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'the Corporal'

the 7th Honda CB125 'Super-Dream'!

1986 Honda CB125TD-C, "The-Corporal" Before Restoration Honda CB125TD-C Super-Dream 'On the Road'

Before (June 2010) & After (May 2011)

Introduction

It all started with Dona's intent to do The Pup Project, that got of to a BAD start with an abortion of a bike, 'The Heap' which, on stripping, proved to have a butchered frame. That was what created the pile of bits, along with a job lot of spares I got in the hope of fixing it, and other 'scrap' accumulated along the way! So I decided to get a bike to do as a project as well, to see if we could deplete this pile of 'ready spares' some what!

The Corporal, was found not too far away on e-bay, for not too much money, taxed & tested, and supposedly 'Restored', but with a seized engine.

CB125 Oil StrainerBuyers of Benley engine'd bikes take note, if you buy one, follow Donna's HOW2: change Oil & Clean strainer (Small Honda's +), if the bike's been 'stood' any length of time, do it before putting any load on the engine, because left to stand all the sludge in the oil settles to the bottom and gets sucked into that TINY strainer, soon as you make it do any work!

Anyway, this was SUPPOSED to be a fairly 'easy' project, basically pull out the duff motor, wallop in the working motor from 'the heap' tart bits up a bit, and give myself a cheap 'rider' for Donna to use while the 'Pup' was in bits and for me trail her about while she's training. But what FOLLOWED was a complete ground up restoration!

Now, this was never going to be a full on, no expense spared job. The brief was to make a 'good' every-day classic, that was smart, tidy, reliable and economical, that handles sweetly and went 'briskly', for 'sensible' Learner bike money. In the end I 'sort' of achieved that. I certainly learned a lot about Honda CB125 Super-Dream's along the way!

But, in August 2011, I sold the Corporal to a Lad, 'TheSmiler' on BCF, who wanted a long term 'Learner-Commuter' to get his licence and get to and from college, who is learning even more!

It's the first bike I have sold, I think in twenty years. Some-one told me "NO! You CANT Keep them ALL!" I think it was Donna! And really, I had done all I had set out to with the bike. It had been renovated to a nice tidy standard. In the process, using the bike as a 'Get-a-bout', it hadn't really made a 'Daily-Rider' for Donna while she completed The Pup Project, though that use had done a lot to 'De-Niggle' it, but once we had, She had finished the Pup, and I used it for a while, to trundle around with her 'practicing' for tests, and to pop to the shops and 'stuff' on. But in TOTAL, I think we checked and we'd done less than 1000 miles on it in a year, and come August, funds were tight, the bike not really getting much use, and I REALLY wanted to crack on and try and get my 'Yamaha Enduro' project under-way.

So that ought to have been the end of it! But OH-NO! The Corporal, seems to like my attentions, so since passing the privilege of it's upkeep to TheSmiler... I have still had an active part to play in it's maintenance!

The Project in Brief

Part 1 - As She Arrived

I bought the Corporal in June 2010, thinking she'd be a reasonably quick fix. She'd been a some-one else's barn-find, and revived, rather than restored, then expired about a month after the chap got her on the road, with a terminally dead engine.

1986 Honda CB125TD-C, "The-Corporal" Before Restoration 1986 Honda CB125TD-C, "Under the Seatl" Before Restoration 1986 Honda CB125TD-C, "The-Exhaustl" Before Restoration

He claimed to have spent a lot of money on her, but it didn't look like it, though as I've buried deeper I have found some evidence for it, in things like new jets in the carburettor, and new coils and HT-Leads. But became clear that she needed a lot more work than just the engine replacing and generally tidying up! It wasn't going to be a quick fix, this bike needed a down to the ground and back up renovation then!

Part 2 - Initial Investigations

All enthusiastic, at the start, I set about seeing if I could get her running, and working out what was needed to make her a tidy little bike again.

1986 Honda CB125TD-C, Being Stripped Down for Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C, Being Stripped Down for Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C, Being Stripped Down for Renovation

First thing I did was check what the seller told me about the seized engine. It wasn't actually locked solid, and after working it over by hand a few turns, I actually got it to start up! But it sounded like a bag of spanners in a tumble dryer! So I took the engine out, and swapped it for the engine removed from 'The-Heap', which had seemed reasonably healthy, but hadn't run well because of having the wrong, and knackered, carburettor on it. But, in the Corporal, with her twin-carbs and obviously new ignition, started up and ran really nicely. So, I took it out again, and set about doing something about the rest of the bike.

There was lots of rust to be dealt with, and plastic parts like the side-panels and mudguards needed cracks or tears welding, or small areas building up, and of course, the side panel lugs needed rebuilding. But the first jobs were to overhaul the forks and replace the head-race bearings, and to renovate the rear suspension

It may be the engine that puts the 'motor' in motorbike, but its one of the least important bits! The important stuff is having good tyres, steering, brakes and suspension, so that when the motor has got you moving, you can move in the direction you want, and stop when you need to!

The suspension on this bike was terrible! The front forks were soft and spongy and had next to no damping. A problem due to a distinct lack of damping oil, probably because the seal holding it all in had 'gone'. Rear suspension was worse though. The swing-arm linkage was partially seized, while the shock-absorber unit was soft, saggy and spongy!

