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Redline Rebuild: Pulling apart our Honda Trail 70

by Hagerty
26 January 2021

Davin Reckow is the mastermind behind Hagerty’s Redline Rebuild series. What he doesn’t know about nuts and bolts, angle grinders and firing sequences probably isn’t worth knowing. Yet even Reckow hasn’t tackled anything quite like this rebuild – at least, nothing quite so small.

This Honda Trail 70 is a running bike but it’s far from perfect and could use some love. Teardown time for the air-cooled single-cylinder engine moves quickly, so let’s get to it.

The Trail 70, or CT 70 as it is also known, was released in 1969 as a larger alternative to the popular Honda Z50 Monkey Bike. CT was an abbreviation of “Cub Trail” which summed up how it was designed to be used – as an affordable, fun bike for occasional excursions off-road. The bike is built around a steel backbone frame that was strong and cheap compared with a tubular steel arrangement, and summoning up vast reserves of power is an air-cooled, single cylinder, four stroke 72cc motor with a single overhead cam, a single carburettor and two valves.

It was the perfect bike to to get novices hooked on riding. The diminutive size made it approachable and comfortable for just about anybody, and the peppy four-stroke, single-cylinder engine was both quick and easy to handle, especially with the three-speed transmission behind it. The Trail 70 is a machine that bike people often say “gives room to grow,” meaning that it’s forgiving enough to learn on, but remains entertaining and rewarding as the rider gains experience. Today they’re available for between £2000 and £4000, depending on the condition.

The orange model Reckow is working on appears to be in good order, but with each step of pulling it to pieces the pint-sized Honda reveals a catalogue of issues. Luckily, none of the problems encountered are catastrophic and each can be easily rectified. Before those fixes can take place, however, everything is going to need a thorough clean.

That’s for next episode, though. For now, go forth and heed Reckow’s call to work on your project cars or bikes. And if you don’t want to miss the next Redline Update, subscribe to Hagerty on YouTube.

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