Review: The Hodaka Book
Hodaka is a motorcycle that made a big impact on the dirt bike world in the ‘60s and the ‘70s. They sold over 140,000 of the trail bikes, and for a good reason. Dollar for dollar, you got a whole lot more with the Hodaka then you got with most other bikes.
This is the 50th anniversary of the brand, and it gave StrictlyHodaka.com a perfect excuse to come up with a great book on the subject. The book is the brainchild of Paul Stannard, the owner of the StrictlyHodaka site. Through his efforts, a number of Hodakas have been rescued from the scrap pile and turned into rolling history once again.
In essence, this book is a celebration of the brand and gives much deserved recognition to the people who made it happen. The nice thing about the Hodaka brand is that they never took themselves real serious. How could they with names like Super Rat and Road Toad? In fact, as you go through the book, you get the impression of a bunch of people who had a great deal of fun in a business that should have been deadly serious.
Hodaka made no attempt to be considered a fire-breathing motocrosser, instead concentrating on being the friendliest trail bike possible. Still, one story sticks in my mind from those days. In the early ‘70s I was the editor of Dirt Bike Magazine and was testing a half dozen bikes on the Indian dunes motorcycle track. The track that day was burned out dry and I went out and put some laps in on a 200 Montesa test bike that was just about perfect for the condition of the track. I was going through a turn faster than I had ever gone before in my life, when all the sudden I got patted on the shoulder by John De Soto who was on a 100cc Super Rat. He came by me like I was parked. So much for the Hodaka being just a trail bike.
The book itself is still with the history of the brand and the many good people behind it. It’s packed with many humorous ads that Hodaka ran throughout the years. One of the most valuable things that Hodaka enthusiasts will find in the book are actual diagrams and drawings on “how to” hop-up various models.
This is an expensive book, selling for $60 in the US and Canada, but it’s one you’ll cherish for years and find yourself referring back to many times. It’s an absolutely must for anyone who owns, or plans to own, a Hodaka.
P.O. Box 130
Sandgate, VT 05250