Honda wave - KB.
I'm easily confused. I've just read HJ's piece about the Wave 100cc bike. It's not mentioned on the Honda website - obviously too new - but is it to replace the Honda 90? There's no mention of the 90 on the website so is it discontinued? After all those years I'm surprised not to have seen something about it if it is.
Honda wave - THe Growler
It may be Asia-market specific, it's been here for around 4 years as I recall. Not new.
Honda wave - KB.
Thank you G. The other thing that confused me was the price of around £500. The cheapest Honda mopeds are nearer £1800.
Honda wave - Daedalus

The Honda 90 was discontinued early this year. I think it was supposed to have been the biggest selling "motorcyle" of all time. The first bike I ever owned was the predecessor to the 90 a Honda C100 which was the pushrod 50cc step through despite the 100 in the name. It then changed to a something 50 with the advent of the OHC engine. I was 14 then and used to ride it around the fields behind my dads garage. He waa a Fiat dealer in Formby for about 27 years until he retired in the early 90s.

Sorry totally off topic, just reminiscing.

Honda wave - THe Growler
In Asia you have a whole different market: cheap reliable easy to handle bikes like the Dream and the Wave are a real hit. Remember these guys are small so wifey can drive, baby (sometimes two) sits behind, and hubby brings up the back. As HJ points out, these are rapidly taking over from the ubiquitous pushbike in Asia.

Licensing is pretty iffy so nobody bothers much, and the basket on the front (back) is great for going to the market for shopping. Maintenance is practically zero and these things will go on indefinitely. I used to go to Taipei in Taiwan a lot where small bikes and scooters are plentiful and often you could count up to 70 or 80 of these ahead of you at a red light. Girls like them because they're chic and easy to handle.

Honda wave - KB.
Thanks all for some interesting stuff. Although I never had a '90' I feel sad it's gone. It was a true icon and has helped millions on their way to work as well as thousands doing their taxi 'knowledge' in London. Some have travelled the world on them and I have seen articles about bods buying brand new ones and immediately doing the John O'Groats to Lands end run on them.

When I was at school I yearned for a BSA Bantam 175cc. As soon as I was 16 I wanted to buy an immaculate BSA C15 250cc for sale in CR Speed Shop in Ilford, but didn't have the £75. My parents didn't either and my relations refused the loan and so I went to a loan shark for £50 to get another C15 from a previous 'mate' for £50, I spent £50 repairing it and sold it for £50. How *not* to do it! Spent the whole of Christmas 1967 in our shed with it in bits.
Honda wave - THe Growler
I guess you have very distinct markets. In the West buying a scoot would likely be as a convenience, something secondary to primary transport.

In the East, people are being sold "up" to a Wave or similar (there are heaps of different brands, Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese) as primary transport for a small family. Some of myneighbours even keep one for the maid or the family driver to putter down to the shops or to pay the household bills. Kids of 10 or 12 riding them around the sub-division as well.

It would ruin my bad-ass rep to be seen on one (!) so I have trail bike for local stuff, but I can see the advantages.
Honda wave - Daedalus
Funny world. I had a C15 for a while, after I sold off an RD250 Yam (god only knows why, must have been 1974/5. What a total pile of crud. I can't think that I ever managed to get the 30 miles to college and back again with out something falling off or breaking. By the way if anyone know of the location of a Candy Blue Yamaha RD250 XFY 852 M I would be willing to buy it!
Honda wave - THe Growler
THe C15's were junk. I used to worked a BSA dealership and after the boring but old 250's and the B31 which propelled hundreds of chaps in long overcoats, berets and goggles to work, the unit engine gearbox models, including the A50 and the A65 were hopeless under-engineered. If Lucas electrics were often christened "THe Prince Of Darkness" ("King of The Road" was their official slogan) I hate to think about Wipac. Us guys used to play skipjack with the dozens of faulty alternator stators we used to collect under warranty.

But the BSA Lemon Award must go the B40. This was a 350 similar to the C15. BSA sold hundreds to the AA for patrol use and they were hopeless. We used to joke that the AA was its own biggest breakdown customer.

AMC were going through a similar decline at the same time with the Matchless/AJS rubbish. That was circa 1961/2. My dealership eventually fired themselves as main agents for BSA and AMC, kept Triumph and was the very first Honda dealership outside London.
Trouble was they hardly sold because nobody trusted anything from Japan ("monkey metal") and memories of WW2 atrocities were still vivid. At least two fellows I knew had been used as slave labour on the Burma railroad. It was only when they brought out their 50 cc Cub to fill the market left by the NSU Quickly that Honda started to sell.

But their bikes were something. Their 1963 125 twin would hit 70 mph in second gear. I came across a perfectly preserved one at our Bike Week last week.

Honda wave - Tom Shaw
Interesting point Growler makes about the resistance to Japanese vehicles, which lasted till about the end of the seventies when the number of former POW's diminished. I remember a mate and I being rudely refused petrol at a small filling station in rural Kent because I was riding a CB175, and a garage owner I worked for in the early seventies would have a blue fit if anyone asked him to service a Japanese car.

