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Tips for your Honda CG 125 / CG-125 / CG125 / CG125-ES / CG125-ES4


How to make your CG125 go faster

1 - Change the oil. (assuming you haven't recently, or run cheap oil)
I prefer Silkolene PRO 4 10w40 1L - as it performs well and at approx 850ml per fill, every 6th fill is "free".
(Over a 942 metre stretch of tarmac i hit a 5mph higher top speed today - 19th April 2018 - than with the 1498.7 mile old oil immediately prior.)
It's red. If you drop your bike and it bleeds, then you have a slightly more serious problem.
Anyway, putting Silkolene PRO 4 10w40 1L in a CG-125, is a bit like feeding caviar to a pig.
In terms of oil, a CG will - like a pig - consume pretty much anything

2 - Lose weight. You - not the CG125 - it's not fat.
(I am a bit, the more weight I lose, the faster the CG gets.)

3 - Carry a hi-viz. Wear it (most sensible) or carry it in a rucksack. Weird fact is that the highest indicated speed I have seen out of my Honda CG125-ES4, was when I was carrying a hi-viz jacket in my rucksack. I also had a very strong tailwind and was going down a long, steep hill, but that's purely co-incidence...
Correlation, does not = causation.
Other websites have reported similar.

4 - Sell it for a profit and use the money to buy a faster bike, like a Honda CB125R Neo Sports Café

Other CG 125 / CG-125 / CG125 / CG125-ES / CG125-ES4 tips
Great for filtering
If you filter where traffic doesn't normally go, don't be surprised WHEN you get a puncture, it might save you loads of time, but could hurt your wallet - or worse!.

Cush Drive Bushes

Wobbly sprockets are dangerous. They are also a clue that may points at your cush drive bushes being worn out.
If you need your CG125's cush drive bushes done, my advice is pay a professional.
I decided to put this before tyres, because if you buy a 2nd hand CG125 with a few miles on it - like I did - there will likely come a point in time when the cush drive bushes need done.
For me that moment came almost 6000 miles after buying mine.
I noticed some play in my sprocket when I was cleaning my chain this week, so I read various blogs to try and get some hints and tips, and some advanced warning of how much of a pain in the ass it would be trying to remove the hardened steel remains of a cush drive bush from a blind hole in an alloy cg125 hub when the centre sleeves had gone.
I didn't know how bad they were, but I planned for the worst.
My searches found plenty of information of how people had done this job, and there were a few different options / techniques suggested.

!!! CAUTION! !!!
I read a LOT of forum posts, blog posts, that mentioned the risk of cracking the aluminium hub.
Worse, I read a number of forum posts and one blog where people attempting this repair had done exactly that.
I did not want to repeat this.

One page gave an indication that it could take 40 hours with the wrong tools, another page said as little as ten with a dremel or similar.
Apart from a cheap microdrill similar to a dremel, I had the wrong tools.
I still have the wrong tools, but now more of them are broken, including the microdrill.
On the bright side I have just completed them on my CG125. Phew!
From taking the wheel off yesterday evening at 18:00pm, working until 22:00, then starting again at 17:30 today, until finishing putting the rear wheel back on and adjusting the rear brake at 23:05 this evening.
THAT'S NINE AND A HALF HOURS...
of almost continuous grinding / cutting / hammering / dirt / hot dirt / hot melty dirt / blue smoke / and the sound of a microdrill running at several thousand rpm....
I have tinitus and a headache now, btw.

How to remove/ replace / install cush drive bushes on a CG125 In reverse order:

Installing the bushes:
It took 13 minutes to install the 4 new genuine honda cush drive bushes.
That includes boiling a kettle, smoking a cigarette, making a cup of tea, removing the cush drive bushes from the freezer, installing them, and drinking the cup of tea.
To install the bushes, it mainly involves gently persuading them to go in, with a soft covering over them (piece of wood / leather) and a hammer.
- Remember the comment above about the risk of craking the hub!
Oh and it's a little bit noisy.

Removing the worn bushes:
Can you afford a professional? or do you want the experience?
If you are a masochist, need your head examined, enjoy bleeding, or simply want the experience, read on:

Removing Inner Sleeves:
Mine were well worn, the central metal cylinders / internal sleeves fell out. The "rubber" didn't meet them. The holes were enlarged and elongated.
Removing rubber:
Ugh. The blogs that talk about fluffy tiny little soft / hot / melting rubber particles getting everywhere were not kidding.
Neither were the ones talking about the joys of the blue smoke.
It gets everywhere. It's sticky. It's difficult to remove. It's bound to be bad for the health.
With the dremel, it took hours. It's not difficult, but it's very boring, and the dremel makes a high rpm whine. Ear protection and Eye protection is recommended, clothes you can throw out that cover your arms legs and face may be a good idea, but on the other hand when it's 30c outside, I'd can survive getting my arms dirty.
MANY tedious, noisy, (potentially vibration white finger inducing) hours later, almost half of the rubber was removed.
I went to bed. I slept badly. I felt really disheartened at this point.
This morning i went to work, leaving the rear wheel in the car with the windows shut in the full sun all day (to get the rear wheel nice and warm) and then as soon as I finished work at 17:30, I continued removing the rubber.
My technique had improved at this point.
@18:33 - 63 minutes later - I had the first worn bush remains completely removed from the first hole.
This made a big difference to my mood.
@20:05 - 92 minutes later - I had the second worn bush remains completely removed from the second hole.
Ok well, win some, lose some. Next!
@20:42 - 37 minutes later - third worn bush successfully completely removed from the third hole!.
Tinitus and headache starting to set in....
@22:43 - 121 minutes / two ****ing hours and a bit later - I finally got the remains of the fourth bush out.
The outer sleeves of all bushes were hard, the outer sleeve of this bush was insanely hard. I mean, seriously, not the same ball game, this sleeve didn't bend, it splintered into slivers, and only then if you hit it hard enough.
Urgh.

