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Does anyone else remember Hodaka motorcycles? I actually had an Hodaka Dirt Squirt 100 as a teenager around 1980 that I bought used. I sometimes think back to those fun days of riding dirt bikes with my friends. Them on their Hondas and Kawasakis and me on my Hodaka. I even wore a Hodaka t-shirt that made me feel like a real pro.
We all used to laugh at the name of my bike, the Dirt Squirt, but that wasn’t the funniest model name Hodaka used, nor was it the strangest. What dirt bike rider wouldn’t aspire to own a Combat Wombat? When your riding a Dirt Squirt, believe me, the Combat Wombat sounded pretty darn exciting, and maybe a little weird too.
Out of all Hodaka weird model names, I have to give the prize to the marketing geniuses that actually approved the Hodaka model name Road Toad. They sure picked a name that would get attention, but what in the world were they thinking? It’s almost like they said, let’s face it, this thing is a real piece of junk, so let’s just give it a name that tells it like it is! It was not a piece of junk at all, but it sounded that way. Well, these are actually quite collectible now.
A brief history of Hodaka motorcycles is a story of a company that was part American and part Japanese and started out in 1964. Shell Oil was involved with Hodaka via their trading company, Pabatco. Pabatco was behind Hodaka until 1978 when things really fell apart. Hodaka eventually went bankrupt and shut down production in 1980.
You might not be surprised about this, but Hodaka motorcycles are now somewhat collectible and they have a following of enthusiasts that restore them. There are some repair manuals still out there, like the Hodaka service-repair handbook, 90-125cc singles, 1964-1975, and the Hodaka 90 and 100cc Singles 1964-1972. I sure could have used one of those back when I had my Dirt Squirt. Eventually, 3rd and 4th gear did now work anymore, so I ended up selling it because I had no money to fix it and parts were not easy to find, even back then.
I thought my Hodaka was pretty cool. I actually liked the chrome fenders and shiny aluminum gas tank that it had. It was old when I got it, but it looked even older. I think Husqvarna was about the only other dirt bike that still had the chrome fenders and tank combo. Chrome tanks and fenders were cool on motorcycles and still are if you ask me.
When I used to go to the motocross races at Unadilla around 1980 or so, I always rooted for the Husqvarna team with their metal tanks and dual shocks. I suppose if Hodaka didn’t go out of business, which also happened at about 1980, I would have rooted for them too!
Does anyone remember, or better yet, do any readers of Motorcycle Info have an Ace, Dirt Squirt, Wombat, Combat Wombat, Super Combat, Super Rat, or Road Toad? These were not the best motorcycles ever made, but they were fun, and fun is what dirt bikes and trail bikes are all about.