Incidently, the Honda C90 is not just the largest selling motorcycle of all time, but the largest selling vehicle of any type.
Honda wave - THe Growler
Tangentially...this anti-Jap resistance was strangely less felt in Australia and you would have thought they of all nations had reason to be antipathetic to say the least -- after all Darwin was bombed and many Aussies perished in the Malay peninsula and on the Burma railroad.

But when I arrived in Australia in early '68, the place was teeming with Mazda's, the Prince (fore-runner to Datsun/Nissan and arguably the ugliest car ever made, the shovel front Toyota Corona and the Isuzu Bellett. All had a good rep. None of these had I ever seen in UK at that time apart from the Toyota which was sold by Pride and Clarke in S. London in very small numbers.

I think it may have been the original "gorilla" version of the Landcruiser that did the trick, that vehicle would take you anywhere and very quickly displaced the Land Rover in the bush for performance and reliability. You still see them, all a uniform beige colour, no deference paid to looks or mod cons, with a monstrous 6 cyl engine. I remember I changed a clutch on one single handed in Derby or Wyndham or somewhere in about an hour, with wife number 1 passing the wrenches and the occasional cold Swan. These were the proper Landcruisers, with no frills whatever, not the mobile juke-boxes seen nowadays.

But what sold the Jap bikes was they didn't leak oil, didn't start to fall apart the minute after leaving the showroom, came with a proper toolkit, spare plugs and even a little hat. Honda for example knew the first question anyone would ask a salesman was "what about spares then?" and my dealership had to carry as a condition of the contract a very long comprehensive list of spares imposed on us, which was linked to the number of machines we had (all on SOR, to quiet the dealer concerns about being hard to sell, which in fact they were).

This was the first time I ever saw a computer printout of a parts list! It was quite clear that Honda's clever SWOT analysis identified the UK makers' weaknesses (lousy quality) linked with resistance to buy because of perceived spares problems, and aggressively pursued these opportunities very positively and in a targeted way. Thus, while the UK manufacturers slept and pooh-poohed these funny looking machines, the Japanese quietly walked away with the industry leadership.

Some early Dream 250's had a problem with a plain main bearing. We received a letter from Honda telling us that a complete replacement engine was on the way for each of the Dreams we had sold and we were to contact their owners and arrange for their engines to be replaced at the earliest opportunity, labour bills to be sent to Honda. This despite the fact that none of our customers had reported any problem. This is the first example of a factory recall I had ever seen and we were bowled over by such a thing. A letter from the Japanese GM of Honda was to be given to each owner apologising for the inconvenience.

To people used to the British industry and its typical response to warranty issues (i.e. weeks to wait for the parts) this was simply astonishing.

Their one weakness which took a long while to overcome was that of frame design. Whereas the Brits saw the frame as key to overall performance (Norton etc), the Japs saw it as something which held the wheels on and enabled the engine to be connected to them. As anyone who rode a 70's Kawasaki can vouch for, handling with such excellent and powerful engines could vary from the terrifying to the downright lethal. That 3-cyl 2 stroke Suzuki was death on wheels. Racing cured all that of course.
Honda wave - bafta
KB - I also bought my first bike in Ilford because that's where I grew up. A bit before you (circa 1961) from a shop somewhere near the Cranbrook Road. Does the place ring a bell? The bike was a Francis Barnett and cost about £50, which was a sum in those days.It spent more time in bits than it did on the road and I think it was 125cc. Apparently, some Fanny Barnetts are quite collectable now; my friend has just acquired one. I think its a Plover. Growler mentions Pride and Clarke, about whom I have fond memories. What an adventure that was - down to 'souf' London to look at the bikes.
Honda wave - KB.
Bafta, CR Speed shop was in York Road just off the Cranbrook Rd where the buses stopped (next to the little shop used as a cafe for the drivers).

There was a Motor cycle shop called Warwick Double actually in Cranbrook Rd, but much nearer Barkingside opposite Barnes the car dealer next to a builders merchants. I bought an immaculate 1966 Triumph Tiger 90 350cc in there ( I think it had an orange tank, as opposed to the bigger models - was the 650 Bonny maroon?). Much better buy than the C15. The shop later sold 3 wheelers. Can't recall what it is now.
Honda wave - Tom Shaw
Ah, Warwick Double, that brings back some memories!

That's where I bought my first love, a Reliant Regal Supervan 3!! Ran out of fuel on the way home and had to push it about 3 miles because the carb had blocked, then the back axel broke three weeks later. Dead reliable after that and kept it for two and a half years, longest I have ever owned a car.

Went there again in the mid eighties with a mate who bought a new Yugo from them. I had to drive it home for him as he had only just started learning. Nearest thing to a tractor I have ever driven, the gear lever needed to move about a mile and a half every time you changed. He had no interest in cars, just wanted something cheap and he ran it for about twelve years till it finally expired.

