(Honda Code 376)
In April 1974 Sammy Miller flew from Heathrow to Tokyo, Japan. Sammy signed a contract with Honda for the new range trials bikes development.
Sammy was impressed on his first travel to Honda R&D headquarters. High security level, special sections constructed for testing new trials bikes, and everybody waiting for him.
He started working with the TL125 and XL250 engine. The TL125 was the first Honda Trials attempt using the small 121,9cc two-valve sohc engine from the SL125 Trail Honda.
Honda R&D team was benn placed at Sammy's disposal to develop the new Honda Trials bike and Sammy decided to start with the XL250, but found a lot of difficulties to adapt it from the Trails needs to Trials requirements.
Sammy did a giant work on this development, big efforts to improve carburation, completely new frame (he based on its also designed High-Boy for the Bultaco trials), new upper yokes, also replaced the rims for alloy ones, and a lot of work on the suspension definition.
The silencer was also redefinedto obtain the maximum efficency.
In 1974 Sammy scored several wins on the Honda 250 first prototype. In October of this year, Sammy Miller won his first victory with the second prototype Honda at Sturminister Newton Trial at Gillingham.
This second prototype had a 248,6cc (74 X 57,8mm) alloy cylinder barrel with chromed bore, four-valves, using 24mm Keihin carburetor.
This prototype was famous for having the number plate SAM 1N.
The bike inherited the TL125 design. Price was somewhat cheaper than Spanish bikes.
Thanks to my friend Patrick and son to sent me this nice picture for Christmas time.
This nice and rare Honda trials was built at the shop of Vic Allan Motorcycles in Bathgate, West Lothian,
It was a 250 XL Motorsport Honda converted for trials similar to the Jefferies Honda.
. Shocks were Girling Gas Shocks.
Bike information also thanks to John.
The TL50 was offered in two colors, dark Green and Red Accent combined glossy White
Maximum Power: 4,2PS at 9.500 rpm
Maximum torque: 0,36Kg/m at 7.500 rpm
Weight: 80 Kg
The Honda TL50 engine, perfect performance Air-Cooled 4-st. Single OHC
© The Honda trials History, thanks to Mr. Hiroshi Kondo
1976 Honda 305 "Long Stroke"
Mr Hiroshi Kondo had the kidness to sent me this nice picture from 1976 when he rode at SSDT with this very special Honda Works RTL305 long stroke type. He rode later, next year, at World Trials Championship with the upgraded Honda Works RTL 306 Short Stroke type.
With the goal to improve and potentiate the 305 machine, in 1978 Rob Shepherd received a new engine with a new capacity of 359cc displacement, with 82mm bore and 68mm stroke.
The new engine was capable to give a spectacular 19,8 Hp at 6.500rpm.
This big machine was the most powerfull bike at this time, maybe too much, because as Rob said, the 360 was a hardest bike to ride.
Thanks to Jimmy Young for these nice pictures. © Jimmy Young
Rob Shepherd at Scottish Six Days Trial section with the powerfull 360. © Jimmy Young
Rob with number 70 plate at 1978 Scottish Six days Trial. © Jimmy Young
Rob Shepherd in action on an other section of the Scottish Six days Trial. © Jimmy Young
Japanese Honda rider Kiyoteru Hattori also at Scottish Trial. © Jimmy Young
Again Honda rider Kiyoteru Hattori also at Scottish Trial but now in 1980. Picture thanks to Iain Lawrie © who took this nice pic at SSDT Cailliach section. Thanks a lot Iain!
The 1984 Honda RTL 360 at Motegi Museum in Japan
At only 18 years old, Honda gave the powerfull RTL 360 to Eddy Lejeune.
Kiyoteru Hattori was another rider from Honda Trials Team that also rode the RTL 360.
First Honda 360 prototypes were made early 1978, Rob Shepherd was one of the first to ride on this big machine. The new machine was the most powerfull trials bike never made. After several problems at first time, the bike was revised by Honda due to a overheating problems.
The History of the RTL 360 was long and difficult to follow, There was a lot of improvements and different prototypes. At same time very few units were made, only works bikes.
The RTL 360 from 1980-81 was made for Eddy due to Shepherd was retiring from World Championship competition in 1980. Then, Lejeune started at Honda Team as the official and number one rider.
This season was 1981 and he rode now with his loved RTL 360. Remember that one year later, in 1982 he won with this wonderfull machine his first World Trials Championship.
This nice picture sent by a friend of this website Pat from Aspen Cafe (French Alps) shows the three historical 360 RTL's
Number 3: Honda RTL 306 Short Stroke big tank Whaley's SSDT 1977-78
Number 4: Honda RTL 360 Eddy Lejeune 1982
Number 5: Honda RTL 360 Eddy Lejeune 1984
Eddy Lejeune, 1982 World Trials Championship, Coll de la Presolana, Italy. Picture thanks to Gabriele Milan from Italy.
