The search for a CR60 started last summer. We have a big vintage race up here in the N.W. called Dino Daze. Bikes from the 60′s – 80′s are brought out to be raced and displayed. Carson and I headed out there to race our XR75s and check out all of the vintage bikes. There was one bike in particular that caught Carson’s eye. It was a Honda CR60. By the look on his face, it was love at first sight! You know the one, where the sun is shining down from the heavens on the little CR, with angels singing all around it!A lot of people don’t even realize Honda made this little two stroker. I remember when the bike came out in 1983, because all of the Honda CRs were incredible that year and they were the bikes to be on. The CR60 was no different. It made twelve horsepower bone stock, which was unheard of for a kid’s bike at that time. The suspension had a real Pro-Link swing arm and shock and 27mm leading axle forks. All state of the art stuff for 1983.Honda seemed to own the MX world in the early 80s. They had Bailey, Magoo, Hannah, and O’Mara on the big bikes. They even had a factory CR60 rider, Jimmy Button. He won almost every national event he entered on the incredible bike. He was practically unbeatable.Finding a CR60 to restore proved to be a little tough. Honda only made the bike in the U.S. in 1983 and 1984. They continued to make it in other countries in 1985 and 1986. Most of them were raced hard or ridden through the neighbor’s fence, so not many survived.
Jimmy Lewis, from Dirt-Rider Magazine, mentioned he had a well used CR60 laying in his garage. Jimmy was on the cover of Racer X years ago hitting a quarter pipe on the little CR and happened to still have it in his pile of bikes. Jimmy agreed to take the bike apart and UPS ship it up to Carson. You would have thought it was Christmas day when those boxes of twisted and bent 25 year old parts arrived. How a kid can get so excited about a box of junk – Well I guess I was pretty excited too.
We stayed up that night and put the well hammered CR together to see just what we were in for. One kick and she started right up. Yes, it was smoking and every single bolt was bent or broken, but it was a starting point. Kind of like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree… it just needed a little love. Carson spun some laps on the CR60 and got a pretty good feel for it. Carson, being the test rider that he is, said “I need more compression in the forks, slower rebound in the rear, the front brake to grab 10 times harder”, etc, etc. This is where I broke the news to him that there were no adjustments back in 1983. Actually, alot of things are different now than 1983. They weren’t doing nose wheelies, they weren’t jumping the big triple, and they for sure weren’t skimming the whoops! He said “what were they doing then?” Well, for one, they were doing a top end job in ten minutes! These air cooled bikes are simple.Our first step was to make a plan. Carson wanted to get the bike good enough to race for fun in the local 65 expert class. This wasn’t going to be easy. These kids fly on 65s these days. I had my own idea of what the bike should look like. A WORKS Honda from the early 80s. We started by taking the bike completely apart and laying everything out. We decided to pretty much make everything, just like Honda did on their factory WORKS bikes.
The gas tank was first on the list. We made it out of aluminum, putting vent holes through it that go back to the airbox, just like the old WORKS Hondas. We also reshaped the tank to hold the gas lower for better handling.
Next was the airbox subframe combo. The CR60 didn’t come with a removable subframe, so it was a little tricky to start from scratch and get everything to line up. When you are working with aluminum it moves a lot when you weld it. You have to make little fixtures to hold everything while you weld it and sometimes that is harder than making the part. With the subframe having so many mounting points, it was tough to make it all line up.
On to the main frame. It had been well beaten by an adult Jimmy Lewis, so it was going to need some help. We cut most of the tubes off and replaced them or beefed them up. We rewelded all of the welds and added some gussets to strengthen any week areas. A new shock tower was fabricated to hold the BBR Elka Shock. We fabricated a Coke bottle Swingarm, like the old 80s WORKS bikes raced with. We used the same dimensions on the swingarm as the BBR 110 race team bikes, so we could use the leverage blocks and modern shock that are fully adjustable.
Next was the front end. Some of the 80s WORKS bikes used a front disc, so we did also. Upside down forks hadn’t been invented yet, so we went with the BBR E-6 conventional forks and machined, modified, and painted them to look like old Showas. The CR60 came with steel rims so we switched to BBR KLX 110 gold rims, that had the same spoke count, and BBR stainless spokes. The rear hub is the same as a modern CRF 80/100, just with a different spoke count. This let us use EBC grooved brake shoes to get that disc brake feel.The engine ran pretty good, but we knew we would need a little more to keep up with the modern bikes. We started by boring in a KX65 piston. It took a little machining but really bored right in. We found some Boyesen reeds on E-Bay and a KX65 carb.
The last part was the exhaust. We were originally going to have Dave Miller at DMC build one, like he did back in 1983, but we ran out of time to get the bike down to him. We decided to take it on ourselves. We wanted to create a cone pipe and round aluminum silencer like the 80s. Not being two stroke experts didn’t help things, but we got it done. I have a new respect for the two stroke pipe guys!
Once everything was fabricated we assembled the bike to check for fit and to make sure the look was what we wanted. After everything checked out it was off to the powder coater, anodizer, heat treater, and paint shop. While we were waiting for everything to come back we drilled out all of the washers and rounded up as many titanium bolts and aluminum bolts as we could beg, borrow, and steel. The seat cover was an E-Bay item that came from some third world country. DC Plastics came through on the plastic, which has a semi-flat finish, adding to that works Honda look. Vintage factory came up with all of the original stickers.
After about two hundred hours of labor we had our WORKS CR60. Carson and I both learned a bunch of new stuff along the way. The bike is almost too nice to ride, but hey, that’s why we built it. The bike is amazingly fast. It feels just a bit slower than a modern KX65. The suspension feels 100% better than stock and lets the bike corner like its on rails. The brakes are great and the handling is as good or better than a modern bike. And the look…..I think a twelve year old O’Mara or Bailey would be happy to ride this bike. If you want to see a twelve year old Carson doing his best to scratch it up, then check out the video right here…..