Honda CB125

Honda CB125E - 30 000km Report

30 000km on the clockIts just over twenty-two months after purchase and my Honda CB125E now has 30,000km on the clock. To me 30K is quite a milestone and the bike is really at the point where other motorcycles in the little Honda's price bracket start to fail. Not this bike, it just keeps on going with no signs of stopping and it has given me very little in the way of problems.

This 30,000km report is challenging to write simply because there is not a great deal to say. I have maintained the bike at the same level or better than Honda's recommendations and it has rewarded me with another 10,000km of totally stress free service. It starts first time every time and gets me where I want to go. No problems! I have to point out that I have my full licence now and other motorbikes have made their way into the garage but my CB125 is the one that still gets the most use. It is what it is and it does the job well.

The bike has undergone a couple of minor changes since the 20K report but nothing particularly radical. During the middle of winter I was enjoying my early morning run to work with temperatures reaching as low as -3°C. After travelling at 70-100km/h for an hour or so I was getting quite concerned when taking my gloves off. Frozen blue hands are not good and when they warm up and the circulation returns they can be quite painful to boot! So minor change number one was to install Oxford heated grips. If you are like me and determined to be an all year round rider in an area with a cold winter then I cant recommend hot grips enough. The grips heat your gloves up (we do all wear gloves, right?) and you end up with toasty warm hands regardless of the weather. Yep, they work really well even if it rains.

The other change was fitting a Third Gear universal top box onto the standard Honda parcel rack using the mounting plate provided with the top box. The only modification required to fit the top box was the use of longer bolts than the ones supplied for the base plate. The extra carrying capacity has been an absolute bonus and Ive not been shy loading it up either, once taking a 20 litre drum of oil on a 50km journey with no dramas. I should point out that Hondas load rating on the CB125E parcel rack is 3kg.

Issues and Problems

The only hiccup I've had over the last 10,000km was at 20,200km when the front headlight bulb blew. It was dark at the time so there was all the inconvenience of riding home alternating between high beam and the parking lights. I went to the nearest Honda dealer and bought another bulb. I fitted it in their car park out of respect for the lights on laws for motorcycles and didnt think much more of it until about three days later when the new bulb blew too.

When light bulbs regularly blow it can be a sign of a faulty voltage regulator so I was a little concerned. I priced one from Honda by the way, they are about $150 at the time of writing. I measured the voltage at the battery with the motor running and it was 14V and rock solid regardless of engine speed. 14 volts is maybe a little high but not too bad. Now my local Honda dealer only stocks one brand of bulb of the right type which is manufactured in Taiwan and devoid of brand name. My local car parts store however had a Philips bulb on the shelf which another customer had ordered in and not collected. Philips is the brand of bulb originally fitted to the CB125E and once installed has given me no further headaches. The conclusion I drew from this is to avoid cheap no name headlight bulbs in the future.

Wear and Tear

There has been very little in the way of wear and tear on my Honda other than tyres. At 23,650km it became time to replace the factory front Kenda and this proved to be troublesome as my tyre supplier could not locate an 80/100 18 inch tyre. I went with a 90/90 Bridgestone Battleaxe BT45 in the end. This is the same size as the rear by the way. For those wondering, the tyre is slightly wider than the factory Kenda front tyre but the lower aspect ratio means that the effective rolling circumference of the tyre is the same so the speedometer remains accurate. An accurate speedo becomes really important with all the speed camera's and hidden policemen with radars we enjoy today.

At 27,500km the rear tyre required replacement. The rear tyre that wore out was a Michelin sport pilot that had replaced the factory Kenda so the new tyre is the third rear tyre for the bike. I was hoping to fit a 100/80 or thereabouts Bridgestone to match the front tyre but these were unavailable at the time. So were the 90/90 bridgestones like the one fitted to the front. In the end out of necessity a Unilli 90/90 was found and fitted. Unilli is a Taiwanese brand that apparently produces Dunlop branded tyres as well as their own, and the 90/90 fitted to my Honda features a Dunlop tread pattern. I had left replacing the rear tyre too late because of time restraints and work committments and was riding around on completely bald tyre by the time the Unilli was sourced so I was happy to fit anything that actually had tread. It has been a good tyre to its credit and for this bike I wouldnt hesitate to fit another one if I couldnt find anything sportier.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that finding tyres for the Honda CB125E can be a problem. 18 inch tyres are a bit of an odd size and my honest advice is to found a good supplier who can fit the tyre for you and order them well before you need them. Dont wait until the tread is completely gone like I did. There are many CB125E's getting around these days and I hope that tyre manufacturers will respond to the increased demand and increase production accordingly. In the meantime plan your tyre changes and you will have fewer headaches.