125cc motorbikes.

Discussion in 'transport' started by ViolentPanda, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    25 years after I last rode a bike, and having never had a full licence (yes, I know, I was a total bastard for riding without a licence :( ), I've decided to buy a 125 and do the test.
    I used to mostly (showing how old I am) ride a Honda 250N "SuperDream", although when I was in Germany, I rode a BMW R60. I prefer a bike with a larger frame, and not a sports bike looking effort (uncomfortable riding position for portly fellows, don'tcherknow!), so does anyone have any 125 recommendations? I don't intend to keep it any longer than it takes to pass the test, but I've noticed that 2nd-hand Japanese 125s seem to hold their prices quite well - is this something to do with all the Chinese bikes on the market, and are any of the Chinese 125s any good?

    And before anyone asks, no I don't want a scooter! :D
    Badgers likes this.
  2. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    Why buy one? Just borrow or hire one for the test. If you've got riding experience you'll just need to brush it up a bit and get some practice in for a week or two. The test's a piece of piss.
    OzT and Badgers like this.
  3. PaoloSanchez

    PaoloSanchez Well-Known Member

    I was/am in a similar position. I still haven't passed my test however the only brand new vehicle that I ever purchased was a Honda Varadero 125cc and I had quite a few comments from people who couldn't believe that it was only a 125.

    I bought it with intention of getting plenty of practice in before taking my full motorbike test (I was a motorbike noom having never ridden before), but after I failed my test and my circumstances changed I never got back to biking.

    I still have the bike, 53 plate, it's done less than 1000 miles. It was my plan after passing the test to buy a BMW 1200GS but that has since faded into the shadows.
    I don't really know much about what is and isn't a good 125. I thought the Varadero was alright.

    Rosemary Jest likes this.
  4. not-bono-ever

    not-bono-ever Not what they want but what is good for them

    variations of the old pushrod CG125 ( now with SOHC IIRC) are still around about 50 years after they were first released by Honda- maybe look at those derivates from China - they shouldn't go far wrong with such a robust design
    pogofish likes this.
  5. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    I want to have a bit of a pootle around, before trading up. Plus, I want to give my sister's partner time to design a unique 500-750cc custom job for me.
    Spymaster likes this.
  6. RubyToogood

    RubyToogood can't remember what goes here

    Suzuki Van Van
    Rosemary Jest likes this.
  7. RubyToogood

    RubyToogood can't remember what goes here

    Oh, be aware that next year the Ultra Low Emission Zone comes into force and you'll be charged mightily for riding most bikes from pre mid-2007 into the Congestion Charge Zone. Then later it'll be expanded to the South Circular.
    Slo-mo likes this.
  8. Saul Goodman

    Saul Goodman It's all good, man

    I wouldn't bother with a 125. You'd be bored shitless of it in a few weeks. I'd go down the direct access route and go straight for an A licence. I don't think you can use a 125 for the A test.
  9. jontz01

    jontz01 taking refuge in the loft

    Seconded the above. I took my test on a 500 about 10 years ago, I was shitting bricks as I'd never ridden bigger than a 125 scooter. Chose 2 hour lessons, they were so much more valueable than the standard 1hr lesson. [first 45mins spent getting back into it]. Long rides, at night, semi rural, up to 70mph, in the rain, winter etc.

    Passed test first time then did a 2 year course through IAM with local coppers on a Yamaha XJ600. That was the best thing I ever did. So much useful information, made me realise how dangerously my friends rode without even knowing it. Knowledge gained translated into everyday driving, cars, trucks even pushbike. Worth every penny.
  10. OzT

    OzT Online early mornings when at work ....

    Wouldn't have been believed or even thought worth it only a while ago, a V twin 125cc that revs to OVER 11,000!!!! Wow! :)
  11. Saul Goodman

    Saul Goodman It's all good, man

    Why not? :confused:
    A lot of much bigger CC bikes easily rev to that.
  12. Rosemary Jest

    Rosemary Jest Wrong and Unstable

    125's are great, you do right by getting one, building your road skills and then moving on to something bigger. Plus they sip fuel too.

    I rode a chinese 125 suzuki copy for a year in all weather, did some camping/touring on it, it was ace. You get to see the countryside better than on a big bike as you aren't speeding everywhere at 80mph in 1st gear. :thumbs: Remember most of the time you'll be doing 20 mph in traffic.

