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Steve Young 10-18-2011 09:13 AM

Honda TL 125, 1974
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Hello there,

I just picked up one of these and it is in pretty good shape and looks like it is original. Any tips, hints, parts leads or general info, bullshit appreciated.

Regards Steve

Brunow - 007 10-18-2011 01:19 PM

Add bigger rear sprocket for easy to use on steep rocks...

TLtrials 10-18-2011 07:11 PM

Good looking bike Steve.

It kind of depends what you want to do with the little TL, plonk around and have fun or compete in vintage trials events? That can help establish your budget and what you want/need to do.

Like Brunow said, gearing is one of the first things to do, the stock gearing is too high.

Get the bike set up and comfortable for you- look into weld on foot peg extensions. Also, depending on your height new bars and maybe riser blocks. For me a set of Domino bars and 1" custom risers made by a local machine shop.

Steering is a little slower than some of the TYs and other european trials machines of the era. You either get used to it, or lower the fork height a little if it is an issue.

To be competitive, new tires would be a must, depending on the wear and age of the tires that are on it. Michelin, IRC Competition, Dunlop, can be good choices.

Aftermarket shocks can help a lot.

Check the points as needed, keep the oil changed, and the air filter clean and it will run forever.

Here are some links to companies that can give the TL some love.

Mine has morphed into a very non-stock machine, but is a fun little bike, light weight, sounds great in a two stroke world (Poweroll 145cc kit and a Sammy Miller Exhaust makes it thump), and always gets a lot of looks and compliments.

darmst6829 10-18-2011 08:47 PM


Originally Posted by Steve Young (Post 17101868)
Hello there,

I just picked up one of these and it is in pretty good shape and looks like it is original. Any tips, hints, parts leads or general info, bullshit appreciated.

Regards Steve

Something about the handlebars does not look copasetic. Great bikes for vintage competition. One of my favorite bikes of all time and thatís from a Bultaco guy.


TUCKERS 10-18-2011 09:20 PM

One of my favorite bikes too!

I currently have a TL 250 but I don't like it half as much as the 125.

As already been said, if you want to compete in Vintage and be competitive you will need the aformentioned mods.

Just to plonk around on: adjust the chain, choose your tire pressure and change the oil.

You might want take the side covers off and wrap them in cotton balls!

Brunow - 007 10-19-2011 03:24 AM


Originally Posted by TLtrials (Post 17106424)
Good looking bike Steve.

Mine has morphed into a very non-stock machine, but is a fun little bike, light weight, sounds great in a two stroke world (Poweroll 145cc kit and a Sammy Miller Exhaust makes it thump), and always gets a lot of looks and compliments.

Nice bike! :eek1
Also +1 on the!

Steve Young 10-19-2011 09:52 AM

Thanks for the replies guys.

TLtrials that's a nice looking bike too. Few questions. I hope you don't mind.
  • What levers are those ? Is the clutch pull better than standard (it's not really a one finger jobbie on the original one)
  • Planning 12 - 60 Gearing, will that be ok or too low. Lots of sprocket choices out there.
  • Looks like you have some sort of chain tensioner there, is that original ?
I'm not sure how serious I'm gonna get. Last time I had a trials bike was about 26 yrs ago !!! I bought it mainly for a winter project and for a putt around. But you never know. Memories of my Bultaco Sherpa T 250 days are coming back already. That was an awesome bike.
Any special tools required. I heard you need something to pull the centrifugal oil filter ? Is the fly wheel hard to come off, or do you need the correct puller?
Everything else I'm happy to attack. Ordered new points and a few other bits and pieces already. What oil would you recommend?
It needs tyres the sidewalls are cracked.
Idle and just off idle throttle response is kinda ropey, I haven't investigated the carb yet. Air screw setting? Timing out? Have heard that some people fit carb from XR 100, don't know the validity of that one thou. Anyways The strip down and look over will be starting soon.

I did hear that the side panels were like hen's teeth, he, he. It might be an idea to stash them.

This site is great, amazes me what comes up.
Thanks again


TLtrials 10-19-2011 05:58 PM

Steve, I don't mind at all, glad to help with what I know (and that could be suspect!)

