When I think about the amazing vintage body styles, I always end up fantasizing about the boxy forks, low body and ‘Trojan helmet’ fenders of the Honda Dream 305 CA77.
Although the first Honda Dream was released all the way back in 1949, the bulky-but-beautiful CA77 models were produced from 1960 to 1969, and really put the Japanese manufacturer on the map. There are still plenty of low-mileage Honda Dreams floating around the market, which is a testament to the long-lasting quality of these granddaddy monsters.
Like most vintage motorcycles, they are filed under ‘project bike’ and spend long portions of their lives in various tinkerers’ garages, but there are quite a few examples of Honda Dreams still screaming around in the streets. In this article, we discuss how long Honda Dreams last.
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Here’s the short answer to how long Honda Dreams can last:
The Honda Dream can last well over 40,000 miles if used and maintained according to Honda’s specifications. Considering that these bikes are now vintage, getting more life out of them requires careful use, attention to detail and following a deliberate maintenance and storage plan.
How Many Miles Do You Get on a Honda Dream?
Surprisingly, Honda Dream 305 CA77 motorcycles are still sold today with relatively low mileage. The Dream’s reputation as an around-the-town sport bike kept many individual models from chalking up the high mileage you find on long-haul cruisers, baggers, and touring bikes.
Scouring vintage sale sites and message boards, I came across the most Honda Dreams with an average mileage of 6,000 to just over 15,000 miles on the odometer. A recent 305 CA77 barn find showed a whopping original 27,912 miles, and several posters on forums have clocked upwards of 40,000 miles on original, well-maintained engines!
I will say that it is hard to gauge how many original miles were put on these early Honda Dreams because many of them have had their engines rebuilt over the years. The growing interest in restoring these old birds has led to lots of top-and–bottom end rebuilds on the market.
One of my favorite stories about a high mileage Dream is a 1965 CA77 owned by Homer Weber of Cuba City, WI. As of 2014, this workhorse dinged upwards of 208,000 miles on the odometer (complete with a hand painted ‘2’ in front to show the bike’s true mileage)! Weber uses it as a farm bike as well as having taken it out for several multi-thousand-mile road trips in the past.
What Is Considered High Mileage for These Models?
Most of the research done on average mileage for 1960-1969 Honda Dreams shows high mileage topping out in the 40,000-mile range.
Why does this seem like such low mileage for a sweet, old sporty? Well, there’s three reasons to explain a spec that seems too good to be true. The three reasons are:
- Newer sport bike high mileage starts around 20,000-25,000 miles
- The most recently produced CA77 Dream is 53 years old
- These babies were built for short distance travel
Sport bikes are made for cranking out power and RPMS over shorter distances and short timeframe rides, and that’s why they don’t run up the odometer like cruisers and touring setups. That’s why you’ll find much lower mileage being touted as ‘high mileage’ for sport bikes than their long-distance spanning cousins.
If you are thinking it’s ridiculous that a bike breaking 15,000 miles is seen as being high mileage, consider this: the last year these joyriders were made was 1969! They were never meant to be much more than what we would consider today to be a zippy little grocery-getter.
To Honda’s credit, these older engines were perfectly good for their time. Unlike other motorcycle manufacturers that have been redesigning the same engine since their inception, Honda has spent a considerable amount of time redesigning newer and better engines since their first Dream, the Honda D series, went into production with a 98 cc (6.0 cu in) two-stroke single-cylinder engine.
How Many Years Does a Honda Dream Typically Last?
Since the 305 Dream went into production in 1960, there are still bikes of that year and model tearing around after 62 years.
Of course, if you want any bike to last as long as possible, regular maintenance is key.
If you are using or considering an older bike, the maintenance tips are the same as any bike you’re going to ride, and you don’t have to be a mechanic to maintain your motorcycle periodically with these easy steps:
- Grease the Front Forks. A lot of riders give advice to heed their warnings about the welded steel front forks-at higher speed they produce what is called a ‘pogo’ effect, jumping up and down on bumps. These forks have a tendency to ‘stick’ at the bottom of their depression if they are not maintained properly.
- Maintain the Battery. Any kind of battery failure can lead to further problems with the bike, so it’s important to maintain your battery’s life. Keeping your bike hooked up to a trickle charger is a great idea, especially if there’s lots of temperature fluctuations (i.e. the cold in winter). Trickle chargers are inexpensive and can save a lot of hassle with batter-related issues. Invest in a multimeter so you can check your battery’s voltage periodically.
