Words & Pics: BikeReview.com.au
When the Fédération Internationale Motocycliste announced a World Championship for 50cc motorcycles for 1962, Honda wanted to be involved.
This followed Honda’s great success in 1961 when they finally started fielding motorcycles that could compete with the MZs and MVs. In the 125cc category Honda won eight of the 11 races with Tom Phillis leading the charge.
In the 250cc category Honda dominates, with Mike Hailwood winning the title along with fellow Honda riders Tom Phillis and Jim Redman.
In 1962 this trend continued with Honda winning the 125cc standings with Taveri taking top spot, followed by Redman, Robb and Takahashi also aboard Hondas. In the 250cc category Redman takes first with McIntyre second, both aboard Hondas. Even in the 350cc standings Redman took first with fellow Honda rider Robb second, despite that being the first year for Honda in this category.
In the 50cc category, however, things were not quite as good.
THE RC110 & CR110
The RC110 was a single-cylinder powered engine with dual overhead camshafts, driven by a right hand side gear train and produced 9.5bhp at 14,000rpm.
The bike started with a five-speed gearbox that became six at the second GP. This then further increased to an eight-speed.
This in turn led to the CR110, a ‘Club Racer’ that was designed for club and national events and privateer teams.
The CR110 came in two forms, a road offering with the original five-speed gearbox, lights and silencers with a reduced output of 7hp, while the race version had the improved eight-speed gearbox and 8.5hp.
These tiny machines may not have broken any power records but the RC110 was said to weigh as little as 60kg race ready and the engine was considered advanced for the time, despite struggling to match the competition’s two-stroke offerings on the track.
Despite the incredible investment and support the 50cc class saw from Honda, the best result for 1962 on a RC110 was a single first place by Taveri.
The CR110 was a popular choice, however, with a total of 220 being sold, performing to far greater success in local events.
The CR110’s relative scarcity did of course only further lend the motorcycle a collectable reputation.
THE HONDA DREAM
Fast forward to the ‘90s and this iconic motorcycle was remembered not just by collectors and fans alike but apparently by Honda too.
The Honda Dream 50 (also known as the AC15) was released in 1997 to commemorate the CR110, incorporating the original styling including racing handlebars, the long thin fuel tank and race tail. The AC15 engine is a single transverse cylinder with double overhead camshafts, held in a diamond design frame with single front down tube that bolts directly to the crankcase.
Despite all the technological advances in the 35-years since its original release the Dream 50 produced just 5.6hp at 10500rpm, a considerable reduction from the original CR110. The Dream does however benefit from a single disc brake front and rear, although the necessity of this upgrade is disputed, with riders commenting that merely sitting up and rolling off the throttle was enough to cause drastic deceleration on the little 50cc.
Such was the popularity of this limited-edition commemorative model that in 2004 Honda released the Honda Dream 50R (AR02).
The 50R wasn’t offered as a road registrable option, instead benefiting from a host of HRC components such as camshaft, valve springs, piston, a low friction cam chain, crankshaft and lightweight AC generator. The bike also came standard with Showa suspension and produced 7bhp at 13500rpm, largely maintaining the original models styling and looks.
Despite being regarded by many as more of a collector piece the Dream 50R received good track reviews from testers as a bike capable of providing thrills despite much lower limits than many are used to.
With original CR110’s not only becoming immensely collectable and expensive – particularly when used to any extent, the Honda Dream provided a far more reasonable option and looking at the bike it is not hard to see the attraction.
The stylish minimalist look of the Dream 50 really conveys a story of a different time, with a simple yet elegant colour scheme that highlights the amazing motorcycle on hand.
The red frame and lower forks highlights not only the aggressively styled tank and simple mudguards but also frames an engine that over 50 years after inception is still noteworthy.
SPECIFICATIONS Honda Dream 50
ENGINE: Air-cooled, 49cc, four-stroke transverse single-cylinder, DOHC
CLAIMED POWER: 5.6hp@10500rpm, 4ft-lbs@8500rpm
DRY WEIGHT: 81kg
CHASSIS: Diamond design frame with single front down tube and reinforced double-tube over and under configuration.
SUSPENSION: Inner spring telescopic front forks, shock absorbers.
BRAKES: Single front rotor with two-piston caliper, single