Sport-styled motorcycles have long held a somewhat intimidating allure for novice riders, a barrier that often deters those just starting their journey into the thrilling world of motorcycling. On the flip side, commuter bikes, while practical and user-friendly, often leave riders yearning for a bit more excitement in terms of power, handling, and overall riding experience. In the midst of this conundrum, Honda emerges as a beacon of innovation, bridging the gap between these two worlds with their beloved creation – the Honda CB 125.
The roots of the Honda CB 125 extend back to its debut in 1971, an era that witnessed the birth of an icon. This lightweight wonder emerged from Honda’s illustrious stable of on-road motorcycles, instantly capturing the hearts of riders with its unique blend of forgiving characteristics, exhilarating fun factor, and wallet-friendly efficiency. The CB 125 was equipped with an air-cooled inline engine, a slick 5-speed gearbox, and a dash of retro styling that made it a sight to behold. Its sports-oriented persona added a layer of excitement to the daily commute, making it a true embodiment of versatility.
Whether we delve into the annals of history to uncover the charms of the earlier models or explore the modern-day iterations, one truth remains constant – the Honda CB 125 embodies power, simplicity, and quality. This motorbike, once fashioned in the image of its larger siblings, has gracefully evolved over the years, keeping in step with the changing tides of style and design. As we venture deeper into this exploration, we will uncover the rich tapestry of the Honda CB 125, its journey through time, the pros and cons that define it, and the impressive capabilities that have earned it a cherished spot in the hearts of riders worldwide.
Fasten your helmet and join us on a journey through the history and virtues of the Honda CB 125, a true gem in the world of two-wheeled transportation. From its inception in the early ’70s to its modern-day avatars, this motorcycle has not only kept pace with evolving rider demands but has also carved a niche for itself as the perfect symbiosis of form and function. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a newcomer to the world of motorcycling, there’s something inherently magnetic about the Honda CB 125 that draws you in and keeps you hooked. Let’s embark on this thrilling ride and unravel the secrets of a true classic in the realm of daily commuting.
Exploring the Legacy of the Honda CB 125
Let’s take a captivating journey into the remarkable world of the Honda CB 125, a vintage marvel in the realm of commuting motorcycles. With the fifth smallest engine displacement within Honda’s illustrious CB (Cruising/Commuting) motorcycle lineup, the CB 125 made its grand entrance into the American market in the year 1973. This timeless two-wheeler promptly captured the hearts of riders far and wide, boasting a plethora of qualities that catered to beginners and enthusiasts alike, all while sporting the distinctive aesthetic of a cafe-racer-brat-bike.
The CB 125 is a quasi-sporty wonder, perfectly suited for solo adventures or shared journeys with a passenger, equipped with the essential components required for a seamless street bike transformation. Its initial production wave of CB 125 models kickstarted back in the 1970s and endured for well over a decade, leaving an indelible mark on the world of motorcycles. Interestingly, some avid online enthusiasts trace the roots of the CB 125 all the way back to the iconic 1967 Honda CB 125 Benly, also known as the CB92, CD125TC Benly, or Benly Super Sport.
While the CB 125 may share similarities in piston displacement and fuel tank capacity with its 1976 production models and beyond, the Benly of yesteryears was a different beast altogether. With twin cylinders, a smaller bore-stroke ratio, and a 5-speed gearbox right from the outset, it delivered a bit more horsepower than its successors. Nevertheless, to the untrained eye, distinguishing between the twin-valve and single-cylinder versions of these classic motorcycles could be a challenging endeavor.
The legacy of the Honda CB 125 is a tale of evolution and enduring appeal, combining a rich history, versatile design, and a commitment to providing a satisfying riding experience. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a novice on the road, the CB 125 has a place in the hearts of all who seek the thrill of two-wheeled adventure. Join us as we delve deeper into its fascinating journey, uncovering its unique features, pros, and cons, and the incredible capabilities that make it a true icon in the world of motorcycles.
