The city of Nice seen from the surrounding hillside bathed in sunshine

Home Repair And Restoration

CBF125 Rear Tyre And Chain Again

Job Date 13 January 2020

By Ren Withnell

The circle of life. You're born, you do things, maybe you create a mini-mee of yourself then you die. It's the same for motorcycle parts too. You get made in a factory, attached to a motorcycle then you are used and abused until you are worn out then you are tossed aside and replaced. Our short time on planet earth means as much as the life of a chain or a tyre in the greater scheme of things. 

The rear wheel is removed from the Honda but the sprocket and chain remain in place
It's like a MotoGP pit stop here.

So don't worry if you mess up, you're about as relevant to universal and chronological eternity as a midge's fart. Now that I've placed you into an existential crisis let me tell you about my CBF125.

After around 10,000 miles for both of them it's time to toss this old chain and tyre into the bin. This used to be a big old job but I've learned that there really is no point cleaning the swingarm and the suspension and the sprocket cover and the brake plate and and and and... I dress myself in the clothes that Sharon doesn't like so I can get dirty and get on with it, without ruining yet another pair of "nice" pants.

Sharon gives the camera a "what the hell you doing?" look
"If you ruin THOSE pants as well..."

What does that mean - "nice" pants? What makes this pair of pants any more worthy than the other? If the pants in question have a particular quality that makes them more worthy (protective, warm, big pockets, comfortable etc) then I understand that. But why are the beige pants better than the blue? The aesthetic world has for the most part escaped me.

Wheel off, fight the tyre off, spend ages with the wire brush drill thingy to clean the rim seat, fight the new tyre on, wake my son up with the compressor, seat the bead on the rim, refit to the bike. Finally spend more time looking for a suitable bit of wire or nail or even a real split pin to fit to the brake plate anti spin-around arm bolt than I did doing the whole job. Aha! If I can bend that bit of spring that ought to do it.

The split pin that retains the nut that retains the drum
THAT THING - wassit called, thingumyjig

The rear wheel is in the home made wheel balancer in Ren's kitchen
If only I had a life balancer as well as a wheel balancer.

Sprocket cover off, fight the split link spring loose, chain off, new one on, fit split link spring the wrong way, fight the new split link spring loose, refit it the correct way, adjust chain, refit sprocket cover. 

The chain hangs down from the bike's swingarm while being fitted
Hang on... is, was that a "nice" shirt on the floor?

There is little doubt having done a job before makes doing it the next time quicker. This is where the notion of a "professional" brings forth the concept of a zen-like master who can merely wave a mystical torque wrench over a machine and "LO!" it is fixed, all is done and everything is fine once more.


I only need to witness the actions of "professional" drivers (lorry, taxi, bus etc) to realise professional means doing something and getting paid for it, not necessarily actually being any good at it or caring about it. There are some great mechanics and drivers out there, it's a case of finding them.

It's always been my understanding that on motorcycles the front tyre is what really makes the difference to handling. The front steers and guides the bike, the rear is there to push it forwards and otherwise stop the rear end from dragging on the road. And yet this fresh Michelin on the rear has transformed the handling from vague and twitchy to sharp and solid. 

Dammit. I've got oil on this T-shirt and this is a "nice" one. I'll dip the affected area in the petrol tank, that'll fix it. Hopefully.

Sharon holds up her dirty hands while working on the bike
When Sharon is oily it's cute, when I'm oily I'm a scumbag. Pffffft.

If you'd like to sponsor Ren some wet wipes and overalls contact

Reader's Comments

ROD said :-
Ren, You are correct the rear tyre does make a difference to the handling.
I remember Avon not making my tyre choice in the correct size for my bike , so I fitted a slightly oversize tyre to the rear. This changed the handling of the bike, the bike felt slower steering going into a corner and the front felt lighter on acceleration out of the corner. The handling reverted back to a neutral feel when I fitted the correct size tyres.
The make and profile of a rear tyre can also change the handling.
I will be changing the tyres on the BM shortly, and note that you have chosen Michelin.
I have had a preference for Michelin for some time now (I would say that I am a Michelin man, but being a little over weight that term must be avoided) but when I got the BM in March last year it was shod with Metzeler Z6 front and back.
I intended changing them for Michelin as I had never used Metzeler tyres before in my almost 50 years of motorcycling.
I have just ordered another set of Z6 tyres, they feel great, give good mileage, and are not expensive. I will say however that the grip in the wet weather is not as good as Michelin if you use the power when cornering, but when braking on wet roads they are very good, and this for myself is the most important wet weather feature.
05/02/2020 07:06:00 UTC
Stuart said :-
When you use the term 'pants' I hope you are referring to trousers and not performing maintenance in your Y fronts?
06/02/2020 07:55:33 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Stuart - yes trousers. Admittedly though I often perform motorcycle maintenance in my boxers, or "skiddies". Less washing you see, and less ruined clothing. Up here fer thinkin', down there fer dancin'.

ROD - the Michelin City Pros on the 125 work very well including in the wet. I often hear the Michelin Pilot Roads (PR1, PR2, PR3, PR4 and now I think there's a PR5) are supposed to be absolutely bleeding awesome wet or dry. Thing is the City Pros are very well priced compared to the competition whereas the Pilot Roads are not a cheap tyre. As a tight Yorkshireman I am happy with the price and usability of the Continental ContiMotions.

If the Z6's are working for you then if it ain't broke don't fix it.
06/02/2020 11:48:53 UTC
nab301 said :-
I'm more of an overalls type person when I'm working on bikes /cars and even wear gloves (saves time on washing hands...)
06/02/2020 09:51:04 UTC
ROD said :-
nab301, Our editor would not waste money on gloves!! Soap is much cheaper.
07/02/2020 08:26:16 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
GLOVES!! SOAP!!! My word I didn't realise my readership was so high class, executive, even dare I say POSH! I do have a pack of latex gloves but that's a different subject entirely. As for soap up here we use pig lard and ash from the coal fire. Times are hard but I am lucky, there's only 12 of us living under this cat's eye on the M6.
07/02/2020 02:24:42 UTC
nab301 said :-
Ren, at least that's clear then ! But after re reading the thread I'm unsure as to whose clothes you actually wear when working on your bike...Not that it's any of my business!
07/02/2020 07:36:46 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I would like to fit into Sharon's pants but she's a size 8 and I'm at least a 14 these days... Did I just say that out loud?
09/02/2020 06:08:02 UTC

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