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Old 08-22-2011, 08:24 PM   #1
btcn OP
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My new Honda Minibike

Hi everyone I just got me a little Honda Minibike. It looks to me like a Minitrail. It appears to have been customized, its got a chopper look to it. Looks pretty kick ass to me.

Now I ain't got no idea what it really is. Maybe one of you can tell me? I picked it up at the flea market for just $75! Couldn't resist it! It appears that it used to be street legal, but judging by the tags it was last registered in 83. I also have no title, but it does have the key. The lights are also missing except for the brake light/license light.

I initially thought it was a 50 cc, but it appears that the engine says 89 cc, I can just barley make out the numbers. It also seems to be a 4 Speed, it has a Manuel clutch [But it doesn't work]. The engine is a Honda however, I don't know whether its stock or not though. I've got like no info on it. But heres some pics:

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I would very much appreciate any kind of info or ideas on this little bike. Pretty cool like bike ain't it? It seems like the clutch needs work though. Looks like a barn find as its got hay and that stuff on it. I think it was sitting for like 10-20 years. Not in too bad of condition. Front fork needs to be replaced [Left fork appears somewhat bent], but all in all it'll be a fund little project bike. It does run however! Wellhe didn't think it would but I got it to fire in like 5 minutes after getting it home! Checked the basics like spark, its got a clean blue spark, tank isn't even rusty and has no gas,so I poured some gas in, found the correct key position by spark test, opened the petcocks, and sprayed in some carb cleaner. First kick with carb cleaner it revved up and then died! Kicked it for awhile but once the gas got to the carb it fired right up! Runs fine! It looks to have a screen for an air filter though, I'll probably get it a good air filter. Exhaust is also modified, its pretty loud! It has a huge opening and sounds SWEET! Sounds like a big motorcycle! I then tried to put it into first [This is 1 down 3 up pattern I believe], but it jumps and dies. The clutch is pretty stuck. I reached down and tried to pull it back, but it wouldn't work even pulled back, and was very hard to pull back. So what I did for a quick test ride around the block was put it in neutral, push it with my legs as fast as I could, and pop it in second. It fired right up! I rode it all the way around the block. THe front fork doesn't feel quite right [needs replacing] and the clutch makes some noise. But I can figure it out. Any ideas for the clutch?

Also any ideas on the registration? I am assuming it would be out of the DMV system by now. I don't have any title or even bill of sale. I don't plan on registering it, I plan on moving to a house with big land in a few years so it would be a fun play bike. But I sure wouldn't mind registering it at all! Is it even possible? I would assume its out of the system but I don't know.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:31 PM   #2
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Any ideas on what this is at least? I can't find anything like it on the internet. The mini trail appears to have the same frame, but they all are 50 cc and 70 cc, I can't find a mini trail 90 cc,suggesting the engine isn't stock? Sound right?
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:45 PM   #3
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No ideas here? Come on someones got to know something about this little bike. I am going to pop the engine apart and see whats up with the clutch.

Even if you don't know about this particular bike, any of you Honda CT90/110 or Honda passport experts on here have any tips for the transmission? Oh wait I forgot those have auto clutches don't they? Man what the hell did I buy? Its SO confusing, I thought it was a Mini trail 50 or Mini trail 70, but then its 89 cc. I thought it had maybe a Honda CT90/110 motor swapped into a Chopper styled Mini trail frame, but its got a clutch? I think its a clutch at least. Well maybe I'll just got ahead and pop the motor apart and see whats in there. Just wanna know incase I need parts.

So does anyone know of a 60s-early 80s Honda Motorcycle/Scooter/Minibike thing with a 89 cc engine and a 4 speed Manuel Clutch Tranny?
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:06 PM   #4
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motor is out of a ST90...rest is a Z50/QA50 ?? i dont know


wait i may be wrong pics i just looked at showed the st90 with a auto tranny..but i was sure some years had a manual clutch
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:10 PM   #5
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motor maybe out of a SL90....i am pretty sure of that
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:20 PM   #6
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JeffS77 thanks for your response, I think your right. Yea its likely a ST90 motor, I read it has either a 3-Speed with auto clutch or a 4-Speed Manuel Clutch Tranny. Could be an SL motor but less likely since it appears to have only been in the US in 1969.

