1997 Honda refresh.

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1/21/2018 5:55 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/21/2018 6:05 PM

Well after much pain and a pretty serious drain on my patience dealing with jacknuts over the internet I finally scored a 1997 CR125. It’s extra ugly thanks to a less than Troy Lee quality paint job, but the bike is super low hour. I traded a rusty toolbox and 150 bucks for it so met my goal of -200.00 dollars!
Pretty sure it has the stock Dunlop 490 on the front along with the original chain and sprockets! The motor is roached but hasn’t been worked on so hopefully a easy overhaul, I’m even optimistic the cylinder is good! We shall see when I get the motor out and apart.
I’m amazed that it’s only missing a handful of stock fasteners. The seat bolts were stripped and standard bolts jammed in, nothing a couple heli coils won’t fix. The only bummer so far is the stock pipe has been butchered on the back side so guess I’ll spring for a new Pro Circuit exhaust
Promising myself I’m not going wild on this like my 86. Just mechanically sound racer that looks presentable. It does need all new bearings so I think I will paint the frame while it’s apart as quite a bit of surface rust coming through. Lots of elbow grease and some new plastics and it will be a solid ole sled.

I do have a question for the CR125 gurus here. I thought I’d read that a 2007 crank assembly will work in this motor, the only difference is that it’s lighter and does not have sheet metal stuffers? Is this true?
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1/21/2018 7:00 PM

Love to see these get restored. I haven't tried it myself but yes my understanding is the newer cranks fit.

Few more screws into that rear guard and should be all good.

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1/22/2018 12:44 AM

Cool, I have a 97 as 95 undre refreshing also, the 97 pritty much done, 95 long way to go yet as in parts right now

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2/9/2018 7:05 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/9/2018 7:07 PM



Making some progress, frame painting now, motor and suspension apart, everything cleaned...
Tossing a coin if I should get the cylinder replated. Motor ate a lot of dirt at some point and has a lot wear, swore I wouldn’t get carried away... maybe next time. Lol.
Took some work to get the aerosol paint off the rims and tank. A soak in super hot water and simple green combined with lots of elbow grease did a good job.
Still 99% sure it had the Dunlop 490 stock tire on the front. I think I was the first person to remove the front wheel since it was new! Still has the KYB stickers on the shock and fork tubes. If these came with steel sunstar sprockets I’m gonna say it was still on the original also!
Get it painted this weekend and start reassembly next week!!! I took a vote and the general consensus was stock shroud graphics so unless someone has a better suggestion stock it is, I always thought these were nice looking bikes. Especially in the era of purple everything the Honda looked classy.
I’ll get some more pics up once I have the ratchet going the right direction.
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2/9/2018 7:08 PM

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4/15/2018 2:50 PM

Well it's been awhile but she's all done!!! Had to send the cylinder off for replating as it was pretty worn on the exhaust side.
All new chassis bearings, suspension overhauled, Brakes overhauled, New crank, piston and mains in the engine and a fresh round of plastic and decals. Pretty much every moving part.... I did keep the transmission bearings and clutch as everything looked good and was in spec. Oddly the front wheel bearings feel OK so they stayed.
Salvaged the tank, seat (including the original cover!), along with lots of other bits like the chain rollers, lots of scrubbing and greasing. Even put the stock front inner tube back in the front tire, watch I'll flat first ride.
Still ended up with a box full new tidbits from Honda to get it back to good.

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Before, Poor thing... I can't figure out how people tear something up so bad.

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After! Got the stock pipe and silencer on it now but have a Bill's setup to swap over.

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Pretty proud of my 2.00 dollar metal ignition cover off a later year, I do love a bargain!

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4/15/2018 2:54 PM

Very nice build you definitely saved this one.

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4/15/2018 8:55 PM

Killed it. Hard to tell it's an actual restore from the last pictures. How did you source the frame guards and did you go with the newer crank?

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4/16/2018 5:41 AM
Edited Date/Time: 4/16/2018 5:55 AM

689 wrote:

Killed it. Hard to tell it's an actual restore from the last pictures. How did you source the frame guards and did you go with the newer crank?

Thanks!!!
Went with the correct crank for the 90-04. It’s larger dia and thus takes up more crankcase volume. I made a separate thread about it on here somewhere. Only 30.00 dollars more to get the correct one.
Under all the black rattle can was a very low hour bike. The kyb stickers are still on the suspension and the chain adjuster sticker is on the swing arm!!!
The frame guards are still available from WC but don’t list the 97 125, just up to 96...
They fit, but the left side is off a freckle, Honda must have moved the upper chain roller for 97 on the frame. It works though.
I’ll get the Bills pipe on it and take a few more pics before I ride it!!!

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4/20/2018 7:28 PM


Got the Bills pipe and silencer fit up tonight!! This was definitely the coolest lucky find. Always wanted a Bills pipe back in the day for some reason.
Ready to head to the track next weekend for a shakeout ride and get some exercise!

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4/21/2018 8:20 AM

Looks great, saved from the scrapyard! Had you not come along it is doubtful that bike would have ever sparked interest for anyone else.

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4/21/2018 10:47 AM

Great work there Rocky! I had a ‘96, and it was one of my favorite 125’s of all time. I hope you have some fun on it, and let me know if you ever want to sell it. ?

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4/21/2018 10:57 AM

newmann wrote:

Looks great, saved from the scrapyard! Had you not come along it is doubtful that bike would have ever sparked interest for anyone else.

