Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Ren's Biking Blog

CBF125 At 90,000 Miles

Blog Date 27 July 2020

Well THAT took a long time. 

The Odometer on the CBF125 show spot on 90,000 miles
90 Grand!

For a while now the long suffering CBF125 has been covering around 10,000 miles a year give or take. The bike reached 80,000 miles in February 2019 and therefore I should have reached 90,000 miles in early 2020. It's taken me until July. That's terrible. I'm ashamed of myself. Must try harder. 

But right, I do have an excuse right. Honest right it's not my fault right. The Lizard Overlords of The Illuminate and Knights Templar created a pretend virus with which to spread fear and panic around the world and make us all fight over toilet paper then make sure we can't speak out against "them" by forcing us too to wear a gag, sorry mask.

What nonsense. There's a pandemic and much as it pains me to say, my right to ride is not quite as important as trying to slow the spread of said virus. Now stop whinging, pull ya biker scarf over ya snout when shopping and be thankful we can ride at all.

Ren has a motorcycle neck tube covering his face to reduce spread of covid 19
Face covering, it's not exactly rocket science.

What is it like to ride an 11 year old 90,000 mile 125? Pretty much the same as riding a 1 year old 5,000 mile 125 I'd say. Admittedly the engine makes a few more peculiar noises that seem to come and go like moods. Perhaps the handling has loosened up a smidgen but I can still get a toe down. There might be a couple of newton metres missing from the torque curve yet it can achieve 60mph in the fullness of time (subject to gravity and wind). 

This is all fine and good but regular readers will know these last 10,000 miles have not been without their hiccups. The motor stopped and refused to restart until it had a ride in a van then seemed to be happy after that, without solid explanation. Something or other did not like the heat of the 1 hot day we could ride this year. The addiction to oil is never likely to improve either.

And yet there it is, in the shed, ready to ride in spite of its age and ailments. Remarkable. 

The rusty crusty diry old ragged CBF125 motorcycle
Ready to ride, in spite of my worst efforts.

Other things have changed this year that will affect the 125 and its future use. 

Covid-19 has seen me working from home and this is set to continue indefinitely. This means I'm no longer commuting thus no longer using the 125 on a daily basis thus the 10,000 miles a year are likely to drop to 3, 4 maybe 5 thousand. In of itself I'm happy to work from home but from a motorcycling perspective this is a shame. The 125 will languish in the shed, used for shopping, visiting family and friends and the odd day out, no longer the daily trooper it once was.

Also I have finally accepted the 125's touring and travelling days are behind it. It's not the fact it's a 125 that's the problem, I'd go around the globe on a 125 with joy, it's just that I no longer trust it to reliably get me to my Dad's on the south coast let alone a 2 week tour of The Netherlands. It drinks too much oil and surely, sooner or later something in the motor has to let go. Nothing lasts forever, nothing at all.

In a logical world I ought to "retire" it, save on the insurance and tax and MOT and hassle of ownership. But no, not yet at least. With my reduced usage it may take another 2 or 3 years but I wish to see if I can get it to reach the mighty 100,000 mile mark. I still completely and utterly adore riding this motorcycle and the roughly £120 per annum to insure, tax and MOT it I'd say it's a worthy "fun tax". No, not yet, there's more adventure to be found with this bike in the form of seeing just how much more punishment it can take. 

Shiny and new, old and crusty, share your motorcycle's tale - click here.

Reader's Comments

Bogger said :-
The bikes taken more abuse and knocks than Rocky!

27/07/2020 01:05:18 UTC
Snod said :-
Sounds like the ownership is just starting to get interesting! Just keep sticking on the plasters, you know it makes sense ;)
27/07/2020 01:14:11 UTC
Ross said :-
Ummm! Why is the top box on the wrong way round?

