: Getting A "CT"

So, now you've been bitten or re-bitten by the Honda Trail CT bug. You should know that it's a disease and there is no cure, however, you can treat the symptoms, by getting yourself a Honda Trail CT.

Where to find 'em

Other Classifieds


Look It Over
First Impression

Check out the overall condition. A nicer CT will be "ride-able", right away, a CT that doesn't look that great, will often take some time and money to be ready to ride, and sometimes will end up costing about the same as a nice CT. So, do you want to restore and enjoy that part of owning a CT or do you want to ride right away? Or, do the restore first and then ride later? Many CT'ers like both and have a CT undergoing restoration and one to ride, at the same time.

Does it look like the CT was stored indoors or outdoors? Outdoor CT's could have hidden engine problems with moisture intrusion.

How is the paint and chrome? Original paint or has it been modified by a previous owner? Zero rust or pitting on the chrome parts (rear cargo rack, wheel rims, and skid plate) and you have a "gem". Light rust spotting is very common, even on a CT that was stored indoors.

Does the CT look to be complete? Plastic parts, like the down tube cover, the side cover, the headlight bucket can often be damaged and thus removed. You can find replacement; however, they do cost money.

Closer Look

How does the seat look? No cuts, supple to the touch, but still has some cushioning effect?

How do the rubber parts look? They can be torn, ripped, missing, or baked hard by the sun. The engine case, right side, clutch adjusting nut rubber cover is often missing, front fork boots are often torn or ripped, hand grips and foot pegs are worn on the ends, (due to crashing the CT on the ground, look for other damage).

How does the engine oil look? Is it clean and filled to the correct capacity? A milky white/brown color shows that it has a fair amount of water mixed in the oil (not good, most likely needs a complete engine tear down). Smell the oil for a gas odor, as the carburetor could have leaked gas into the cylinder and thus leaked into the engine case. Any leaks, outside or under the engine case? How does the oil drain plug look?

Get a flashlight and look all around inside the gas tank. Flaking rust or other small either floating or sunk at the bottom of the tank, debris will need to be fixed with a complete cleaning and probably a tank liner coating applied (time consuming procedure). If the CT has the auxiliary spare gas tank on the left side of the rear fender, check it also.

Check that the handle bar controls are present and working. Turn on the key and check that headlight (low beam and high beam with speedometer indicator) and the tail light operate, press the horn button, if the CT has turn signals switch them both right and left and the single light on the speedometer should also blink, check both front and back, try the brake pedal and any hand brake lever(s), see if the brake light turns on. Operate the gear shift lever and watch for the neutral light to come on the speedometer. Turn the key off to finish this set of tests.

How does the throttle operate? Smoothly or hard to turn? Does it return to the initial position easily? When you tested the brake lights, did the handle bar lever(s) operate smoothly? How about the foot brake pedal?
Check the wheels for running "true and straight" by putting the CT on its center stand, which should keep the rear tire off the ground. Stand behind the rear wheel and spin it to see if it wobbles or is not in alignment with the center line of the CT. While you're spinning the rear wheel check the drive chain for proper lubrication and that the rear drive sprocket is not unduly worn. Put something heavy on the rear cargo rack or have a friend press down on the back of the CT to lift the front wheel off the ground. Spin the front wheel and check to see if it wobbles or is not in alignment with the front forks. Also check the tires for roundness as you spin each of them, they should not seem to have high or low spots on the tread. Examine the tires for cracks or weathering and that they have enough air pressure. Check that the spokes are all there.
How many keys exist for this CT? Two keys are normal. Does the key also operate the frame head lock on the right side of the CT? If the CT has the auxiliary spare gas tank on the left side of the rear fender, does the key operate the helmet lock?

Take the right side cover off and take a look around inside for rust or corrosion around the battery. Is there water in the battery? Is the battery over flow tube present and routed down and outside the frame? Is there a Honda CT tool kit in there? The Honda CT tool kit is not very robust, but, it's a nice thing to have with a CT, probably more for resale purposes, if you want to try to get maximum value. Most CT'ers take more and better tools in a tool bag on the rear cargo rack when riding off road.

Take a close look at the upswept exhaust. Make sure the exhaust is cool to the touch, then examine for rust and holes that should not be there, especially along the bottom of the exhaust. Is the U.S. Department of Forestry approved spark arrestor there? Are all the heat shields present and not damaged? Is the exhaust secure to the CT, no loose sections?

Check the title and make sure it has matching numbers with the frame head (up by the handle bars) and the engine (left side of CT). Is the owner listed on the title, the same person that you are talking to, and selling the CT?

Starting It Up (yet to be filled in)

Test Riding (yet to be filled in)



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