WHAT IS IT? We are always a little skeptical when
a book claims to offer a “complete” history on any
given subject, but “Hodaka Motorcycles” is the most
comprehensive work on the subject ever.
WHAT’S IT COST? $60.00 (hardcover), $180.00 (
leather-bound collector’s hardcover with poster and sticker).
CONTACT? www.strictlyhodaka.com, www.amazon.com,
www.octanepress.com or call (802) 375-0212.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that
stand out with “Hodaka Motorcycles: The Complete
(1) History. It just so happens that 2014 is the 50th
anniversary of the founding of Hodaka Motorcycles,
and this 190-page book covers the history of one of the
sport’s most unique and creatively marketed bikes ever
produced. Although virtually unknown to modern
motocross racers, no hardcore rider from the 1960s and
1970s could ever forget the impact that Hodaka had on
the American offroad market.
( 2) Structure. “Hodaka Motorcycles” is divided into
13 chapters. The first chapter tells the unusual story of
how an Oregon company called Farm Chemicals was
worried that the U.S. government might drop farm
subsidies after the 1960 elections. So, Farm Chemicals
decided to hedge its bets by starting an import business
called the Pacific Basin Trading Company (PABATCO).
In 1961, they imported their first product to the United
States—Yamaguchi motorcycles. All was well at
PABATCO in 1962. They sold 5000 Yamaguchis in the
first two years, only to be blindsided by the news that
Yamaguchi had gone bankrupt. PABATCO was left high
and dry, but so was a small Japanese company named
Hodaka that made the engines for Yamaguchi—thus the
eventual pairing of PABATCO and Hodaka.
( 3) Art. “Hodaka Motorcycles” is filled with over 300
photos, many of them very rare looks into the origins
of the company. Not to be overlooked are the color
illustrations of Hodaka’s unique model names and their
whimsical decals. Even if you are only vaguely familiar
with Hodaka machines, you will always remember the
names: Super Rat, Wombat, Combat Wombat, Super
Combat, Road Toad, Dirt Squirt and Thunderdog.
( 4) Loyalty. To this day, Hodaka remains one of the
iconic brands in motocross history. It is easy to think of
the affordable, under-$500 dirt bike as a small offshoot
of the motorcycle business, but Hodaka sold as many
as 15,000 dirt bikes a year. And, Hodaka helped support
the racing careers of Tommy Croft, Cordis Brooks, Jim
Pomeroy, Bob Rutten and Jody Weisel. The success of
the bike makes it popular among vintage collectors.
Hodaka even holds a special celebration, called
“Hodaka Days,” at its ancestral home in Athena, Oregon,
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? The price is steep, but as with
most books, there are bargains to be found.
If you don’t know what a Hodaka is or aren’t
old enough to remember a bike that was last
produced in 1978, move on. This book is for
the nostalgic among us.
“HODAKA MOTORCYCLES: THE COMPLETE STORY”
MXA TEAM TESTED