Speak nicely to it and I'm sure it'll get to 100k!
27/07/2020 02:53:08 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Ross - a question I am oft asked. Weight distribution. If it is the correct way around then the box extends out about 3 to 4 inches, this way around it pulls the mass 3 to 4 inches back towards the rear wheel spindle. Being an intelligent chap you can understand this will reduce the overhang thus bringing the mass closer to the centre of mass of the vehicle and thus improving the handling. In other words it reduces the effect of a top box's habit of swinging like a pendulum. Also due to the excess of ULTIMATE POWER!!!! it helps keep the front end down under the duress of the mind bending acceleration.

Cheers Snod, interesting I quite agree, if by interesting you mean that every trip is an adventure into the unknown. Will you get there? Will you get back? What will go wrong this time? What is that noise? What is that smell? I find my favourite saying is now spoken in a Scottish accent "...she canny tek any moooorrr Captain!"

Posted Image
27/07/2020 03:54:22 UTC
Bob said :-
Truly amazing mileage from an air cooled engine.
My daily rider KLX has just clocked up 32000 miles and that is considered very high for a 250cc.
I suppose the sad fact is that for most riders the motorcycle is just a weekend toy, see MCN's ride 5000 campaign and all those proud readers proclaiming they've achieved the ultimate badge of bikerdom by riding the same distance in a year that some of us ride in 4 months. So that leads to the idea that motorcycles can't do lots of miles probably stems from the reality that most motorcycles never get the chance to do lots of miles.
If I were you Ren I'd drop a couple of hundred quid and snap up a good engine to sit on the shelf ready. Then you can return to riding the wheels off it without worrying.
27/07/2020 08:39:40 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Cheers Bob. I know what you're thinking regarding the engine but I think after 8 years of ownership and roughly 84,000 miles in my hands then if, as, when the CBF's motor (or another major item) passes over to the dark side I'd be tempted with something different. That and if I put in a new motor then I'll be looking at the rest of the parts. Suspension, frame, fuel system etc etc.

I was out on it last night. It's still a fabulously fun bike to ride, surprisingly good off road too. Wonder if they do knobblies in these sizes... Oh dear.
28/07/2020 08:58:04 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Ed, you know I like to be helpful......well I think this could be the answer to all of your problems. Well, motorcycling problems, let's not open too many XL cans of worms.
A diesel off roader type, DCT, proper luggage, and only........ £22,000 but they are open to offers. I've tried a nicely baked cake from Er'Indoors and an old can of Moly Paste but they've turned it down.
I know?!?

28/07/2020 03:13:28 UTC
Upt'North said :-
I suppose I should attach the piccie, doh!
Stupid boy pike.

Posted Image
28/07/2020 03:14:28 UTC
ROD said :-
Nice looking T800. A bit pricey though.
28/07/2020 05:20:14 UTC
Marv said :-
We need to know what happens to the odometer, when it rolls over to 100,000! Resolve this great mystery, Ren!

My 2012 CBF125 has a paltry 21k on its odo. I still enjoy riding it and maybe in a year or so I'll take it on a slow ride (not that it could ever be fast) around rural UK.
28/07/2020 09:05:05 UTC
crofty said :-
90,000, wow well done you Ren.
28/07/2020 09:09:34 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
£22,000! I could buy 10 Chinese 125s for that price. Mind you, diesel, mmmmm, deeeeeisel...mmmm. I want a diesel bike. Nice simple electronics free dumper truck motor, 400cc, 4.5 metric tonnes, 12bhp but 10,400 ft-lbs. Slow, frugal, reliable.

Marv - I know what will happen. I will end up with a very low mileage yet incredibly worn out CBF125. Your CBF125 will happily take you all around the UK both rural and urban, uphill and down dale, rain or sun and all this using the minimum amount of fuel. Put a change of undies on the back and off ya go.