The steering wasn't brilliant either, loose and sloppy. It might have adjusted up, but on a bike of this age and condition, chances are it wouldn't have made things much better. Brakes weren't bad though. And while all the equipment was there, it all needed a lot of cosmetic attention.

Part 3 - Reconditioning the Steering & Suspension

So, I started at the front, and started stripping it all down. All the electrical equipment was removed to be tackled as and when, with switches and contacts being checked, and cleaned and made good, the switches and piece parts painted and detailed.

1986 Honda CB125TD-C, Stripped Down for Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C, Front Fork parts dissassembled for overhaul 1986 Honda CB125TD-C, Overhauled Front-forks re-fitted

So first the head-race was tackled, with bits stripped, cleaned and painted, then re-assembled with taper-roller bearings, an upgrade over the original cup-and-ball type, the frame being painted in between.

Then the front forks were rebuild with nice new seals and gaiters, after all the piece parts had been stripped and cleaned, and painted where needed. The stanchions weren't in too bad a state, and polished up nicely.

The rear suspension was a bit more of a challenge. It had obviously not been properly serviced by the chap that had revived her, looked like he'd just bounced up and down on it until it had freed off a bit!

1986 Honda CB125TD-C, Rear Suspension & Linkage, before over-haul Honda CB125 TD-C Suspension Link 1986 Honda CB125TD-C, Rear Suspension & Linkage, after over-haul

Most of the bolts were seized solid, and on some of the joints, the bolts were pivoting in the bearing tubes, rather than the bearing tubes sliding inside the bushes! Anyway, it was stripped and cleaned and greased. The swing-arm cleaned up and painted while it was off, before all being put back together, with a second hand shock-absorber that had some damping in it!

Part 4 - The Rebuild Starts

Having checked it over, and deemed the engine serviceable, this was attacked with paint stripper, wire brush and the pressure washer to get rid of the cruddy paint that it had acquired when 'tarted-up' in the heap. It was then treated to a nice new coat of PJ1 high-temperature engine black, and slotted into the newly painted frame.

1986 Honda CB125TD-C, Engine prepared for painting 1986 Honda CB125TD-C, Engine Painted 1986 Honda CB125TD-C,Partially re-assembled during Renovation

Of course this makes it sound oh-so easy! As I skip lightly over all the painstakingly tedious bits and pieces in between! Like polishing the footrest hangers and cleaning & painting the rusty foot-rests to go on them, and all the other hundreds of little niggly bits and pieces like brackets and hinges, and pins, and screws and bolts, and, well, you get the idea!

But with the wheels checked over and cleaned up, and a front brake assembly I was happy with, cleaned, painted, serviced and fitted, it was starting to look like a motorbike. At least with the tank and seat dropped on it, to make it look a bit less 'bare'!

Felt like a big part of the project was 'done', but in reality, this is where the work really starts, dealing with all the awkward bits and pieces to dress it out and actually make it work.

Part 5 - Tackling the Plastics

So, the next thing to be dealt with was the plastics. all the plastic parts, like the front and rear mudguards, the air-boxes, side-panels and other 'trim'.

Honda CB125 Side Panel, before renovation Honda CB125 Side Panel, before renovation Honda CB125 Side Panel, before renovation

Main challenge here is the side panels, which are the most cosmetically obvious bit of plastic, but before they could be painted up, as the other body parts, they needed top be made good, which on the most often removed, Right Hand panel, meant plastic welding the split and holes, and rebuilding a missing attachment lug.

The Rear mudguard is next, another big plastic part, in fact two. One part comes up between the rear swing arm and under the seat rails, another clips on the back and forms the cubby compartment under the seat and supports the number plate, both bolted together at the end of the seat rails, with the indicator brackets, which is a stress point they seem to crack at.

Part 6 - Detailing the Switch-Gear

When you look at a motorbike, you see the pretty bits, the painted tank and mudguards and shiny exhaust, and these can make a bike look quite good.... from a distance.

1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation

But when you are sitting on it, close up, its all the 'little-bits' that you see in detail, and right in front of you, most often are the handle-bar controls and switches. These so seldom get much attention, after the 'big' impressive parts are tarted up! But make SO much of a difference. Took an absolute age to get the switches looking like 'new' again, but worth while.

Part 7 - Renovating the Dials

1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation

 

Part 8 - Back into Action

1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation

 

Part 9 - Engine 'Top End' Rebuild

So, the next thing to be dealt with was the plastics. all the plastic parts, like the front and rear mudguards, the air-boxes, side-panels and other 'trim'.

1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation

 

Part 10 - The Corpral's Stripes

So, the next thing to be dealt with was the plastics. all the plastic parts, like the front and rear mudguards, the air-boxes, side-panels and other 'trim'.

1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation

 

Part 11 - ANOTHER Ruddy Engine Rebuild!...

So, the next thing to be dealt with was the plastics. all the plastic parts, like the front and rear mudguards, the air-boxes, side-panels and other 'trim'.

1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation

Part 12 - And then......!

So, the next thing to be dealt with was the plastics. all the plastic parts, like the front and rear mudguards, the air-boxes, side-panels and other 'trim'.

1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation 1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation1986 Honda CB125TD-C - Renovation

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