Variants include the Honda NC50 "Express", Honda NA50 "Express II", Honda NX50 "Express SR" and Honda NU50 "Urban Express". All versions of the Express line are powered by an air cooled, 50cc two-stroke engine coupled to an automatic transmission.
The Honda motorcycle corp. of Japan released the Honda Express (NC50) to the North American market in 1977. This new bike was designed to enter the large market for mopeds that developed following the 1973 oil crisis. As such it came with a fuel efficient single cylinder two-stroke engine. It was also designed to be simple to operate, as many owners would be inexperienced with or intimidated by larger, more complex motorcycles. Honda accomplished this by using a fully automatic transmission and a small oil injector to self mix the Express's oil and fuel, thus eliminating the need for premixing.
A 49cc Moped which was manufactured from 1977 until 1983, it featured an air cooled two-stroke engine. The versions from 1977 until 1980 had a manual choke, points ignition and a spring starter. Versions from 1981 onwards included a kick starter, CDI ignition and automatic choke as well as an improved compression ratio. All versions include an automatic one speed transmission with a centrifugal clutch, double suspension and forced lubrication (does not run on premix).
Restoration & Repair
Today many moped hobbyists have Expresses because they are reported to be reliable. There are numerous forums and websites on which shop manuals and repair advice can be found. Here is an article on Honda Express Repair.
- 1977 The Honda Express (NC50) is introduced.
- 1979 The Express II (NA50) is introduced alongside the Express. Both feature the same drivetrain, but the new model is built with a redesigned frame and larger seat.
- 1980 Turn signals and a larger battery to match are added.
- 1981 Both models see a series of improvements, including an automatic choke unit, a more rugged kick starter to replace the wind up starter, and a solid state Capacitive Discharge Ignition in place of the contact breaker based system. The Express II also receives an automatic two-speed transmission.
- Also new in 1981 is the Express SR (NX50). This is a scooter variant of the Express with a somewhat modified engine. It is the first Express to feature an electric starter, 12v electrical system and a Honda V-Matic continuously variable transmission.
- 1982 The Express receives a new frame design and the two speed transmission seen the previous year on the NA50. The Express II model is dropped, and a new model called the Urban Express (NU50) takes its place. This model features a frame similar to the NA50, and a drivetrain identical to the Express SR's, outside of its transmission gearing and electric starter. The Urban Express Deluxe (NU50m) is the same as the standard model, but comes with an electric starter and larger battery to operate it.
- 1983 This is the final year of the Express series in North America. The NC50 remains unchanged from its previous year. The Express SR is no longer available.
- 1984 This is the final year of the Express series in the United Kingdom.
The CycleChaos wiki provides another good break-down of the differences (and some specifications) for each year.