Paul Charman: Remember the Honda CG 125?

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Paul Charman salutes one of the most popular 125cc road motorcycles ever built

Prince Harry hams it up aboard the abandoned CG 125.
Prince Harry hams it up aboard the abandoned CG 125.

The well priced new Honda CB125E has nudged the long-serving CG 125 further onto the ash heap of history.

But let's give credit where its due before the CG is forgotten forever.

Boasting a bullet-proof engine, this remarkable design was manufactured in Japan, Brazil and Turkey from 1976 to 2008.

Specifically made as a low maintenance Third World work horse, the CG 125 has also spawned copies built by Chinese and South Korean companies.

Astonishingly, a Jihadist magazine, which aims to drum up support in the West, praised the CG as "a steed of war".

A writer for the fourth edition of Azan Magazine noted the CG performed well, needed little maintenance and could easily carry two jihadists, plus their weapons and other and equipment.

Many of these bikes have been put to work in Afghanistan, as illustrated by those famous photos of Prince Harry's unit discovering one abandoned there, and then successfully push-starting it.

I recall selling scores of CG 125s as a salesman for the now long defunct Takapuna Motorcycles Honda Dealership.

They always seemed a bit nerdy, but you couldn't kill them.

From memory some second hand ones achieved mileages of up to 65,000 km or so, which is pretty good for a 125. By the old measure you'd get 100 miles to the gallon (a frugal 2.8L/100km in today's money), they seemed capable of cruising all day at 80-90 km/h and could reach just over 100. The things were popular in New Zealand, but even more so as a learner bike in Britain.

Remember that nerdy CG 125 rider in the 1986 John Cleese movie, Clockwise?

Above all, owners the world over seemed to get away with less in the way of maintenance, especially oil changes, when compared to any of Honda's over-head cam designs.

On the down side, even for a 125 the bikes always seemed to me to be just a wee bit small and cramped.

But be that as it may, let's hope the slicker replacement, which apparently has nippier performance, can match the reliability of its respected predecessor.

What are your memories of the Honda CG 125?

- NZ Herald

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