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Old 03-13-2007, 09:24 PM   #1
BubbaZanetti OP
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Honda CM200T questions:

i've got a friend that has never rode before. he's looking at a 1980 honda CM200T that appears to be in excellent shape. he's not short but not an overly big dude (140lbs). he seems scared to try a bike bigger than a 350 and to be honest, i think he wants it more to have it than to use it a ton. its more an image thing (hippy) than a purposeful tool, so consider it in the same vein as me asking about a stella or a vespa or something. i just want to know if there are any terrible points about the bike like some poor engine design or anything. claimed top speed of 73, is that about accurate??? thanks.
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Old 03-13-2007, 09:50 PM   #2
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That's what became the 250 Rebel.
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Old 03-13-2007, 10:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaZanetti
so consider it in the same vein as me asking about a stella or a vespa or something.
huh?

Quote:
i just want to know if there are any terrible points about the bike like some poor engine design or anything. claimed top speed of 73, is that about accurate??? thanks.
The Honda shop I worked in during that era didn't see many of the little Twinstars unless they had been totally ragged out by kids.

80 was okay, I think it was 81 or 82 that went to the 12v electrics and CDI but otherwise NBD. It's late and I'm too lazy to check. There was a time I had the points p/n memorized for that bike. Priot to that it was the CM185...after that it became the CM250...Rebel, Nighthawk 250, and so on.

They're outrageously easy to maintain. Keep clean oil in it, keep the chain lubed, have a spare set of plugs handy (or do the old italian tune-up trick).

I'd be wary of one that's got over 25k miles with no maintenance history...but most of the ones I've seen are in the 8-10K range due to short-distance commuter lifespans.

They're tough but susceptible to the usual issues of top end wear, and the usual caveats apply to a bike of that vintage in terms of dry rot. I'd budget to replace clutch and fr brake cables to be safe. If the carb is in good shape, great...but I'd source a kit for it soon. Same for laying hands on spare electrics bits and squirrelling them away.

Four-speed bike so 70-75 sounds about right in the real world. Plenty of power for hippie-use around town.

A note on the brakes--if your buddy hasn't taken MSF have him do so--but in any case make sure he uses all four fingers on the front brake. The drum fronts have quite a long pull, almost to the handlebar, to get full braking power so you want to make sure there aren't any fingers on the bar to restrict that full travel. (I teach on Nighthawk 250's that have similar drum brakes)

PS - the CM-engined Rebels we run in MSF classes take the worst beating you can imagine...at most I see (aside from cosmetic stuff getting lunched ) fouled plugs, dead batteries (students leaving headlights on) and from time to time they'll eat a chain adjuster (I have no idea how that happens...). The exhausts from that era tended to rust fairly quickly but aside from sounding like a Briggs & Stratton it's NBD.
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Photog screwed with this post 03-13-2007 at 10:12 PM Reason: typo crap
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Old 03-14-2007, 04:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photog
huh?

thanks photog, by that i meant, he's buying it for the same reason most kids i know buy a vintage vespa, for its looks and unintimidating size/power. seems like a pretty good deal and i think the bike only has 5000 miles on it or so.


any ideas on parts availability??? i'm hoping to use this bike to teach my friend about mechanics a little bit too.
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Old 03-14-2007, 07:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaZanetti
thanks photog, by that i meant, he's buying it for the same reason most kids i know buy a vintage vespa, for its looks and unintimidating size/power. seems like a pretty good deal and i think the bike only has 5000 miles on it or so.
gotcha...it was late and I wasn't sure if that meant for usage or for collectability or what...thanks.

Quote:
any ideas on parts availability??? i'm hoping to use this bike to teach my friend about mechanics a little bit too.
I checked Ebay this am and there was a pretty good selection of things like turn signal lenses, a muffler or two, and so on.

JC Whitney shows they have coils in stock ($20) so if you can snag some points at your dealer, you're covered for that if you need it.

Same for Parts Unlimited...they seem to have a good selection of levers, cables, and so on.

Battery = 6N12A-2D

You might have to think about a carb rebuild kit eventually but usually a good soaking or shot of cleaner if it needs it will take of it. Check out that air filter, too.

As with any older bike check the tank for rust. If it's been setting up plan on cleaning up the fuel system. Check the fuel valve for leaks. If the tank is badly rusted you may want to think about whether you want to deal with that or walk away.

Check also for dry rot...not just tires but carb intake, etc.

It would be a GREAT bike to learn basic mechanics on. Manuals are still available but it's one of those bikes that anyone with basic knowlege of theory can dive into immediately w/o the manual.

Random thoughts:

The electrics on a 6v bike won't do him any favors at night so I'd suggest a reflective vest, reflective bits on his helmet, and so on, plus a bit of care.

At 5K miles the cables are probably fine but have him squirrel away a clutch cable. You can run the idle up fast enough to limp home in 1st/2nd if a throttle cable breaks. BTDT on rebels.

From my experience with these bikes, it's mostly a matter of having a charged battery, clean carb, fresh plugs, and round tires...easy stuff. Having the kick start on these things meant that if you had air, fuel, and spark even in odd quantities you'd get home anyway.