In accordance to Tommy Sandham's journalist expert the RTL 360 was the best bike he never rode, on the same way also he reported that in opinion of the top British riders have ridden the bike, it was the best trials bike of the moment.
As telling the 1983 American Motorcycles magazin, Schreiber said "Eddie's an excellent rider, but the bike is also excellent in muddy and wet conditions.
There is small quantity RTL 360 survivors today. This 1984 RTL 360 pictured one owns at Italian collector. Maybe one of the most expensive Honda trial bikes and of course difficult to see.
This picture taken by Antonio Maugeri in shows the 1982 Lejeune's RTL 360
Painted all Red color, Silevr grey engine, Silver aluminum wheels, Today, the bike is still alive in France, belongs to a French collector.
Thanks for the picture Antonio!!
Thanks to Dean here a nice picture from 1983 World Championship. Eddy Lejeune with the RTL360 83.
Eddy Lejeune at World Round in Texas with the Honda RTL360 in 1983
Picture thanks to Albert Wing.
This original one 360 from 1982 owns to my Honda Trials History friend Carlo from Italy. Grazie again Carlo!!
Type: Four stroke single OHC 2-Valve, air cooled
Displacement: 359,09 cc
Power: Over 20 hp at 6.000 rpm
Type: Diamond tube
Caster angle: 26º
Weight: 88 Kg
Wheelbase: 1300 mm
Thanks to my friend Patrick Jay for this nice picture from 1980. Eddy at Fully, Switzerland with the 1980 RTL
© Picture thanks to Patrick Verrier
The RSC Honda TL200R was the first of the dinasty of nice and competitive 200cc RSC Honda trials bikes.
This model started using the TL125 (coming from Honda XL125 engine) 125cc engine (no CDI yet) upgraded to 200cc. Ignition system was the same used on the 1976 TL125 placed at camshaft and covered with the 125cc engraved cap or some times without engraving letters.
This engine was fitted with a extra plate on the flywheel crankcase and one just on the base of the cylinder. Oposite of the TL200R and following RS engine family, this engine had no numbers and no identification.
Take care, no numbers means never engraved, NO DELETED.
This bike was offered with two colours petrol tank and seat, White and red. The tubular frame was ever black powder painted. The frame was made in too thin section, only 84Kg weight, (competitors at this time usually had 92-94Kg weight!!) because of that, had some strength problems.
Carburetot fitted was the little Keihin used on the TL or XL 125 engines, although later on the TL200RII the Honda Racing Service used biger Keihin 22 used on the 200cc engines.
This bike was a super light trials bike at the moment, easy to ride, and with an exceptional engine withan incredible inertia an torque.
This was the Eddy Lejeune's bike used on the beginning of his World Trials Championship, from 1976 to 1979 when he inherited the Sheperd's RTL360. Also the site friend Hiroshi Kondo used this bike at Japan Trials Championship at 1976 and 77.
In opinion of Hiroshi Kondo the bike had the gravity center too high, in fact the second model Hiroshi had, was improved by him reducing this problem.
Eric Lejeune, Eddye's brother, also reported some strengh problems (Trial Classic Magazine very interesting article) and a tendency to lose the ground from the front wheel do tue its low weight. Eddy added 600gr extra weight attached on front suspension bars.
The singular silencer engraved with the RSC letters was the same that later used the TL200RII and the RS200T.
Thanks again to Hiroshi Kondo to allow me to us these nice pictures. The improved Honda TL200R red color. © Hiroshi Kondo for The Honda Trials History web use only.
This is one of the nicest and original TL200R I never saw. Except rear shock absorvers all the parts were stricty followed as they originaly were. Thanks to Enric Basté.
Enric made a very hard and professional job on the rebuilding and restoring of this unique bike. Part by par, screw by screw and strictily following its originallity the bike was remade as a jewel. Here you have the result, enjoy!!
Pete Jerred, a dealer from St. Ives made some special bikes based on the Honda XL125 engine and enlarged to 220cc capacity. Some of these bikes rode at SSDT in 1979. Nick Fossey rode at this SSDT year with this bike, also Nick Holt as you can see in this picture sent by the friend of this site Jimmy Young.
Thanks also to John Moffat I know that was in 1979 Scottish Six Days Trial edittion and the section of this picture was Ben Nevis.
Thanks to Tom Siembab from California to share these two RS 200TS pictures
Nice and very original condition RS 200TS thanks to David Malfait
John Shirt Jr.
Shichiro Irimajiri First HRC President
Toshiki Nishiyama 1975 TL 250 Japanese rider
Patrick Frei TlL250
Carlo RTL 360
Patrick Pissis RTLR Club
Tommy Sandham TL250
Joan F. "The Honda Trials History"
Jean Caillou RTLR Club