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Project Bike SOTU: Honda CL125S

Peter Tanshanomi September 11, 2018 Featured, Project Car SOTU, Two-Wheel Tuesday No Comments

I got stranded.
Less than a week after this Honda CL125S’s SOTU post last year, the bike developed a high-RPM miss on my commute in to work. It was worse when I took the bike to lunch. It wouldn’t start at all after work. I kicked it and bump-started it with hardly a pop. I gave up and rode home with it on a flatbed. I’d had cycle coverage from AAA for 8 years without using it, so I figured they owed me. Unfortunately, the bike hasn’t been on the road again since. However, I did manage to make some progress this past year.

First, I disassembled and soaked the carb in Chem-Dip. It may have solved my fueling problem. Or it may not have, so I ordered a replacement carburetor. For $69, I’ll have the option of replacing the whole thing if necessary.

I’m also in the process of upgrading the electrics to 12 volts, so I can run LED lights and have reasonably safe and effective light output on the stator’s meager output of about 45-50 watts. A small, simple bracket will mount the regulator/rectifier brick to the lower triple clamp, behind and below the headlight shell. All the lights will be LED, including turn signals I ordered off Amazon and a 7″ PAR56 headlight that was originally intended for my Bultaco project. The tail/brake light is a vintage-look LED unit I custom fabricated.

But… the big hurtle was the gas tank. Decent Honda CL125S tanks are virtually unobtainable, and mine was beyond saving. No matter what I did, I couldn’t keep the banged-up filler lip from leaking. Now, CB125 tanks are fairly easy to find, and new, re-pop CG125 tanks are all over Ebay, but neither will work on a CL without significant fabrication. The tank is shorter and the seat longer on the CL, so the the rear attachment point for the tank is further forward on the CL than on the other Honda 125s. (And from what I’ve learned, the CG125 has the front mounting doughnuts in a different location than the OHC bikes.)

Thanks to Chinese Ebay vendors wanting to sell their wares as “universal” tanks, most of the auction descriptions for new tanks include (slightly vague and sketchy) dimensions. I discovered that a Jialing JH70 had a unique, 8-liter tank that would probably work. Last April, confident this was at least the most workable option, I gambled and ordered a new knockoff tank from China for $125, including shipping.

For a roll of the dice, it fits amazingly well. The front mounting cups are slightly smaller, but the mounting studs are located in the correct location, so all I had to do was radius the stock rubber doughnuts slightly. The tank fits the rear mount perfectly and needs no tweaking, but locates the stock seat back an inch or two, so there is some very straightforward fabrication needed there. For the most part, however, we’re golden.

This project should be much easier to complete than my other bike build. The two punch lists are telling.

Other than that, it’s all minor little annoyances; the bike should not take too much to get back in running shape. Then we’ll see if cleaning the carb and replacing the tank have eliminated my intermittent stalling/no-start issue. However, that might not happen before winter. as I note in my Bultakenstein SOTU article, the demands of being a family member and homeowner have resulted in my bikes sitting in a corner of my garage since April.


ANOTHER RECENT DEVELOPMENT

Complicating the prospects of getting my existing project bikes back on the road in any sort of timely manner is a third project bike that has come (or rather come back) into my life. Long-time Hooniverse readers may recall a memorable article I wrote in 2011 about rebuilding my niece’s Kawasaki KE100. Afterwards, that bike was ridden a sum total of 124 miles, then left in the barn to rot. Today it’s a grimy, oily mess with flat tires, a dead battery, and a gummed-up carb. My sister-in-law and her husband are currently in the process of selling the farm and moving to a high-rise condo; there’s nowhere to store the bike, but my niece (now a college senior) adamantly refuses to give it up. The result? Last Sunday afternoon, the KE came home with me again. It’s due to to get another rejuvenation by me, and will live in my garage, properly maintained and in roadworthy condition, until whatever point my niece either retrieves it, or give up on the idea and sells it.