    Most cg/cb copies should be ok, varadero's are ace and seem to hold their value, but are expensive. Van Van's are slow but are iconic.
  13. craigxcraig

    craigxcraig Prefers 'cxc'

    Like one ot two others have said, go the DA route, for what youll spend on the bike youll get yr full licence - iirc mine eas.over five days and I went to Metropolis in Vauxhall, they were excellent.

    If you do go down the 125 route then.I highly recommend the CG125, brilliant little bike and as anyone whose ever ridden one knows, you oy need to fill it up once, maybe twice!

    As an aside, once youve passed and got several months under yr belt, then look up the police's Bike Safe course - its a half day course where youre followed by a bike cop who will advise you on road position, hazard awareness, being visible etc. Its a btilliant day out and for most living in London its free - just get in touch with you local authority for the code.
    Slo-mo likes this.
  14. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Banned Banned

    Yes. I think the exact details of further ULEZ expansion are still under consideration, but it's projected for 2021, and it's going to include a pretty big area. The safest bet is simply to go for a post 2007 bike.
  15. Saul Goodman

    Saul Goodman It's all good, man

    You were lucky to keep it going for a year.
    Never buy a Chinese motorcycle (unless you get it for 10p and you're into self flagellation).
    Slo-mo likes this.
  16. Rosemary Jest

    Rosemary Jest Wrong and Unstable

    Na, it's a fallacy these days that they're all terribly made. One of thos strange rumours that self perpetuates on the Interweb, usually by people who have never owned one. Most stuff for the big manufacturers is made in the same factories as a lot of chinese brands abd the quality is generally decent. It's getting better all the time as well.

    Regular oil changes and a bit of tlc and my bike never missed a beat, cost a third of what a honda cost and never faltered over about 15,000 miles in just over a year. I looked up the registration out of interest and it's still going 12 years later, probably taking some lucky owner to work and back for pennies. :thumbs:
  17. Saul Goodman

    Saul Goodman It's all good, man

    I'm happy for you that your bike lasted for more than a year, but I used to be the poor sod who ended up working on this junk, and it's no fallacy, they're pure muck. I wouldn't use one as an anchor for a boat. :thumbs:
    Duncan2 likes this.
  18. PaoloSanchez

    PaoloSanchez Well-Known Member

    As with most things, there's probably no "one size fits all" answer.

    My (failed) route into the world of biking was via CBT/theory test, I then bought a 125 and commuted into London for about 8 months. I chose to buy a 125 rather than go straight for Direct Access as I wasn't that confident with my riding skills and wanted to get plenty of "real world" practice and experience in before taking the test. I then changed jobs and wasn't able to ride for a while and left my new bike in my friends garage (where it stayed for 12 years).

    I then did a DA course (just before my CBT was due to expire) at Donington Park over 5 days. First 2 days on a 125, second 2 on a 600cc with the test on the 5th day. Even though I had done a few hundred miles commuting in London, my balance and coordination and clutch control still wasn't great and so I didn't quite get my confidence levels up where they needed to be to a reasonably competent rider. For example I would NEVER filter in traffic because I wasn't confident enough and a bit wobbly. Not filtering when you're on a motorbike in traffic doesn't make a lot of sense and kinda defeats the whole point of riding a bike.

    It was my lack of confidence that contributed to my failed test. I failed on left turns. The examiner kept on asking me to do left turns, because he noticed that I would leave a bit too much of a gap on my inside. This meant that I needed to do a "lifesaver" on both sides before the manoeuvre and I would only do it on the right side. By itself those bad left turns were "minors", however as you all know, three "minors" becomes a "major" and major = fail.

    So is it better to just go straight for a DA and not bother faffing around and getting a 125? I think it depends on your current ability and circumstances. If you already have a reasonable skill level and believe you'll be good enough to pass first time then why not go for the DA. I knew that I wasn't good enough which is why I got the 125 first. If you feel you need the practice then consider getting a 125...and get your skills up to scratch.

    One thing I found when I did the DA was that I found it MUCH EASIER to ride the bigger 600cc bike than the 125. The 125 was way too small for me (I think it was a Yamaha SR125) and I found it easier to match the flow of the traffic with the bigger bike. If I were ever to do it again I would prefer to do a DA will all 5 days on a 600cc bike. (I don't think my wife will let me though)
  19. PaoloSanchez

