I refuse to use the H word in this post! I know, I’m acting like a school kid when the new 80cc motocross bikes were released every year! Everyone has their brand loyalty and preferences. Like it or not though, competing models effect each other and improve the breed, therefore competition is good. It also makes me fear for the AG200 now there is competition in the class from every manufacturer, and all of them crush the Yamaha on specs. Will Yamaha respond and make their competitor better, or get sucked in and destroy pretty much exactly what the farmer wants? Time will tell.
So anyway, here is the mighty H…Hon…CT200! I am not up with the specifics of the model years like when it first came out or the updates over the years. I do know it was there for most of the 80s and 90s and kept the Yamaha honest. It’s biggest innovation over the AG200 was the auto clutch but even though the sales guys would of pushed the feature, I’m not sure how many farmers were really swayed. If it was such a winner then they wouldn’t of replaced it with the fully manual CTX200 at around the turn of the century huh? They also had electric start a long time before it was available on the Yamaha.
The real cracker from Hon…Hond…was the CT125. Why? From my research it was released around 1975~76, years before the AG200. Why is this significant? I reckon that the CT125 was the AG bike that made Yamaha pivot from two strokes and focus on a four stroke ag bike. As discussed in my “Origins” post, I think that emission concerns from the US helped in the creation of the AG200, but I reckon the little CT125 might of had them concerned as well.
Check it out here (brochure below), it’s a pretty basic thing really but when you think about what it replaced on the farm at the time, it was a big step. The CT90 and 110 were the main-stay in two wheeled AG bikes before the onslaught of the ATV from all the manufacturers. Have a good look at an Australia Post “Postie bike” and imagine riding that thing on a farm that was either wet and muddy or hard baked and rough as guts!
Yes the AG100/175 was around, and the KV100/175 from Kawasaki and the TF series from Suzuki but when I was growing up, most farmers were on red posties! They traditionally leaned towards four strokes and the big “H” sold zillions of the things and were gladly destroying farmer’s spinal health all around the country!
So I think that the the CT125, although primitive and gutless, may of marked the beginning of agricultural enlightenment of two wheeled AG bikes. Emerging from the dark ages perhaps? We weren’t quite there yet but the AG200 and CT200 a few years later probably marked the point where the Japanese manufacturers got serious about what farmers rode on the farm.
Then ATVs came along and nothing much has happened in the thirty years since! Will there be a Medici moment for two wheeled agricultural motorcycles? Some would say that we have one at the moment with a choice from all 4 manufacturers. But a peek in the doors of motorcycle service departments around the country will quickly show that slapping a few racks and wide stand feet on a trail bike is not really the answer.
But that’s a topic for another discussion; the future (if there is one) of this style of motorcycle. For now, enjoy the sales brochure of the CT200. Update! Here’s a a few CT125 brochure pages to chuck in as well…