Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Representing the 99%!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Meet Darwin - My 1976 Honda CT70 Monkey Bike!

The Perfect Post-Christmas Present! :-)
1976, the year that the Summer Olympics opened in Montreal, Quebec, CanadaTim Hortons introduced the Timbit for the first time and Eaton's Department store discontinued its catalogue, perhaps a sign of things to come for the once great Canadian corporation. The great and sorely missed Farley Mowat released his book Canada North Now: The Great Betrayal whilst René Lévesque becomes premier of Quebec, replacing Robert Bourassa. Elsewhere around the world Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne founded Apple Computer on April Fools' Day. Larry Mullen, Jr, Adam Clayton (bass), Paul Hewson ("Bono," vocals), and Dave Evans ("The Edge," guitar) formed a band called Feedback which they later renamed U2 in 1978. To quote Ernest Hemingway, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." yet everyone knew that you met the nicest people on a Honda!

Darwin - My 1976 Honda CT70
Lovely Scrambler Exhaust
Somewhere some very lucky kids were unwrapping their very own Honda CT70 Monkey Bike. Like any good children, they were probably bundled up in their snow suits and sent out to ride their little bikes in the backwoods of their cozy houses or for those living in more urban areas, the kids drove them around the block in between playing street hockey. Summers were filled with back alley races or hill climbs by the local pond. The Monkey Bike was so much more than just a motorcycle. It was to kids what bicycles were before them. Freedom. Nothing compares to that sense of exhilaration of being on two wheels, independent from your parents' reach whilst also secure in knowing that they were just a shout away. Add an engine and suddenly it felt like all of Canada was at your fingertips. Indeed many people actually travelled across Canada and the United States on such machines! It was never about the destination but rather, the journey itself. Cue Darwin...

Missing Speedo and Left Handlebar Bent
The Little Engine That Could
Steel Rims and Passenger Pegs,
You Know,
For Doubling Up When Riding to The Arcades
New Honda Seat
Fenders Look Ripe For A Clean
New Taillight?
Believe It Or Not, This Bike is Road Legal!
Dead Battery Aside,
I love That The Gas Tank is Part of The Frame!
I came across Darwin by happenstance. I was teaching a course called Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Studies and one of my students had raised his hand when I asked if anyone owned a bike. I was immediately intrigued, not least of all because these little CT's are hard to come by in running order in my neck of the woods. Though I had broached the topic of buying Darwin from my student last October, inevitably the deal was never realized. That is until today! I had been thinking on and off about the little Monkey Bike and despite myself I decided that I had to have it! 

Summer of '76... I mean '16
Darwin fit perfectly inside Rhonda, our 2016 Kia Rondo! All I had to do was lower the left side of the seat and I picked him up and placed him in the back with ease. He rested on its side stand and sat there staring outside the front window not unlike a German Shepherd with its head cocked to the side. It won't take much to bring Darwin back to his former glory. Whilst I do not plan on restoring it to showroom condition just yet, I do however want to make it road worthy. The paint will remain as the decals are also original and are in good nick. The patina alone gives it charm. I dropped it off at L'Amis Denis today where they are going to do a complete inspection of it. I even managed to ride Darwin briefly in the Bishop's University parking lot to the amusement of passerbys. Forty-one years after the little CT70 rolled off the assembly line I can't help but feel like its found a kindred spirit with our family. Like so many children before, my kids will find themselves learning how to ride their first motorcycle on Darwin when they are ready and with any luck, so too will my grandchildren some day. Until that time Darwin will have an honorary place in our living room, at least during the winter months! Just don't tell Bella and Bambi!


  1. Replies
    1. Nice. I have no idea what one even goes with this year as I saw some models with an integrated speedo and lamp (which is nicer than what I have on now)....

    2. Mario yours does not have that integrated speedo. That's for bikes 69-71. Yours looks pretty complete.

  2. They're a hot collectible right now.

    1. Yup... when I came across one in running condition, I jumped on it!   Eventually I hope to have a collection as impressive as yours! ;-)

  3. First time I rode was on one of those...congrats my friend...and I take it back...your not out of control. You are living the dream.