    PaoloSanchez Well-Known Member

    Yeah I didn't quite understand that comment. Not that I know that much about bikes or engines, however as far as I'm aware high revving Japanese bike engines are not that unusual. From what I've read, the engine in the Varadero 125 was a reliable unit and although the model is discontinued, they keep their value quite well.
    Rosemary Jest likes this.
  20. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    My problem is I gave up riding in the 80s because of balance problems - caused, as I now know, by nerve damage to my middle ear, which also helped cause deafness in the same ear - so I don't have much confidence in my antique riding skills, even though the balance problem is now solved (surgery to "kill" the damaged nerve completely). The 125 is purely to build those skills until I'm confident enough to go for an A licence test, probably via, as suggested by craigxcraig , a 5 day course, plus some follow-up training.
    RubyToogood , I've had the VanVan suggested to me, along with a Yamaha YBR. I'm not sure about the VanVAn, but that could be because the rear suspension is a monoshock, which I dimly recall being not very tolerant of a large person like myself (things may have changed in 30 years, though!).
    Rosemary Jest and craigxcraig like this.
  21. PaoloSanchez

    PaoloSanchez Well-Known Member

    Maybe you could try a few 125's for size and see which of them is the best fit. One of the reasons that I picked the Varadero was because it was bigger than most of the other 125's and was closer in size to a normal non-learner bike. The downside being that it's a little on the heavy side but I didn't find it too bad.
    Rosemary Jest and ViolentPanda like this.
  22. OzT

    OzT Online early mornings when at work ....

    Hi ya! yes i know sounds a silly statement. Guess my background in British 4 strokes, which I still own and run a couple of, plus my time served on larger diesels makes any 4 stoke revs approaching 5 figures seems incredulous, as well as unnecessary, I am a big torque man lol!! :)

    Oh yes I am aware newer engines, even 4 stroke road engines, I meant since the late 80s, do rev quite high.

    Like I always prefer Talmag (pre-65) to 2 stroke scrambles :)
  23. RubyToogood

    RubyToogood can't remember what goes here

    I second what was said about a bigger bike being easier to handle. I rode 125s for years and had the fear about a bigger bike, but as soon as I got one I felt much more stable. I was just top heavy on a 125.
    ViolentPanda and PaoloSanchez like this.
  24. PaoloSanchez

    PaoloSanchez Well-Known Member

    I also thought beforehand that a bigger bike would be a lot harder to ride, and I guess really big bikes would take a bit of getting used to, but compared to the 125 I was a lot more comfortable on the 600 and like you said it felt more stable. Not trying to make excuses but I reckon I would have passed had I spent more time on the 600 before the test.
  25. sim667

    sim667 Licking windows on the 303 bus.

    I think it was the YB125 by Yamaha my dad have that he rated.
    ViolentPanda likes this.
  26. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    As I said above, I used to ride a BMW R60, which was 210kg, whereas most 125s seem to weigh between 120-140kg - much lighter. Fortunately, I'm quite heavy, which should help stabilise things a bit!

    I've been looking at 500-750cc bikes for once I've passed the test. I do wish there weren't such an abundance of sports bikes. I'm too old to pretend I'm Mike Hailwood.
    RubyToogood likes this.
  27. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    It gets very good reviews, as does the Suzuki VanVan. They and the Honda CBs and CGs seem to have been built to require a minimum of maintenance.
  28. RubyToogood

    RubyToogood can't remember what goes here

    No excuses are needed. It took me bloody ages to get my first CBT and then I didn't even attempt my test for years. There's a culture now of doing it all in a few days but it doesn't suit everyone.
  29. binka

    binka !!!!!!!!!

    I was a lazy bastard and ended up riding a 125 for nearly four years (did CBT twice) and all that time I had a Honda CBF 125. Well in fact I had 2 CBF 125s after some scrote nicked my first one then set it on fire.

    Quite expensive really for a 125 and you won't really get one for less than £1500 but the maintenance was minimal and it felt quite big compared to other 125s. I'm 6ft5 and it felt a lot more comfortable than the smaller 125s I used when doing my CBTs.

    The good thing is they do seem to hold their value so if you buy one to get confident on you're pretty much guaranteed to get your money back on it when you come to sell it.

    When it comes to doing your full test I'd recommend a DA with 2 days training like I did. When I did mine they were really trying to get me to upgrade to a 3-5 day training but I think you can do it in 2 if you've put the time in on your 125. And since you've done big bikes before anyway it shouldn't be a problem getting it done in 2.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
    Rosemary Jest likes this.
  30. PaoloSanchez

    PaoloSanchez Well-Known Member

    I would like to give it another go sometime, however I'm not getting any younger and wifey does not approve. As I still have the bike I might see if I can persuade her. I would still love to get a 1200GS and go touring about the place like the Missenden Flyer...


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