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Getting Back On 2 Wheels

Guest post date 30/11/2015

By 125Tony

Tony holds a wooden chain/sprocket model while sat in his wheelchair
What is it with me and sprockets? Here’s one I made earlier!

Hello Ren, It was me that made the comment about the 17 tooth sprocket for the CBF125 that you've now fitted. I'm glad I could add something constructive to your site and finally found the guts to speak up. I’ve been lurking in the background for a couple of years. I first came across your website researching the Honda and yours came up in “world travel mode.” It is a fantastic review from someone in the real world, I couldn't read it all in one go so saved it to favourites and you've been there ever since. I check in most days to read your trip reports and recent posts, plus all the links your regulars send in, It’s great stuff the things people do with these little machines.

I have to say that I owe both you and Sharon a big thank you, and your regulars. I've been an everyday motorcyclist for 31 years up until disability hit me in Nov 2012. I’d only been at my present address for 7 weeks and as it was only a 9 mile round trip to work I was glad to get back on my bicycle, although I was sad at leaving my bikes at home. I had a BMW Funduro and Honda NT650V Bros parked at the house for my evening and weekend pleasure. 

I woke up one morning feeling weak and without the full use of my arms and legs, and clueless as to what was going on. I won’t bore you with the details because that’s not what this website or post is about. Suffice to say my life had been turned upside down over night. I couldn't even get the bikes off the stand, but with the help of my youngest son we managed to get the BMW to the front of the house and pointed in the right direction. Silly I know but off I went up the back roads and yes I could still ride albeit I was very nervous. 

Things just weren't getting any better and with the advice of family and friends I voluntarily surrendered my licence (which is better than having it taken from you). I'm not going to say depression because I'm not made that way, but those were some dark days. That’s when I came across your website. I knew I could still ride because I’d done it. It was really just a case of finding something light enough that I could live with and man handle independently, and the CBF125 seemed to fit the bill.

This would have meant getting a trailer for the car and being taken with the bike to some private ground so I would be able to ride. As time went on I got a diagnosis and surgery followed in Dec 2013. So today I'm left with weakness and spasticity in all four limbs. It affects my balance and coordination and I don’t walk very well. I shouldn't get any worse and it isn't disease related so I count my blessings.

 Some better news. In Sept 2014 the DVLA had completed their medical enquires and  decided that my licence should be reinstated. So in Oct I bought myself a CBF125, Game on! This is when I found some restrictions regarding temperature and how well I feel on the day. My first ride on it was very nervous and for all the years of biking I might as well have been a learner. It was getting better with each ride and I was making progress. I came to the conclusion that it wasn't the bike, it was me and I wasn't used to this body. Things can only get better.

Don’t laugh but my sum total on mileage is 450. I took it out for 20-30 mile runs on some of these single track roads up here, the most I’ve done in one go was 70 miles but it felt good. It was always my intention to pass this on to my Son once he became 17, but he’s decided on car lessons first so it’s been sold to fund those.

A rural, rugged and luscious countryside view of where Tony livesPart of my daily ride to work. There’s 7 miles of this before the main road. Happy days!!!

As a family we moved up from Surrey to the South West of Scotland and into a farmhouse with 1400 sheep and 200 cattle. As tenants on the land we could stand back and watch everything going on or get involved, we chose the latter. I refurbished the lights and sockets in the out buildings and got those all working again, put a concrete base in the garage and replaced the odd bearing on the farmers quad bike. I think he was impressed! We had the freedom of the land from one horizon to the other, a perfect playground for walking, cycling, motorcycling and camping. Basically my everyday and weekend activities, living the dream. 

My daily ride in this sort of terrain was a XT350, followed by a KLR250 then finally the NX650. I loved them all, although the 650 is the biggest bike I would ever like to take off road. How those people manage the BMW 1200 GS I’ll never know. It looks great here but lets not forget the cold winter with hard frosts and the snow and ice. Being a shift worker I was on those tracks every day and night. I’m either as thick as two short planks or blessed, I haven’t decided which but I gave thanks everyday for the experience, it certainly keeps your riding skills in tune.

