Start Your Own Vintage 175 Enduro Bike Club!
It is easy to start your own vintage 175 enduro club. The rules are simple: |
1979 and older two stroke enduro bikes 200cc or less. This will include 200, 185, 175, 125, 100, and 90cc dirt bikes. Four stroke dirt bikes any year up to 230cc. The reason for this is so your mechanically challenged friends will have something to ride. The two strokes are more fun though. To become a member, all you need is a bike to ride with your own group of friends.
To be king of the club, is to ride the most exotic and rare vintage 175 enduro motorcycle.
| The reason for starting this club, is because the trip from the hills back to camp always turned into a race. Me and my riding friends were motocross and scrambles racers in our youth. I could't let fast larry on his KTM 525 beat me back to the truck. My brother on his 450F had his own agenda, and that was not get smoked again by a YZ250. One of us would often get hurt. The bikes were also expensive to buy and keep running.|
Our solution is that we all bought vintage 175 enduro bikes. Some to restore and ride, and others to use as a rat dirt bike. Of course fast Larry got a dang quick 175 Can-Am.
|We found that we were having more fun on the smaller vintage 175 enduro dirt bikes. Hills were now a challenge, and the suspension kept you from riding over your head. These bikes run all day on a tank of gas. I enjoy the scenery more now too. The race back to camp is a lot more exciting.|
Vintage 175 Enduro: The Mororcycles.
The old enduro bikes are not in high demand, like motocross machines. You can buy them pretty cheap in running condition. The Craigslist ad said "it ran when parked 10 years ago". For $350 the Kawasaki F7 was mine. These vintage 175 enduro trail motorcycles are so fun to restore, then ride.|
Benelli. Benelli Enduro motorcycles were imported in 175 and 180cc. They were reliable, but not made to ride very fast off road. They were pretty much a street bike with knobbies. They are very pretty with all that chrome and Italian style. They are extreamly rare too. If I owned one, I don't think it would get ridden much. The Volcano mini bike shared the same engine. Parts are difficult to come buy, but I have seen some listed on eBay. Benelli Enduro
Bridgestone. The Hurricane Scrambler 175 from the mid to late 1960s with twin rotary valved engine. This bike was dang fast and was a big winner in TT and flat track races against the 250s. It will handle like a street bike in the dirt, but the massive horepower can't be ignored. Put knobbies on it, and own the dirt roads. They were popular. There is likely a barn in every county that has one collecting bird poop. Bridgestone made an 175 Racer that was a factory race bike. It was sold to dealers only for their sponsered racers, so it is very rare. Bridgestone Racer
Bultaco. Good serious enduro bikes. The Matador 200 from the mid 1960s can still be found. The Campera and Lobito trail bikes were available in both 125 and 175. The 1971 and 1972 Lobito with the high expansion chamber were speed deamons. Bultaco also made the torquey Alpina enduro bike in 175cc for several years. The Sherpa-T 125 trails bike sold well, and makes a good dirt machine. The Sherpa-S 175 Racer and 200 Pursang MX bikes are blazing fast, but work good on the trail too. Bultaco motorcycles are easy to restore and parts can be found at a fair price. Pretty Lobito 175
Can-Am. The 175 TNT is a rocketship and is faster than most 250s. The rotary valve engine pulls so dang hard. The 125 Can-Am is fast too. The Betor front forks were as good as you could get back then. Both bikes are on the heavy side as they share the frame and suspension from the 250. The 1979 Qualifier 175 has the sweet suspension. New parts are available. See http://www.rtrmoto.com/