- Check Fuel Filter and Line. Like any bike you buy used, I suggest replacing the fuel filter and line. Clogged fuel filters or lines can give you that ‘farty’ acceleration and cause engine problems you don’t want or need.
- Inspect Air Filter. It goes without saying that air intake is incredibly important to your system and a clogged filter can cause overheating or engine failure. An easy replacement for peace of mind is always worth it.
- Check the Brakes. A Honda Dream’s front brake is a big contender for problems. Even when well-maintained, lots of riders advise you keep your distance from the motor vehicles in front of you because braking can be sketchy. Always use caution while riding and make sure your brakes are in the best condition possible.
- Replace Tires. Old bike tires will look cracked and worn, so it’s always good to replace them. Why would this be even more of a problem on a Honda Dream? This bike was one of the first to boast the 3.0 x 16” front tire and they are becoming harder to find, so take that into consideration if you are contemplating owning one of these old baddies.
- Inspect the Drive Chain On any bike, it’s important to include the chain drive in a visual inspection of your bike. Make sure it is well oiled, tensioned and cleaned. If it won’t tension properly to specifications or shows signs of excessive rust after you’ve cleaned it, replace it ASAP.
- Check for Oil Levels. An old mechanic once told me, “If your bike ever stops leaking oil, then you have a real problem.” Meaning old bikes are more likely to leak or burn up oil, so top off your oil when needed and change your oil and filter more often on an old Honda Dream.
Is the Honda Dream Reliable?
The overhead cam parallel twin engine of the 1960s Dreams packed a punch previously lacking in the D-style Dreams and can certainly last much longer than their single piston counterparts, but these engines are notoriously more difficult to work on.
Honda dream engines can be very reliable if they are in good condition, but many people have suggested several modifications because, let’s face it, there are going to be some weak spots on a relic of motorcycles past like the Honda Dream.
I figured nobody could tell you better how reliable a Honda Dream is than people out there who own the bike, so here’s some reviews from the message boards:
- “The engine is very reliable, as long it is in good condition. extracting more power out of it will make the engine less reliable, that is not only subject to the dream, but in general. I did flow the head, put a CB77 carb on it, but the impact of the bigger carbs wasn’t noticed until I changed the mufflers (for early stainless ones). Flowing the intake is worth every penny.”
- “The single carb 305 dream is actually pretty easy to keep happy with basic maintenance if it’s ridden regularly. The suspension is far from confidence-inspiring, but you wouldn’t care unless you did frequent, very spirited riding in corners.”
- “Most of the “wobbles” are attributable to worn swingarm and fork rocker pivot bushings… Replace them immediately and keep well greased…… The front end “pogo” (especially during breaking) takes some getting used to, but gives a surprisingly nice ride and is part of the bike’s “character”….. The “stamped” frames are less heavy than their visual “bulk” would indicate……..A good curvy “secondary/tertiary” road bike at 45 to 55MPH.”
Does a Honda Dream Last Longer Than Other Motorcycles?
Just the simple fact that a Honda Dream lasts longer than other motorcycles is shown by how frequently you can still find them on the market, as opposed to their contemporary counterparts like the 1960s Ducati Scrambler, BSA Gold Star or Royal Enfield Interceptor.
This has got to be a testament to the indomitable Honda engine like the 305. The important thing to note with a Honda Dream, just like any other motorcycle, is to ride it comfortably; don’t ride it hard. A Honda Dream that puttered around like a modern café racer in the city will last longer than one cranked to high (maybe too high) RPMs in highway riding situations.
What Typically Breaks First on a Honda Dream?
Brakes. You’re going to want to replace the brakes and if possible, find a brake specialist who can advise you on measures you can take to improve the front brakes on a Honda Dream which are described in good condition as “creaky” or “screaming.”
The front ‘Trojan-helmet’ fender will take the brunt force of any curb it comes up again, and let me tell you, the curb always wins.
Steering and handling always come up as something to look out for and maintain and repair as needed.
One of the first things that always breaks on a Honda Dream are the welded plate-steel front forks, which can seize in the downward position if you hit a good enough bump. Not an ideal quality for a ‘sport’ bike, but that’s what you get for choosing a head-turner.
The Dream Machine
In my opinion, the Honda Dream 305 CA77 is one of the absolute coolest old bikes on the road, and the general availability of them, often far cheaper to buy than their sport bike cousins of the 1960s, is a testament to how long they last. It might be your granddad’s sport bike, but the Honda Dream is still a dream 5-6 decades later. Happy trails!