Exploring Post-1985 Evolution
Venturing beyond the threshold of 1985, the Honda CB 125 unveils a captivating chapter in its narrative, an era marked by intriguing nuances and the subtle echoes of its predecessor, the venerable CB92. The connection between the CB125 and the Benly remains an enigma, shrouded in the mists of time. It’s an enticing puzzle, leaving enthusiasts speculating whether the CB125 was a tamed sibling of the Benly or an entirely distinct member of the esteemed CB lineage.
However, what stands as an undeniable truth is the fact that Honda’s production of the CB 125 ceased in the United States after the curtain fell on 1985. But, like a phoenix, this commuter marvel experienced a renaissance. It was reborn, revitalized, and reintroduced to the global stage, making its triumphant return to the streets of Australia, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and various other international markets in the wake of 2009.
Fast-forward to 2018, and Honda, in a move that had fans of the CB 125 elated, unveiled not one, but three distinct trims. These trims, each a masterpiece in its own right, are the CB 125E, the CB 125F, and the CB 125R.
First in the lineup is the CB 125E, a LAMS-approved (Learner-Approved Motorcycle Scheme) gem, an air-cooled gateway to the world of biking. It retains the soul of the original CB 125, embracing the classic styling that enthusiasts hold dear.
Next up is the CB 125F, a twin-valve sportbike, breathing life into the CB series with a dash of contemporary flair. It’s a fusion of style and performance, akin to a neo-sport café racer, an embodiment of Honda’s commitment to evolution.
And finally, the CB 125R, an ode to the CBR-inspired naked sportbike, bridges the gap between the classic CB legacy and the innovative spirit of the Honda Grom. It boasts the heart of the original CB 125, yet its appearance is a testament to modern design, seamlessly blending the past and present into a harmonious whole.
These post-1985 iterations of the Honda CB 125, each with its unique charm and character, bring a fresh perspective to this enduring icon, ensuring its relevance in a world that craves a blend of tradition and innovation on two wheels.
Exploring the Honda CB 125 Benly: Unveiling its Impressive Specs and Features
Exploring the Honda CB 125 Benly: Unveiling its Impressive Specs and Features
Let’s dive into the heart of the Honda CB 125 Benly, a mesmerizing piece of engineering that’s destined to captivate motorcycle enthusiasts. This nimble wonder is powered by a 4-stroke OHV (Overhead Valve) engine, boasting a semi-spherical combustion chamber for optimal performance. What sets it apart is its air-cooled design, featuring twin cylinders inclined at a 30-degree angle.
The engine’s displacement measures a respectable 124.5 cm3 (7.6 in3), and it flaunts a compression ratio of 9.0:1. The bore-stroke ratio, which defines the engine’s geometric characteristics, stands at 44 x 41 mm (1.73 x 1.61 inches). In the realm of fuel delivery, the CB 125 relies on an 18-mm Keihin carburetor, meticulously regulating the vital air-fuel mixture for optimal combustion.
It’s worth noting that the CB 125 engine has evolved over the years, with variations in the bore-stroke ratio. Depending on the specific model and production year, you may encounter bore-stroke ratios ranging from 43.2 x 43.2 (1.70 x 1.70 inches) to 56 x 50 mm (2.21 x 1.95 inches). These modifications come with their own trade-offs, such as increased carburetor size, which can enhance performance but may lead to a reduction in horsepower and top speed. For instance, earlier models produced a robust 15 horsepower at 10,500 RPM, while the 2018 version delivers a still respectable 10 horsepower (7 kW) and a slightly lower top speed of 62 mph (100 km/h), compared to the impressive 81 mph (135 km/h) of the ’76-’85 models.
Fuel and Lubrication Mastery
Moving on to the crucial aspects of fuel and lubrication, the CB 125 Benly demonstrates a commitment to efficiency and reliability. Its air filtration system employs a filter-paper type, complemented by a pump-and-splash lubrication system. The oil pump utilized is of the plunger type, and the oil filter combines wire mesh and centrifugal elements to ensure clean, well-lubricated engine operation.