But thanks very much for the much needed info, I just want to know what to by the motor parts for.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:31 PM   #7
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im unsure of the motor , maybe st90 as they differ here in australia ,, what you do have fame wise is a qa50 hard tail ,

the only thing on the bike from what i can see that is original is the frame
or if your looking at it from a st90 angle .....motor and maybe forks

she's a hodge podge of mix and match there ... good yard basher

any of the china motors from ebay will bolt straight in ...... if you want parts for your motor .... maybe DrATV may have them ....

cool lil bike
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:18 PM   #8
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Sean-0 theres a lot of the info I was looking for. Thanks for your response.

I believe your correct. Appears it is a QA 50 frame? OR Minitrail frame, well pretty similar but I think the Hardtail Minitrail just had a different more powerful motor.

And THATs where the forks are from, does look like ST 90 forks. Honestly I kind of like the Mini Chopper look. The forks are trashed though, left fork is bent. So I believe a new set of ST 90 forks should fix that?

Motorwise, yea I could throw in a Lifan motor. However that kind of defeats the purpose doesn't it? I mean the things a frame, wheels, motor, forks, seat and gas tank, thats really all it is. So I'm still deciding on that. The current motor runs great, just has a clutch issue. But this shouldn't be a big deal, just order a new ST 90 clutch if possible I suppose.

But all in all I do think it'll be a fun little project to keep me occupied.


And any ideas on possibly making it street legal again? Or is that out of the question with no title or any paperwork?I'm guessing its out of the system so is it possible to get another title without a Bill of Sale if it doesn't come up stolen? I know I'll need the head light and all those but no problem.

If I can't get it street legal again, plan B is to ride it at a Off Highway Vehicle park. Plan is to make it look street legal and throw my Elite 150's plate on it. If they see its registered they'll let you through. They just glance at the tags or stickers [Off road]. I know if they look up the serial number or anything I'm fucked but I don't think they will. But eventually I'll probably have some land to ride on so it'll be a fun little bike.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:50 AM   #9
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Those don't look look ST90 forks to me.

I've also never heard of a 4spd ST. It's probably an S90 motor. As far as the forks they may be aftermarket mini bike forks. These guys may be able to help you too. http://www.lilhonda.com/
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:28 PM   #10
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Those don't look look ST90 forks to me.

I've also never heard of a 4spd ST. It's probably an S90 motor. As far as the forks they may be aftermarket mini bike forks. These guys may be able to help you too. http://www.lilhonda.com/

Hmm your right about the forks. But do you have any idea if ST90 forks would fit this bike? Looks to me that the end of the frame is the same.

But yea I'll have a hard time finding them forks. Maybe it'd be easier to restore it more towards stock? But I sure like the MIni Chopper look. I plan to keep the motor as well. It does look like an S90 motor. I could throw in a Lifan if it comes to it, but I like the motor. It sounds bad ass!

I don't know why, but these Horizontal Honda motors sound more badass than some big Motorcycles! Seriously, my CRF 50 sounds like a 250 compared to my CRF 100.

But thanks for the link I'll defintily try and get some help there.

But any other ideas or tips?
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:32 PM   #11
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The frame is from an early hard-tail Mini Trail. After looking at it I agree that it may be an SL-90 motor. Look for the engine serial number on the lower left hand side of the engine near the countershaft sprocket. That'll tell you what it is.

The forks appear to be lengthened stock grease/spring units. These forks didn't carry any oil, instead just a slathering of grease on the spring and moving parts. The current CRF-50 youth dirt bike still uses this design. Back in the height of the chopper craze they made extended forks for EVERYTHING and I'd bet these were an aftermarket piece.

The frame doesn't appear to have been raked, either.

Whoever built it even "molded" the frame (smoothed the frame to make it look one-piece). Usually this was done with Bondo body filler although the old-time chopper builders did it with lead.