Cheers crofty :-)

28/07/2020 09:55:06 UTC
Bob said :-
You're right about a new engine in an old bike.
For every spare engine I have I also have a throttle body, fuel pump and ECU - those are the only wearing parts in the powertrain that can't be replaced with aftermarket or standard parts.
I have seen it many times when someone has rebuilt or replaced an engine and then fitted the same set of worn out old carbs and wondered why the bike still runs poorly.
Chassis-wise, new bearings all round and set of fork bushes and it will handle like new....
29/07/2020 08:40:33 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
If I were thinking of keeping the bike "forever" then it's not just the motor and fuel system. The frame is old... the wheels are old... the switchgear, the panels, the wiring, the seat and so on and so on. It will at some point end up like Trigger's broom. "I've had this bike for 35 years, it's only have 4 engines, 3 frames, 5 Computers, 3 sets of forks and 3 wiring harnesses"
30/07/2020 08:38:50 UTC
Lordracula said :-
Why not change the piston + rings and cylinder out with one of those cheapo kits? That'd solve the oil chugging problem. I just got a 2013 CBF 125 a couple of months ago with 3,000 miles on the clocks, brilliant bike, shame the seat is so uncomfortable
31/07/2020 09:52:54 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Lordracula - I find the seat to be, well kinda average but it's certainly not an armchair. I did have mine built up by an inch which helped. There's a recent discussion on here regarding seat comfort, that might help.

As to replacing the rings and barrel. No, I am determined to see just how far it can go with the original motor purely as an academic experiment. As stated previously there seems little point throwing good money and time at the bike as not only is the motor worn out, the rest of the bike is too.

Enjoy your own CBF. Change the oil regularly and keep on top of servicing and hopefully it will bring you many years of joy as mine has.
01/08/2020 09:49:12 UTC
Lordracula said :-
Ren - Yeah I have definitely had worse although I wouldn't be comfortable just sitting about on this bike, it's definitely no cruiser. Is that the "Bums On Seats" post? I am considering buying an Airhawk cushion because at least i wouldn't be stuck with it on the one bike, and modifying the seat with gel & foam might be excessive. How much was it for building up the seat?

Fair point there, your posts about awesome mileage is what made me buy the bike. I am giving it the much needed love, put about 700 miles on it myself this last couple of months plus had to do a bit of fixing here and there to some frame rust and other minor issues. I check the oil every second ride too to make sure i'm topped up.
01/08/2020 05:19:18 UTC
nab301 said :-
@ Ren , save yourself the trouble and heartache , remove the speedo cable at the wheel , clamp it in the chuck of your favourite electric drill , switch on drill ensuring the speedo remains within its limits , head to the kettle , drink numerous cups of tea , switch off drill when the magic 99999 miles is reached , take a photo for posterity, pension off the bike and carry on with your motorcycling life basking in the glow of being a 100k miler on a 125... sure who'll know ( assuming you haven't been doing this already!!!)
02/08/2020 09:20:38 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Are you insinuating that I have been cheating nab301!!! Damn and tarnation, why didn't I think of that before? What a plonker I am. All those endless hours of crawling down motorways at 55mph, all those frozen fingers on winter's mornings, all those dull miles crawling across Ireland, Scotland, England and even The Netherlands on an overladen 125 when I could have been using a "proper" bike. What a fool, what an idiot!

Not that I would do this nab301 but, errr, what sort of drill speed would you recommend I start with?
03/08/2020 08:47:37 UTC
nab301 said :-
Quote "Not that I would do this nab301 but, errr, what sort of drill speed would you recommend I start with?"
Probably more important if you're going in the opposite direction..!
03/08/2020 02:39:22 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
"Left drill running for 16 days, 14 hours and 34 minutes, now at 64,354 miles. DAGNAMMIT!!"
03/08/2020 04:07:05 UTC
nab301 said :-
Quote "when the CBF's motor (or another major item) passes over to the dark side I'd be tempted with something different."
I was in a local dealer the other day (for parts...) and what caught my eye, only the Yamaha YS125! , very smart looking and locally, currently way cheaper new than the Honda equivalent. Looking at the specs it has a humongous 14l tank , even my Honda only has a 13L tank (which incidentally actually clocked up 600km on a tankful recently and still had a little fuel sloshing around inside..
09/08/2020 04:38:56 UTC
Bogger said :-
I had the YS125's predecessor the YBR125. It was a very, very good bike. I only sold it due to me getting a new Super Cub C125. The YBR was comfy, reasonably fast and very fugal.

