Naming conventions for many motorcycle companies amount to a mish-mash of letters and numbers more befitting of a Star Trek ship than a bike. Few marques break free from these cumbersome alphanumeric conventions. Hodaka—a small bike brand from the mid-1960s—did it very best.
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Every friend of mine that had a Hodaka loved their bikes. Two-strokes died but, they are still much loved due to small displacement size, big power output.
In the early 70's I had a Chapparal dirt bike that I rode on one wheel as much as two. Had actually not thought of it for many years until I was watching an episode of "The Pickers" when they came across an old barn find Chapparal. Great fun for a 15 year old!
I had a 1973 Combat Wombat. I recall three glorious summers ('73 - '75) when a couple of friends and I would spend a day each weekend riding the Ganaraska Forest trails here in Central Ontario. One of them had a Can-Am 175 and the other a gonzo (and to me, unrideable) Honda CR250, but when the going got tight, the Hodaka was king! Fond memories!
Never knew much about the brand but they must have sold a lot of bikes because Hodaka's, especially Super Rat's, were everywhere in the 70's for little money. Almost got one used but after a test ride my father chickened out! He tried to steer me towards a much less cool Honda Trail 90 but, disappointed, I ended up with nothing!
Hodaka in the early seventies was the off-road standard bearer. Their reputation rested mainly on their importer (who? I wish I knew!). But in that time, they were the kings!
Hard to beat Hodaka when it came to naming a bike. Back in the day when a buddy was trying to get me off road I went to a local garage thaat happened to be a Hodaka dealer. I was going to get a Combat Wombat but he told me about the Thunder Dog. We were starting to get into enduro riding and that bike looked great to me. I was riding a 238 Kawasaki at the time, which was awful, and told him to get me one. Long story short, he couldn't get one for whatever reason and I ended up riding a Puch 175 for the following year, then went to Husky's. Got to ride some buddies Hodaka's though while trail riding. But never saw a Thunder Dog. Wonder what I missed.