Whatever it is it's a cute little bugger and a neat period piece. Well worth saving and bringing back to life. If it were mine I'd try to preserve as much of the '70's chopper styling and paint as possible even if it's a bit rough here and there, concentrating on making it a good runner. If the motor requires much in the way of repair it's a lot more cost-efficent to install one of the Chinese clone motors and convert the bike to 12 volt operation, improving the lights in the process. This is assuming whoever installed the 90 motor didn't hack up the Honda 50/70 engine mounts too badly.

It's old enough to be exempt from any of the emission crapola and shouldn't be too difficult to obtain a title and plate once a police check is done on the serial number on the frame.

Great find!!!
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Old 08-26-2011, 06:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Woodsrat View Post
The frame is from an early hard-tail Mini Trail. After looking at it I agree that it may be an SL-90 motor. Look for the engine serial number on the lower left hand side of the engine near the countershaft sprocket. That'll tell you what it is.

The forks appear to be lengthened stock grease/spring units. These forks didn't carry any oil, instead just a slathering of grease on the spring and moving parts. The current CRF-50 youth dirt bike still uses this design. Back in the height of the chopper craze they made extended forks for EVERYTHING and I'd bet these were an aftermarket piece.

The frame doesn't appear to have been raked, either.

Whoever built it even "molded" the frame (smoothed the frame to make it look one-piece). Usually this was done with Bondo body filler although the old-time chopper builders did it with lead.

Whatever it is it's a cute little bugger and a neat period piece. Well worth saving and bringing back to life. If it were mine I'd try to preserve as much of the '70's chopper styling and paint as possible even if it's a bit rough here and there, concentrating on making it a good runner. If the motor requires much in the way of repair it's a lot more cost-efficent to install one of the Chinese clone motors and convert the bike to 12 volt operation, improving the lights in the process. This is assuming whoever installed the 90 motor didn't hack up the Honda 50/70 engine mounts too badly.

It's old enough to be exempt from any of the emission crapola and shouldn't be too difficult to obtain a title and plate once a police check is done on the serial number on the frame.

Great find!!!
Thank you very much Woodsrat, thats some VERY useful information to me right now. Mind if I ask a few more questions? You seem to really know what your talking about.

Yea I agree that I'd like to keep the Chopper look, I do dig it!

So about the forks, I'd leave em alone, but the left fork appears to be somewhat bent, looks like it was in a small crash to me, hence the likely reason why it sat so long. Is it possible to fix the stock fork, or maybe find some similar?

Yea I'm still deciding on the motor. Basically the Motor runs great, fires right up. BUT the Clutch doesn't seem to work correctly. It WILL NOT engage, and the mechanism that goes into the crankcase is semi seized. I could throw in a Lifan motor if it comes to it, but I wouldn't mind saving the Honda Motor. But then again, its not like its the original "Honda 50" motor that would make it worth probably much more. Are you sure its more cost efficient though? Looks to me that the price of Lifan engines has seemingly increased a bit recently. The cheapest engine I can find is going for $299 and its a 70 cc 4-Speed, and that doesn't include the Carb which I don't know if this one will fit. Maybe if the Clutch is expensive to repair. The Electrical system wouldn't be a problem, most of the lights are missing anyways. The headlight, signals, all that are missing, just the brake lights left. So I could easily convert it to 12 volt if necessary.

And about the registration where should I begin? I don't even have a bill of sale. But if it doesn't come up stolen its possible to get a new title?
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:16 PM   #13
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BTW you guys were right the motor is an SL 90 motor, it says that on the serial number on the engine that Woodsrat mentioned.
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Old 08-27-2011, 08:25 PM   #14
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I'm in luck! It appears there are still parts available for the SL90 Motor! And it looks like there is a Clutch!

I have considered a Lifan Motor as well. If the Motor needs any other work I'll likely invest in one.

But its a great little bike. I'm going to pull the engine apart probably tomorrow and see what up with that there clutch. Any ideas as for forks and reg?
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:22 PM   #15
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Dunno if I'd go so far as to say I know what I'm talking about but I'll try to help you as much as I can.

