Old Japanese Scooter Buying Guide

Old Japanese Scooter Buying Guide

There is very limited knowledge on the internet that is in English for modifying specific Japanese scooters from the mid 1980s. So in effort to try and point people in the right direction, we've assembled a list of scooters that are compatible with the traditional styling commonly seen in Japan that are available in North America, Europe, and other markets outside of Japan. Although there are more scooters that are commonly modified within the style we seek, there are only limited models that were exported at the time that can be converted to the Japanese Domestic Market spec.

Most Popular for the Style

These are scooter bases that are both popular to modify in this style and have an equivalent that was sold in North America. When purchasing the North American equivalent you will need to replace the headset, taillight, and other plastics to convert the scooter to resemble the original Japanese market scooter.

It is also important to note that while the years listed below are correct, it is quite common to come across mislabeled scooters (wrong year, model, displacement, etc.) when browsing Marketplace, Craigslist, OfferUp, etc. If you are unsure the scooter you found for sale is the correct base to start with we recommend joining our Discord to ask for help identifying the scooter (there is also a ton of great information shared within the community there to help you learn even more about the style)!

North America: 1985-1987 Honda Aero 50 (NB50M) : Tact (AF09)

Likely the most common model found within the United States on this list (not as common in Canada), the Honda Aero 50 (NB50M) can be converted to the JDM Honda Tact (AF09) and JDM Tact Fullmark S (AF09).


1987 Honda Elite 50 (SE50) : DJ-1 (AF12)

The next most commonly found model in North America to convert into JDM spec is the one year only 1987 Honda Elite 50 (SE50). In Japan it was sold as the DJ-1 (AF12). Also sold in Japan with upgraded specs as the DJ-1R (AF12), and the DJ-1RR (AF19).


1986-1987 Yamaha Riva Jog (CE50) : Pelican Jog (27v)

The third most common scooter to find in this group is the two year only 1986-1987 Yamaha Riva Jog (CE50). In Japan this was sold as the Pelican Jog (27v).


1992-2002 Honda Dio (SK50) : Super Dio (AF27)

For the last of the North American market, only offered in Canadian markets is the 1992-2002 Honda Dio (SK50), which was sold as the 1991-1994 Honda Super Dio (AF27) in Japan. For Canadians this is likely the most common base you will come across as it seems to have sold well when in production. While this style is generally limited to scooters produced in the 1980’s, this is one of the few scooters from the 90’s that can be modified to fit the style. This is also referred to as "Dio 2" as it was the second generation of Dio created by Honda.

For more information on the difference in generations of Dios, we would recommend visiting this page: https://xn--bnq35iwd30u.com/entry27.html

Popular Bases Not Sold in North America

These scooters are some additional bases that you will see in Japan, however due to not receiving any equivalent in North America can make these difficult to source.

1988-1990 Honda Dio (AF18/AF25)

Following the end of the Honda DJ1 came the Honda Dio (AF18/AF25) from 1988-1990. Closing out the scooters developed in the 80’s the Honda Dio is one of the last scooters with a variety of aero options available in this style. These have been popular with other scooter scenes as the AF18-AF27 engine (AF18E) is much more capable than the AF05E found in Tact/DJ1, meaning you could find one already imported to North America. A great option especially if you are interested in doing custom vent work to your scooter plastics.

1981 Honda Squash (AB11)

The smallest scooter out of this list is the 1981 Honda Squash (AB11) sold in Japan. Lower on the list of popularity in Japan, possibly because its non-variated transmission and less space for customization/modification, there are still many examples of these modified to fit this style. With multiple options for aero and the possibility to run “shibori” handlebars these always standout in a crowd (despite their small stature).

1977 Yamaha Passol (2E9/S50)

The Yamaha Passol is the oldest scooter on this list, that can be modified to fit this style. Similar to the Honda Squash this is another scooter with proportions that falls outside of the norm of this style (this one having much less plastic and being overall thinner than other options found). Another similarity to the Squash being it features a non-variated transmission, leading some people to swap the 27v motor from a Jog for additional performance/chamber options, often referred to as a “PaJog”. These have some aero options available however they can sometimes be difficult to source. Another great scooter to modify the handlebars on.

1978 Yamaha Passola (2T4/SA50)

The next iteration of Passol being called the Passola was released in 1978 as a premium version of the Passol. While remaining similar to the original Passol this scooter seems to be less common to modify. With that said it still has some aero options and examples of them being built in this style can be found.

