Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Repair And Restoration

Gear Linkage Proper Bodge

Fix Date 24 June 2017

By Ren Withnell

There's nothing worse than accepting defeat at the hands of those wiser and better than yourself. But admit defeat I must, this humble pie sticks in my throat.

Way back in the good old days when my CBF125 were but a youthful motorcycle with barely 40,000 miles on the clock I bodged the gear linkage to remove what had become some considerable slack (Gear Linkage Bodge). In the comments section that wise old sage that is Ian Soady suggested I could have purchased some cheap rose joints to effect a repair. Rose joints!! Purchase!!?? Pah, what does that old codger know? My nuts and bolts and bits of metal affair was perfectly fine and didn't cost me a penny.

The original bodge of the linkage, a bar of metal and 2 bolts
The original bodge. It's fine, just fine and dandy.


Of course nuts and bolts and bits of metal were never really designed to constantly rub together. Yes, you've already guessed it my bodge became as slack if not slacker than the worn out parts I'd originally replaced. Not only had the parts become slack the holes the bolts pass through were becoming elongated which exacerbated the problem. 

In my defence the bodge served me for 24,000 miles, not an inconsiderable distance especially on a 125cc motorcycle where changing gear is almost as constant as the rise and fall of the piston itself. I could simply replace the bodge with another bodge but the elongation of the holes in the lever and the part that attaches to the motor suggested these would eventually need complete replacement. 

I remembered Ian's comment regarding rose joints. A cursory search on Ebay sourced 2 right hand rose joints for the princely sum of £5.02 and they were delivered soon after. A quick rummage around in the drawer of old nuts and bolts found a length of threaded M6 bar, 2 M6 nuts and bolts and away we go. I'll not describe the process, if you can't work out what I did from the pictures then you're not quite ready to be in the workshop alone just yet.

The gear linkage with rose joints and threaded bar
Apparently this is how you "do it properly"

The advantage of the rose joints is that only the rose joints will wear, not the holes of the parts attached to them. Ideally in the interest of fine adjustment a left hand and a right hand thread rose joint pair is the best solution but that would require a left and right hand threaded bar. I'm sure Ian could lathe one up but for my purposes there's enough adjustment with the 2 right hand thread rose joints as is. 

Side view of the rose joint fitted with nylok nuts
I've even used "nyloc" nuts to ensure they don't rattle loose. Proper job.

Ideally the rose joints would have a cover to keep the dirt out which will greatly extend their lifespan. However another cursory look on Ebay suggested the boots cost almost double the price of the rose joints! Sod it, I'll replace them when they're worn out. 

So I'll take me baseball cap off to Ian and thank him for pointing me towards the concept of a rose joint. Now what will wash away this taste of humble pie?  

See also - 
Gear Lever Shim Bodge

Have you got a great fix, bodge, solution or improvement you'd like to share? We'd be thrilled to publish it on Bikes And Travels. Drop Ren a line - 

Reader's Comments

Stuart said :-
Could you not 'fabricate' a cover using part of an old bicycle inner tube?
24/06/2017 21:57:38 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hmmmm. "Fabrication" , is my strong point, just look around the website to marvel at my skills! Ahem. You're quite right Stuart, I'll look into creating something slick, professional and effective. Good call.
24/06/2017 23:09:07 UTC
Pocketpete said :-
How about fastening the cover down with a couple of those new fangled things I think they are called cable ties.

I've heard they are pretty cheap but robust. I think they are a modern take on a thing I once had called a jubilee clip.

Just to let you know I've decided to attempt a chain tension on my bike look what I bought. Got to learn how to use it.

25/06/2017 11:34:42 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
You're a sarcastic git Pocketpete.

Don't overtighten the chain and be sure the markers are even both sides :-)
25/06/2017 21:20:04 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Is that some grease I see on the pivot? Surely not.......

I do hope you're paying similar attention to all my other pearls of wisdom.......

Now back home from sunny France and just delivered the Sunbeam to its new youthful owner (and his mum who, I think to her regret, funded the purchase).
02/07/2017 15:13:29 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
No, no grease was harmed in the making of this bodge. I'm a stubborn fool Ian, I have to learn everything the hard way, I only take advice when it's too late.

I'm glad you're home safe, it troubles me to think that you're enjoying yourself when I'm stuck in Blighty and working. I hope the Sunbeam's new keeper lavishes the same attention to it as you did.

Any progress on the awful 2smoke thing?
02/07/2017 18:56:54 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Rebore done and barrels refitted so just(!) a matter of screwing everything back together, making cables etc etc. I'm not rushing though.

I feel the Model 10's new owner may actually find the reality a bit intimidating. Interestingly, although I rode the bike to its putative new home a few miles from me, where the buyer is living as a student, we actually then loaded it into a van in which the lad's mum was going to take it back to his / her home in Kent. I suspect parental pressure may be applied. She did seem a very nice person and we had a chat about the follies of youth.....
03/07/2017 10:51:24 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
"putative" I had to look that one up! I don't understand what the young gentleman plans to do with the Sunbeam. It's not really a daily rider and commuter so I have to presume he's into his classic motorcycles and plans to cherish it? Why would parental pressure be required?

03/07/2017 15:00:15 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I always like to provide a little food for thought or research......

I think the lad's mum was against him having a bike (I understand his dad had a serious crash on one in the past) and she'd already bribed him with a ratty MG Midget which he used to give me a lift home.

I think I was lucky when a youth as my father had had many bikes so neither of my parents could really object to my having them.
03/07/2017 15:30:28 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I would never suggest that the act of riding a motorcycle is safe, it ain't and I've got the scars and stories. But if it's there inside you then you gotta ride.

At least the young gentleman has purchased a classic, for the same money he could have gotten a 150mph rocket. Although I imagine the brakes on the Sunbeam more than compensate for the lack of power.

MG Midget, ah reminds me of an older lady I had a crush on when I was 15. She was ancient though, she was like 25! God I'm old.

03/07/2017 21:12:20 UTC
Rich said :-
Found this post looking for a way to improve the worn gear linkage on my cbf 125. It's made a massive improvement, no longer misses gears. Cheers!
06/06/2020 13:54:39 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Excellent Rich! Here, tell you what, a word to the wise. After a few weeks the rose joints seized up a bit, making changes hard once more. A bit of old oil and some wiggling and it was fine. This kept on happening for a few more weeks then it's totally stopped since then. I think when new the rose joints are very snug and prone to even the merest hint of dirt. Once worn in a little the problem seems to go away.
06/06/2020 20:41:09 UTC
Rich said :-
Cheers for the tip! Been enjoying reading your travel stories as we can't do much travelling at the moment. My little 125 has been taking me on some local days out recently slowly exploring smaller roads I wouldn't bother going down on the bigger bike. Makes me want to take it on a bit of a tour when we can travel more
07/06/2020 13:41:24 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
The CBf and any other 125 is just perfect for exploring all those little curious back lanes and random dead ends we would normally pass without noticing. Oft times the road is just another road but then you'll drop onto a gem. It could be a old house, spooky and curious, a leafy lane that pops out somewhere you never knew, a farm with an antique tractor outside or a natty little shortcut. I love exploring even locally and that's what I've been doing today.

And of course you can tour on a 125, as I have. You will need to adjust your mindset and expectations, they're not best suited to 300 motorway miles 2-up with luggage, but 150 miles across country for me is joyful.
07/06/2020 18:58:38 UTC
Rich said :-
Couldn't agree more!
08/06/2020 19:20:23 UTC

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