indicator bulbs are in this speedo as the original, but the High Beam indicator is on the RH side rather than the LH side. I had bought it in case the bike failed Virginia inspection with a km/h speedo, but it passed. By the way, the km/h speedo shows the red line as 90 km/h or 56 mph where the CT90 mph speedo does not indicate a maximum for 4th gear. The marked maximum shift points on the CT90 speedo are a few mph different than they should be (20/30/50 vs 25/33/45). For normal riding the manual states the shift points as 20/30/40. The bonus speedo contains 4 bulbs, all #51 and only one of them has a good filament. I will give you one new #51 bulb so you will have 2 spares.
Speedometer Housing: For some reason there is a defect in the plastic on the housing (see photo), like you'd get by dropping a blob of solder or a solvent on it. So you get an ebay-fresh black housing to replace the original one, if you care.
Handlebar and Controls: Nothing to complain about here. In case you are not familiar with this model, the 2nd of the 3 photos below shows the Winnebago device. This handlebar clamp allows you to loosen and rotate the handlebar 90 degrees to more easily stow the bike on the rack on the back of your Winnebago.
Wheels and Tires: From a few feet away the chrome on the rims looks fine but some of it is separating from the rim on the rear (see photo).
This has nothing to do with moisture, just sloppy manufacturing. The tires are original Yokohamas and look really good, with an attractive and aggressive pattern and no obvious cracks, but of course they are no longer safe or resilient, being 28 years old. If you are going to ride off-road or at low speed I guess they're OK. If you are going to re-sell the bike or display it then they are ebay-excellent! I did change the rear tube and rim strip in 2003. You need 11 different tools plus 2 kinds of cotter pins to change the rear tire. If I hadn't bought the optional center stand I'd also have needed something to support the bike. I probably changed the front tube also but did not write it down. In case I failed to do this I'm including a new tube in the sale.
Front Fork: Note in the photos above and below the hateful State and local stickers. Until 2 years ago, when the bike reached antique status in Virginia, I had to have a yearly inspection and now that I am having to remove the inspection sticker I see that it is not possible without repainting the fork leg. The new owner will have to deal with that defect.
Seat: Fine, no cracks. Here's a photo of the seat, raised, with the tank underneath:
Exhaust System: Good chrome on the guards. The pig-iron parts are sound.
Air Cleaner: I replaced the foam sleeve with an original Honda one (about $11 discount price). I have no photo of this but here's a photo of yet another Honda sticker:
Carburetor: I could not properly tune the bike, and not all the carb parts were readily available, so I replaced the carb with a Chinese Runtong knockoff from ebay seller Wincycles. You get this carb (installed) plus the original carb. The new carb works well and is a superior design to the original Keihin carb BUT (and this is a BIG BUTT) the choke operates at 12 o'clock rather than 3 o'clock, meaning you cannot choke this carb with the plastic frame cover in place. The choices you face are three: Rebuild the original carb; re-work the choke lever on the Chinese carb so it doesn't interfere with the frame cover (possibly by cannibalizing the original carb) or cutting a semi-circular hole in the frame cover to clear the choke lever. I was unwilling to do any of these things since I wanted to keep the bike original. You can do as you like. The same ebay seller sells a rebuilding kit for the carb that appears to have the correct parts. Incidentally, the new owner tells me he plans to replace the Runtong choke mechanism with the original Keihin mechanism to cure the interference problem.
Valve Adjustment: I checked them and they are OK. The covers require an unusual hex size, 23mm, which you may not have. I used a Honda Dream tool kit wrench (size unmarked). To tell the truth I never checked the Trail tool kit to see if it included a 23mm (duh!).
Brakes: They work well.
Suspension: Front and rear work well. I changed the fork oil (Dexron III) 10/7/03 so it might be time for this to be done again.
Engine Oil: Even though I have only ridden the bike 173 km (108 miles) in the 5 years I've owned it, I've changed the oil 5 times, most recently (9/08) with plain old 10w40, though the two previous oil changes were with Mobil 1.
