The 1970s saw the inexorable rise of the Japanese motorcycle as it became ubiquitous on the streets of the UK. Because they were simple fuss free, cheap to buy, fuel efficient and very reliable compared to larger UK bikes and US imports, Japanese motorcycles quickly moved in to take a great share of the UK motorcycle market.
One of those bikes which found instant favour with the UK motorcycling public was the Honda CB125 which came onto the scene in 1971. Here is a bit about that well loved, stylish and efficient little workhorse.
The Honda CB125 was a 122cc motorcycle which was made by Honda and sold really as a basic commuter motorcycle in Britain between 1971and 1975. However, to those who owned and rode one, it was much more and has earned a place in the hearts of those who know it.
The Honda CB125 was a single cylinder four-stroke bike, with an overhead camshaft (OHC) engine and a rev happy 9500 rpm redline. One of its main virtues was the fact that it was able to go many miles without the engine needing much attention, mainly just regular oil changes, and with a top speed of 65mph, it could comfortably and effortlessly chug along at a mile eating 55mph.
The "S" model was produced between 1971 and 1975 and was superceeded in in 1976 by the "j" model. The new "J" model had a two piece head, was 124cc displacement and had a larger carburettor but it did not perform as well as the earlier models.
The Honda CB125 gave the average biker a light nippy yet exciting little bike, weighing in at only 90 kgs, which could do over 40 kilometres on one tank of petrol. With a torque of about 18.5 bhp @ 9000 rpm you could not only ride to work on the CB125 but use it for pleasure riding at the weekend to boot.
There weren't many variations to this bike and when there were changes they were not major ones. Honda changed the brakes from drum to disc then, strangely, back again and upgraded the electrics from 6v to 12v.
This popular classic little bike is still in action on the road and they are still available second hand in reasonable quantities. When they do appear for sale they are always an attention grabber and popular with collectors.