Your Collection: '77 CR125M Restoration

March 15, 2009 10:59am

This week's collection comes from David Camerson of Oro Valley, AZ. Have something cool to share? Everyone that submits a piece from their collection from now until March 31st will be entered to win a free Racer X t-shirt. You will be notified via e-mail if you are the winner! Please include your shirt size.

My 1977 CR 125M was found in Mammoth, Arizona leaning upon a old junk Camaro . It did not have a “For Sale” sign but I stopped and asked about the bike with a guy who was the owner’s nephew. I negotiated with the owner over the phone and he said “ Whatcha gimme fer it” and I said $200 and I immediately drove home went to an ATM and drove my truck back and took her home.

The motor was locked up and I suspected that she had seized, that was not the case. The reason the CR had not run in 20 years was the bottom end of the connecting rod had broken and the bearing disintegrated on the crankshaft. You can’t buy an OEM connecting rod for a 32 yr. old Honda 125 and I had to get a Hot Rod kit and have the crankshaft line bored for the 2mm larger crank pin, bearing and rod. While I was in the motor we replaced all bearings, seals, gaskets, and had the cylinder bored over with a new piston, ring, clips etc. I had the frame and shock springs powder coated and the tank and shock bodies were wet painted. I painted the side cases, bars , triple trees, hubs ,brake arm ,air box, motor mounts, and all brackets. The bike got all new plastic and a new seat cover, air cleaner and intake manifold. The clutch cable was replaced and a fresh NGK B9ES installed. I replaced the fork seals, fork oil and swing arm bushings. All spokes were sanded and new Dunlops were mounted. The carb had black tar in every jet and it was the hardness of carbide. The machine now starts on the first or second kick. I saw an identical Elsinore at an AHRMA event in Phoenix with a $6000 price tag! The Throttle Jockey number plate graphics completed the package!
In 1977 the Honda CR was NOT the bike to have in the 125 class. Honda’s dominance was over by 1976 and the YZ’s and RM’s were much better machines. The CR is VERY peaky and the suspension is limited. I had owned and raced a ‘75 CR 125M after the Hondas out ran my ‘73 Suzuki TM125 in the ‘74 season. The first CR 125 in ‘74 owned motocross. It weighed only 188 lbs. with fuel and had 20 horsepower. By 1978 the Suzuki RM 125C and Yamaha YZ 125E were hard to beat and the old Elsies faded into history.
The early Elsinores had problems with the frame breaking around the kick stand mount and the transmissions didn’t last forever. The swingarms were not too strong, bushings were plastic, and the rear shocks were bad. Most people who were serious changed the Keihin carb to a larger Mikuni and bought a aftermarket swingarm and set of shocks. Some racers modified the triple trees and put CR 250 forks on the 125. Common mods were a FMF or DG pipe and high performance cylinder head.

This restoration was a lot of work but well worth it when it ran again for the first time since the mid-80s. It will NOT be ridden in the desert!

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