1990 VRP Mugen 125 - rebuilt

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12/29/2014 5:09 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/29/2014 7:18 AM

I want to share my fully rebuilt Vintage racebike with you guys:

1990 VRP Mugen 125

It was my racebike back in '90/'91 and even into '92 for the Swiss Inter 125cc championships and i was eligible to do worldchampionships (GPs) as well. After the '92 season it got teared down and i stored the whole chassis in my dads basement. It stayed there for over 20 years....

It's in 2012 that i finally started rebuilding my bike. That was the year i almost gave up riding my 125cc bikes i kept to date.... I bought myself a KTM 350 fourstroke but actually never liked the way they need to be ridden. I missed the attack style riding, the screaming engine, the flickable feel,...even though i'm 47 years old now i still like to go full-throttle and attack berms etc. That was all missing with the fourstoke and i really lost the fun while riding. And let's be honest- at my age this is what it's all about: having fun on the bike !! That's when i decided to do a 125 AF (with actual CRF chassis) but also got interested in rebuilding my old racebike. I sold the 350 and from then on concentrated on my 125 Hondas. So actually i have 3 of them in my garage...

The custom, aluminium VRP chassis is something very,very exotic.

VRP is an italian brand: Verona Racing Parts.
Back then in the US VRP got distributed by On the Line Racing

Carlo Verona was the main man behind all this and he was/is really a genius. Back then the GPs went over 40 minutes + 2 laps so almost every GP rider needed large capacity fuel tanks. VRP was famous for doing those as well as rear aluminium subframes. They also did those nice swingarms for HRC but also for Kawasaki works bikes. And finally in '89/'90 they did this unique aluminium chassis for Honda CRs. Remember - that's 8 years before Honda offered the 1st aluminium frame on the '97 CR 250 ! Later on Carlo Verona also did a full 500cc GP roadracer (chassis AND engine...all by VRP!). These days he does engines for speedboats and has several worldchampionships to his credit.

The aluminium frame wasn't any lighter than the stock steel frame but much stiffer. It really changed the way the bike handled and how the suspension components would perform. It was leaps better.

Anyway - enjoy the pictures:
http://www.vitalmx.com/community/luckynino,45103/setup,45296


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Mugen kitted engine
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This is in 2012 when the rebuild started:
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According to Carlo Verona only 12 such frames got ever produced. Mine was supposed to be used by Georges Jobé when he attempted to win the 125cc title but VRP finished the whole chassis too late so Jobé decided to compete with stock chassis instead (and we all know he didn't succeed to win the title).
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Original VRP catalogue:
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Original picture of 1991
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My Mugen collection wink
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The Mugen-equipped engine:
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I run the exact same engine in my current CR 125 AF (with CRF chassis)....the engine now enters it's 25th season !!!! And it's still running strong. I can still beat todays actual machinery ('15 KTM etc.) tongue
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12/29/2014 5:19 AM

Wow that's nice! Both the 125s look amazing.

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12/29/2014 6:00 AM

Sick build, thanks for sharing and congrats on your moto career!

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04 KX125
94 KX250SM
75 Z1-900

12/29/2014 6:18 AM

Amazing bike you have there, as well as the history that goes along with it. Thanks for hanging on to it and restoring it!

Vital member named Hubbard will be along shortly wanting all of your spare Mugen kits.....laughing

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12/29/2014 6:25 AM

Just superb gear Nino, love it everytime

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12/29/2014 7:11 AM

WOW! So cool

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If you like uncle tony's meatballs, you'll love his sausage

Now that's Italian

12/29/2014 7:26 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/29/2014 7:54 AM

Today the VRP is the queen in my garage:
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That's 3 generation aluminium Hondas sitting next to each other:
From left to right:
-1990 VRP Mugen Honda......................1st aluminium Honda
-CR 125 '98............................................1st production aluminium 125 Honda (and the last bike i competed with in championships)
-CR 125 AF (with CRF chassis)............."ultimate" aluminium 125 Honda
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All 3 are Mugen powered smile
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Only once i had all engines on the bench:
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And there is even a 4th engine waiting to be reassembled....needless to say i got a specialist in doing these engines as i had all of them opened up like the one below...
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12/29/2014 8:00 AM

newmann wrote:

Amazing bike you have there, as well as the history that goes along with it. Thanks for hanging on to it and restoring it!