Clutch pull-
The levers are MSR clutch levers (the brake is a flipped over clutch lever). They have three positions for the cable end to fit that help vary the lever pull. They help a little, but it is still a stiff clutch. Make sure you lube the cable good with some graphite or cable lube system.
Some guys have lengthened the arm at the engine, and that solves the problem, but it has not been that big of a problem for me.

I am pretty sure 12/60 is what I am running. At least 60 is on the rear, and I think it is a 12 on the front.

The chain tensioner is a sammy miller universal that I hacked up and modified to fit on the TL swing arm. It has been on it for years and not give any trouble.

Tools - You should be able to get the oil spanner and the small displacement Honda flywheel puller from Parts Canada through any local dealer. Mine came from Parts Unlimited, they are aftermarket and work fine.
I did buy the motion pro feeler gauge and valve adjustment tool. They make it much easier to check and adjust the valves as needed.

I have been running Amsoil 10/40 since the big bore kit. The mechanic that done my boring swears by it. Prior to that it was castrol 10/40 or Suzuki performance 4 10/40 (I have plenty of suzukis and always had a liter of their oil in the garage).

I never could get the hiccup out of the stock carb. With the poweroll engine kit it was worse, I went through B&J Racing and bought their TL125 upgrade carb. It looks very similar to the carb off of an XR200, but I am not for sure. It came jetted properly, bolt up and ready to go. It works perfect and is spot on with the big bore kit. The B&J guys are good, they ride and know what works.

Yes - Hide your side panels! My stock panels and tank were trashed on my bike. I made the aluminum side panels and bought a Sammy Miller tank.

If you get into it and something comes up shoot me a PM and I will help if I can.

Steve Young 10-20-2011 08:32 AM

Thanks TLtrials ,

Appreciate all the info.
Ebay and various other outlets have been getting a serious hitting the past few days :D I'm actually looking forwards to snow and -30's in Calgary now. Lots to keep me busy over the winter.
Seems like I could spend a packet on it. Got it for a good price and planning keeping it. See what happens.

Cheers for now

Garthe 10-20-2011 09:11 AM

Questions, are these hard to find (read, low production numbers)? What price range are they?

Why did I ask...:baldy

Steve Young 10-20-2011 10:22 AM

Ha ha

I have been looking for one of these or similar vintage , TY, Cota, Sherpa T , Alpina, RL, KT for a few years now. They do crop up, but I was looking for one locally and scored a good one. I bought it 2 days after it was advertised. And there were a few others lined up after me. One guy was even gonna travel from Ontario just to see it. Thats a long long way from Calgary !!!
Price range I have no idea really $800 - $2000 depending on condition ? I'm not sure. Maybe someone else will chime in. They did come with lighting kits in europe I know for sure. Don't know about USA & Canada.
Lots were made as far as I know. People are just hanging on to them.

996DL 10-20-2011 10:22 AM

As a teenager in British Columbia in the 70's, the Suzuki dealership I worked at, got a TL125 in on trade. While prepping it for resale, I took it out briefly for a quick riding impression, in an adjoining paved parking lot. Naturally I attempted a wheel loft and unlike every bike before or since, was instantly able to find the perfect balance point and modulate a safe and enjoyable wheelie, with just the throttle alone. The little four stroke's output was so gentle, linear and forgiving, that that brief ride is still vivid in my memory. My RL250 at that time, was forgiving of my limited skills in carrying lengthy wheelies, but didn't impart that totally natural feel of modulating the balance point, like that lovely TL125...

It would be worthwhile owning one, if only to just engage in endless catwalks... :raabia :lol3


JeffPM 10-20-2011 08:09 PM

Great little bikes, the OPs bike looks just like mine that I bought for $700 in 1975. They weren't rare and I see them come up often enough. Conditions range from barely above parts bikes to really nice ones. As mentioned, they are well balanced with nice linear power and I'd pull long wheelies. Very rugged, too. If I had a convenient place to ride dirt around here, I'd pick one up again.

Garthe 10-20-2011 11:41 PM

Thanks Steve...I can see one in my future (or should I sons future).

Steve Young 10-21-2011 09:46 AM

Hey Garthe,

Funny you mentioned it. But I also have a 3 1/2 yr old daughter who is desperate to get on a bike, my son has just turned 1yr. I'am planning to get one of those Oset electric trial bikes for my daughter next year (don't tell the missus) so we can have a play around.
If she progresses the TL would become hers. Then Daddy can get another one :evil

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