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Legal Smokers: Two 1982 Honda MB5s

The early 1980s were an interesting time for motorcycle enthusiasts. Big changes were in the air, and all manufacturers were scrambling to develop disruptive models in the search for performance and sales; think of the groundbreaking Ninja 900, GSX-R 750, V45 Interceptor, and the Turbo era bikes, to name a few. Riders and drivers across the US were still reeling from the energy crisis, and many commuters were in search of cheaper forms of transportation. Enter the Honda MB5 - a 50cc motorcycle meant to appeal to beginning riders as well as commuters the world over. In the US, the MB5 was officially imported into all 50 states and is a one year only model (it had nearly a 10 year run in Europe). While not the usual diet for RSBFS (likely more toy than trick), there is no doubt that the MB5 is a rare machine and a curious footnote for two stroke enthusiasts.

Two 1982 Honda MB5s for sale on eBay

1982 was the key year for the Honda MB5 in the US. Colors included the red/blue scheme as seen here, as well as a black/red model (the latter being the more rare of the two). The mighty 7 HP power plant consisted of a single cylinder, 49cc air cooled two stroke engine that included a counter-balancer to lessen vibration (a good thing, given the 10,500 RPM operating range). Fueling was simplified via oil injection (no more mixing oil with the gas during fill ups), and maintenance was simplified via CDI ignition (no points - which was still a relatively advanced concept by 1980). Power was transmitted via a wet, multiplate clutch through a 5-speed transmission. The whole package was complimented by Honda "ComStar" style wheels of 18" diameter, a decent instrument cluster (speedo, tach, warning lights), and a front disk brake. Rear suspension is handled by a conventional twin-shock arrangement, the shocks being "laid down" to appear more like a single shock setup. For street legalities, the MB5 includes a compliment of headlight/taillight plus turn signals.

From the seller:
I present here a pair of my MB5s, always garaged indoors away from sunlight and dampness when not ridden, red/blue, which to the best of my knowledge are all stock w/ original paint that is not sun faded, both w/ low orig miles, emits very little exhaust smoke at idle and when screaming thru the 5 gears at 9500 rpm, are generally 2nd kick Hondas and 1st kick when warm and note that the non rack bike is needing tires, a flasher, a front brake switch and a battery strap.

All D.I.D rims are clean and not pitted, have good clean gas tanks, frame, handlebars, non faded speedometer/odometer and tachometer gauges, seats w/ bright logo, no leaks on the exhaust pipes undersides and paint that matches all the components. The 1 side stand will remain on the bike w/ rack which I’ve added.

The engine(s) revs up to 9500+ rpm without missing a beat and winds back down holding a steady 1400 rpm idle, have cooling fins w/ rubber dampers that are all intact and w/o cracks. Better yet, although simple, are that both bikes have both working lo and hi beam headlights… 1 is a Stanley original while the other is a Sylvania Halogen replacement I was fortunate enough to find. Sometime back I had installed flash-to-pass switches on the bikes to prolong beam life but have removed them. I will remove my 3rd or Borg eye LED and rear LED lights.

By the mid 1980s gas prices had dropped back down to (if not below) normal levels. The need for a 75-100 MPG commuter vehicle abated - especially one that came with the limitations of a 50cc slightly-bigger-than-a-scooter two wheeler. As a result, most MB5s were either completely thrashed by young teens with aspirations of Spencer, Roberts or Lawson (don't ask me how I know), or otherwise abandoned to the gods of rust and neglect. Finding one in decent condition is difficult due to the relative rarity; finding a pair in decent nick is a rare occurrence indeed. Both of these bikes appear to be in better than average condition, with one of them sporting the rare, Honda accessory luggage rack.

There may be no substitution for cubic inches, but this pair of 50cc machines deserves better than obscurity. Like many attempts by Honda during this time, the MB5 only lasted a single year. Yet these were blessed with typical Honda craftsmanship, and reliability of the one-lunger is far better than your average 1980s mechanized machine. More for fun and curiosity than something that you would likely use on a daily basis, this duo of MB5s will be selling together. Opening ask is a pretty reasonable $3,535 (a fair price for one MB5 is good condition) - with no takers as of yet. Check it out here, and feel free to jump back to the Comments on 50cc machines. Did you spend any time on a tiny smoker? Let us know, and good luck!!




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