The “CD” models are 6 volt, single carburetor models. There are sportier CL, CB, and SL models that are 12 volt, with twin carburetors. There is also a little known “GL” scrambler model sold in Australia, which is more like a CD175, because it has a single carburetor and 6 volts.
When I began to research the 1970 Honda CD175, I could not have guessed how complicated Honda's model variations would be. My first bike was a 1970 CD175 V that I bought in Sierra Leone West Africa on December 31, 1969. There were many different versions of Honda 175's built the same year. In addition, I looked at the predecessors of the CD175, and the successors in following years. With time I discovered many of the models, versions, and variations, but I don't think I have uncovered them all.
The CD versions were sometimes called CA or "Touring" models. If you can help me correct some errors, or have any questions, please e-mail me by clicking [e-mail] at the top of the page. Check out the long text section below the last picture for the details.
Pictures of CD175a and Their Near Relatives
In addition to the CD175, there was the CB175 (Sport) model and the CL (Street scrambler) and SL (Sport Scrambler) models. A few of these models using the same basic 175 vertical twin engine are shown below.
CB175 1973. There were many versions of the CB175. The CB was the 'Sport' model 175 with 5 speeds, twin carbs, twin leading shoe front brake, 12 volt electrics, and separate tachometer and speedometer. Also had the sporty chrome fenders. Tires were 2.75*18 F and 3.00*18 R
CL175 The street scrambler version of the CB175. Tires 2.75*18 F and 3.25*18 R
The SL175 was a solo dirt bike with a double downtube frame. Tires 3.00*19 F and 3.50*18 R
Other CD Models
The CD's were typically utility bikes. CD's were intended as work bikes, for delivery, courier or commuter use. Honda sometimes referred to them as "Touring" models, or as Benly's.
This JC58 Benly predates the “CD” designation, and was called a Benly instead. This picture from Troyce Walls is a 125 cc four stroke pushrod single from about 1958, very similar concept to the later CD125's and CD175's.
CD125T This bike was still being sold (not sure where) in 2002, carrying the Benly name. The solo seat and luggage rack are standard. The leg guards may be a Honda accessory, but the top box is anybody's guess.
CD185 (1985) I believe this is a UK model, with a fully enclosed chain.
Before 1968 -1970, Honda used names such as "Dream", "Hawk" and "Benly". The Dreams and Benly's were names of commuter models. The Dreams were the larger bikes, about 250 cc and up, while the Benly's were smaller down to 125 cc. The Hawks and Super Hawks were the more sporty versions of the Dreams.
Honda seems to have revived the Benly name, and is currently using it for models produced in 2002 (the Benly CD125 and CD50, not sold in North America)
DIFFERENCES CD175 vs. CB175 CL175 SL175
The CD's is were built to be cheap and bulletproof. The CD's had single carburetors, four speed gearboxes (not 5), milder camshafts, 16 or 17 inch tires, fully enclosed chain drives, bigger mudguards, no tachometer, and 6 volt electrics.
The other bikes, CB's, CL's and SL175's were the sporting machines, with twin carburetors, five speeds, hotter camshafts, 18” or even larger wheels, open chain drive, lighter and shorter mudguards, a tachometer and 12 volt electrical systems.
NOTES On Detailed Variations
THE SLOPER ENGINES
Original CD175: Began production about 1967. Serial numbers start with 1….. This was a 174cc parallel twin with pistons going up and down together. It produced 17 horsepower at 10,500 rpm. (Sixties Hondas were all high revving, which gave them a horsepower advantage over other four stroke engines of the same displacement). It had a stamped steel frame and swing arm, plastic fenders, with the stays running inside the fender. There were telescopic forks and 3.00 x 16 inch wheels. Top speed was theoretically about 80 mph, but only with some assistance from the wind and or a downhill run.
CD175b 1968 to 1969 This bike had bigger side panels than the original 1967 model, and a rounder gas tank. The taillight had a horizontal brace to the top of the rear fender. The tank emblem said Honda 175 under the wing.
CD175 K3 (Also A3?) (Serial number starts with 2) 1969-1970 The K3 replaced the CD175b in the summer of 1969. The K3 got bigger 3 x 17 inch tires. The engine cylinders were rotated up about 20 degrees to make them almost vertical, so that a new semi-tubular frame could be used that had a single front down tube. The CD175 K3 was noticeably different from the earlier CD175's. Fenders with stays outside, fatter gas tank, tubular/sectional frame, tubular swing arm, and wrap around plastic side panels. The headlight shell was increased in size to go outside the fork ears. The tank emblem says Honda but not 175. The engine might have been detuned a little. I have no evidence of this other than reading what other people have to say, but I think it was a typical Honda strategy to tune early models for maximum performance and later models for reliability. These comments may also apply to the UK model A3, which I do not know much about.