...more

And here I am...... Lol.

Awesome Awesome Awesome..... Awesome.

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12/29/2014 8:10 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/23/2018 3:07 AM

What if i told you i already had a VRP Mugen 125 in '89 ?
Too bad i sold that one and have no idea where it is now...but i'm glad my dad insisted we kept the '90

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12/29/2014 8:12 AM

luckynino, thank you for share! Awesome bikes you have.

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12/29/2014 8:12 AM

Too cool man. Mugen fever is a disease that can only be maintained by more Mugens. It is not curable. Lol

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12/29/2014 8:46 AM

I have to build a garage and get my workshop out of my basement, threads like this give me the motivation. Thanks for posting Nino, looks like you keep in shape like your bikes hehe ! Is CHE Swizerland ?
Nice area for sure !

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78 RM250C
79 YZ250F
81 YZ465H
80 MX6 125
81 MX6B 250



12/29/2014 8:58 AM

Nino that is impressive. Keep up the work on the Honda's. Mugens are awesome. Good to see you smoking all the modern machinery.
I have a question for you? I picked up a 1988 cr125. This will be my winter project. How much faster is the Mugen Cr125 vs Stock CR125 on a straight away? Is the mugen faster than a current YZ125/KTM 150?
Thank You
Prairieboy43
cool
cool cool cool laughing

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12/29/2014 9:59 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/29/2014 1:19 PM

Uhh-i wouldn't compare a '88 Mugen with actual 150s !

The later HPP engines already were a step above. When i say my '90 engine in my AF is stiil competitive it is also because i have virtually done everything possible to that bike. It's a "dream come true" project and just this week i further invested in some Showa SFF Air Tac forks off of a brandnew '15 CRF 250...i really go out without almost no barrier.

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Last week i got my Kayaba spring forks back from an intensive end-of season overhaul:
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I installed them and just 2 days later went out and bought those brandew Showas on top of it....they're 1415g lighter so that was the main reason i bought them. Saving weight has top priotity. We're looking at almost 6 kilos /13 lbs i was able to save without buying any Titanium bolts etc....the bike is now about 12 kilos/ 26 lbs lighter than a 250F and about 15 kilos/33 lbs lighter than a 450F.
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12/29/2014 10:03 AM

Shawbridge Husky wrote:

I have to build a garage and get my workshop out of my basement, threads like this give me the motivation. Thanks for posting ...more

Yes-i'm in Zurich/Switzerland.

Over here we have NO practice tracks. There's 2-3 very small ones but for real practice we have to travel to Italy/Germany/France...
BUT we have some of the nicest races. The tracks are built on farmers land just one weekend so we often have very nice and tacky soil. Maybe some of you remember GP tracks like Payerne, Wohlen,Roggenburg, Rothenthurm,Geneva...all very nice tracks on natural terrain. Thanks to Mr. Luongo they are no longer part of the calendar though sad


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12/29/2014 10:15 AM

Thanks for sharing your story. VRP parts are a work of art!

Found this photo somewhere online a while ago.

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VRP stand in 1990.

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12/29/2014 10:38 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/29/2014 11:27 AM

Dutchman wrote:

Thanks for sharing your story. VRP parts are a work of art!

Found this photo somewhere online a while ago.

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VRP stand in ...more

This was actually MY bike!

No kidding. That was at the Motor Show Bologna where Carlo Verona had his booth. Before the Motor Show he asked me if i would give him my brandnew CR so he would assemble it with the chassis etc....otherwise he would have needed to buy a brandew CR 125 just to have one for the exhibition.....This way i was able to get the VRP parts not only cheaper but already assembled by the man himself wink The year before in '89 it took us 23 hours to assemble the bike with the aluminium chassis.

