Thoughts on Thumpers, Barn Finds and Bee Stings

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by RocketMan, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. RocketMan

    RocketMan Out Rocketing

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    952
    Location:
    Woodbridge VA
    About three weeks ago I picked up a 1975 CB125S, in generally good running condition with a few parts in need of replacement due to rusting but nothing preventing me from riding it. I bought it as a city bike, and something that took me back to my roots of riding back in the mid 60's over in the Orient where everything was pretty much in the 125-250 cc class. A shits and grins ride which has total hoot.

    Until this past weekend I hadn't ridden much beyond 10 miles from home but now I have everything spot on tuning wise I decided to try a few longer excursions.

    Thoughts on “what qualifies as a Thumper”
    Over the past week as I have been riding my new CB125 I have been debating with myself if a small displacement single can really qualify as a “thumper”. I have always thought of thumpers as larger displacement machines but after some 400-500 miles on this little guy I have decided he definitely qualifies. While not as pronounced as most others I have ridden in this class, the feel of the motor really does give the same sensation of a single cylinder machine thumping along. You really do know you're astride a single piston motor as you ride, esp. as you approach top end in any gear, which is pretty much the only way to ride this and get anywhere near the power band. Thus it seemed appropriate to name him Thumper, and yes he is definitely a male motorcycle ( don't ask me how I know, I just do).

    The essence of motorcycling embodied in a 125cc 12 HP machine.

    This past weekend I have taken Thumper on two long(er) rides now that I have everything pretty well sort out, timing, carb, chain adjusted and lubed, fresh oil and cleaned up most corrosion on the the engine, which has a pretty decent shine now. Yesterday not only did I finally decide this is most assuredly a thumper, but it also embodies what I have always considered to be the quintessential essence of motorcycling, Or put another way, motorcycling in its “purest” no frills form. Riding it reminds me about what I have often said as relates to those who rode in the early days, we owe them our graduate for persevering in the face of all the adversities they faced and overcame for the shear joy of riding two wheels face to the wind. I now feel closer to them and this little minimalist machine has given me a new appreciation for what is must have been like in the early days, when machines made (in many cases) even less HP than my 125. When speed wasn't the important thing ( although speed is somewhat retaliative and 40 back then would have seemed like flying, given the roads they rode on) it was about just being astride a very basic machine with a motor just barely able to move you down the road, no room for any “extras” or conveniences; just a motor, wheels and a frame to hold it all together (hopefully!). You really are “out there” on something like this. There is a certain challenge in riding something with minimal power, each approaching hill or incline has to be planned for; you're lucky if you can maintain 50 up any real incline, so you down-shift and accept 45 and before you know it, its down hill again and you're back in top gear buzzing along at 50+ once more. And you know, 45 is just as much fun as 50 or 55 on the flats, on a machine this size, plus you don't have decel for the upcoming corner, you just keep the power on and proceed on though! How kool is that!


    Saturday I rode him down to Mortons and got a lot of on lookers coming up and asking questions and had some good conversations with a few others I met that are also into small displacement machines.
    The ride was nice, the first longer ride on thumper and it really didn't take much longer than on any other ride on one of my larger machines. Just a straight shot down Rt. 1, humming along between 45 and 55, taking about an hour both ways.Once again it has shown just how capable a machine this is, stable and amazingly comfortable for what it is. It was also nice not to have anything between me and wind and be able to enjoy the full on "wind in my face" experience, esp on such a warm day.