Last time I was up that way, the old showroom was selling furniture. Do you remember a salesman called Tony Walker? I think he had worked there for ever.
Any Old Iron - lezebre
>>My dealership eventually fired themselves as main agents for >>BSA and AMC, kept Triumph and was the very first Honda < kept Triumph....I suppose that might have made sense for the twins...I was shopping for a learner bike about the same time as KB., but was lucky enough to have my parents agree to be backers for my loan.

I was unlucky enough however to be in a Triumph dealership, buying a two year old '65 Tiger Cub single cylinder. I thought I was being savvy when i asked what kind of guarantee came with the bike, but foolishly accepted the reply "we only guarantee our twins, sir".

I taught myself clutch and gear control in our cul-de-sac (those were the days!!) and remember one blissful ride to the coast, probably paying too much attention to the 'rapidly' advancing speedo needle and not enough to the road.

Soon after that, however, things mechanical started to go badly wrong. My somewhat distant cousin was able to avoid a financial disaster for me by taking it into his car repair shop, but he not unnaturally had to give precedence to his fully paying customers, so the worse thing was being the proud owner of a very smart bike, but having to revert to the interminable Bristol Tramways Lodekka (ie bus) journey to school.

I was so pleased to get it back that I hardly minded rolling to a stop and having to clean the plug and check the wiring on countless occasions. There were many more knights of the road about then, and I often had company while tinkering with the oily motor.

I used to feel sorry for my schoolmates who arrived on skinny ill-proportioned buzzy machines from the interloper manufacturers, and it probably never occurred to these riders to tell me that they never broke down, just as I considered it perfectly normal that unscheduled roadside stops were my lot.

Any Old Iron - THe Growler
Indeed. I learnt to ride on a 55 Triumph Cub, WJO 544, bought from Ernie Keys in Worthing. Ernie was a noted TT rider of the period. It was typical of the period that Brit bikes were conceptually clever but totally under-engineered. I mean a plain big-end bearing on a small OHV single? Well of course all Cubs were knockers although it had to be said nothing much actually broke. Oil changes were unnecessary, a pint top up every 200 miles saw to that. The alternator stator used to come lose in the primary chaincase and tended to get chewed by the primary chain. I must have gone through 3 or 4 of those. The distributor clamp was forever coming loose and you would lose your ignition timing, usually at the point where you needed it most. Triumph's first flirtation with coil ignition was problematic, since it relied so much on a clunky little Exide 6v battery. Every bike after that I made sure had a mag-dyno. Mind you my Cub had done 57,000 miles when it eventually expired, so it must have had something going for it.

There were far worse, the Ariel Colt and the BSA C10G, neither of which would pull the skin off a rice pudding. Really if you wanted a small bike it had to be something with a Villiers 197cc in it. Those 9E 2-strokes in the James Captains and the Fanny Bee's were not exactly babe magnets but they were far more reliable.

It wasn't difficult for the Japanese to work out what was wrong with these otherwise well-intentioned small machines and when they did that was the death of the UK motorcycle industry.

Nowadays when you buy a small motorcycle (like that Wave, or the Honda trailie I use for round town) you never consider they might go wrong and they virtually never do.

Any Old Iron - bafta
Growler, agreed but didn't we learn a lot with our british bikes and cars? Every journey was an adventure and to arrive was a triumph. Their unreliability was part of the magic and only the most resourceful of us got get from A to B. Machines are so reliable now that it no longer sorts the men from the boys. I was quite frightened when the starting handle disappeared never dreaming that one day I would drive a car that starts first time every time. Japanese, I'm afraid.
KB, it was the bike shop on York Road, next to the cafe, because I remember having a cup of tea with my mum when she came with me to buy the Fanny. Small world isn't it?
Any Old Iron - THe Growler
"To Arrive Is A Triumph". Would have made rather a good marketing slogan in the 1950's!
Any Old Iron - Tim Allcott
Whilst singing the praises of Jap machines, my limited motorcycling career included a James Captain which, as indicated, was reasonably reliable, although I was adept at 'sorting' the switchgear: and a 250 superdream which disgraced itself by ejecting a rocker pin on the way back from Corby.I knew it had fallen off, 'cos it hit the toe of my boot. My mate and I spent the next half hour in the dark looking for it... The overhead cams were a nice idea, but the tensioner in that model was a bit unreliable...
My vote for best dealer? Vale Onslow in Birmingham. 'Mr Peter' was a very nice man
Old Iron? - Thommo
£500 sounds good but big problem with buying any bike in Thailand is that it can only be registered in your name if you have a residents visa. If you are on the three month jobbies then you can't.

Anyhow, up pops your friendly local, no worries, register it in my name and bobs your uncle, all fine until bike and new firend disappear.

Farangs should rent.
Tropical Boltholes - THe Growler
Reg'ing your Honda Wave (or let's give the competition a look-in - your Yamaha Crypton) is no problem in the Philippines. As a tourist you can buy a motor vehicle, a condominium open a bank account, get a driver's licence and enter into a business commitment, all on a 21 day visa, extendable for a year of you like the place, as some 100,000 plus retirees seem to do.

Furthermore our ladies speak good English and you can always use my address as a mail-drop ;-)


Value my car