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(NOTE FROM HPI:  I've been tweaking Hodaka's for nearly 50 years and I have seen a lot of things done to these little critters.  BUT I have never, ever saw a 125 engine in an Ace 90 frame and it made quite an impression on me.  Words come to mind such as brilliant, logical, sophisticated and many more.  I am humbled and my hats off to Laurie on this one.  Bill.

Three of a Kind: Ace 90’s

Driving home from Hodaka Days in 2013, I decided it was time to find and restore an Ace 90. My only Hodaka experience had been with later chrome tank models, but seeing all those early Ace’s around Athena was inspiring. Within hours I found a great candidate in Boise, Idaho – a 1966 one-owner bike, needed work, but fairly complete.

That bike was fun to restore and even more fun to ride – it wasn’t long before I was looking for a second Ace 90. I found one in Montana, and decided to have some fun building a Hodaka Day “Poker Run” bike for my husband.

This bike basically has the appearance of an Ace 90, but the heart of a Wombat.

Engine: I installed a 125cc Wombat (94) engine – no problem getting things mounted up. The engine has a 24mm Super Rat carb, reed valve and associated cylinder porting. For now I’m using a simple slip-on Uni filter, but I may create an air box later. I chose an aftermarket pipe (Circle F), which was designed to mount on the frame, and only required a slip-on adapter for the exhaust mount.

Lighting: It was important that all the lights work, and this was the most challenging part of the project; blending a 94 stator/ignition system with a 90 harness, key switch, dimmer, horn, and lights. I chose a modern 6V 35/35w Halogen H4 bulb that was a great fit in the original rim and bucket. I added a voltage regulator (from a 99 Road Toad) into my harness (I chose to mount it at the frame gusset under the tank), included a 94 Primary Coil, and swapped to a 15amp fuse. Using my modified wiring diagram, I mapped things out, made the connections, and was delighted when everything worked perfectly.

Suspension: I swapped the stock rear shocks to NJB’s – one of the only shocks I’ve found that mount easily on the early Ace frames. The front end was a little soft, so I stiffened things up by fabricating 10mm spring spacers – this gave the front end a nice, firm handle on the road.

Cosmetics: I left the paint and chrome original, though I did install a new seat foam/cover, and of course some new rubber. The original tank cleaned up nicely inside and out, which is always a plus. The only major departure from stock frame-wise are the ‘low bars’. It’s a look I prefer to the higher handlebars on many Aces, and I think it gives the bike nice lines.

Overall, these modifications have made this bike a little rocket! It is a blast to ride on back roads, and of course gets a lot of attention (like all Hodakas) when you cruise through town. The two bikes in this article are the same bikes featured in the Ace 90 video on this site – no better way to spend a spring afternoon than riding Hodakas!