Honda once built a little go-anywhere scooter with a low-range gearbox

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Photo: Honda

the motorcycle division from the Honda Motor Company has achieved what many manufacturers could only dream of. His Super Cub is the best-selling motor vehicle of all time to non-cyclists and cyclists. His Gold Wing is the touring standard for countless riders. Sometimes Honda comes up with something innovative like the CT50Motra. This bike is a compact ripper designed to conquer the trails while hauling all your crap.

Honda’s history is full of strange projects that other motorcycle manufacturers wouldn’t dare to attempt. the PC800 was designed to entice non-riders into the motorcycle fray with low maintenance and hiding dirty bits of the bike under layers of plastic. Honda NM4 was a DCT-equipped beast that resembles Akira’s bike. But perhaps Honda’s coolest projects are the small displacement efforts. I’m talking about machines like the ADV150 off-road scooter and the Honda Cub EZ90.

The CT50 Motra is another, and it’s a shame that there are apparently so few of them.

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The story of the birth of this motorcycle is quite thin, but like Silodrome Remarks, Honda planned to move 45,000 a year. The Motra was introduced in 1982 and was discontinued a year later. It is unknown how many of these were made, but they are certainly rare. They rarely appear anywhere in the world.

I found a few currently on salewith what appears to be the best example available in France.

Image for article titled Honda once built a little go-anywhere scooter with a low-range gearbox

The CT50 Motra is basically what happens when you cross a minibike with a scooter. It’s tiny like the Coleman minibikes you ride around your neighborhood, but it’s packed with plenty of nifty features.

The CT50 Motra is built on a simple tubular frame and mounted on sturdy steel brackets on which you can attach all kinds of equipment.

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Photo: Honda

Honda made sure to mount the lights nice and low so whatever you pile on the bike doesn’t hamper your ability to see at night. Only one seat was provided, and the rider commanded a 49cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled four-stroke making 4.5 horsepower.

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This engine fed a three-speed gearbox with a second stage. You can ride it on the road with the second stage in its higher gear for higher speed or in its low gear to provide as much of that 4.5 ponies as possible for the climbing. Honda has used low ranges in a number of bikes, including the CB900C, but not in a setup exactly like this.

honda says that it could climb a grade as steep as 23 degrees, not bad for something with so little power.

The bike also came with suspension, so you weren’t completely beaten up while riding.

Image for article titled Honda once built a little go-anywhere scooter with a low-range gearbox

Photo: Honda

And dry, the CT50 Motra weighed just 167 pounds, making it easy to get out of sticky situations or load inside a truck.

But my favorite feature of this bike has to be the center stand. It was positioned in such a way that when you were riding it protected that little engine.

Image for article titled Honda once built a little go-anywhere scooter with a low-range gearbox

Photo: Honda

If you are looking for a super minibike, one can be purchased for the equivalent of $4,272 from a store in France. Buying it will be the easy part. Getting it here without losing your pants in shipping is another story. Motorcycles aren’t just rolled onto ships like cars are, so you should have room in an expensive container.

No matter how many of them were built, I’m glad Honda did and continues to experiment with motorcycles. The world always needs more concepts like this.

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