Hodaka was a joint Japanese and American company that manufactured motorcycles from 1964 to 1978. Close to 150,000 motorcycles were produced within that time. Prior to 1964 Hodaka made engines for the Yamaguchi motorcycle brand.
The worldwide distributor of Hodakas was PABATCO, for Pacific Basin Trading Company. Its headquarters were in the rural town of Athena, Oregon. PABATCO designed and engineered a majority of the motorcycles, and Hodaka in Japan was responsible for the engine and manufacture and assembly. Pabatco was owned by Shell Oil Company from 1965 to 1978. The name Hodaka comes from a mountain near the factory and means "To grow taller".
The Oishi brothers, owners of Hodaka, had taken an extended trip to Europe in the late '50s and during that time they purchased close to 50 European and English motorcycles to take back to Japan to study. It is also rumored Hodaka might have indeed designed the complete Yamaguchi SPB50, not just the engine. Hodaka was also a producer of machine tools and it has been said they borrowed the concept of one of their quick-change gear clusters in one of their metalworking lathes to construct the shift mechanism in the Hodaka gearbox, with the resulting spring-loaded shifting mechanism being patented.
Starting to manufacture complete motorcycles in 1964, Hodaka/PABATCO is credited by some with starting the trail bike craze in the United States. This was due mainly to the design by the off-road motorcycle enthusiasts at PABATCO. On the second year of production Hodaka experimented with reed valves and almost brought them to market. But for some unknown reason they dropped the idea. And subsequently Yamaha is credited with being the first to produce this power enhancing feature.