CZ- Jawa. The CZ 175 Enduro is one of the best made trail bikes of all time. Tons of stump pulling torque. This was proven in the International Six Days events. They are kind of rare in the USA, but you can find them. The Jawa 175 road bike was more popular. The good news is both share the same engine, so parts are not too difficult to find. Find a CZ 175 Enduro and be king of your Vintage 175 enduro club. Hey, don't forget the Jawa 90 Cross. Cool little trail bike! CZ 175 Trail
DKW - Hercules - Sachs. Three brands all from the same factory. These were serious 125cc dirt bikes back in the early 1970s. The leading link front suspension and Sachs radial finned engines made them funky cool. Of course most models came with Ceriani front forks and Girling shocks. Premium stuff! The DKW was an four time ISDT gold medal winner. Thousands of DKW, Sachs, and Hercules branded bikes were imported, so you can find them. There was a Hercules 175 sold in the later 70s, but they are very rare. My guess is the Hercules, Penton and KTM 175 was the same bike. DKW GS 125
Harley Davidson. Harley was making small trail bikes in the Aermacchi italy plant in the 1970s. There were SX. XT, and STX models in both 125cc and 175cc. Reliability was just as good as the japanese bikes. The lighter 175 was a much better trail bike than the 250 Harley. The problem child was the Harley Baja 100cc. Check with a long time established Harley Davidson dealer for parts. Parts are also easy to find on eBay. Tell your buddies you are bringing your Hog on a trail ride. Harley 175
Hodaka. The Hodaka 175 SL is a good bike but very rare. The 100B+ and the Wombat 125 are excellent trail bikes. The 125 Combat Wombat is my favorite. Powerful as a Japanese 175 enduro and too slow for motocross. In other words, a heck of a trail bike. The handling is great, and they hold up well when abused. Hodaka reliability is above average and parts galore. Combat Wombat
Honda. The hot rod was the SL175 from the early 70s. If you uncork the exhaust and open the air box, this twin cylider engine turned into a beast that would run with the two strokes. The XL175, XL185, and XR200 were slower, but very reliable. The MR175 two stroke was almost a serious dirt bike. The MR shared many race quality components with the CR125 MX. A brand new air cooled CRF230 will serve you well. It is full sized, handles great, and much more reliable than the 250 racing thumpers. The CRF-230 has plastic tank shrouds like it is trying to protect a radiator. This is cheezy man! Let's add some dingle balls and a rear spoiler. Honda SL175
Husqvarna. Talk about a serious enduro machine! From 1972 to 1979 you could get a Husky 125 WR. They were a very competitive bike. In fact the more popular 125 CR motocross bike makes a decent trail riding mount. In 1974, 1975, and 1976 Husqvarna made 175cc motorcycles for enduro and motocross. They are kind of rare, but awesome anyway. Parts are available, but expensive. Gosh, I would love to have one. Husky 125
Kawasaki. In 1968 the powerful 175 F3 Bushwacker was introduced. It was more scrambler than enduro, but boy was it fast. The F7 came out in 1971 with the same powerful engine, but was a decent enduro bike. In 1976 Kawasaki introduced the KE 175, that was pretty much the F7 with a 21" front wheel. The KD 175 was the stripped down dirt only version of the KE that looked like a MX bike. The F6 and KS 125cc were decent trail bikes too. The Trailboss 100 and later KE 100 were the horsepower champs of the 100cc class. Great for shorter riders that want a little bike that goes 70 MPH! Kawasaki F7
Montesa. Montesa Texas Scrambler 175 from 1966 to 1971. I have never seen one in the wild, only at cycle shows. Montesa made very good quality motorcycles that handled well. If you do find a rare Montesa Texas Scrambler, I am sure it will be a good trail mount. Would your really ride it, or hang it on the wall of your man cave? Montesa Texas
Ossa. Made in Spain. Ossa made the Pioneer and later Super Pioneer enduro motorcycles in 175 size. However they are extreamly rare. You may have a better chance of finding Bigfoot. The only parts that may be hard to find is the piston, as the Ossa 250 version is the same motorcycle except for the engine bore.