Because the cutting discs for the drill were larger than the outer bush diameter I had to wear the discs away on the tops of the outer sleeve before i could start cutting down into them.
Because of this, from the very first bush I had alternately cut part of one bush, part of the next, part of the next, and so on.
The "two ****ing hours and a bit later" comment above, doesn't give a realistic statement about how long the last bush took, I started cutting it - like all the others - before the first was out.
Dremel type drill is not ideal, proper Dremel might be - I haven't used one.
Ear protection and eye protection recommended.
Not sure if it was steel or cutting disc fragment i got in my eye earlier, it's stopped hurting but is a little bit irritating.
Listening to my cg at 11,000 rpm is one thing, listening to a dremel cutting disc trying feebly to make a mark on hardened steel outer bush sleeves is another.


Removing the sprocket
This is much easier with two people. I haven't managed to remove the big circip on my own when I tried in the past, but with two people it's achievable in under 60 seconds, one to hold the circlip pliers to hold the circlip more open, another to use a selection of flat blade screwdrivers to pull the circlip slightly away from the opening, and then slide one side over the end of the hub before the other.
Then remove the big washer.
Then lift the sprocket towards you. If you're bushes aren't completely knackered, then you may need to use some effort.
Refitting is achievable by one person with a pair of circlip pliers, and takes seconds.
Removing the wheel and chain I'm pretty sure you can work out. In my case, that's one long bolt and one nut for the wheel, one clip on the chain to undo.

One of the jobs I had in my teenage years involved cleaning a pub and nightclub. That included the toilets...
I would almost rather have done that for nine and a half hours than replace the cush drive bushes on my cg125.

Anyway, road test ok. Tinitus still present. Headache starting to ease, palms of hands sore, stinging, underside of fingers and thumbs tingling.

If you can't afford a professional, or like me thought that the experience would be useful, you CAN manage.

The wrong tools to complete a CG125 cush drive bush change successfully were:
Thick nose pliers. (I have a clip chain, it has it's advantages.)
Thinner nose pliers. (To vainly attempt to twist out the bushes' outer sleeves, you will need them eventually...)
22mm spanner.
17mm spanner.
dremel or similar drill.
cutting discs for said drill. I used about 9 before me drill became unusable due to a failure of one of it's ALUMINIUM components.
I would happily have used three or four more....
A selection of small flat head screwdrivers, preferably disposable. I broke the tips of two, a previously broken one didn't break any further, I bent two, and two plastic handled ones I made 1cm and 4cm shorter.
Hammer.
17mm socket.
piece of wood, or leather, to protect the face of the bush. If you care that much by this point.

That's basically it.

Recommended Tyres for your CG125-ES4

I live in England, UK, and I use my motorbike to commute in all weathers.
Having tried a few different tyres on my 2006 CG125-ES4 the ones I have found work the best for me overall are these:
Front: Michelin Pilot Street 2.75 - 18 42P
Rear: Michelin Pilot Street 90/90 - 18 57P
If I had a son or daughter who was getting into biking on a cg125, these are the tyres I would want them to have.

If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow on the roads, these tyres may not suit you.
If your roads are not tarmac / asphalt / concrete, these tyres may not suit you.
I haven't tried them off road, but I have (carefully) ridden through mud, floodwater, hail, slush (melting snow) without issue.
The grip levels with these tyres on good roads in good weather is phenomenal, the level of grip and the benefit of being able to stop in a shorter distance than some other brands of tyre could make all the difference when it matters the most.

The only times I have managed to lose grip with the tyres has been during emergency braking situations when I have locked the front end up, fortunately on all 3 occasions grip was regained as soon as i slightly eased off the brake, and braking then continued at an impressive rate.
If I had a son or daughter who was getting into biking on a 125, these are the tyres I would want them to have.

As for locking the front end up, all three occasions involved braking as hard as possible while travelling at an indicated 60 mph on relatively flat roads.
If riding with a technique different from mine, or riding a bigger, heavier bike, or perhaps even just having heavier fork oil, may not give the same result...

I practice emergency stops most days, when the road home from work is quiet.
You never know when you might need that skill to be well honed.

CAUTION

NEW tyres - and this includes the "unused" part of the tyre commonly known as "Chicken strips" - have less grip than tyres with plenty of miles on them.
If you have "Chicken strips" on your tyres, and in an emergency need to lean onto that part of the tyre you will not have as much grip as you could have.
For this reason I recommend giving this youtube video a watch, and considering his opinion:

My CG125 has chicken strips, they're getting thinner, slowly:
'Chicken Strip' on CG125-ES4 motorcycle tyre.  Many bikers call the unworn area of tyre a 'Chicken strip', in most cases each tyre will have two chicken strips, one on either side.


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