Honda CB125

Honda CB125E - 20 000km Review

Well, the car is still in storage and the Honda continues to be my main form of transport. 20,000km and just under 18 months later my full motorcycle licence is only a few months away. Its been over twenty years since I got my first learners permit so I feel its long overdue! I can't wait to be able to go shopping for another bike.

Does that mean Im ditching the CB? Noooo! It means that when I upsize the bigger, more expensive motorbike will not be used for such trivial tasks as riding to work. The 125 does that just fine. If you are in a 50 zone doing 50 does it matter what your riding? Of course not. It does matter as far as wear and tear is concerned. The distance I travel every year would wear most motorcycles out within five years or so. You can rebuild and recondition anything of course but I would rather have a mint condition CBR1000 than a mint condition CB125.

SO I think what I was trying to say is that the CB125E makes a great second motorbike as well for those who want to keep their pride and joy in top condition. As a bonus, if your genetically predisposed to ride like a lunatic like I am the CB125E will help you keep your licence, I haven't had a single speeding fine in the time Ive owned it. And I ride at wide open throttle all the time.

Issues and Problems

You might think that travelling 20,000km at wide open throttle on a small capacity motorcycle would be hard on the machine but the CB125 handles it like a true Honda, it just keeps soldiering on. It starts first time and every time. It does not blow smoke and there are absolutely no unusual noises coming from the engine. The motor has loosened up well and on level ground 90km/h comes easily and 100km/h plus speeds are possible with a just little patience. Keep in mind that the bike can only do about 110km/h in top gear at redline. Im still changing the oil at 2,500km intervals and I think that this is helping the engine to stay in excellent condition despite my mistreatment.

The finish of the motorbike remains excellent and many people comment that it still looks very new. I wash it every couple of weeks or if it is ridden in the rain and this has helped to keep its appearance up to scratch.

The closest thing Ive had to a breakdown has been jumping on the bike to go buy some milk and finding that it had a flat rear tyre. The cause of the flat tyre turned out to be a pinched tube. This has me scratching my head a little as I had assumed that the tyres were tubeless. Anyway, more on the tyres in a minute.

About halfway home from work one day (at about 15,500km on the clock) there was a rattle as I pulled away from a set of traffic lights. Something had hit the road. I pulled over as soon as I could do so safely and looked the bike over carefully. The chrome tip had fallen off the muffler. I considered going back to get it but it was a busy intersection and it probably had been run over at least a dozen times by that point. The chrome exhaust tip is held onto the muffler with three screws that go into three L-shaped brackets that are welded on. The welds on these brackets had broken, most probably caused by fatigue.

Wear and Tear

So on the wear and tear list we first must add the chrome exhaust tip. Things that randomly fall off would be considered tear more than wear I guess. I have looked at other Honda CB125E's and have not yet found one with the same problem. I dont know why but having this small, non-functional part fall off really bugs me. I guess it detracts from the appearance of the bike a little. Im considering buying an aftermarket exhaust system for the bike, Ixil and a few others make sports systems for the CB125E. This might improve safety in traffic as the bike will be louder and more noticable. The factory exhaust does a great job of keeping the bike quiet. I dont know if there would be any noticable improvement in power, even if there was a ten percent increase this would work out to be about 0.76kw or 1 horsepower. It would be useful to review a sports exhaust system for the Honda for the benefit of those people who are considering one.

If you have read the 10,000km report on this website you might remember that I was having some issues with the factory drive chain. There were five links in a row that would bind and cause a pretty bad vibration through the whole bike. At first this only happened when the chain was dry and a good dose of chain lube would sort the problem out. As the miles clocked up on the bike the problem got steadily worse. At 14,750 kilometres I replaced the factory chain with an RK O-ring chain that sorted it right out. The motorcycle became so much smoother to ride and this leads me to think that perhaps the factory chain was defective from the beginning. When replacing the chain I inspected the factory sprockets carefully and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were in excellent condition so I did not replace them. I would normally only replace chain and sprockets as a set as a new chain on old sprockets will cause the chain to wear out quickly. I will replace them as a set when the sprockets are worn out. The beauty of the replacement O-ring chain is that they require much less attention than a standard chain. After 5000km it stil does not require adjustment and has only required lubrication twice. When you need to replace your chain consider spending a little extra and getting an O-ring chain.

At the same time as replacing the chain I also replaced the rear tyre. The factory fitted Kenda was down to the tread wear indicator and starting to get a bit on the bald side. I replaced it with a Michelin Pilot but I have to say that 5000km on its started to get a little low on tread already. It would be at about 50 percent tread. This is the tyre that I had the flat on, a result of using an old tube with a new tyre. When you consider that the CB125E is supposed to be fitted with tubeless tyres it all gets very puzzling. If the tube was there when the factory tyre was replaced it can only mean that the factory fitted the tube.

The front tyre is finally getting close to the tread wear indicators and will require replacement sometime before the 25,000km mark. Finding a good replacement might prove interesting as Im always told when I enquire about tyres for the CB125E that they are an odd size and not much is available. Im sure you'll read about it in the 30,000km report.

In the meantime, you might be wondering if Im still happy with my commuter scooter? You bet I am!