Later on i just installed the new plastics off the 250 model as it was already 1 year ahead in design. But i still have the aluminium airbox and also the '90 fuel tank with the air funnels.So i'd be able to rebuild it to it's original '90 specs.

That year Verona also tuned my engine! He always said Mugens still had a lot of potential left and that he was able to do a lot better. In '88 when i met him for the 1st time it was in Mantova/Italy. He was testing with a young italian rider and that guy was blazing fast. I went over there and was blown away by the aluminium fuel tank,handmade exhaust etc...and the rider was going so fast on that bike so i asked about. That's when Carlo aksed if i would like to do a lap on that bike. "Sure"....i went out on the sand track but honestly, i wasn't able to keep the revs up as needed. He said the bike had 36 HP while stock they had more like 29-30 those days. But the ponies were all waaaay up. That rider went out with my Mugen equipped '88 and had it scream like a mad man...you couldn't tella differencewink Anyway - that's when i met Verona and that same evening went to his place and bought some gas tanks end subframes for my '88. Now as mentioned 2 years later he would do me a full race engine. I had to use 110 octane ELF race gas which cost us a fortune. That bike was really fast.But i had a bad injury to my hand and the season was ended way sooner as i would have liked. And for 91 we already changed bikes and sold that engine.......not so the frame.we still kept it. Just changed all the rest.

Oh-by the way: that handmade VRP pipe was absolutely insane.It would gain tons of revs up top but no low end at all. It was really adding a ton on top but only by shifting all the ponies up top.No more bottom end to talk about wink I actually never used it for any races. I wasn't able to keep the revs up enough...

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12/29/2014 5:16 PM

luckynino wrote:

Uhh-i wouldn't compare a '88 Mugen with actual 150s !

The later HPP engines already were a step above. When i say my '90 ...more

Impressive Cr there Nino. Mugen

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12/29/2014 5:27 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/29/2014 5:28 PM

Awesome bikes....I want one ! If you ever want to sell one of those bad boys I'm your huckleberry....

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12/29/2014 6:39 PM

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Tell us about the tandem mountain bike.
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12/29/2014 11:07 PM

I love the 89 VRP even more than the '90. :D

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12/29/2014 11:20 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/30/2014 2:15 AM

Bigfoot wrote: Photo

Tell us about the tandem mountain bike.

Well-after i quit racing MX championships in '98 i put my focus on bicycles. I was riding bikes for years for cardio but that year i started putting my focus on my bicycles...over the past years i got well known amongst weight-weenies worldwide for my crazy-light mountainbikes. I also had parts specially made and sold parts worldwide.(Just google for "luckynino"). Even my wife had her own, custom made MTB however she has this big handicap called multiple sclerosis (MS) and since about 3 years can't cycle on her own anymore. That's when such a tandem came in handy. It allows us to spend time on the road together. The one on the front can really train while the one in the back can lean back and enjoy. Since she has so little power we also had a electro-engine installed which helps us on the climbs. It simply got too intense for me on the climbs so i needed some assistance. But a tandem on flat ground is awesome. the speeds you can go are crazy and as written you can enjoy cycling together. With two seperate bikes the one in shape usually has to go too slow and the slower one already suffers...this way you are bonded together which is really cool.

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12/30/2014 2:22 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/30/2014 2:23 AM

ThijsK wrote:

I love the 89 VRP even more than the '90. :D

As mentioned i have those original pieces still around so i could make it a '89/'90 again.

'89/'90 VRP subframe-airbox combo
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'89/'90 VRP gas tank with air funnels that bring air from behind the perforated front numberplate directly into the much bigger aluminium airbox.
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after some polishing wink
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12/30/2014 6:54 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/30/2014 6:54 AM

Sooo trick, some good ideas right there ! Pretty cool on the MTB stuff, I could tell from your pic that you
are into some type of training Nino, unlike Marty Tripes hehehe !

