That is an archived MXA check from the November 2000 problem of Motocross Motion Journal. Get your MXA subscription in the present day.
QUESTION ONE: IS THE ’01 ENGINE FASTER THAN THE ’00?
Sure it’s, however what old-time CR125 lovers need to know is, how does the ’01 examine to the class-leading CR125’s of the early 90’s? Very favorably, as a result of, identical to with the 2001 CR250, Honda is actively making an attempt to return its engine to the glory of the previous.
QUESTION TWO: IS THE ’01 ENGINE FASTER THAN THE ’95
Which will appear to be a wierd query. Why would anybody examine a brand new bike to a six-year-old one? The reason being easy. A lot of the race groups have been utilizing ’95 cylinders on their race bikes for the final couple of years. So, whether or not the 2001 is quicker than the 1995 Honda engine is of paramount significance.
Is it? Undeniably sure. In case you assume Honda is making an enormous mistake by going backwards, you will need to choose 125s that aren’t aggressive. For ’01, you needn’t escape the previous cylinder (in case you may even discover one).
QUESTION THREE: IS THE CR125 FASTER THAN A YZ125?
No, however what bike is? We will say this, Yamaha took a step backwards in 2001 once they went to a 38mm carb and Honda took three steps ahead with their reshaped switch ports, energy valves and consumption boot. The YZ125 continues to be quicker, nevertheless it takes a greater rider to get it into the YZ powerband and hold it there. The CR125 doesn’t endure from fast-guy syndrome. Sluggish guys and quick guys alike recognize the CR125’s snappy throttle response, midrange grunt and top-end rev.
QUESTION FOUR: WHAT IS THE CR125 POWERBAND LIKE?
What does the 2001 Honda CR125 engine run like?
(1) For those who purchased a CR125 on the lookout for backside finish, you made a critical mistake. The CR125 has no backside. Slowly getting on the throttle will end in a weird, low-pitched exhaust observe and never a lot else. Plan on utilizing lots of clutch to skip the underside and get proper into the center if you wish to go quick on a CR125.
(2) The midrange is the place the CR125 shines. Not solely is it broad and powerful, however as soon as the powerband surges to life, it does its greatest work within the midrange.
(three) The one factor that the CR125 obtained again in ’01 is the fabled top-end rev. The place the ’00 engine signed off, the ’01 continues to tug. Eventually, check riders might rev the engine to the moon quite than short-shifting it.
QUESTION FIVE: WHERE IS THE POWER GOOD AND BAD?
Hopefully Honda has lastly stopped losing cash on R&D, switching frames each few years and making an attempt to cut-and-paste dangerous cylinders. Since everybody was utilizing the ’95 cylinder anyway (together with their very own factory-backed race staff in ’98 and ’99), Honda’s engineers acquired sensible and used it as baseline. From there, Honda was capable of put smiles again on the faces of previous and new CR125 house owners alike. All they needed to do was escape the previous stuff and therapeutic massage it.
It’s at its greatest on tracks that don’t require lots of low-end torque (as a result of it doesn’t have any), but when your monitor as sweeping corners, huge berms and good traction, the CR will fly.
It’s at its worst on tight, tough, off-camber, sand or technical tracks. It has a really odd quirk that each check rider talked about. What? Compression braking. The CR125 engine felt like a four-stroke. When check riders chopped the throttle, ahead momentum was misplaced. The bike went when the throttle was on, however it had no freewheel velocity or coasting capability. To recover from this drawback, you must journey the bike exhausting into the corners.
QUESTION SIX: WHAT ABOUT THE JETTING?
Final yr, Honda stole the Mikuni TMX carb off of the YZ125 and had a some jetting issues. We assumed that with a yr of testing they might clear up the issues. Guess once more! We’re nonetheless fussing with the jetting on the CR125 after two years, however we expect that we have now the issue licked.
Right here is the perfect jetting for our circumstances:
Pilot jet: 45
Needle: 6BEG21-69 (6BEG20-68 inventory)
Slide: four.5 (5.zero inventory)
Clip: 1st (third inventory)
Air screw: 1.5 turns (2.25 inventory)
QUESTION SEVEN: HOW ARE THE KAYABA BLADDER FORKS?
Honda has been doing the Showa factor on the CR250 and Kayaba factor on the CR125 factor for years. We don’t know why, as a result of the Kayabas work and the Showas don’t. Yr after yr the Kayaba CR125 forks outshines their CR250 Showa counterparts. This yr is not any totally different. Okay, just a little totally different. Not solely are the Kayaba bladder forks on the CR125 higher than the Showa’s on the CR250, they’re higher than any set of forks we’ve tried on a Honda in a very long time.
As an alternative of your typical harsh Honda motion, the forks on the 2001 CR125 are excellent. They experience excessive within the stroke, resist bottoming and transfer fluidly. Did we point out that we raced them utterly inventory? We did! You shouldn’t have to vary fork springs or play with the oil degree (simply the clickers).
QUESTION EIGHT: WHAT WAS OUR BEST FORK SETTING?