I can no longer ride off road since standing on the pegs and counter balancing is out but I'm not sad about that, in fact I'm looking forward to the next chapter of finding out what the world of 125’s has to offer. The CBF proved to me l can manage one. Which brings me quite nicely to my latest bike, the KTM 125 Duke.

Tony stands astride the KTM 125 Duke, looking at the controlsWhat does that button do?

I’m eager to ride it and find out what it’s capable of, back roads aren't really an issue and there are hundreds of miles of them. We also have the main A75 and A77 major trunk roads to contend with and although the CBF125 is a good bike I found it lacking on the open main road. Cars  - I generally let them sort themselves out but the lorries have a much harder time of it and need to plan their overtakes. Plus there’s no pleasure from the odd driver who wants to push you all the way to the ferry. So I’m hoping the extra gear and 4 hp can hold it’s own out on the open road a bit better. I also like the Yamaha MT 125, but there isn't enough of them in the second hand market yet and prices are too high. That’s the only way for me to justify the price of the kTM. I paid the same price as the new Honda CB125F, you just have to wait for that low mileage, FSH and 1 owner bike to appear.

With winter finally here the opportunity for getting out becomes less and less but when I do manage it I’ll update and give my first impression and ride report. I’ve looked at various disability sites to see how other people cope with it but to be honest they're not for me. Who knows, maybe someone else will come forward from lurking in the background. I know it’s been your enthusiasm and trip reports on just getting out there that have given me the most inspiration, plus of course your regular's contributions and links. I’ve read them all. I’ve never been a member of any club, but you seem to have a good thing going on with your mates. Keep the good work up and ride safe.



Reader's Comments

Sharon said :-
Hi Tony,

Thanks you for this inspirational post. So good to see you back on two wheels. Looking fab on the Duke. I like the Dukes myself but they are well too tall for me. I know that bikes can be lowered and it is beginning to look like any bigger bike I may want other than than my current Keeway RKS 125cc is going to have to be lowered. However I am going on the principal that the least lowering required the better so I am still looking for the smallest bikes out there. As long as it not a cruiser for my own personal preference.
I am glad you have enjoyed reading some of our posts, it is always good to hear we can provide a smile to someone somewhere.
Looking forward to better weather and your reports on how the Duke and you are getting along.
1/1/2000 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Hi Tony.

Excellent post and it just puts the kind of thing most of us complain about into context. Best of luck with the KTM and here's hoping you have many happy years and miles on it.
1/1/2000 UTC
Tony said :-
Hi Sharon, Thank you for your thoughts. What a good place to be! Test done and a whole load of options available. Try to look at your restriction in a positive light, it should stop that impulse purchase and a garage full of regret. Best advice I can give is getting to a dealership with a good number of bikes on the floor and seeing them in the flesh. I agree lowering the back end by the least amount is better, also making sure you can drop the forks by the same amount. Otherwise steering geometry will be affected as well. Something else to look at is seat re-profiling. I'm sure Ren will keep you right. Does it have to be a new bike? The Honda NT400/650V Bros is a physically small bike along with many others from the late 80's. I'm not much into cruiser's either, although with such a low centre of gravity I wondered if I could up the cc a bit. There is still the same weight issue though so sub 130Kgs it is. Well best of luck finding something and I'll keep you updated on the KTM as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
Ride Safe.

1/1/2000 UTC
Tony said :-
Hi Ian, Thank you for your comments and best wishes. Ren did his usual good job of editing so I didn't come across as too big a plonker. For so few miles it's been quite a journey. I never thought I'd be a fair weather rider one day.
How often do you get out and about? My local down south was Ryka's in Dorking,
mostly everyday after work for a coffee and carpark antics. Happy days!
1/1/2000 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Tony. Finding an NT400 Bros these days is like finding hen's teeth! I used to own one, that is what I was riding when I had my big crash. I sure do miss that bike, it was a cracker. Sharon's tried the CBR400 and VFR400 and of course they're all too big. Remember she is tiny. Many people think she's just a long way away but in fact she might be stood right next to you. I'll post a link to my NT review...