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78 RM250C
79 YZ250F
81 YZ465H
80 MX6 125
81 MX6B 250



12/30/2014 11:38 AM

Bravo Nino!
Moto stupende...

In Italy we can't stay with our own hands in the pocket!


laughing laughing laughing

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My job @ www.spah24.com

12/30/2014 1:17 PM

Very nice bikes Nino!

Do you know what modifications VRP did to the Mugen cylinder?

My 90 cylinder is modified by machining 1.5mm of the base and seen other 90 and 91 cylinders with that mod and I'm curious to know why they did it and what piston and conrod they used.

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12/30/2014 2:02 PM

Banana_oil wrote:

Very nice bikes Nino!

Do you know what modifications VRP did to the Mugen cylinder?

My 90 cylinder is modified by ...more

No-i don't remember. I know how the HPP valves looked like as i still have the ones he modified for my Mugen back then. I also got a drawing with some port measures from Verona. All i know is he drastically altered compression as we needed to use expensive racegas.

But i do know that Mugens have the HPP valves placed 1,5mm HIGHER than stock cylinders. So the exhaust port is a lot higher thus altering mid-top power quit a bit.

Cutting off the base? are you sure? Usually lowering the ports results in more bottom. A mod that is pretty common on 250s. But i don't see why anyone would want more bottom on a MX 125?? I have seen the other way round that guys lifted the whole cylinder by adding a spacerplate...this way mimicking the higher ports off the Mugen and improving top power.

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12/30/2014 3:24 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/30/2014 3:25 PM

Post more, luckynino!!

Perhaps, show us your helmet collection? I see a few cherries on the shelf!

BTW, sorry to hear about your wife's illness---but very cool that she has a husband that keeps her going!

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12/30/2014 6:16 PM

Found your Blog NIno, that's some fine 2T riding right there !
Good job !

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78 RM250C
79 YZ250F
81 YZ465H
80 MX6 125
81 MX6B 250



12/30/2014 11:18 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/23/2018 3:09 AM

I would have pics and details of every angle...

In 2013 german MOTOX magazine (europes largest MX magazine) did an article on todays twostroke 125cc bikes. Tey heard about me and my friends custom Honda AF builds so we got invited to come to Reutlingen/Germany as they wanted to do an interview and get detailed pics and also wanted to test our bikes. Well - on that occasion i also took my 1990 VRP along. I thought it might be cool to have them see the very first 125 aluminium bike as well. In the end they did a whole page on my Vintage bike as well smile

Here we are still talking to editor Busty Wolter before actually riding them. You can see he is already staring at the old beauty in the middle wink
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Chief editor Busty Wolter pushing my VRP to the photo-session:
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Photoshoot:
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The actual article in MotoX magazine:
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Later that day we had the opportunity to actually ride our bikes. It was a dream come true to be able to have my own bike rebuilt and now be ridden for the 1st time after 22 years. I thought it would be a very emotional moment but instead i was not enjoying it at all: i was really terrified to do my bike any harm. "Not crash, don't do any scratches, no dings in the aluminium gas tank, easy on the engine,..." that's what i was thinking all the time. The track was bonedry and unforgiving too. My brakes wouldn't work porperly. But worst of all i heard a noise from the engine the longer i rode. I thought it was going to seize up or something but back home i discovered it was just our home-made glide-plate under the chassis which came loose. So it made for vibration and a irritating noise which i couldn't locate on the track. I was riding timid and would always listen to every tiny noise coming from underneath...That year i was also supposed to go to Farleigh Castle to do the Vintage MX of Nations. I was already signed in (costs around 200 Euro beforehand) but in the end i wasn't able to find someone to share the travel to Great Britain. I did that travel once in '93 when i competed in european championships and it was a very looong travel. I was trying to connect with some italian guys but in the end they had already 12 bikes in the truck and no more space for me. But after that day in Reutlingen i wouldn't even know if i had raced at all. I think it needs to be perfect weather, a smooth track...just easy going.

Anyway - here's a short video of that moment:



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