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Driving experiences with the Japanese Honda CS90

honda cs90 01

The Honda CS 90 is a sporty appearance in the light motorcycling regions and looks very similar to the sports moped which of course has a 50 cc engine and was introduced at the same time as the 90 cc engine at the beginning of this year.

The technical department of the ANWB has made an extensive driving test report of this CS 90 with 8 hp four-stroke engine and overhead camshaft. This report also includes a description of the construction, maintenance recommendations and technical data. For interested ANWB members, this report is available free of charge from ANWB's head office, Technical Department PO Box 2200, The Hague and all other offices. Below we present the main conclusions of our driving experiences.

This Honda is not "big", which is why we noticed in the first place that also the drivers of average Dutch size came to a relaxed driving position, in which the controls were well positioned for the tyre and the foot. Nice was the wide soft double saddle and the good connection of the thighs to the typical shaped tank.

The clutch is extremely light and smooth. Personally, we have always preferred to use the front part of the gearshift pedal. The heel/toe pedal has a very short stroke. First gear is down, 2, 3 and 4 up. Depending on the talent of the rider, the shifting itself is more or less silent. A few clicks when shifting up and down from and to the lowest gears are still audible. Finding the clearance between 1st and 2nd gear was not an easy task. After about 500 km it went a bit better, but the "always price method", i.e. a few meters before standstill "free" appeared to be the most useful solution. During the entire test period the engine has run over 1000 km very well. Although the primary gearbox with straight teeth can be heard under certain circumstances, the motor can generally be called mechanically silent. Partly because of the effective exhaust damping, idling was a surprise for everyone who was in the vicinity, e.g. especially at a traffic light. At high revs the exhaust sound was clearly audible, yet not disturbing.

honda cs90 02The sports handlebar with its well-placed controls and the km-counter/speed indicator, which is located exactly in the field of vision. On the left the dimmer switch with the horn button, on the right the indicator switch.

In 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears, the tractive force is considerable. From standstill to 60 km/h, we recorded 10 seconds with a not too heavy rider. The "overdrive" character of 4th gear really only comes into its own on the road. The minimum speed in 4th gear is 60/65 km/hour.

honda cs90 03The compact engine with the small cylinder and large
cylinder head has a power of 8 hp at 9500 rpm.

For sporty riding, the shifting speeds for 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears are at 30, 50 and 70 km/hour. In the suburbs of the built-up area, 3rd gear is ideal. If the engine makes a lot of revs (according to the manufacturer the ceiling would be at 9500 rpm), it runs completely vibration-free. Only when driving at insufficient rpm in front of the gearbox does a slight vibration occur. In our opinion, the stripes placed on the speedometer indicate minimum speeds that are slightly too low for the different gears. When driving in a sporty way and when the gears are used appropriately, the speed seems to be unlimited. It is certainly an achievement to be able to reach 95 real km per hour with a capacity of 90 cc under not too unfavourable conditions. The steering quality, handling and road holding are excellent. In short and wide curves it is not possible to get the whole thing out of the track. Even at top speed one could drive with their hands of the handlebars.

This is made possible by the very stiff frame, the solid rear fork, the efficient tyre profile in combination with a tread rubber of the right composition. The front wheel suspension reacts very well. Remarkable is the low diving effect with strong braking. For a heavy driver the rear suspension may be a little too flexible. The front and rear brakes are amply sized for their purpose and can be operated effectively with little force. Just the maximum deceleration of the front brake with 4.0 m/sec is sufficient to generously meet the current legal requirement of 3.86 m/sec. A deceleration of 4.1 m/sec can be achieved with the brake rod operated rear brake. Both brakes at the same time give a brake deceleration of 6.2 m/sec, with which this motor cycle already meets the requirement of 4.5 m/sec as of 1 January 1966 for new motor vehicles. The lighting, consisting of a duplicate lamp without a city light, is more than enough to be used in the evening as well.

honda cs90 04The oil filler plug with dipstick, the battery pushed out of the frame, the carburettor
with the choke valve and connection to the air filter after removing the side cover.

Dimmed for this displacement, the headlight that has not been subjected to a government-appraisal has the effect of a "sealed bearn", i.e. without the sharp separation between light and dark. In built-up areas, the headlight tube can easily be lowered slightly. The main light reaches quite far and is well spread. The rear and traffic lights, which are so important in current traffic, have sufficient effect. The counter clock is illuminated in the evening, which makes it easier to keep to the 50 km limit. The needle of the speedometer stops nicely while the deviation above 30 km/h is no more than 5 km. Especially in the evening in the city, the flashing lights are very handy. It is a pity that the switch in the middle position does not click heavily enough, so the danger of confusing signals is not unimaginable. The consumption of premium-grade petrol is modest. Depending on the driver's pulse and temperament, the average fuel consumption will be between 1 : 50 and 1 : 60.

The engine remained completely dry during the test period. The difference between the total permissible weight (196.5 kg) and the own weight (86.5 kg) stated by the factory clearly shows that it is not the intention to go abroad on this motorcycle with 2 adults and some luggage. For occasional duo use, duo steps are available. By removing the ignition key in the '0' position, the horn, the flashing lights, the lights and the traffic lights have also been switched off. In addition, the ignition key can also be used for the steering lock. Once we had to walk when the spare supply of gasoline was completely used up with the tap normally open and once it turned out that air had entered the bulb of the duplicator lamp.

honda cs90 05The 6-pole alternator mounted on the crankshaft and the one mounted on the camshaft
interrupter. The marks on the rotor allow the ignition to be adjusted cleanly.

Very manageable motorcycle for sporty solo use. Excellent workmanship down to the last detail. The stable running four-stroke engine is nippy. For the sporty motorcyclist who only goes out and also wants to use the Honda CS 90 for daily commuting in the city and on the road, this Japanese motorcycle of NLG 1,460,- is an interesting candidate.

Importer: HONDA Motor N.V., Zenostraat 186, Rotterdam-24.

"De Kampioen" - July 1965

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