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Old 10-06-2013, 06:34 PM   #1
RocketMan OP
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Thoughts on Thumpers, Barn Finds and Bee Stings

About three weeks ago I picked up a 1975 CB125S, in generally good running condition with a few parts in need of replacement due to rusting but nothing preventing me from riding it. I bought it as a city bike, and something that took me back to my roots of riding back in the mid 60's over in the Orient where everything was pretty much in the 125-250 cc class. A shits and grins ride which has total hoot.

Until this past weekend I hadn't ridden much beyond 10 miles from home but now I have everything spot on tuning wise I decided to try a few longer excursions.

Thoughts on “what qualifies as a Thumper”
Over the past week as I have been riding my new CB125 I have been debating with myself if a small displacement single can really qualify as a “thumper”. I have always thought of thumpers as larger displacement machines but after some 400-500 miles on this little guy I have decided he definitely qualifies. While not as pronounced as most others I have ridden in this class, the feel of the motor really does give the same sensation of a single cylinder machine thumping along. You really do know you're astride a single piston motor as you ride, esp. as you approach top end in any gear, which is pretty much the only way to ride this and get anywhere near the power band. Thus it seemed appropriate to name him Thumper, and yes he is definitely a male motorcycle ( don't ask me how I know, I just do).

The essence of motorcycling embodied in a 125cc 12 HP machine.

This past weekend I have taken Thumper on two long(er) rides now that I have everything pretty well sort out, timing, carb, chain adjusted and lubed, fresh oil and cleaned up most corrosion on the the engine, which has a pretty decent shine now. Yesterday not only did I finally decide this is most assuredly a thumper, but it also embodies what I have always considered to be the quintessential essence of motorcycling, Or put another way, motorcycling in its “purest” no frills form. Riding it reminds me about what I have often said as relates to those who rode in the early days, we owe them our graduate for persevering in the face of all the adversities they faced and overcame for the shear joy of riding two wheels face to the wind. I now feel closer to them and this little minimalist machine has given me a new appreciation for what is must have been like in the early days, when machines made (in many cases) even less HP than my 125. When speed wasn't the important thing ( although speed is somewhat retaliative and 40 back then would have seemed like flying, given the roads they rode on) it was about just being astride a very basic machine with a motor just barely able to move you down the road, no room for any “extras” or conveniences; just a motor, wheels and a frame to hold it all together (hopefully!). You really are “out there” on something like this. There is a certain challenge in riding something with minimal power, each approaching hill or incline has to be planned for; you're lucky if you can maintain 50 up any real incline, so you down-shift and accept 45 and before you know it, its down hill again and you're back in top gear buzzing along at 50+ once more. And you know, 45 is just as much fun as 50 or 55 on the flats, on a machine this size, plus you don't have decel for the upcoming corner, you just keep the power on and proceed on though! How kool is that!


Saturday I rode him down to Mortons and got a lot of on lookers coming up and asking questions and had some good conversations with a few others I met that are also into small displacement machines.
The ride was nice, the first longer ride on thumper and it really didn't take much longer than on any other ride on one of my larger machines. Just a straight shot down Rt. 1, humming along between 45 and 55, taking about an hour both ways.Once again it has shown just how capable a machine this is, stable and amazingly comfortable for what it is. It was also nice not to have anything between me and wind and be able to enjoy the full on "wind in my face" experience, esp on such a warm day.

Barn Finds and Bee Stings
Today I took him out for an even longer run down Arden road to some back roads leading to Elk Run Road and then across 28 to Old Dumfries and Old Auborn toward Warrenton. As I got close to RT. 28 I had to go on reserve but figured I'd be good until I got the remaining 15 or so miles to town. I based this on having taken the petcock off last week to flush out the tank, change the fuel filter and gaskets and judging by the length of the steam I assumed I had about a half gallon left. At 70-80 miles to the gallon I Thought I could make, well not so much as it turned out. About 6 miles shy of town the motor quit and I rolled to stop just at the entrance to a large working farm. Well now... After sitting for a few minutes I decided to walk down the farm road and ask about getting some gas, figuring it being a working farm and people generally don't generally drive their tractors to the gas station they would have some gas on hand and might be willing to spare a bit for a stranded motorist. Just as I started walking down the road, the owner, in an older Volvo turned into the the drive and pulled over. I told him the situation and he said no problem and would be right back. Sure enough a few minutes later he returns with a gallon of gas and I fill the tank, give it a kick and Thumper fired right up. He seemed interested in the CB asked about the bike and the year. He then informed me he also had a CB125, a 71 he thought so we got to talking vintage bikes and such. He's looked to be about the same age as myself and had been riding since around the same time as I started. Then he asks about parts for these as his 125 had a bad float and the last time he had looked around for a carb the only one he found the owner wanted $200, more than what he had paid for the bike. I told him had found lots of parts on line but he didn't have Internet or bother with computers and such. Then he started asking about parts for a CB350. Seems he had one of those as well. Then he told me about his BSA 500 single! So at that point I asked him just how many bikes he had. He thought for a bit then said “5, I think”! Seems he had quite a collection.
[b]Calling Big Dave[\b]On top of that he also has a 12 cylinder Jag, one he said he had been told was fairly rare; a 2 seater with a two part removable hard top that he was trying to sell for a friend.
So finally it was time for me to head on so we traded phone numbers as I told him I knew a few folks who might be interested in one or more of his machines since he seemed interested in perhaps parting with some but just hadn't made a big effort. So I'll be heading back sometime to take some pictures and then post up the particulars once I have more info.
Very kool, I have heard so many stories about folks finding barn queens and always wished I would be so lucky, but to find multiple barn queens in a single location, Wow, just Wow!

