'Hodaka: The Complete Story of America’s Favorite Trail Bike'

"Hodaka: The Complete Story of America’s Favorite Trail Bike" looks at the company’s origins and successes.

| July/August 2014

Sold by PABATCO—Pacific Basin Trading Company—in tiny Athena, Oregon, from 1964 through 1977, Hodaka motorcycles were developed on the premise that motorcycling should be cheap: “No one should have to seriously strain their budget to enjoy it,” a Hodaka sales booklet proclaimed. Developed by a small but dedicated group of motorcycle enthusiasts in an era when U.S. interest in motorcycling as a leisure sport was exploding, the little bikes with the Hodaka name—Japanese for “grow higher”—became one of the biggest successes in American dirt bike history.

Written by Ken Smith, the editor of Australia’s excellent VMX vintage offroad magazine with help from Strictly Hodaka owner Paul Stannard, Hodaka: The Complete Story of America’s Favorite Trail Bike chronicles the evolution of Hodaka motorcycles from PABATCO’s initial 1961 entry selling Japanese Yamaguchi motorcycles to designing and specifying the construction of its own range of dirt bikes, built by former Yamaguchi engine supplier Hodaka.

PABATCO’s best years were in the Sixties and early Seventies (15,736 Hodakas were sold in 1972), and motorcyclists of a certain age have fond memories of the Hodaka Ace, Wombat, Super Wombat, Combat Wombat, Dirt Squirt and Super Rat. Yet creative names weren’t enough to save the small company against rising competition, and new motorcycles quit flowing in 1977: PABATCO shut down its motorcycle operation in 1978.

Years in the making, the book’s release celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first Hodaka, the Ace 90, and a book release party helps kick off Hodaka Days 2014, held June 26-29 in PABATCO’s hometown of Athena. Hodaka Days will feature former PABATCO employees, plus former offroad superstars and industry insiders Brad Lackey, Ron Pomeroy, Preston Petty and Ken Smith.

Exhaustively researched, enthusiastically told and featuring scores of period photographs and advertisements, the book contains full production statistics by model and year, with engine serial number data and yearly sales data by distributor and state. An absolute must for any fan of offroad motorcycling history. Octane Press: 192 pages, $60. Order this book in the Motorcycle Classics store: Hodaka.

Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway

Classic Motorcycle Touring and Events.

The latest classic motorcycle events and tours.


The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $4.95 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $29.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265