Commuter Bikes from the Mid Sixties
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Thread: Commuter Bikes from the Mid Sixties

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rizingson's Avatar
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    Commuter Bikes from the Mid Sixties

    A few outtakes from a photo shoot and article I'm working on about Commuter bikes from the '60's. Thought there might be some interest in these odd style bikes from that era.
    These bikes were often referred to as "commuter" bikes (typically around 150cc's) and each of the "Big Four" from Japan had a model to compete in this class with. Of course the term "Commuter" would still be thrown around in later decades, but there really is no comparison to this design from the early to mid sixties.

    Here's the selection I chose from my personal collection to show the similarities of these competing models from the big four.
    From left to right.
    1965 Honda CA95 "Benly"
    1965 Kawasaki B8S "Super 150"
    1964 Yamaha YA6 "Santa Barbara"
    1966 Suzuki S32-2 "Olympian"


    These models were all available in the mid '60s ( '64 - '66) and shared many traits with each other, such as pressed steel frames, fully enclosed chains, heavily flared fenders, 3.00 x 16" tires (except Suzuki's 3.00 x 17") and high rise handle bars. The main design purpose of this obsolete class was transporting people to work and back with a high degree of reliability, while requiring minimum maintenance and riding comfort.


    Whether you were a hard core rider taking your bike to work in rain or shine, or just someone who enjoyed using 2 wheels to run all your week-end errands, These bikes were reliable and efficient in getting you from point A to point B. Although not built for speed or sport riding, they were definitely fun to ride and comfortable as well.


    As you can see, there is a lot of similarity between each brand, but let me know which is your favorite. I know there's only one Honda Twin in the line-up so be fair to the strokers as well . If how much I ride each is any indication as to my favorite, the Honda is top dog followed by the Yamaha, Suzuki and lastly the Kawasaki For those of you my age, I hope you enjoyed a little reminiscing as well, as I sure like giving these mid-size bikes from "back in the day" a good spin every so often.
    ...the era is gone forever, fortunately the motorcycles remain...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Carnivorous Chicken's Avatar
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    Nice bikes! I'm guessing the Suzuki was a precursor to the T250 Hustler?
    1965 CL160 project
    1966 CB77 project
    1968 CL175 sloper
    1969 CB160
    1972 Yamaha CS3 (sold!)
    1973 CB350F (Red)
    1973 CB350F (Green)
    1973 CB350F (green) project
    1975 CB400F engine in a 1973 350F frame
    1975 CB550K
    1977 CB400F
    Various jumbled bits and pieces...

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rizingson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carnivorous Chicken View Post
    Nice bikes! I'm guessing the Suzuki was a precursor to the T250 Hustler?
    The X6 or Hustlers were Sport bikes, quit different using oil injection 6 speeds and a whole lot more performance oriented. The S32's never even had injection well past the time all their other models did.
    ...the era is gone forever, fortunately the motorcycles remain...

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    Super Moderator J-T's Avatar
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    Takes me back to the day, and that's a good thing.
    Rizingson likes this.
    JT
    81 CM400T

  6. #5
    Junior Member wseaton's Avatar
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    I used to own two S-32's during college (one was a spare). OK bike for *short* commutes but expect engine rebuild after ~10-15K miles. Easy maintenance.
    Thanks for posting!

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