Thanks! Agree that most bikes meet a horrible fate. Working at a dealership for years we witnessed so many nice bikes reduced to scrap.
Trying to get a 98 RM125 now As that’s the bike I actually wanted before this popped up. Thrill of the hunt!

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4/21/2018 11:05 AM

mxracer106 wrote:

Great work there Rocky! I had a ‘96, and it was one of my favorite 125’s of all time. I hope you have some fun on it, and let me know if you ever want to sell it. ?

I will be selling this one. Planning on hitting Unadilla, red bud and VMD on it this year... Plus some of the midwest series!

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4/21/2018 11:20 AM

What would a bike with this much time and money you put into it sell for. ? I have been led to believe that it is a very desirable year due to last of the steel frame's.

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Yeah, I have no clue !!!

4/21/2018 5:54 PM

689 wrote:

Killed it. Hard to tell it's an actual restore from the last pictures. How did you source the frame guards and did you go with the newer crank?

Rocky739 wrote:

Thanks!!!
Went with the correct crank for the 90-04. It’s larger dia and thus takes up more crankcase volume. I made a separate thread about it on here somewhere. Only 30.00 dollars more to get the correct one.
Under all the black rattle can was a very low hour bike. The kyb stickers are still on the suspension and the chain adjuster sticker is on the swing arm!!!
The frame guards are still available from WC but don’t list the 97 125, just up to 96...
They fit, but the left side is off a freckle, Honda must have moved the upper chain roller for 97 on the frame. It works though.
I’ll get the Bills pipe on it and take a few more pics before I ride it!!!

That will turn some heads at the track. The red rear guard looks good on it.

IMO that original pipe looks cooler than the Bills. Was thinking of pulling the trigger on a PC from CGH imports this weekend but after looking at your pics I will try and chase down a stock pipe.

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4/22/2018 8:06 AM

689 wrote:

That will turn some heads at the track. The red rear guard looks good on it.

IMO that original pipe looks cooler than the Bills. Was thinking of pulling the trigger on a PC from CGH imports this weekend but after looking at your pics I will try and chase down a stock pipe.

Thanks. The red rear fender is just what comes in the polisport kit, but I thought it looked better than the original white also.
The factory finish bills pipe is what Steve Lampson used on his factory HRC bikes back in the day so I was happy to find one local and cheap. Probably one Bills for every 500 FMF or Pro Circuit out there.
Search eBay and swap meets for pipes. I got the stock pipe for 20.00 bucks off eBay. Dented but salvageable.
Always a bunch of overpriced junk on there so have to be patient for sure. Nice that Honda used the same pipe from 90-97. Not many bikes that saw that long of a parts run!

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4/22/2018 8:11 AM

nicko-31 wrote:

What would a bike with this much time and money you put into it sell for. ? I have been led to believe that it is a very desirable year due to last of the steel frame's.

I’m open to offers!
Not emotionally attached to this one as I am my others. Just a nice bike to race this summer.
Already thinking about my next project, I may have a problem.

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4/25/2018 10:11 AM

Have a good detailed list of how you restored the fuel tank? I have a 97 that someone went spray paint happy on and trying to help bring it back to life.

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4/25/2018 4:36 PM

jbrass715 wrote:

Have a good detailed list of how you restored the fuel tank? I have a 97 that someone went spray paint happy on and trying to help bring it back to life.

Pretty simple really. I used hot water and mean green brand degreaser from Lowe’s (good stuff, I use it in my ultrasonic cleaner too).
Filled a large plastic bin with super hot water and a few glugs of cleaner. Let it soak a few hours or maybe even overnight. Paint simply fell off. Used a worn out gray scuff pad to scrub away a couple stubborn spots.
I was lucky that they hadn’t prepped the plastic. If that doesn’t work many say easy off stove cleaner works. There are specific automotive plastic bumper aerosol paint strippers that would work. But it’s a messy job.

I would try the detergent route first as it’s the least messy.
I rinsed out the inside with acetone to remove water before I mounted the tank.
It’s not perfect and has some stains in the plastic but was nice enough I didn’t buy the tank stickers to cover it up.
Good luck!!

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4/26/2018 7:47 AM

Appreciate the info. Thanks

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5/28/2019 4:29 PM

Awesome build! Sorry to bring up an old thread.. but did you find a period correct Bill’s silencer? I’ve got the same pipe you do, but have yet to find a silencer. Just wondering if you could post a photo so I can check it out. Thanks!

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5/28/2019 7:32 PM

SLOWTIME wrote:

Awesome build! Sorry to bring up an old thread.. but did you find a period correct Bill’s silencer? I’ve got the same pipe you do, but have yet to find a silencer. Just wondering if you could post a photo so I can check it out. Thanks!

I bought a new one.
https://www.ebay.com/p/Bills-Pipes-HS-13-2-Stroke-MX2-Series-Silencer-Brushed-Aluminum/231370623?iid=333200447948&rt=nc&opts=opick


I talked to the owner and apparently all the old stamping dies to make the old pipes were scrapped some time ago. He was helpful and guesses mine is appox 1995 as it has the triangle logo. Hang on tight to that Bill's pipe!!

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5/29/2019 4:52 PM

Thanks for the info! That’s crazy they scrapped all the old forms. I’ll keep up the search for an old silencer. All I’ll need then is a bike for it. Hah

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