Everyone that rides has a special place in their heart for their first motorcycle. Like many of you, I started with a Briggs & Stratton powered mini-bike but my first “real” motorcycle was a 1970 Honda CL100 “Scrambler”. My dad bought the bike for me in 1973 and the little red Honda probably had more impact on me than any other bike I’ve owned. You see, back in those days most of the guys in the neighborhood were still riding mini-bikes and the ones that did move up were riding Honda 50’s. But the CL100 was a “real” motorcycle with full-size tires, suspension, five-speed transmission and a blistering 99cc’s of raw power! And although I wasn’t… it was even street legal. This was the motorcycle that took me to the next level of riding and instantly crowned me king of the neighborhood motorcycle brats! You should have seen their faces the first time they saw that red beauty!
It’s funny to look back now and see how small it really was (and how young I was) but I owe a lot to that Scrambler. It taught me how to use a clutch which proved invaluable when it came time to learn how to drive a car. It taught me how to use a front brake and why using it while going down a dirt embankment is a bad idea. It taught me that wheelies without proper execution can result in scars. It even gave me my earliest inkling that bikers get the really pretty girls as evidenced by the sudden interest of the lovely neighbor girl. Ahhhh, to be young again!
In retrospect, I really didn’t have the bike that long before moving on to more powerful motocross bikes like my Suzuki RM-100 but I will always have fond memories of the Honda CL100 Scrambler that thrust me into motorcycle manhood! I wish I still had it.
There are still some around… Last summer I attended a motorcycle event in Nashville and ran into a guy who actually had a restored CL100. It was a different color and not the exact same year as mine but man did it ever bring back a flood of good memories. I’m sorry to say that I don’t remember the guys name but he was kind enough to let me snap a few pics. Some are posted here for your pleasure.