When it comes to oil capacity, the CB 125 is content with 1.0 L (0.27 US gallons) of SAE 30 or 40 oil (SAE 10 or 20 for chilly winters). This oil should meet the API SJ grade while adhering to the JASO T903 standards, ensuring the engine’s longevity and performance.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the fuel requirements. The Honda CB 125 is a gasoline-powered marvel, thirsting for 10.5 L (2.8 US gallons) of fuel. In post-2009 models, the fuel tank capacity was thoughtfully increased to 16 L (4.23 US gallons) to align with the improved carburetor. Although the service manual doesn’t explicitly specify regular or unleaded gasoline, the best results are achieved with high-quality fuel boasting a minimum RON 91 rating.
The CB 125 Benly isn’t just about raw power; it’s about harnessing and transmitting that power effectively to the wheels. Initially equipped with a 4-speed constant mesh transmission, this was later upgraded to a more versatile 5-speed gearbox. Complementing the gearbox is a wet, multi-plate clutch assembly, featuring a left-foot operated return shift system. This dynamic duo ensures smooth and precise power delivery, enhancing the overall riding experience.
Power is transferred to the ground through a reliable Daido chain equipped with 110 links. Positioned between the right and left cylinders, this chain manages wheel spin with finesse. For those who seek customization or replacement, the chain can be swapped for a corresponding 415, 420, or 428 O-ring or roller chain, offering a tailored touch to your CB 125.
Front and rear sprockets are integral components of the CB 125’s drivetrain, and they saw significant changes with the introduction of the 5th gear. This addition had a profound impact on the bike’s final reduction ratio, further enhancing its performance and versatility.
In conclusion, the Honda CB 125 Benly is not just a motorcycle; it’s a symphony of engineering marvels. With its meticulous engine design, fuel efficiency, and a responsive drivetrain, it stands as a testament to Honda’s commitment to delivering excellence in every aspect of motorcycling. Whether you’re an experienced rider or a newcomer to the world of two-wheelers, the CB 125 Benly beckons you to experience the thrill of the open road while enjoying the journey of discovery.
Here are the gear ratios for the 1976 CB125:
Primary Reduction Ratio
Transmission Gear Ratio – I
Transmission Gear Ratio – II
Transmission Gear Ratio – III
Transmission Gear Ratio – IV
Final Reduction Ratio
The Evolution of Ignition Systems
When delving into the intricacies of the legendary Honda CB 125, it’s impossible not to be captivated by its evolution in ignition systems. The CB125s burst onto the scene with a breaker-point ignition and an electric-kick starting system, a testament to Honda’s commitment to blending old-school charm with modern convenience. However, as the years rolled on, the 1981 models and onwards embraced the cutting-edge solid-state CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition) technology, catapulting the bike into the realm of electronic sophistication.
A noteworthy transformation came in the form of the bike’s electrical system, initially wired to a 6V power source. This configuration prevailed until 1983 when Honda engineers recognized the need for a voltage boost, and the system was upgraded to a robust 12V setup. Providing the spark for this mechanical marvel was the Kokusan EG19 generator, a piece of engineering mastery that ensured a reliable charging system for the CB 125.
Lighting up the road ahead and powering various electronic accessories was a 12V 9Ah/(10 HR) MBW3-12C battery. This battery was the life force behind the CB 125’s lighting system, which not only ensured visibility but also added to its overall charm.
Responsible for igniting the engine’s soul was the venerable D-8H spark plug, with a precise gap of 0.6-0.7 mm (or 0.024-0.028 inches). For those seeking alternatives or replacements, the NGK D8EA or Nippon Denso X-24ES plug, or even an Iridium variant of the same heat range and dimensions, could be substituted if the original spark plug was fouled or found to be defective. This level of versatility showcased the adaptability of the CB 125, reflecting Honda’s dedication to keeping this classic on the road for generations to come.
Tires and Brakes – Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Tires and brakes are the unsung heroes of any motorcycle, and the Honda CB 125 is no exception. The stock tires, featuring a 2.50-18 4-ply up front and a 2.75-18 4-ply in the rear, were mounted on five-spoke aluminum rims, sized at 3.00-18 and 1.75-18, respectively. These rubber companions ensured a smooth and controlled ride, holding the road with grace and precision.
