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Posted by crazywolf on 02 Sep 2010

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Author Topic: The Hondamatic  (Read 3195 times)
Arky
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« on: June 16, 2008, 12:19:54 PM »

I've noticed a high number of Hondamatic motorcycles from the late 1970s and early 1980s going for almost utterly ridiculous prices on Ebay. I talked to a dealer not long ago who refurbishes the bikes and sells them on Ebay and he said the demand for an automatic has sky-rocketed with gas prices going up so high, causing the Hondamatics to bring in enormous bids even though they are 25-30 year-old bikes.

Some of them are nice bikes. Some of them look like junk. I have talked to many sellers and they say the bike will get 45-55 miles per gallon depending on how you ride it and will top out at around 70 to 75 MPH. A couple of the Hondamatics I've seen have been very sharp, especially a black one that I saw. I've seen these sell for as much as $3,100 on ebay.

To me, the biggest issue with these bikes is that parts will continue to become increasingly difficult to find. I had one dealer tell me I should buy a couple of spare Hondamatics to keep around the house for parts if I decided to buy one. That seemed a little bit absurd to me (buying three bikes to drive one).

I know Honda has an automatic bike in the works but I was wondering with this new demand for automatic transmissions whether they have more in the works. Or if Suzuki or Yahmaha might offer something in the future as well.

I'd also like to know if anyone out there owns a Hondamatic or has owned one. For those who have, what's your impressions/thoughts about the bike?

 I'm still a big fan of the Qlink Legacy so I'm sure I'll spend my money that way when I buy another bike but I was curious about these Hondamatics. Apparently they were very popular from 1977-1983.
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2008, 02:45:38 PM »

I've seen quite a few of those in the past. For whatever reason, older Honda's seem to be all over Ohio (my home state). If memory serves me correctly the Hondamatic is a 750cc; I find it hard to imagine that they top out at only 75mph. My 1980 Honda CB650 would easily do 85mph with lots of rpm range to go.

In the case of my Honda, parts were much more available than you'd think. Honda used a lot of parts across the model ranges. You would have to do your homework but usually used and new old stock parts were readily available. You just had to figure out what parts from what other models and years were the same.

Also, rumor has it Honda will recreate just about any part you want from any year, at a premium of course...
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Nate
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2008, 03:59:55 PM »

I was concerned about a 12 year old Shadow ACE 1100, but I have actually found quite a bit of support for the bike (it was only produced between '95-99).  I actualy ordered a new set of the original tank badges for $35 (left one has a chip in it on my bike).  I'd poke around and see if there are any good places that won't completely scalp you on the prices.  Overall, it seems Honda has fairly good parts support.
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2008, 04:28:45 PM »

I almost bought a 400 Hondamatic many years ago, so thy must have come in different cc's.
Just couldn't come up with the cash.
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Arky
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2008, 10:53:04 PM »

The bikes were produced in three different sizes to my knowledge. They were built with either a 400cc, 450cc or 750cc engine. If there are other sizes, I am unaware of them but it wouldn't surprise me if there were.

Typically, I have been told the 400cc unit tops out around 70 to 75 MPH without struggling. I'm sure a 750cc would do 90 MPH or more as one owner told me so but from what I've seen the 400cc and 450cc models are much more available than the the larger engine.

I have been told that cross referencing Honda bikes will help you find parts too, so I'm sure you guys are right about their availability being not as scarce as you might think. I do think it's interesting that these bikes are making a strong comeback.

The dealers that are rebuilding and selling them say they are in huge demand and they are bringing in way over what their actual value is.
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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2008, 10:13:23 PM »

From the Hondamatic Owner's Association web page:

HONDA CB750A HONDAMATICS

One of HONDA'S most radical departures from the orthodox motorcycle design, the HONDAMATIC was produced in 400, 450 and 750 cc capacities.

The most prevalent model was the CB750A. Introduced in 1976, the CB750A continued in production until 1978. Several of the body components are common with the GL 1000 GOLD WING.

AIl 750 models have a HONDA 750 single overhead cam engine, with an automatic type torque converter in place of the conventional wet multiplate clutch. There is no clutch lever and the torque converter is similar to that fitted to a HONDA CIVIC of that period. Though described as an automatic, this is not strictly true. There are two gears, Low and Drive. The transmission must be manually placed in either drive using the gearshift lever on the left side of the engine. If Low gear has been selected, the transmission must be changed to Drive when the required revs are reached, again using the gearshift lever. Low gear produces speeds up to 100 kph and Drive gives a top speed in excess of 160 kph.

The machines are equipped with a parking brake operated by the small button at the left-hand side of the seat. This feature is to enable the rider to park the machine on the side stand on an incline. The machine cannot be "bump started" or towed, emergency starting is carried out by way of a kickstart lever stored under the seat. This lever is slotted onto a shaft just ahead of the gear lever on the left side. A rubber cap protects this shaft when not in use.

The carburetors are four 28mm Keihins(slide type) with internal operating links, and feature an anti-stall dashpot to prevent the engine stalling when the machine is placed in gear.

The Hondamatic was much maligned by the "purist biker" but is actually a fast, smooth machine, with a comfortable riding position that makes it an excellent touring unit.

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Arky
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« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2008, 11:57:42 PM »

wow. thanks for finding that. There is some pretty interesting information there. I actually learned something.  Grin

Seriously, thanks for going to the trouble of finding that and posting it. I was very curious about these bikes and information on them is limited. I had no idea the 750cc was produced in greater quantity than the other models. However, the other models were produced through 1983 while the 750 was discontinued in 1978.

Interesting stuff. Thanks!
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Nate
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2008, 05:43:37 AM »

Good read. 160KMPH (99mph) would certainly do the trick
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Nate
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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2008, 02:21:16 PM »

So, what does this say about the new Honda DN-01?

http://www.realtechnews.com/posts/1989

I have to admit I'm wondering about this bike.. the concept of a constant velocity transmission has always appealed to me.  Why have 6 gear ratios when you can have virtually all gear ratios.. and from what I've heard of the cars you get both better performance and better gas mileage.

Additional benefit, from my perspective, is that controls will more likely be similar to what my wife is learning now... a motor scooter. 

BTW, does anybody know why the traditional motorcycle controls were set up so that turning the throttle backwards makes you go faster, and turning it forwards makes you go slower?  Viviane asked, and I couldn't come up with a good answer!   Huh

Tks,
Bob
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Nate
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« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2008, 03:24:47 PM »


BTW, does anybody know why the traditional motorcycle controls were set up so that turning the throttle backwards makes you go faster, and turning it forwards makes you go slower?  Viviane asked, and I couldn't come up with a good answer!   Huh

Just because  Grin Wink
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Nate
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2007 Honda CRF150R
2005 Honda CRF100F

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"Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything." Charles Kuralt
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