CD175 A4/K4 Serial number starts with 3, built in 1971-? The K4 is very similar to the K3, with only small details to identify the difference. The K4/A4 added helmet locks next to the right rear blinker. The K4 models are recognized by the word Honda on the engine rotor cover, which has raised lettering in a sunken black box. The K3 had the word Honda in sunken lettering. The K4 has cotter pins on the axle nuts and the swing arm nut, but not the K3. One change hidden under the left sidepanel is the air filter box. The K4 had the intake snorkel built into the plastic box. The K3 had the snorkel built into the metal filter. If you put a K4 filter into a K3 box there is no way for air to get into the engine.
Variations of the Vertical CD175's for international markets.
These comments are only for the A3/K3 and A4/K4. The most confusing part of identifying CD175 A3/A4/K3/K4 is the variations that took place for international markets, especially the Canadian K4 that looks almost exactly the same as the USA K3. But there is no Canadian K3, and no USA K4.
I would also like to know all the places where CD175's were sold. As far as I can tell, CD175's seem to have been sold officially in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, Africa, Asia (esp. Pakistan) Guyana, Australia and New Zealand. I am not aware of any others yet, but let me know by email if you have any additions to this, as I am still learning about these models and making changes to this page.
There was the A3/A4 for the UK and Ireland. The K3 (sold outside UK and Ireland), had a US model and a General version sold everywhere else (including Canada). There was no K4 US model, but there was a Canadian K4 version.
CD175 K3 The 1969/70 CD175 had three variations, the US K3 model, the International K3 model, and the UK and Ireland A3 model. The US model K3 was the last CD175 sold in that country.
CD175 K4 The K4 had three or four variations. One for Canada, a General Export model, and a few small variations for the Nigerian market. There was also the A4 model sold in the UK and Ireland.
USA K3 The most unique feature of this US model is the three part front brake cable which has an in line brake light switch (at least early in the production run). This part was only for the USA K3. The USA K3 has the federal sticker on the headstock. The rest of the USA K3 is very similar to the Canadian K4 (see below).
Canada K4: The main difference from the K3 was the front brake light switch, although it was in the brake lever, not in the cable. Other distinguishing features: The Canadian K4 and and USA K3 had a unit (sealed beam) headlight. Amber side reflectors on the fork covers, red side reflectors on the tail light lens, turn signals mounted on long stalks, and a square grid pattern on back of taillight lens. The taillight was mounted on a higher bracket. The flasher relay was a small black box under the seat. Large parabolic reflectors inside the turn signals and taillight to focus the light. There were black rubber tips on the clutch and front brake levers.
General Export K3 and K4: Short one piece turn signals, separate bulb and reflector type headlight. Circular reflector pattern on back of taillight lens, and no side reflectors. Tiny silver reflectors to focus the taillight and turn signals. On the general export K3, the taillight/license plate bracket is narrower than the USA K3 or Canadian K4. The bracket is also shorter, holding the taillight lower. The winker relay is a metal cylinder on the battery holder instead of a little metal box under the seat.
Nigeria K4: A general export model, it had chrome(?) fenders as an option.
CD175 A4 (UK) Serial number starts with 3. No electric start. Headlight has a 4 watt marker light in the reflector shell. (Low handlebars not mentioned in parts book for the A4, but usually seen in photos.) 18 watt turn signal bulbs instead of 10w. Turn signals mounted on long stalks. Front number plate (optional?) bolted to front fender. Black back number plate bolted to taillight.
The Mystery CD175 T4 Why do we have two different looking motorcycles both designated Canadian T4?According to a parts fiche from Canadian Honda Motor Limited dated 9/28/77, there was a Canadian K4 and a T4. The K4 serial numbers started at 3000001. The T4 frame numbers started at 3014668* and the engine numbers started at 3015018*
I have seen two different types of motorcycle, apparently produced in quantities and sold by Canadian Honda dealers that both fit the description of Canadian T4, I will call them the regular T4 and the sporty T4.
I got an email from an owner of a “sporty” T4 in Canada who said his Honda dealer had identified his bike as a T4 from a 1974 microfiche. Another visitor to my site reported that there was a test of the sporty T4 in the August 1973 Motojournal magazine (A Canadian magazine). According to that article, the sporty T4 replaced the Canadian K4, and was made for Canadian Honda Motor. It was priced at $799.00. The “sporty” tank has different mounting tabs front and back, with different rear rubber mount bolted to frame. It has a dual seat, that would fit a K3 except for the wider front tabs. The headlight bucket similar to the CD175 K1, with the same speedometer as the K1 to K4. The forks have rubber covers. It has a simple black open chainguard and silver grey painted fenders front and back, but the picture above shows a chrome front fender which may come from a CB175. The taillight lens does not fit the K3 or K4.
I have also seen pictures of a “regular” T4 that has the same serial number sequence as the “sporty” T4, but is dressed to look like the older K4. One picture came from a reader, and one picture was on the CMSNL website.