    Barn Finds and Bee Stings
    Today I took him out for an even longer run down Arden road to some back roads leading to Elk Run Road and then across 28 to Old Dumfries and Old Auborn toward Warrenton. As I got close to RT. 28 I had to go on reserve but figured I'd be good until I got the remaining 15 or so miles to town. I based this on having taken the petcock off last week to flush out the tank, change the fuel filter and gaskets and judging by the length of the steam I assumed I had about a half gallon left. At 70-80 miles to the gallon I Thought I could make, well not so much as it turned out. About 6 miles shy of town the motor quit and I rolled to stop just at the entrance to a large working farm. Well now... After sitting for a few minutes I decided to walk down the farm road and ask about getting some gas, figuring it being a working farm and people generally don't generally drive their tractors to the gas station they would have some gas on hand and might be willing to spare a bit for a stranded motorist. Just as I started walking down the road, the owner, in an older Volvo turned into the the drive and pulled over. I told him the situation and he said no problem and would be right back. Sure enough a few minutes later he returns with a gallon of gas and I fill the tank, give it a kick and Thumper fired right up. He seemed interested in the CB asked about the bike and the year. He then informed me he also had a CB125, a 71 he thought so we got to talking vintage bikes and such. He's looked to be about the same age as myself and had been riding since around the same time as I started. Then he asks about parts for these as his 125 had a bad float and the last time he had looked around for a carb the only one he found the owner wanted $200, more than what he had paid for the bike. I told him had found lots of parts on line but he didn't have Internet or bother with computers and such. Then he started asking about parts for a CB350. Seems he had one of those as well. Then he told me about his BSA 500 single! So at that point I asked him just how many bikes he had. He thought for a bit then said “5, I think”! Seems he had quite a collection.
    Calling Big Dave[\b]On top of that he also has a 12 cylinder Jag, one he said he had been told was fairly rare; a 2 seater with a two part removable hard top that he was trying to sell for a friend.
    So finally it was time for me to head on so we traded phone numbers as I told him I knew a few folks who might be interested in one or more of his machines since he seemed interested in perhaps parting with some but just hadn't made a big effort. So I'll be heading back sometime to take some pictures and then post up the particulars once I have more info.
    Very kool, I have heard so many stories about folks finding barn queens and always wished I would be so lucky, but to find multiple barn queens in a single location, Wow, just Wow!

    A little while later I got into Warrenton, got gas and headed home. That's when I had my Bee encounter when one flew into my jacket sleeve and stung me several times before I managed to crush it and remove the carcass from under my tee shirt.
    So now I also have determined that along with everything else a vintage 125 can indeed be an adventure machine!
    Over the past two days I've logged almost 200 miles on two longish rides and am throughly enamored with small displacement machines!

    And now for some pics of Thumper since I got her cleaned up, looking pretty darn good I must say!


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    RM
    Thumper-Rider
    #1
  2. Gham

    Gham Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,748
    Location:
    Auburn Hills,MI.
    That was a pretty durable little machine if memory serves me!

    Sounds like your having a great time,keep writing.:clap
    #2
  3. adcolor

    adcolor Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    20
    Nice. You might gain 10 mpg if you loose the saddle bags.

    Didn't know they put disk brakes on the 125 that early. Nice look with the black rims.
    #3
  4. cb200t

    cb200t Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    301
    Location:
    Bellefontaine, OH
    I'm very excited to have found this thread. I am in the midst of restoring a 1975 CB200T right now, my first motorcycle. Looking forward to reading about more of your rides!
    #4
  5. RocketMan

    RocketMan Out Rocketing

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    952
    Location:
    Woodbridge VA
    Disk brakes started in 74, cable actuated. Passable but I'd prefer the older drum.

    Actually they are very light and do come off easily. I have ridden it with and without it seems to make very little difference. On the flats I can maintain 55 which is its rated cruising speed with the bags, but any long incline requires a downshift into 4th to maintain speed (around 45-50 depending. Around town they are very convenient. I'd love to find and old milk crate to strap in the back rack, just for shits and grins. I do have a GIVI top case I use on my nt700 but it looks ridiculously big on this little beast.

    Can't wait to get a hold of the 71 SL125 I also buying once I find a place to store it.

    RM
    #5
  6. RocketMan

    RocketMan Out Rocketing

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    952
    Location:
    Woodbridge VA
    Very cool indeed. Now that is something I could see easily doing an overnight camping trip on. 150-200 miles in a day would not be unreasonable, granted on mostly back roads but a cruising speed of 60 should be easily achievable I should think.

    Post up some pics if you haven't already, love to see it.

    RM
    #6
  7. sledrydr

    sledrydr Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    43
    Location:
    Iowa
    Memory road here! Former '74 CB125S owner. Should have never sold it...:cry
    #7
  8. CMS

    CMS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    361
    Location:
    Southern,OHIO
    #8
  9. Vinbowie

    Vinbowie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    433
    Location:
    Maryland
    That is a cool ride you've got there
    and your riding it!
    That is even cooler.
    I must say it looks great too.
    #9
  10. TrashCan

    TrashCan Scary Jerry

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Oddometer:
    7,838
    Location:
    Louisville, Tn
    Good looking bike.
    I just traded for this 1973 SL, haven't had any time to play with it yet.