Rykas! Yip we know it well. It's on the way to Brighton where me Dad lives and we usually stop there for a brew on the way down or the way back.

125s at Rykas Cafe
1/1/2000 UTC
Tony said :-
Hi Ren, nice to see a picture of Rykas. So many good memories, I was there in 2014 and couldn't believe they've put gates on the car park and close it at 6:30pm due to not enough business in the evening.
I'm sure there's a bike out there with Sharon's name on it.
1/1/2000 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I'm sure there is a bike out there for Hobbits and other small folks from the shires. The first issue is one of finance. There's not much gold in the her coffers, she needs to go on a quest in search of treasure. Either that or blackmail Sauron....again.
1/1/2000 UTC
Henrik said :-
Thanks TONY !!! for an interesting and uplifting write, nice to see you not giving up and let go, respect !

As for the Sharons next bike, its a hard one, I would consider the Hyosung GT250R, or GT250N, a very interesting bike, with seathight at 780mm and the possibility to add a 50mm lowering kit and end up 730mm, link added
1/1/2000 UTC
Henrik said :-
Sorry for my cut/paste clutter ,.. here is the lowering-kit

30mm less than the default 760mm RKS hight is possible !!!
1/1/2000 UTC
Tony said :-
Cheers Henrik, I'm very lucky that I can still ride. It's something I really didn't want to give up. You've posted some very interesting links over the months and for those I'm grateful, thanks.

Ren, you sound like you enjoy a trilogy or two. Maybe it should be:

Ren a.k.a Lord of the Ringroads.
1/1/2000 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Henrik,

Really appreciate you having a look around for low bikes for me your a star but unfortunately the Hyosung is a no for me in the UK.

The Hyosung 250R UK specs are as follows -

Seat Height (mm): 830
Weight (kg): 188

That is way higher and heavier than a couple of other bikes I am thinking about. Main problem is both of these bikes are new on the market so no second hand ones available.
I do not know if the specs differ in other countries but that is what we get here in the UK. Also just because a lowering kit claims it can lower a bike by say 50mm it does not mean that it should be lowered that much. Don't even think about getting over one of our very numerous speed bumps on the UK roads if you did that.

I believe the more you lower it, the more ride quality suffers. I would not want to consider lowering a bike by more than an inch (25mm). So I am looking for bikes with a 780mm seat height at the max.

The search continues and may end only if I win the lottery, then I could choose which Yamaha I wanted, The YZF-R3 or the MT-03
1/1/2000 UTC
Henrik said :-
Sharon: ok, sorry to hear that, might be they differ from country to country, anyway, when not available its out of question. My research said 780mm and 150 kg dry, what should equal an estimated 175 kg max,..

Don't know how the different figures appear

I got my info from the link below, all models 780mm, up to 2014, and only cosmetic changes since then, you could import from but I guess its not worth the hazzle and gambling,.. for you

You are right, not all that can be lowered 50mm, should be lowered that much

There was a 35mm option also that was undoubtly a better choice

R3 is a good looking machine, I saw one in the city, and had a little concersation with the owner who was very happy about it, the fuel consumption was 25km/L on average he said. driving a little "fresh".

He wanted a Ninja originally but the insurance-company would not touch a Ninja, not even with gloves on,..

R3 looks like something that could easely be lowered, needed be, and it will be hard to find something less heavy, unfortunately,..

(you will have to work a lot with handeling the extra weight coming from RKS)

Would take 2-3 years before R3 turn up at a good price seccondhand though

Best wishes with the hunt !
1/1/2000 UTC
Henrik said :-
To be checked out maybe, if available
1/1/2000 UTC

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