Nobody doesn’t love Hodaka. With names like Ace, Dirt Squirt, Wombat, Rat and Super Rat, Road Toad and Thunderhog, what’s not to love? In the late 60’s through the mid 1970’s every young ‘wanna be racer’. wanted a Hodaka. Why? Well, they were cheap, they were easy to ride, and almost maintenance free. Operative word here was ‘almost’…remember these were little two-strokes.
Hodaka has been given credit for kick-starting the ‘trail-bike’ craze here in the US of A, and it’s easy to understand why. Like I said in the first paragraph… Hodaka’s were easy to buy, easy to ride, easy to maintain and they had fun names.
Many beginning racers that became stars got their start on Hodaka’s, mom’s got to go riding with the family on a Hodaka, and they had the cool factor of the crazy names. A good number of aftermarket companies jumped on the Hodaka bandwagon with all kinds of hop-up parts that made your little Ace 100 out run bikes twice it’s size!! No Kidding. Hodaka’s were light and quick and just a pure joy to ride. Hodaka’s were known as ‘The Little Bike That Could‘. And at only $495 ‘new’…you could could buy a fun trailbike and a winning racer.
I found a really nice little Hodaka on ebay the other day and is actually selling for a reasonable price. It was restored four years then stored. It is in really nice shape with the original chrome tank and stainless steel front fender (most Hodaka’s you find have a plastic tank and fender because the originals were just too heavy or they have been beaten into submission). The original carb was rebuilt as well. This little bike is ready to ride…not store somewhere.
Here is another very cool thing about having a Hodaka motorcycle…Paul and his wife Patti at www.strictlyhodaka.com. When you have a Hodaka and you need a part, there is no other place on this planet that can help you more. Paul and Patti live breath and live for Hodaka and it shows. When you first contact them you become part of the family.
And one last thing about the Super Rat, how it got its name. When the 100cc MX racer showed up at Pabatco in Oregon (the importer), it said ‘SR’ on the side of the engine, one of the Pabatco honcho’s looked at it and said what that stand for, ‘Super Rat’? Well, it may have been a bit of a sarcastic remark but the name stuck.
Ok, and one more last thing…remember I said “everyone loves Hodaka”… if ‘The Duke’ will trade his horse for a Hodaka, well, it has to be a great motorcycle!
Click on the pics below for more info and more pictures. This will be a very fun bike to own.
I’ve said over and over, I dig Hodaka’s. From the story of the company, the bikes, the names and how many of them were sold and enjoyed bt everyone from kids, to pro’s, to little old ladies on a trail ride. You could ride it to school or work and then on the weekend go to the desert or woods on the same bike with ease. Hodaka’s were pretty cheap, in a lot of ways, but anything that wasn’t quite up to the quality standards set by the big 4 Japanese companies or the Europeans was completely over-shadowed by the ‘high giggle factor’ that came stock with every Hodaka motorcycle.
Hodaka has legions of followers around the world, in the US there is a huge event each year called Hodaka days. There are swap meets, bike shows, street rides, trail rides, moto cross races…great fun for lovers of the little bike with the funny names…Ace 90, Ace 100, Rat, Super Rat, Wombat, Combat Wombat, Super Combat Wombat, Dirt Squirt, Road Toad (it was bright!!! green) and the Thunderhog. How can you resist a bike called the ‘Dirt Squirt’??
There are also lots of resources for Hodaka fans out there. The best starting place I have found is the folks at ‘Strictly Hodaka’ www.strictlyhodaka.com from there you’ll photo galleries, events, links, all kinds of parts and a lot more. It’s the perfect place to make your leap into Hodaka World.
A terrific vintage motocrosser, Hodaka upgraded the Super Combat in 1974 with reed valve induction, a bigger carb, a new cylinder arrangement and the newest ‘no flywheel’ CDI ignition. The Super Combat was fast, as a matter of fact, it was faster out of the hole (starting line ) the Honda Elsinore, really it was. A good rider could get the jump on everybody and be to the first turn leading the pack. However, if the track was a long fast one, like some 5th and 6th gear straights, the Hodaka started falling behind. And, if the course was a rough one, well…besides being beat to death by the mediocre suspension, you’d find your self pretty far back in the back wishing the race was really only the first 50 yards. Yes, Hodaka did pinch a few pennies on the suspension but there were a few good aftermarket suppliers that smooth things out for you.
I came across a pretty clean Super Combat on ebay today. The owner doesn’t provide much more information other than it runs good, but the pictures show that it is in good shape and probably well taken care of Looks to me with some of those better shocks I mentioned. It also looks to be a good value so far, not one of those motorcycles that comes with a price tag that makes you laugh. Click on the pics below for more pictures and contact info.