Honda CB125 Restoration

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Honda CB125 K5 Restoration in Bermuda

Ready for restoration, the Honda as acquired in October 2007. Craig Morfitt

Restoration of a classic motorcycle can take many forms: replacement of old or worn parts, a respray and cosmetic work, or a complete restoration.

A complete restoration is rarely needed; even barn fresh bikes often have some serviceable parts. But if the bike has been sitting for some time, it will need a number of parts just to make it safe to ride: tires, and brake fluid for example.

This particular restoration was completed by Craig Morfitt, President of the Bermuda Classic Bike Club. The bike, a 1973 Honda CB125K5, was restored using some parts from an earlier CL125 (see note) namely the exhaust system and handlebars: "They were originally made for the Honda CL125 but I liked the look of both and will keep them," said Craig.

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Fuel Tank Repairs

The fuel tank and side panels ready for shipping to the painters. Craig Morfitt

When the bike was acquired in October 2007, it came with a lot of spare parts making repair and restoration that much easier. However, the bike had been stored for 10 years and not started. Needless to say, the fuel system needed cleaning and the fuel tank sealing (it had rusted on both the inside and outside).

The fuel tank cleaning and sealing was trusted to Empire GP in New York, along with painting of the side panels. Craig had decided to return the tank and panels to an original color scheme and supplied Empire with a fork cover in its original Honda Candy Gold as a color sample.

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Engine Work

After standing for some time the engine and carbs needed overhauling. Craig Morfitt

The original carbs were removed and cleaned and, after some basic mechanical service work, the engine was started. However, the carbs leaked whenever the engine was not running, and the engine was underpowered.

The engine and carbs were removed and sent to Howard's Cycles in Hamilton Bermuda for an overhaul. A new cylinder was fitted and the pistons cleaned and fitted with new rings. Craig had acquired some NOS (New Old Stock) carbs and these were fitted at the same time as the engine work.

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Seat Repair

Typical seat damage requiring a re-cover. Craig Morfitt

The original seat had a some rips and needed recovering, so Craig decided to improve the comfort at the same time by adding a Gel seat insert made by the aptly named Carolina Butt Buffer company.

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Electrical System

Checking the electrical system. Craig Morfitt

As with any motorcycle that has been sitting for some time, the battery needed to be replaced (a 6 volt system on this bike), and the electrical system serviced. A new horn was fitted and, after a problem with the rear brake light, a new ignition switch was fitted: this cured the light problem.

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Restored and Ready to Go

After just three months, the Honda is ready to go again. Craig Morfitt

The bike was licensed in December 2007 and is used on a daily basis for commuting in Bermuda.


  • The Honda CL125 was designed as a basic commuter bike in 1969. Although styled as an off-road Scrambler, the CL was not a competition machine.
  • Although the CL125 started life as a twin cylinder (4-stroke), the factory changed the engine configuration completely in 1973 to a single cylinder.