The Honda CT70 “Trail 70” or “Mini-Trail” featured a pressed-steel T-bone frame, folding handlebars, and a 72cc 4-stroke engine making 6 horsepower — good for a top speed of about 47 mph. Known as the “Dax” in Europe and Japan, the minibike has developed a cult following around the world — and it’s street legal in many locales despite the diminutive size.
Enter friends Daniel Tijerina and Keith Carlson of Indiana. You may recognize Keith’s work from his many builds we’ve featured on the blog, including his custom CRF/RD400 hybrid and his RZ350 restomod, built to tackle the Tail of the Dragon on his annual pilgrimage to Deal’s Gap.
Well, the man behind the lens of those gorgeous photos is Keith’s good friend Daniel Tijerina (@tchon76). About seven years ago, Keith taught Dan to ride — starting on a pitbike in a parking lot — and he’s been hooked ever since. For about that same length of time, he’s been interested in a Honda Mini-Trail, after seeing so many of them at Mid-Ohio Vintage Days. At some point the pair visited Lil Bike Restorations, an Indiana shop specializing in Honda CT70s and Z50s. Says Dan:
“We walked in and they all look like jewelry. Amazing, all rebuilt. But they had a waiting list.”
On the way home, Dan asked Keith if he would build him one. Within a week, they’d found a donor and the build began. Anyone who knows Keith knows that he’s a details guy, and this CT70 got the full Carlson treatment — a 100% tear down and rebuild. The result is nicknamed “Sweet Pea” — the most stunning Mini-Trail we’ve ever seen. And we aren’t the only ones appreciating the final product. Says Dan:
“It is a bike that gets all the attention even when you are in a group of modern bikes. You get thumbs up when riding around town. People roll down their window to say ‘awesome bike.'”
Below, we interview both Keith and Daniel for more details on the build, along with more gorgeous photos from Daniel himself.
Interview: Keith Carlson
What’s the year/make/model of the bike?
1972 Honda CT70H model K1.
Why the bike built?
Built for pure enjoyment for Daniel Tijerina. We have been friends for many years, Dan has wanted a Honda Mini-trail for as long as I can remember. He finally has a gem!!
What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Build is 99% stock. Color choice is a 1971 year color with slightly more flake. A shop in Brownsburg IN (Lil Bike Restorations) was a big motivator as they specialize in CT70 and Z50 Honda’s. Dan is like a kid in a candy store every time we would visit.
What custom work was done to the bike?
Custom work is the polished aluminum engine parts, wheels and overall BLING factor. The CT70H was a 100% full teardown and build.
Does the bike have a nickname?
We call the CT70H “Sweet Pea.”
How would you classify this build?
Classified as a mostly stock restoration of a classic Honda Mini-Trail.
Interview: Daniel Tijerina
Can you tell us a little about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your friendship with Keith?
I have always wanted to ride motorcycles but never knew anyone who did or even thought about taking the motorcycle course. A friend of mine Keith Carlson rides dirt bikes and vintage motorcycles, he said he would teach me. So about 7 years ago he put me on a pit bike and had me ride around a parking lot learning how to shift, break, and the basics of riding. From then on I was hooked.
Then Keith ended up retiring and we were just talking and we had gone to a shop in Brownsburg that builds CT70s. We walked in and they all look like jewelry. Amazing, all rebuilt. But they had a waiting list.
So driving back home I asked Keith, “Now that your retired would you build one for me?” He agreed and had a bike within a week and the tear down began. It was a fun build to see it go from nothing to this amazing bike. Keith is a details guy. Everything was tore down and rebuilt. I could not be any more happy with the bike.
How long have you wanted a Honda Mini-trail?
I went to Mid Ohio for the vintage swap meet and I saw a lot of CT70s. They just looked fun to ride and everyone would notice you riding around. I have been looking for one to build or just one that was in good condition for about the same time I started learning to ride.
What do you love most about this CT70?
The thing that I love about the CT70s is that they are just so much fun to ride. It is a bike that gets all the attention even when you are in a group of modern bikes. You get thumbs up when riding around town. People roll down their window to say “awesome bike.” Getting gas people will stop and take pictures.