Fighting the CT-70 – 1976 Yamaha Champ

In Japan, Less than 5k, Scooter, Small Displacement by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

In 1976, Yamaha brought out its answer to Honda’s wildly popular CT-70 in the form of the 80cc “Champ”, (not to be confused with the Yamaha Chappy or 50cc LC50 Champ moped). The mini was powered by a 72cc oil-injected LB80-3D two-stroke engine (with four-petal reeds), married to an automatic transmission with two-speed centrifugal clutch. The tiny Yammy can reportedly get up to speeds of around 40mph, though I imagine the rider’s weight plays a major role in the Champ’s top-speed. Many sources – including the seller of this example – claim that the Yamaha Champ was a one-year only model, coming to American shores in 1976, though I’m pretty sure it was imported in ’77 as well.

In addition to the Yamaha LC50 Champ Moped, Yammy also produced the now iconic “Chappy” model just prior to unveiling the Champ. I believe both the Champ and the Chappy are powered by the same 72cc LB80 engine. Many examples – that weren’t just left behind garages or in barns to rot over the years – were broken down and had their parts used for restoring or repairing Yamaha Chappy examples. This has made Champ examples exceedingly rare. Individual parts that only fit the Champ are surprisingly easy to get a hold of on various online retailers (and of course eBay.)

This example is far from perfect, though it’s no basket-case. According to the seller, for the last three years this example has been sitting in storage. It now requires starting fluid to fire up, and the carb definitely needs a good cleaning but this is a great opportunity to pick up a rare vintage scoot for a few hundred dollars. The plate that sits over the top of the frame obviously needs to be replaced, and it needs a front fender, but the patina on this mini is really charming. This ’76 Champ could easily be brought back to life for relatively cheap. Though the Yamaha Champ failed to garner the attention and success that Honda’s CT-70 achieved, it’s still an awesome little bike.

Surprisingly, many Champ examples are street legal despite this machine clearly being designed as a trail bike. Unfortunately, this example is missing its title. You can find this 1976 80cc Yamaha Champ example for sale here on Craigslist in Blackwood, New Jersey with a price of $475.