09/08/2020 06:46:26 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
YAMAHA!!! Y A M A H A!!!!!!! It's a blooming Yammy fer christ's sake. They make pianos, sheez gerra grip folks.

OK, fair enough, yes, alright. I'll admit the YBR and probably the YS are indeed very good bikes and I've seen reports of YBRs doing the 100k mark. I've worked on a couple of the YBRs too and they seem simple, well made and well put together. The problem for me would be it's just another CBF125 with a different logo on the tank. I would like, as and when the time comes, a 125 off-roader. XLR125, WR125, that kind of thing. I'd also look at scramblers or similar. In the meantime I hope this incumbent CBF125 lasts FOREVER! 250,000 miles?
10/08/2020 09:41:31 UTC
Bogger said :-
You need to try a scooter? Go on get a test ride on one.

Bogger......before you answer. Remember I like knives/axes
10/08/2020 10:51:24 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
... what's even worse is you know where I live.

I have ridden Honda's SH125 thingy and I was perfectly impressed with it. Tell ya what would be a most pleasing option right in the middle between the scoots and bikes, Honda's CT125. Scooter simplicity with off road credentials and it's a HONDA. Mmmmmm...
Posted Image
10/08/2020 11:26:52 UTC
nab301 said :-
Ren what you really need is a home brewed contraption ... a friend of mine converted a single seat '06 Honda CG125 "delivery bike " (I think it was originally) to a fire breathing Green laner...
Posted Image
19/08/2020 08:34:51 UTC
nab301 said :-

Posted Image
19/08/2020 08:36:14 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
ARGH! I wish you hadn't shown me this nab301. Now, damn you, now I'm coming up with cunning and devious designs for the CBF125. I've been googling CBF125 Scrambler images. Damn you to hell!

Mysterious things are afoot with the long suffering CBF125. More to come in the not too distant future.
20/08/2020 08:23:43 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
That looks quite tidy. And a lot easier to pick up than a GS1100 (or even an Enfield Trials Bullet)
20/08/2020 10:16:27 UTC
nab301 said :-
@ Ian , thanks , I'll pass on the compliments
@Ren Quote " Damn you to hell!" Always glad to help! Mad as it sounds my friend built it for his son and thought it might be of use for himself also in winter as he has an occasional back roads commute , but his son wasn't that impressed and bought a Harley, the CG was then sold to part finance that.
However said friend has an Inazuma (mentioned in my Vstrom 250 report) and also a lovely (to me anyway )looking Honda CB223S Japanese import . I rode it and wasn't that impressed at the time but since then he replaced the head bearings and upped the gearing , much better now . Locally they aren't that cheap though , there's one place importing them occasionally and they don't winter that well hence the CG seemed a good idea for salty roads.
Posted Image
20/08/2020 11:30:18 UTC
Ross said :-
Has sir considered one of these...

...or is that too much wedge for a skinflint? ;)
20/08/2020 12:16:20 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
NNNNGGH!!! You guys. That 223 is pretty funky and I would consider a 250 as long as the fuel economy is good.

Ross yes the Keeway TX is in my sights. It has the same engine as Sharon's RKS as well as FI now - but it's actually quite a large bike. Not massive you understand but bigger than you think. However at 2k new it's a bargain. I looked for an XLR125 and the best I could find was a 2006 minter with 4k on the clock for £1900 private. That makes the Keeway great value.

Buuuuuuuuuuuut... the CBF ain't dead yet so let us not be jumping the gun here folks.

20/08/2020 01:54:55 UTC
Borsuk said :-
That CG125 is giving me ideas as wewll.

I have a feeling when I get my Honley back off #4 stepson it might be acquiring a different style of tyres. Give me something for doing green lanes in the UK.
20/08/2020 01:59:11 UTC

Post Your Comment Posts/Links Rules



Add a RELEVANT link (not required)

Upload an image (not required)

No uploaded image
Real Person Number
Please enter the above number below

Home Ren's Biking Blog

Admin -- -- Service Records