Not Very Popular for the Style

Now that we have covered the most popular scooters to use for kyuu-gentsuki style, here is a list of some other scooters that could be used, but arent as common. 

1987-2001 Yamaha Razz (SH50) : Yamaha Mint (1YU)

Sold as the Yamaha Razz in North America, and it's counterpart in Japan, the Mint is a less common candidate for modifying as there is very few aero options for them, along with being chain driven (instead of belt) for a top speed of approximately 30 mph. It can work if you are looking to be different or interested in doing a motor swap.

1987-1991 Yamaha Jog (CG50) : Yamaha Jog (2JA / 3CP)

This version of the Yamaha Jog, along with other Yamaha Jogs, are hard to find in America via used websites. If you come across one, you would be able to find some aero for this model.

1992-2001 Yamaha Jog (CY50) : Yamaha Jog (3KJ / 3RY)

This version of the Yamaha Jog was made for a longer period of time, so you might have better luck finding one to buy. This falls more into 90s styling like the Honda Dio. There are fewer aftermarket aero pieces available for these compared to Dio making it less common to see modified in this style.

1983-1984 Honda Aero 50 (NB50) : Honda Tact Fullmark (AB07)

Like the later Honda Aero, we received the Fullmark (think of it as a bigger plastics version) of the Tact. There isnt any aftermarket aero available for this one, however if converted to the regular (smaller) Tact plastics it can achieve the correct look. With that said AB07 Tact Plastics are very rare to see on auction. If this base interests you we suggest sourcing the plastics from Japan before purchasing the scooter.

It is also important to note that while the AB07 does feature a variated transmission, it will be slower than the AF05e found in Honda Tact/DJ1, possibly making it difficult to keep up with your friends.

1984 Yamaha Champ (54v)

Released in 1984, the Yamaha Champ was offered in both 50cc and 80cc 2 stroke with the same body plastics. Making an appearance in Shakotan Boogie there have been multiple recreations of the Champ as seen with the z10 Soarer and S30 Fairlady Z also featured in the manga/anime. That said there aren’t many aero options for this base.

1985-1987 Honda Eve Pax (AF14)

Being sold alongside the AF09 Tact, the Eve Pax is less common to see modified in this style. While there is some aero available there are limited options compared to the AF09 which has been the most popular base.

1985 Suzuki Hi (CA19A)

One of the only Suzuki scooters on this list, the Hi and the higher trim Hi-R both have limited aero options.

1982 Yamaha Passol 2 (2E9/25K)

Sharing the same model number as its predecessor, the Passol 2 was released in 1982. Adopting stying queues comparable to the Honda AB07 Tact. This base isn’t very common to modify however there is some aftermarket aero available.

Wrong for the Style / No Aftermarket Aero

While common in North America, we Do Not recommend these scooters. This is purely due to the ascetics of achieving proper kyuu-gentsuki style. The following were not popular for modifying in that way, as there was plenty of other "cooler" base models to work with.

1988-2001 Honda Elite S / SR / LX (SA50) : Honda Tact Fullmark (AF16)

While this model is VERY popular to modify in America, it is primarily due to the fact we didnt receive the Honda Dio and it was close enough for people to use. This model is the 4th generation Tact in Japan. I have heard this referred to as a "college student" type of scooter in the early 90s Japan. Something just for commuting. There is also another model that is similar to this in Japan that is the 5th generation version of the Tact (AF24). The AF24 had an electric center stand that would "park" the bike when shut off. The AF24 has aftermarket aero available, but isn’t confirmed yet as to if it would fit the AF16.

1988-1990 Honda Elite E /ES : Honda Pal (AF17)

The Elite E/ES is basically a stripped down Elite from above. It lacks storage and speed. Think of it as the Spree to the Aero 50. This Elite lacks a variated motor so it has a top speed of 30mph. It also lacks aero. It would be a good candidate for a motor swap, but there is other models that are better bases.

1984-1987 Honda Spree : Honda Eve Fullmark (AF06)

Although the Spree is a very popular and common scooter in America, it is not a good candidate for the kyuu-gentsuki style. There are no aero parts offered for the spree or eve, so custom work would be required, and is possible by modifying a AF09 Tact undercowl. The better looking Japanese body panels from an Eve Smile can be very expensive ($300-$1000) because of their popularity and scarcity. Also, the weak and non-variated motor (similar to the Elite E) has a top speed of only 30mph, requiring a motor swap to keep up with others. We would recommend other models to start and modify with to achieve the correct look rather than using the Spree.


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