’67 Honda CB160
The motorcycle that got more riders off little 50’s and 90’s than any other. The Honda CB160. We all remember the Honda ads about meeting the nicest people on one of their little motorbikes, those ads were created to counter the ‘biker, bad boy, wild one’ images and they worked. Almost sixty years later, Honda is still building that little step thru and selling them by the thousands. As Honda wanted to get more people on two wheels starting with the little bikes, they also wanted to keep people that were riding Honda’s on a Honda so…they added the bigger motorcycles to ‘the nicest people’ campaign focusing on the CB160. A nice little non-threatening, easy to ride, but real motorcycle.
All riders today have a story about motorcycles of their past and as I gather these stories, I find old Honda’s played a major role in their riding lives. I started my motorcycling life aboard a Honda 160, so did my father…it was his CB160 I first rode into the back bumper of his shiny new Chevy back in 1966. The CB160 was a fun bike to master all the riding skills on and it was easy enough for anyone to ride, just as Honda planned. Eventually the 160, which was only around from 1965 to 1968 and sold for a whopping $530 new, grew into the CB175. More power, 5 speed transmission,modern styling, a better frame and suspension, and improved brakes…all good things. So the little CB160, the beginner real motorcycle, was left in the 175’s dust. Most CB160’s ended up in the scrap pile or laying on it’s side out in a field somewhere, a few were lucky enough to get propped up in the corner of a barn or a warehouse so some lucky soul years later would find it and bring it back to life. Don’t you wish you were one of those souls?
In recent years as the Cafe Racer movement has grown, small bore Japanese bikes have become quite popular…probably because they are a whole lot cheaper to buy than their British or European counterparts. A few years ago, I turned a mild mannered Honda CL350 into a pretty nice little Cafe bike and plan on doing it again with another CB Honda. The CB160 has also found a home in Vintage road racing. There is a group of CB160 nuts up in the Pacific Northwest that have formed a racing association around the little Honda and they are traveling the nation spreading their disease. Good for them.
If you are of a mind to get into the vintage Honda world without breaking the bank or ending up in divorce court, I found a neat little Honda CB160 on ebay this morning. It’s a clean little, stone stock model with only 6638 miles on it. The bike has been sitting for over twenty years but doesn’t look it. Paint and chrome are good, everything is there, it is ready for whatever you want to do with it. Race it, make a cafe racer out of it, make a tourer out of it (yes, people have toured on these little bikes, riding them all over and across the country), or leave it just as it is and appreciate it the way Soichiro himself would have wanted you to. The owner doesn’t give much of a description but the photo’s are good and with a $1500 price tag, it’s a good deal. You even get the original tool kit and owners manual!! Click on the pics for more…and maybe you could be one of those ‘nicest people on a Honda?