What was our greatest setting? For hardcore racing we advocate this set-up:
Spring price: zero.43 kg/mm
Oil peak: 61mm
Compression: 6 clicks out (inventory 9 out)
Rebound: 11 clicks out (inventory 9 out)
Fork leg peak: Flush with prime of stanchion in case you use the 20-inch entrance wheel or 7mm above the clamp in case you run the usual 21-inch tire
Notes: Honda has developed a set of 125 forks that don’t backside on exhausting landings, love little braking bumps and float over sq. edges.
QUESTION NINE: WHAT ABOUT THE 20-INCH FRONT TIRE?
You possibly can’t speak concerning the nice motion of the CR125 forks with out mentioning the optionally available 20-inch entrance tire. We gained’t credit score the 20-inch tires with making the forks work so properly, however they undoubtedly assist. Honda ought to have made the 20-inch entrance inventory, however they didn’t. And meaning it’s a must to fork out $300 to get the wheel that the CR125 ought to have include within the first place. Don’t low cost out, although, the 20-inch is value it.
QUESTION TEN: WHAT ABOUT THE REAR SUSPENSION?
What Honda discovered about refining and returning to the times of previous flew out the window when it got here to the rear suspension. First, they modified the linkage. Huge mistake. Final yr’s suspension had good motion with solely a slight tendency to pack and kick (that was simply rectified by rushing up the rebound). This yr’s suspension isn’t almost as supple. The shock has a nasty behavior of binding and deflecting off little bumps.
Don’t assume every part is dangerous in linkage land, although. The brand new linkage’s extra progressive ratio is a lot better at absorbing arduous landings.
QUESTION 11: WHAT WAS OUR BEST SHOCK SET-UP?
What was our greatest setting? For hard-core racing we advocate this shock set-up:
Spring fee: four.6 kg/mm
Race sag: 100mm
Excessive compression: 1.5 seems (1 inventory)
Low compression: eight clicks out (9 inventory)
Rebound: 20 clicks out (24 inventory)
Notes: For quicker riders we advocate going to a four.7 kg/mm spring.
QUESTION 12: HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
Let’s rephrase the query! Earlier than or after you put in the 20-inch entrance wheel? Don’t assume we’re pressuring you into shopping for a 20-inch entrance wheel, it’s simply that the bike handles a lot better with it. Locations the place you’re pressured to run the surface with a 21-inch entrance wheel you possibly can carve the within with the 20-inch. Small braking bumps that beat your palms to dying with a 21-inch you gained’t even really feel with the 20-inch.
Honda guess the farm in 2000 that their new body would remedy their dealing with ills and it did. Fortunately, for 2001 all they modified was the rear linkage. The trademark head shake and front-end push are gone. Though the thud-style rear suspension is again in motion.
We’re 5 years into the aluminum body motion and we nonetheless vibrate. Be glad that Honda’s R&D division listened to the complaints and insisted on rubber-mounted bar clamps. As an added bonus, the CR125 bar mounts are offset by 3mm. Taller riders ought to run their bar mounts within the ahead place whereas smaller riders might be extra snug with the clamp rotated within the again place. For these wanting a 3rd place, you should purchase CR250 bar mounts. The CR250’s bar mounts aren’t offset.
QUESTION 13: HOW GOOD IS THE GEARING?
Horrible as all the time. Until your monitor is known as Fifth Gear Large Open Raceway, the inventory 13-tooth entrance sprocket and 52-tooth rear sprocket combo can be means too tall. The CR125 wants a 53-tooth rear sprocket to get out of most turns. You gained’t have the ability to go a lot greater than the 53 as a result of there isn’t anymore room within the chain information and 54-tooth sprockets are arduous to seek out.
QUESTION 14: WHAT DID WE HATE?
The hate listing:
(1) Bars: Though the inventory bend isn’t dangerous, the harshness of the CR125’s aluminum body might be toned down by aluminum handlebars.
(2) Gearing: The ’01 falls on its face with the inventory gearing. Placed on a 53-tooth rear sprocket.
(three) Shifting: Since switching to a five-speed transmission, Hondas have struggled to get the identical clear shifts that have been standard-issue with the six-speed tranny.
(four) Broad: When you’ve got spent the previous few years driving something however a Honda, the bruises in your ankles will shortly clue you in to how broad the CR is on the footpegs.
QUESTION 15: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
The like record:
(1) Brakes. They’re good.
(2) Triple clamps: Honda of Japan stated that the CR125 didn’t vibrate sufficient to require rubber mounts, however the American R&D division thought totally different. Because of the U.S. Honda guys, we don’t really feel like have been holding onto a dentist’s drill .
(three) Energy: Nonetheless less than YZ specs, however we will assure everybody who rides the ’01 CR125 will come again with a smile on their face, because of the thrilling energy supply.
(four) 20-inch entrance wheel: Despite the fact that it ought to have been OEM, we’re glad that Honda is providing it as an choice.
(5) Seat bolts: Good 12mm head.
(6) Tires: Honda will get additional credit score for sticking with the tried and true Okay490/695 combo as an alternative of leaping to the brand new Okay739FA/739 combo (though for those who get the 20-inch you’re pressured to decide on between a 739FA and a 756).
(7) Sturdiness: Strong development, good metallurgy, wonderful reliability.
QUESTION 16: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
Honda ought to be recommended. They took an enormous step backwards and ended up taking an enormous leap ahead. That is the primary CR125 in 5 years that has the facility and powerband to hold with the entrance runners.