However, life on two wheels is not without its challenges, and wear and punctures are inevitable. For those who demanded the utmost performance from their CB 125, the option to replace tires with 80/100-18 or 90/90-18 radials was a possibility, depending on whether you needed to address the front or rear. This flexibility allowed riders to fine-tune their bikes to meet their unique preferences and needs.
Braking power is a critical aspect of any motorcycle’s safety, and the Honda CB 125 adapted to the times. The early models relied on leading, internal-expanding drum brakes for their stopping power. However, post-2009 iterations saw a transition to a hydraulic-disc-drum combination, enhancing the bike’s braking capabilities. This shift was emblematic of Honda’s commitment to improving the CB 125’s safety features and overall performance.
Suspension – Where Comfort Meets Control
Nestled within a robust tubular steel frame boasting a 64° caster angle and 76 mm (3 inches) of trail, the Honda CB 125 concealed a sophisticated suspension system. Up front, telescopic forks paired with oil-damped, hydraulic Showa shocks provided a plush ride with 118 mm (4.6 inches) of wheel travel.
At the rear, a pivoting swingarm, also equipped with oil-damped, hydraulic Showa shocks, offered 70 mm (2.8 inches) of wheel travel. This dual-suspension setup ensured that riders experienced not only the thrill of the road but also the comfort of a well-designed machine.
With a wheelbase measuring 1,548 mm (60.96 inches), the CB 125’s handling remained consistent with other Honda motorcycles of its time. However, given its 5.76-inch ground clearance, limited swingarm length, and relatively short wheel travel, riders seeking an even more refined experience might consider an upgrade to Monroe Load Adjust Shock Absorbers. This modification, coupled with larger tires, promised enhanced suspension travel and performance, ensuring the CB 125 could handle both straightaways and tight corners with finesse.
Dimensions and Capacities – A Perfect Fit
The Honda CB 125 boasted dimensions that struck a harmonious balance between form and function. Its overall measurements were 1,947 mm (76.7 inches) in length, 745 mm (29.4 inches) in width, and 990 mm (39 inches) in height, providing a sleek and streamlined appearance.
The seat height, a critical consideration for riders of all sizes, stood at approximately 30 inches, catering to both medium-built and taller riders. The semi-raised handlebars not only added to the bike’s aesthetic but also encouraged a natural and comfortable posture during those long, exhilarating cruises.
As for weight, the dry weight of the CB 125 was a manageable 127 kg (279 lbs.), ensuring that riders could easily maneuver the bike in various situations. When fully loaded, the curb weight ranged between 133 and 137.5 kg (293-303 lbs., unloaded), depending on specific configurations. Interestingly, newer models maintained a similar wet weight despite a reduced wheelbase, thanks to the increased fuel capacity.
In summary, the Honda CB 125 was a marvel of engineering, evolving over the years to incorporate modern technology while retaining its classic charm. Its ignition system, tires, brakes, suspension, and dimensions all reflected Honda’s commitment to offering a motorcycle that provided both utility and an exhilarating riding experience. Whether you were a seasoned rider or a beginner, the CB 125 had something to offer, making it a timeless icon in the world of motorcycles.
Exterior Elegance and Evolution
When you cast your gaze upon the timeless exterior of the Honda CB 125, you’ll find a true old-school brat bike that exudes an aura of classic charm. It’s a visual embodiment of the term “timeless beauty.” But the beauty is not just skin deep; the CB 125, including its various iterations such as the beloved Benly, comes in a delightful array of captivating colors that cater to every taste and style. The color palette reads like a work of art, offering choices such as the vibrant Candy Topaz Orange, the cool and calming Aquarius Blue, the regal Candy Peacock Green, the fiery and bold Fire Red, the soothing Candy Riviera Blue, the elegant Light Ruby Red, the timeless Black, the majestic Candy Imperial Blue, and the striking Turuna Red.
This classic two-wheeler not only impresses with its aesthetics but also with its practicality. The CB 125 boasts a speedo-tacho instrumentation, ensuring you have all the essential information at a glance. Dual side mirrors enhance visibility and safety on the road, while the street-ready lighting system ensures you’re seen and safe, day or night.