The forks are pretty easy to fix. Disassemble them per the Honda shop manual, clean up the fork tubes and then carefully examine them. The stockers are welded seam tubing with the ends mashed flat and a hole drilled for the axle. Look for signs of them being extended (a weld joint)--after they were polished and rechromed it might be difficult to find. They may have added a piece of round steel stock inside of the fork legs at the butt joint to make them stronger. If this is the way the forks were built about all you can do is straighten them on a hydraulic press as best you can. There's always the possibility that they were extended using pieces of solid round stock the same O. D. as the stock tubes with one end turned down on a lathe to match the I. D. of the stock fork leg and the other end drilled and relieved to fit the stock roll pin and lower spring holder. The bike doesn't look too "backyard" to me and there might have been more work in it's construction than you'd think.

If they're a longer aftermarket copy of the stock fork tubes and aren't kinked at the bend they can probably be easily straightened with a press. Once they're straight find a piece of round steel stock with the same approximate O. D. as the I. D. of the fork tubes and cut some pieces to fit down inside, leaving enough room at the top for the roll pin/lower spring mount to be reinstalled. This is a trick the pit bike people do to stock XR/CRF-50 forks to strengthen them for adult abuse.

I'm going on the assumption that the forks are bent on the lower male sider tubes and not the upper portion/lower triple tree assembly. Correct? Are the threads good on the upper tubes and free from cracks? These are really thin and tended to crack if you ran into too many stationary objects.

One thing you might do is see if the forks bottom when you're on the bike and if they do get some stiffer springs. Aftermarket heavier springs for an XR/CRF-50 might fit--I've never tried to fit them to a set of Z-50 forks. If they won't I'd bet that someone out there offers them for the Z forks--or you can find some springs with the same I. D./O. D. as the stock ones except with a larger wire diameter. This is something you can correct while they're apart.

All this being said virtually all the small Hondas use the same steering head bearings, the only differences usually being the length of the steering head. Replacing them with a set of hydraulic forks from another Honda wouldn't be rocket science and at most might require shortening the steering stem to fit the Z frame. Potentially this would give you superior fork action, strength and maybe even a better brake if you could find a small wheel to fit the fork.

Stock and Chinese aftermarket replacement XR/CRF-50 10" and 12" front wire wheels are available cheap on eBay and would be relatively easy to adapt to the stock Z forks and give it a cool look to boot.

If the motor's a runner I'd try to fix the clutch and run it with the stock 6 v. system. It gets expensive in a hurry paying full list from Honda and I'm wondering how many parts will be available for the SL-90 motor since it was only available one year, if I remember right. How many parts it shares with an S-90 I haven't a clue--I mostly work on the 50/70 series.

Again with no experience with the SL-90 motor I don't know if it shares the same engine mounting points as the 50/70 or if it's more like the CT-90. Dr. ATV offers a mounting kit to fit the Chinese clone 50/70 motors to CT-90 chassis and although I'm not keen on it's design it does appear to be a bolt-together proposition. If the SL does share the same mounting points as the CT series one of these kits (or your own fabrication) will easily fit a Chinese 50-70 clone motor to the frame. Basic 12 v. lighting without a battery from there is a piece of cake and these motors also eliminate maintenance with their CDI ignitions.

I assume you're in California and I have no idea what it takes to obtain a title there. Call your local BMV office and see what they require. In Indiana the BMV has dumped the responsibility of obtaining a replacement title in cases like this on the courts. I had to do my Passport that came from Illinois this way. Basically what I had to do is pay a $90 fee to the court to sue the BMV in my name to give me a title and they in turn sent me a letter saying they would not be there to contest the court decision. The small claims judge looked at my proof of ownership and police check and then issued a court order to the BMV to issue a title to the vehicle. The judge told me he does about a dozen or so titles a week this way, mostly for used car dealers. This takes the responsibility off the BMV and leaves it up to the courts to decide if you deserve a replacement title.

Whew!! I sure get windy, don't I...
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