Penton - KTM. Back in the mid 70s, the Penton 175 Jackpiner was the king of serious enduro bikes. If you wanted to ride enduros and win cross country races, Penton was the bike to ride. In the later 70s, the name was changed to KTM. Penton bikes are made up of quality components, and parts are easy to find. The Sachs powered Penton 125s were sweet too. Penton 175
Puch. In the early 1970s, the Puch 175 was the giant killer. There was a guy named Jeff Wright that was beating bikes like Husky 400s and Yamaha 360s in the California deserts. It was unreal. The Puch 175 Enduro was a very competitive enduro machine. The MX and enduro Puch 175 was pretty much the same bike. Awesome handling, good power, and top quality suspension. Parts might be a bugger though. Find one and you will be king.
Suzuki. There are 4 models to get excited about. The TS 185 Sierra was the basic dual purpose model introduced in 1971. The TS 185 weighed 218 pounds, handled decent, and was plenty fast. The TC 185 had electric start and a 5 speed high-low range transmission for a total of 10 gears. Because of these extras, the TC model was heavy, but just loved to hillclimb! In the later 70s the DS 185 and PE 175 were introduced. The DS was a more powerful reed valved trail bike. The PE 175 is a serious enduro racing motorcycle with long travel suspension. The TC and TS 125 models are good choices too. For smaller riders, look at the rotary valved TS 100 Honcho, as it is a little powerhouse. The later SP200 and DR 200 4-strokes are slow, but reliable as heck. Suzuki TS 175
Yamaha. Where to start? The CT1, CT2, and CT3 175 were the little brother to the famous Yamaha DT1 250 enduro. They were light weight and had spirited power. The DT175 that came out in 1974 was even better with the 21" front wheel. The later DT 175s had a fast reed valve engine and the monoshock suspension. I hear the DT250 rear shock fits, if you are a 230 pounder like me. The pretty yellow MX175 is a better trail bike than motocross bike. The TY 175 trials bike is a very high quality Yamaha for off road trail riding. The TY is built like a swiss watch! In 1977 Yamaha came out with the IT-175, and it was a serious enduro with long travel suspension. Later Yamaha made TT 200 and XT 225cc 4-stroke trail bikes that run forever. In fact the newer TT-R 225 is a blast to ride. Riding YT 175
Zundapp - Rickman. We carried the Zundapp line in our shop. There was not a better quality made trail bike than the Zundapp GS 125. Fit, finish, and quality of components was the best. Proven ISDT medal winner. We sold only about 15 Zundapp motorcycles per year in our store. You can say they are very rare. The 175cc was not imported to the USA at all, and only sold in europe. The Rickman Metisse 125 with the gutsy zundapp engine is a different story. Thousands were sold in the US and they are easy to find. Built with nickle plated frames, Ceriani forks, and Girling shocks. Parts galore on eBay. The Rickman really draws attention from other riders. Cool bike. Two Zundapp Bikes Rickman 125
The Chinese Motorcycles (brand new). The Chinese sell more motorcycle per year than the rest of the world put together. The 30 or so engine builders follow an open source spec class like never seen before in history. The top engine builders in quality are Lifan, Loncin, and Zongshen. Make sure the bike you buy has one of these brands of engines in it. There are 2 different 200cc engine designs. The "CB" is a clone of the Honda XL185 and is overhead cam. The "CG" version is the real gem, and could be the most reliable motorcycle engine in the world. The CG is a panhead, pushrod engine with the camshaft in the block. The CG is a clone of the million seller Honda CG125 sold in developing countries. The CB engine has more power and the CG motor will last much longer. Both engines share the same gears and clutch. Either engine can bolt right in to a XR200 or SL125 frame. There are over 100 motorcycle builders in china, and all of them make bad, good, and better quality level bikes. The suspension on China bikes are about as good as Japanese motorcycles from the 70s. Rims and brakes are decent. The electrics and plastics are great. The crap stuff you will have to deal with are cables and chain. Most of the enduro 250s from China are really 229cc that are overbore of the CB-200 or CG-200 engines. I would stay away from the water cooling fad that is big right now in China.