What’s particularly fascinating about the CB 125’s design is its ability to adapt with the times. Over the years, it has received subtle yet effective cosmetic updates, with most of these changes revolving around the fuel tank color and decals. For instance, in 1985, the headlights took on a bold rectangular shape, only to revert to the classic circular headlamps in recent production models. These design shifts not only showcase the bike’s versatility but also its commitment to staying relevant in an ever-evolving world.
When the Turuna Red trim was introduced, it brought with it a series of alterations that enhanced the bike’s functionality and aesthetics. The two-up seat and tailpipe were slightly inclined at the rear, offering a more dynamic and modern look. A side stand was thoughtfully added for convenience, the rear luggage rack made way for a cleaner rear profile, and the chromed fenders were replaced with body-matching counterparts, elevating the bike’s overall appeal. Despite these updates, the CB 125 retained its distinctive features and character, ensuring that its rich heritage was never compromised.
Pricing and Value
As we delve into the realm of cost, it’s interesting to trace the historical pricing of the Honda CB 125 in the U.S. market. Back in the day, the original list price of these beloved motorcycles ranged from a budget-friendly $640 to a slightly heftier $1,048. Among the different iterations, the 1982 model stood as the most expensive, reflecting the brand’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovation. Retail pricing, over the years, saw gradual increments of around $100 annually, demonstrating Honda’s dedication to offering quality at a reasonable price point. By 1979, the cost for this commuter bike had reached $898, an amount that, when adjusted for inflation, equates to roughly $6,000 in today’s market.
Beyond 1979, rate increases did follow, but they remained within a reasonable range, never exceeding an $80 increment. An intriguing twist in this pricing tale is that, during its final year in production, the CB 125’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) seemed to harken back to $898, perhaps a subtle nod to its storied past and enduring legacy.
In summary, the Honda CB 125 not only embodies timeless style and adaptability but also offers a compelling value proposition. Its pricing history reflects a brand that has remained committed to providing accessible and dependable transportation while evolving with the times. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a newcomer to the world of motorcycles, the Honda CB 125 is a testament to the enduring appeal of a true classic.
Year – Trim – Model #
1973 Honda CB125S0
$480 – $1,910
1974 Honda CB 125S1
$480 – $1,910
1975 Honda CB125S2
$475 – $1,880
1976 Honda CB125S
$475 – $1,880
1978 Honda CB125S
$475 – $1,880
1979 Honda CB125S
$475 – $1,880
1980 Honda CB 125S
$475 – $1,880
1981 Honda CB125S
$420 – $1,880
1982 Honda CB125S
$475 – $1,880
1984 Honda CB125S
$475 – $1,880
1985 Honda CB125S
$475 – $1,880
(Source: Nada Guides)
Exploring the Versatility of the Honda CB 125: A Comprehensive Review
When it comes to the world of motorcycling, enthusiasts and riders often find themselves at a crossroads, torn between the allure of sport-styled bikes and the practicality of commuter machines. Sport motorcycles may deliver a thrilling experience, but they can be intimidating for beginners. On the other hand, commuter bikes offer simplicity and practicality but tend to fall short in terms of power, handling, and overall excitement. Fortunately, Honda has addressed this dilemma with the introduction of the Honda CB 125, a bike that strikes a harmonious balance between functionality and fun.
Emerging on the scene in 1971, the Honda CB 125 marked a significant addition to the company’s extensive lineup of on-road motorcycles. This lightweight two-wheeler embodies forgiveness, exhilaration, and cost-effectiveness, featuring an air-cooled inline engine, a 5-speed gearbox, retro aesthetics, and a sporty demeanor that appeals to riders of all levels.
Whether we delve into the earlier iterations or explore the subsequent models, the Honda CB 125 consistently exudes attributes that combine power, ease of use, and quality. Evolving with the times, this motorcycle has gracefully adapted its appearance and overall design to stay relevant. Join us on a journey as we delve into the rich history, advantages, disadvantages, and capabilities of this classic daily commuter.