A little while later I got into Warrenton, got gas and headed home. That's when I had my Bee encounter when one flew into my jacket sleeve and stung me several times before I managed to crush it and remove the carcass from under my tee shirt.
So now I also have determined that along with everything else a vintage 125 can indeed be an adventure machine!
Over the past two days I've logged almost 200 miles on two longish rides and am throughly enamored with small displacement machines!

And now for some pics of Thumper since I got her cleaned up, looking pretty darn good I must say!







RM
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:23 PM   #2
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That was a pretty durable little machine if memory serves me!

Sounds like your having a great time,keep writing.
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Old 10-07-2013, 11:36 AM   #3
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Nice. You might gain 10 mpg if you loose the saddle bags.

Didn't know they put disk brakes on the 125 that early. Nice look with the black rims.
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Old 10-07-2013, 04:25 PM   #4
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Cool!

I'm very excited to have found this thread. I am in the midst of restoring a 1975 CB200T right now, my first motorcycle. Looking forward to reading about more of your rides!
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Old 10-08-2013, 03:52 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by adcolor View Post
Nice. You might gain 10 mpg if you loose the saddle bags.

Didn't know they put disk brakes on the 125 that early. Nice look with the black rims.
Disk brakes started in 74, cable actuated. Passable but I'd prefer the older drum.

Actually they are very light and do come off easily. I have ridden it with and without it seems to make very little difference. On the flats I can maintain 55 which is its rated cruising speed with the bags, but any long incline requires a downshift into 4th to maintain speed (around 45-50 depending. Around town they are very convenient. I'd love to find and old milk crate to strap in the back rack, just for shits and grins. I do have a GIVI top case I use on my nt700 but it looks ridiculously big on this little beast.

Can't wait to get a hold of the 71 SL125 I also buying once I find a place to store it.

RM
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RocketMan screwed with this post 10-08-2013 at 04:19 AM
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Old 10-08-2013, 04:23 AM   #6
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I'm very excited to have found this thread. I am in the midst of restoring a 1975 CB200T right now, my first motorcycle. Looking forward to reading about more of your rides!
Very cool indeed. Now that is something I could see easily doing an overnight camping trip on. 150-200 miles in a day would not be unreasonable, granted on mostly back roads but a cruising speed of 60 should be easily achievable I should think.

Post up some pics if you haven't already, love to see it.

RM
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:38 AM   #7
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Memory road here! Former '74 CB125S owner. Should have never sold it...
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Old 10-08-2013, 07:32 AM   #8
CMS
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Top case

[QUOTE=RocketMan;22504986]Disk brakes started in 74, cable actuated. Passable but I'd prefer the older drum.

Actually they are very light and do come off easily. I have ridden it with and without it seems to make very little difference. On the flats I can maintain 55 which is its rated cruising speed with the bags, but any long incline requires a downshift into 4th to maintain speed (around 45-50 depending. Around town they are very convenient. I'd love to find and old milk crate to strap in the back rack, just for shits and grins. I do have a GIVI top case I use on my nt700 but it looks ridiculously big on this little beast.

Can't wait to get a hold of the 71 SL125 I also buying once I find a place to store it.

I have a 28L Givi top case, they also have a 30 L one. Either would look good on your bike [IMHO} I use mine on a TU250X Suzuki. Wish I could find side racks for my E-21 as you done. You have a good looking bike. CMS
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:51 AM   #9
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That is a cool ride you've got there
and your riding it!
That is even cooler.
I must say it looks great too.
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Old 10-08-2013, 01:18 PM   #10
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Good looking bike.
I just traded for this 1973 SL, haven't had any time to play with it yet.


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Old 10-08-2013, 05:37 PM   #11
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Looks familiar. ...and I'm with you - Small is Fun!

Heading out Thursday or Friday solo, 360m to Bryson City, there to meet up with some friends on larger bikes. Spend a couple or three days riding the area, including the Dragon, and then back home again. I'm guessing it'll be about 1K miles round trip, and I'm also guessing that on the way home I'll be wishing I was pointing in another direction...

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Old 10-09-2013, 04:54 AM   #12
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Looks familiar. ...and I'm with you - Small is Fun!

Heading out Thursday or Friday solo, 360m to Bryson City, there to meet up with some friends on larger bikes. Spend a couple or three days riding the area, including the Dragon, and then back home again. I'm guessing it'll be about 1K miles round trip, and I'm also guessing that on the way home I'll be wishing I was pointing in another direction...

Kool, I was just reading about those, a 1K excursion on that, now That's what I call an Adventure! take lots of pics.

RM
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:02 AM   #13
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Good looking bike.
I just traded for this 1973 SL, haven't had any time to play with it yet.


Nice, that looks to be about in the same shape as the one I'm hoping to pick up. Cept the fenders are purple and the tank is the one currently on my CB since that one was rusted out. But other than the missing taillight assembly, cosmetically its in comparable shape, cylinder, head and frame, shocks have been restored/replaced. Once I find a tank for my CB I've have it painted to match the red side covers I ordered and the current tank will go back on the SL. in 75 the only color was Blue but I like the red better, so...
Even found the right decals for the CB tank and emblems for the green sl tank. Sellers in Thailand Indonesia and UK still have lots of new OEM parts cheep, shipping is often more than the item.

RM
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Old 10-09-2013, 05:07 AM   #14
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Memory road here! Former '74 CB125S owner. Should have never sold it...
Funny, but you're like the 5th 6th person that has said that since I started riding/posting about the CB. Just goes to show what I following these still have.

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Old 10-09-2013, 05:40 AM   #15
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Great pics you guys.
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