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Meet the dachshund DAX

Honda has never been afraid to be different. Honda started making some fun little so-called Monky bikes back in the 60s. They were extremely small with tiny 10-inch wheels and probably mostly for fun.


In 1969, the production of a slightly larger version began, which in Europe was given the designation DAX (German word for dachshund), and this model was probably intended by Honda as a fun little motorcycle for a little more practical use, for use in the city or to take with you in the camper. Honda must have anticipated its popularity as they patented the Dax design. Around the world it comes in a myriad of versions, but the most common is the designation ST70 or CT70 (USA), and finally there is a variant called Charly, which shares the Daxen's mechanics. The Honda Dax in its original form came to Europe in the early 70s, where it was sold in two versions, the ST50 with a 50cc engine and the ST70 with a 70cc engine. Honda produced the model until the end of the 1990s, when Honda sold the rights to the Chinese manufacturer Jincheng, who continue to make Dax copies in a big way from 50cc up to 125cc.

Here in Denmark, it came as a moped in 1973, and the price was around DKK 2,000. The TUM approval number was 185, and the frame number begins with WDE.

Engine number starts with ST. The model had the same small four-stroke engine as the CD 50, but only with 3 gears and automatic clutch. This works so that when the gear pedal is pushed up or down, it disengages automatically. Honda has made many ingenious systems over time - this is one of them. The idea behind this strange gear arrangement with both gear and automatic clutch, which moreover does not need to be put into neutral to stop at a traffic light, is that you should be able to hold a shopping bag with your left arm and at the same time be able to drive in city traffic that way. It actually works in practice. The model has other quirks. The tank is under the seat, which can be tilted up, and the tank cover is equipped with a small closing mechanism so that you can lay the machine down on its side without the petrol running out, - the carburettor has a built-in petrol tap and forward and reverse flow, so petrol also runs out here when the petrol is shut off. The handlebars can be folded down so that the small machine can be in the trunk of a slightly larger car. The original K1 and K2 models with 6-volt electric system are the most sought after. The Dax was relaunched in 1986 as model type AB 23, which received several major changes such as hydraulic front fork, 12-volt electric system and improved engine.

Since not many Dax knock-offs came to Denmark, an original Danish Dax is worth a lot of money, which is understandable, as it is an immensely charming little machine. Unfortunately, the model suffered just like the CD 50 when throttled down to only 30 km/h. But somehow it didn't matter to the little Dax, who wasn't built for speed. As standard, an unthrottled version ran approx. 60 km/h, which feels plenty with the small wheels without significant gyro effect.

The model is today a popular collector's item, and for those who want to go further, there is a sea of equipment for tuning and styling. There is everything possible for them, from swing forks in strong aluminum profile to disc brake kits and tuned engines with 4 valves. With a 125cc Takagawa engine, a Dax runs up to 120 km/h. The Chinese copies are not of the same quality as the original Honda product, but oddly enough, parts for the model are still produced in Japan, so spare parts are no problem.

I found my Dax on eBay. It was on a farm south of Bremen, the price was reasonable, and it was original except for the headlight and chain guard, which were spray painted. However, it turned out that the engine was from a Charly, so an original throttled Dax engine in fine condition was found and fitted. After this, the original Danish fenders and a horn were fitted. Last but not least, a set of small turn signals was fitted, reminiscent of those on the Danish models.

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