It really is a cool little bike. The 250 variants are running around all over the world...literally...there's usually a ride report somewhere of some of our Indian friends her on ADV taking them into the Himalayas and back.

Holler if you need any help.
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Old 03-14-2007, 07:48 AM   #6
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Ps:

Bet you a beer that if it's running when you get it, it'll need next to nothing to keep it running other than gratuituous fiddling for the sake of fiddling around with it.
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photog
Bet you a beer that if it's running when you get it, it'll need next to nothing to keep it running other than gratuituous fiddling for the sake of fiddling around with it.

looks to be the case, i checked again and it actually only has 3000 miles on it, glistening paint and shiny chrome. the guy said he put 50 miles on it this past week.

adds up to about 120 miles a year though, hrmmm......well, at least it's close by.
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Old 03-15-2007, 04:05 PM   #8
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I've still got a 1981 CM200T out in the garage. They're just about perfect for a first bike. It was my first bike, my brothers first bike, my cousin's kids first bike, my friends first bike, and probably a lot of other before that. It's had a hard life. It isn't pretty but it still starts every time with just one or two kicks or the first try on the starter. It's lightweight, has a low center of gravity, and is a really easy and confidence inspiring bike to start out on. Plus it handles drops really well.

I'm pretty sure 1981 was the first year for 12v, so you're looking at 6v on that 1980. Parts still seem to be widely available and lots of Rebel parts interchange. I've always been able to find parts on ebay cheaply. Not that you'll probably need to replace much. Only major problem is the suspension. No adjustment at all, not even rear preload. I think that was added in 82. For your friend it probably won't be a problem. For a fat ass like me there isn't a lot of suspension travel left.

The best I can do is about 65mph and that takes a good long run on flat ground. I have a friend who's closer to your friends weight and he was doing at least 70 or 75 so 73 sounds like a reasonable expectation. Up to about 45mph or so it's plenty fast. Past that things start slowing down when you hit 4th gear. Using it for mostly short distance commuting with a mix of 55mph backroads and in town traffic I was regularly getting 70mpg. I could get about 150 miles before reserve and could have probably gone over 200 miles without refilling.

For what your friend is looking for the CM200T is pretty much ideal. It should be cheap to buy, cheap and easy to maintain and operate, and perfect for the type of riding they want to do.
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Old 03-15-2007, 04:13 PM   #9
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Just to add a little color: when I was in college, there was some really old, eccentric guy down the street who had a Twinstar with a full Vetter fairing and hard luggage. If you didn't look too closely, you'd think it was a 70s 'wing.

He'd ride that thing rain, fog, cold, wind... the only thing that grounded him was snow. One day I asked him what the top speed was, and he replied "I don't know. I've never found out. But it will do the speed limit and that's all I need."
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Old 03-15-2007, 05:05 PM   #10
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One of the guys who brought his in to the dealership I worked at in '88 or so was an older guy in his 70's. Never said much, just dropped it off for the occasional oil change or tune, and it never needed anything out of the ordinary. The bike was spotless and mileage was IIRC in the high teens. He lived east of the dealership in a little rural town; about a 60 mile round-trip on back roads for him to bring it in. I remember we used to eyeball his bike and marvel at how clean it was. Even the most squidly employees had nice things to say about it.

Musta been late 90's when I saw him out in the countryside on the same bike. Just buzzing right along...both of them handling the years just fine. I think I had been through 10 bikes by then, so it was cool to see him and his Twinstar still happily rolling up the miles.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:52 AM   #11
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Talking ive got ?'s about my cm185t 78'

i have a 78 twinstar it needs work, like new exhaust and rear shocks and misc nuts and bolts that the kid that gave it to me lost. so what other hondas, year or model can i use to fit what i need? also how hard is it to clean the carbs or rebulid? the bikes been sitting for sometime b4 i got it last month any info will be grateful
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photog
Bet you a beer that if it's running when you get it, it'll need next to nothing to keep it running other than gratuituous fiddling for the sake of fiddling around with it.
V, you're fucking brilliant!

n00b, (yes that's you rolln89) nice bump.

And welcome.

You got any pix of that beater?

And for the rest of you guys, is that really a 'Road Warrior" bike?

Or, should it be in regionals ... like India or somewhere?



Sorry... a littl pui.

Here's some pix:



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Old 10-24-2008, 06:46 PM   #13
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Thumb that beater 185t

yeah i have a few pics but having trouble getting them onto my computer from camera. just imagine an old bike sat in ran for ever and seat and tank not bolted on and doesnt run yet
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Old 04-16-2009, 06:16 AM   #14
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Hey, I've got a question about the CM200T. I've never owned a motorcycle before and this is my first one. There's no tachometer on it, and so I'm always a little bit unsure about my RPMs. I don't want to "redline" but I'm not even sure what that would be since I'm not familiar with the sounds a motorcycle should be making. Does anyone have any tips for me? Thanks!
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:50 AM   #15
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I wouldn't worry too much about it. If it makes you feel better there should be some markings on the speedometer to indicate which gear you should be in. It should have 4 lines that goes around the speedometer for each gear that end in a hash mark to tell you the maximum recommended speed of that gear.
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