CLASSIC MOTOCROSS IRON: 1969 HODAKA DAVE MILLER SUPER RAT 100

BY TOM WHITE

Dave Miller of DMC fame might never have returned to the Hodaka fold, but he was invited to participate in an invitation-only 100cc Pro class for vintage bikes at the 2004 Elsinore Grand Prix. Miller knew that if he wanted to build the best possible 100cc vintage bike, he would have to start with a Hodaka Super Rat.

Dave Miller’s connection to Hodaka goes back to the late ’60s when he was a three-time National Minicycle Champion. In the days before production-line Japanese minicycles, if you wanted to race minis, you had to ride a Bonanza, Steen, Bird or Indian. The powerplant of choice was often the reliable, cast-iron-cylinder Hodaka engine or its Fuji Industries lookalike. 

As Dave Miller prepared for the Elsinore Grand Prix, he started with a bare-bones 1969 Hodaka Super Rat. He found a used aluminum Webco cylinder on eBay, cut the reed block off a Honda CR80 cylinder and grafted it to the intake side of the 50-year-old cylinder. Unable to find the matching Webco cylinder head, Miller cobbled together a blank from a used 125cc head and had a special run of Webco heads sand-cast at a foundry in—of all places—Lake Elsinore. With a 26mm Mikuni carb (off the CR80) and a handmade exhaust pipe, the engine work was finished.

Dave then turned his attention to the chassis. To make the bike as sleek and narrow as possible, Dave cut the stock chrome toaster fuel tank in half and removed 2 inches out of the center section before welding it back together (he did the same thing to the stock Hodaka seat). Using chromoly tubing, he extended the wheelbase by 2-1/2 inches (a common mod back in the ’70s, most commonly achieved with Swenco swingarms). The 30mm Hodaka front forks were replaced with 32mm Ceriani forks mated to stock bead-blasted hubs laced to Akront rims. The rear brake was modified to make it full-floating.

Dave’s DMC Hodaka Super Rat is a thing of beauty. With its slim profile and long wheelbase, it isn’t an authentic restoration of a 50-year-old machine; instead, it is a modernized version of a classic.

 

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