Ignition: This bike never ran perfectly with the original carb. It sometimes missed or hesitated on hard acceleration. I checked the points, condenser, initial timing, filed the points, cleaned/gapped the plug and manipulated the advance unit to make sure it was free and everything checked out. With the new carb it's running fairly well after it warms up. The next owner can have the pleasure of fine-tuning it. At the moment it starts easily, warms up in a minute or so, idles smoothly, doesn't stall at stop signs and has loads of power. It does sometimes hesitate on hard acceleration but it is not starved for gas.
Transmission: Of course this has that unnecessary Honda automatic clutch instead of a sensible manual clutch. The smoothness of your shifts depends on your technique. If the speed is correct when you shift, and you manipulate the throttle correctly, you will get smooth shifts. I replaced the clutch disks and most of the outer clutch parts, namely the cam, lifter, retainer and 2 springs. With this new clutch I find the smoothest shifts to be with the final adjustment 1/8 turn CCW rather than 1/8-1/4 turn CW.
Shifting: I added this paragraph for the benefit of anyone test-driving one of these or for a new owner. Because every Honda Trail has its own shifting feel, these notes may not help you, but here goes. ON MY BIKE, this worked. When upshifting, use your heel to change gears and DO NOT change gears after backing off the throttle! KEEP YOUR HEEL DOWN for a second as this will keep the clutch disengaged. Blip or otherwise adjust the throttle just as you would if upshifting any clutch-type motorcycle and release your heel. But do not jerk your heel up. Remember you are operating both the transmission and the clutch with your heel and you don't want to slam the bike into gear. When downshifting, press your toe down and as before, adjust the speed of the throttle (probably higher rpm) and slowly let your toe up. When downshifting to first or neutral at a stop light, make sure to do all your shifts before your are fully stopped. You can execute all 3 downshifts within the space of the final 20 feet with no throttle action at all. You do not have to raise the throttle speed when downshifting except when downshifting for the purpose of climbing a hill, making a turn, etc. Hope all this sort of makes sense. It is important and is not really in print anywhere.
Finish, Chrome: Check out the photos. The thing is pretty old but it's lived indoors. I'd say it's well above average but no show bike.
Spare Parts: I have replaced the case screws with SS hex insert screws. You get the old Philips screws. You get 1 spare plug. As mentioned above you get the spare carb, spare key, spare tube, owners manual, speedo and headlight shell and some spare bulbs, a spare battery and a parts fiche.
WHY BUY THIS BIKE? Mostly because it hasn't yet been buggered up. To me that's the only value of low mileage on a bike. As far as the drive train it's probably better to get a nigh-mileage, proven bike (3000 miles in the case of a Honda) but it isn't going to look as good. Ebay just announced a price increase to a flat $125 commission on the sale of a car effective October 28, 2008. If that applies to cycles I hope it doesn't put a damper on the market for old bikes. If you have a bike to sell consider doing what I do and making a web page. If you like you could just copy my code or use any of the free web page design tools. It ain't rocket science to make a utilitarian web page like this.
TERMS: I required that payment be made in the form of currency or Postal Money Orders. My buyer had no problem with these terms.
TITLE: The title was signed over to the new owner. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to easily remove the bike from my Progressive insurance policy, notify the State of Virginia of the sale, and notify Arlington County to take the bike off the personal property tax rolls.
I also included the the Ontario registration (see scan below). I like to keep the historical documents with the bike and, if a future owner is a Canadian it may be easier for yhim to register it with that document, which I did not have to surrender when purchasing the Maine title.
CONTACT ME: As I said above, I am no Honda expert. The Honda Trail expertise is found on the Yahoo CT90 forum. But if you have a question about what I have written you can e-mail me by clicking here.
Thanks for your interest and good luck with your Honda Trail.
This website was last updated June 5, 2012.