Honda CB 125 – A Comprehensive Analysis of the Pros and Cons
Riding the Honda CB 125 can be an exhilarating experience, but like any machine, it’s not without its share of strengths and weaknesses. Before you decide to make this versatile bike your daily commuter, it’s crucial to explore both its pros and cons thoroughly.
Exceptional Fuel Efficiency: The Honda CB 125 is a true marvel when it comes to fuel economy, delivering an impressive 100 miles per gallon (2.35 L/100 km) at speeds below 55 mph (88.5 km/h). This efficiency ensures that your adventures won’t break the bank.
Low Maintenance Requirements: Owning a CB 125 demands little more than regular and punctual oil changes, making it a hassle-free choice for riders who appreciate simplicity.
Enhanced Power Output: The Honda CB 125 Benly, in particular, boasts a power output that outpaces standard single-cylinder models by 5 horsepower. This added oomph can provide a more thrilling riding experience.
Modern Features: Post-1983 models come equipped with a 12-volt electrical configuration, making them highly sought-after for street bike conversions. Furthermore, recent CB 125 models have embraced modernity with the inclusion of ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) and fuel injection.
Resale Value: Surprisingly, older CB 125 models have managed to retain their value on the used market, suggesting that this bike’s timeless appeal transcends the years.
Functional Design: Honda has reintroduced the 3-Kg capacity rear luggage rack on newer iterations of the CB 125, enhancing the bike’s practicality and convenience for daily commuting.
Gearing and Performance: Earlier Honda CB 125 models featured a 4-speed gearbox and lacked a rev counter, which could compromise the bike’s overall performance. Honda addressed this issue by upgrading the transmission to a 5-speed constant mesh in later models.
Camshaft Bearings: The stock camshaft bearings in some models are machined into the cylinder head. When these bearings wear out, it can be necessary to machine the head, install roller bearings, or replace the entire cylinder head, which can be a cumbersome task.
Styling vs. Speed: Post-2009 versions of the CB 125 boast improved styling and increased fuel tank capacity, but they do not match the top speed of earlier models, potentially leaving speed enthusiasts yearning for more.
Choke Requirement: Due to the bike’s low-tech power mill, cold-starting may require the use of the choke, which can be a minor inconvenience for some riders.
Brake Feel: Some owners have reported that the front and rear brakes can feel somewhat spongy, which may impact the overall riding experience.
Battery Location: Accessing the battery can prove challenging, as it is situated under the fuel tank rather than beneath the seat, making maintenance less convenient.
Comfort Trade-off: While the two-up saddle seat adds versatility, it may compromise comfort during long-haul rides, an aspect to consider if you’re planning extended journeys.
Honda Motor Company Ltd. stands as a prominent Japanese conglomerate with a global reputation for its contributions to the automotive industry. Founded in 1946 in a small garage in Hamamatsu, Japan, the company’s journey began with the sale of motorized bicycles featuring surplus engines. Over the years, Honda expanded its portfolio to include luxury automobiles, and even ventured into Formula 1 racing. However, the company has never abandoned its roots, continuing to produce mopeds, scooters, sport bikes, and street cruisers like the Honda CB 125. Today, Honda proudly holds the title of the world’s largest motorcycle producer.
Conclusion – The Timeless Allure of the Honda CB 125
Although it might seem like an eternity since the Honda CB 125 graced American roads, this remarkable bike is currently making waves in various parts of the world. Modern iterations almost mirror the original 1967 Benly’s power output, delivering a blend of vintage aesthetics and contemporary performance. Despite its evolving appearance, the CB 125’s heart and core design remain true to their roots from five decades ago, and earlier models continue to command attention in the used market.
So, if you’re drawn to classic looks, linear power delivery, and unwavering performance, the Honda CB 125 stands as a compelling choice that seamlessly balances functionality and fun. As a daily commuter or a weekend adventure companion, this motorcycle offers a remarkable riding experience that transcends generations. Don’t hesitate to embrace the legacy of the Honda CB 125 and embark on unforgettable journeys with a touch of timeless style.