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    #10
  11. WheelsnKeels

    WheelsnKeels Bikes n Boats

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    G-town, SC
    Looks familiar. :thumb ...and I'm with you - Small is Fun! :nod

    Heading out Thursday or Friday solo, 360m to Bryson City, there to meet up with some friends on larger bikes. Spend a couple or three days riding the area, including the Dragon, and then back home again. I'm guessing it'll be about 1K miles round trip, and I'm also guessing that on the way home I'll be wishing I was pointing in another direction... [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. RocketMan

    RocketMan Out Rocketing

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    Nov 28, 2004
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    952
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    Woodbridge VA
    Kool, I was just reading about those, a 1K excursion on that, now That's what I call an Adventure! take lots of pics.

    RM
    #12
  13. RocketMan

    RocketMan Out Rocketing

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    952
    Location:
    Woodbridge VA
    Nice, that looks to be about in the same shape as the one I'm hoping to pick up. Cept the fenders are purple and the tank is the one currently on my CB since that one was rusted out. But other than the missing taillight assembly, cosmetically its in comparable shape, cylinder, head and frame, shocks have been restored/replaced. Once I find a tank for my CB I've have it painted to match the red side covers I ordered and the current tank will go back on the SL. in 75 the only color was Blue but I like the red better, so...
    Even found the right decals for the CB tank and emblems for the green sl tank. Sellers in Thailand Indonesia and UK still have lots of new OEM parts cheep, shipping is often more than the item.

    RM
    #13
  14. RocketMan

    RocketMan Out Rocketing

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    Nov 28, 2004
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    952
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    Woodbridge VA
    Funny, but you're like the 5th 6th person that has said that since I started riding/posting about the CB. Just goes to show what I following these still have.

    RM
    #14
  15. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fartografist

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
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    3,363
    Location:
    Twin Cities, Minnesota USA
    Great pics you guys.
    #15
  16. cb200t

    cb200t Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    301
    Location:
    Bellefontaine, OH
    I don't want to clutter your thread up with pix of my bike, but here's the link to my intro thread showing a pic of the bike the day I got it, and roughly how it looks now. My build thread is in my sig line too if you're interested.

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=923488

    Looking forward to hearing about more rides on your CB!
    #16
  17. Bendernz

    Bendernz Torrential

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    567
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    You're right. The CB125 is a thumper, just a small thumper.

    They can be great little bikes (they can also be very fussy when things start to get worn). I had one for a couple of years (had to sell it when I moved to an apartment block a year back).

    My "adventures" are recorded in the reports in my signature. I miss that bike like crazy - it was so light and simple to ride, just a blast of fun.
    #17
  18. RocketMan

    RocketMan Out Rocketing

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    952
    Location:
    Woodbridge VA
    Nice, checked out the rebuild thread, I should maybe start one on my CB (and on the SL125 when I get that.:D )

    Weather turned cold and rainy and I'm off on vacation Saturday for a week at Los Cabos, MX so not sure when the next good long ride will happen as this is going to be a mostly fair weather bike (they don't make 6 volt electric vests, do they?).
    Did go down to get a BIG box of parts from the seller, chock full of stuff for both the CB and SL, but I'll save that for the rebuild thread(s), not that I'll have anything nearly as challenging as what you're tackling.
    Once I get the rebuild/restore thread(s) going I'll post some before pics of both along with progress reports as things get done over the winter.

    thanks all for the great comments! Check back occasionally as we always get good days scattered in between the colder days (central east coast) that I will try to take advantage of. Next summer I may try a camping trip to a rally about 80-100 miles from home on the CB.

    RM
    #18
  19. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    414
    Location:
    Lewisville, NC
    Great thread !

    The older i get the more interest I have in smaller bikes.
    I'm riding a 650 Burgman at the moment, but am sort of looking around for a smaller single or a twin as a hobby fixer upper :D
    #19
  20. wvdirtbiker

    wvdirtbiker MILES2GO

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Fayette Co & Pocahontas Co WV
    All that talk about CB-125's reminds me that my brother in law has one in a storage building. I'm sure it hasn't been started in 25 years. I think it only has a couple of thousand miles on it.

    I need to ask him if he would sell it or swap it.
    #20