What I need is…

I have managed to look at Little Project in daylight for the first time.  Oh dear.

On the positive side.   I have found a 10mm spanner.   It is a well-known fact that the maintenance of a Japanese motorcycle involves lots of use of the 10mm and the entity known as the 10mm fairy steals them on a regular basis.  I suspect that the Jihadist motorcycle engineer, when returned to paradise is presented with 72 10mm spanners.

Moving on to the visual inspection of Little Project.  Imagine if you will, a scene from a typical cop show.  There is a body to be autopsied and so the pathologist, in a spotless room, bedecked in scrubs and a mask.  Gloved with hands held high, circles the corpse commenting first on obvious signs of trauma.   I’ve sort of done the same but wearing cargo pants and an old tee shirt and squeezing past Little Project as it drips dirt and rust onto the shed floor.

I need a seat.   There’s no sign of a seat.   Finding a seat is going to become a priority (I know this because I have searched every single bit of the internet already, the last one in existence seems to have been sold in Holland for 295 euros).

I’m going to be an optimist.  The gearbox (lever) works fine.

I need some brakes.  Front and rear.  Please assume from now on, everything is front and rear or left and right.

It doesn’t really matter that the brakes need replacing, because even if they didn’t, there would be no way to apply the bloody things.  Yup, I need both handlebar levers and a brake pedal.

There’s a shortage of lights.  There’s a rear light but it is standing alone in its attempt to illuminate (and indicate) the Little Project world.   I know there were lights because there’s switch gear for them.   Sadly, the switch gear isn’t really connected to anything so I also need a wiring loom.  Even with a wiring loom I would still be up the creek as I need an ignition switch as well.

Cables.  They are pretty essential.  I have all of the cables.  Unfortunately the innards are rusted.  They have the cable equivalent of far too much cholesterol running through their veins.

I need an exhaust.  Oh, how I need an exhaust.   The one that I thought might be okay actually looks like this (after use of the 10mm spanner to remove it).


I need mudguards.  Actually, I want mudguards.  The front one is a pattern one and still relatively in one piece but I shall make every effort to damage it because it looks out of place.

I am not even going to mention tyres.  They count as consumables so every bike – Little Project or not – needs them at some stage.

I think I need rear shocks.  Actually, looking at the list of things I do need, I need a defibrillator.

Chains, sprockets? Yup.   They look like this.


So, not so bad then!  The absolutely tragic part though.  The heartbreaking Little Project news is that the engine is seized solid.   The reason for removing the exhaust (other than it pretty much fell off when I poked it) was to take a look at the nice shiny exhaust manifold. Hmmm.


For those that don’t know.   The bit inside the hole should be clean and tidy and there shouldn’t be any cobwebs in it. I checked this with a quick text to Valentino Rossi and he had a look in his manifold and confirmed that there were no cobwebs.

Still, onwards and upwards.  It would be boring if it was simple.

The transporter – Part 2

A brief word about mince pies.  Once you have started making them there is no convenient time to stop.

Having resorted to a rather mis-spelt Facebook appeal for transport assistance.  I received a text – “I can be there at 3:30 but I’m showing my daughter how to make pastry first”.

Three cheers for Colin and his Vauxhall Zafira (or something like that).    Once parked (on the footpath of course, we didn’t want any tickets for being on double yellows) we were ready to load Little Project into back of said small but perfectly formed car.   Seats down and an old blanket protecting the shiny bits and I’m up for some lifting.

Sadly, Colin isn’t.   He is gently rolling with mirth.  Seeing Little Project in the flesh (or more accurately, semi-naked and somewhat dishevelled) has obviously broken him.  He takes some time to control himself but does manage to splutter something along the lines of “That is never going to run. Ever. It is even worse than you described it when you said it was a bit rough”.

I am not daunted.   We push (lift, drag and gently cajole) Little Project to the back of the car, then on realising that the handlebars are wider than the boot, push, lift drag and (not so gently) cajole the bike to have its back-end presented to the boot.  Much heaving and lifting gets the rear wheel and engine block mounted and only the front wheel, forks, handlebars and a few random and unidentified (but attached somewhere) cables are hanging out the back.  It was, in retrospect like an anti-birth (but without the little machine that tells you when the pain is coming).

The best plan seems to be for me to sit nonchalantly in the back of the car, whistling merrily (the CD is playing a 40 minute drum solo from a 70’s rock band) and hold on to the back wheel of the bike.  Colin is going to ever so gently perform a U-turn at Twickenham’s busiest junction and ferry us the mile (1.6km don’t forget) back home.

That was fairly easy.  The car re-birthed the bike like a cow firing out a calf. Colin and I being the Twickenham automotive equivalents of James Herriot.

“Erm, Do we have to carry it through the house, across the patio, down all of those steps, and around the trampoline?” said a rather timid voice.  There is an easy route, down the alley and across the allotments and in through the back gate.   Little Project is still not enamoured with rolling easily so we take it for a drag.   When the awards are given out for “surfaces most easily dragged upon”, concrete gets a rather surprising slot at number one.   Second is grass.  Brambles get a veritable third place (although they do like to scratch) and very definitely last comes mud.

Little Project is now safely ensconced in a new dry home.  Both side stands down and no doubt blowing raspberries at the easily rolling bicycles that it shares a bed with.

The transporter part 1.

Hmmm. Little Project is sitting a mile away.  It’s only a mile (1.6km for those of a metric bent).  Can’t be that difficult.

A leisurely walk to visit Little Project ensued.   I’ve a warm coat, a bag of carefully selected tools and a child’s scooter (it’s all downhill so it makes it quicker).

The bike isn’t exactly seized.  It’s more that it just doesn’t want to move.   Firstly (I only spotted this after 10 minutes of heaving) it was in gear.  The gearbox seems to work as it clicked beautifully into neutral.   Still, there’s a truculence associated with locomotion.

The tyres are both flat.   No problems.   There’s a little pump in the bag.   Front tyre is more than happy to inflate. a short burst of elbow grease and up she goes.   Back tyre? Pump, pump, pump, pump, and so on.  You get the picture.  Seems that the valve is damaged.  I have another plan…

Rummage in the bag and find a length of rope. (It is only a small bag, but very carefully packed).  I reckon with a some lateral thinking and some muscle I can strap the back wheel of the bike onto the scooter and hey presto.  Instant transporter!

Sadly, scooter handle does not shrink enough to allow the wheel to sit on the scooter.  I tried, oh how I tried.  I even managed to get onto the street before everything fell off.   I need a plan B.

Here are some that I prepared earlier

I’ve done this before!   Here is a Honda CBR600.  Californian specification.   It was purple and white and had the most confounding and complicated set of pipework around the exhaust manifold that was something to do with emission laws in the states.  Most of the bits are CBR600 but if you look closely you will find a fair amount of Suzuki RG250 hanging around in there.


And this faded little chappy was (and probably still is) a Yamaha RD250.  The air cooled one.  This arrived in a dozen boxes with a padlock around the wheel.  No key for the padlock so it took a bit of persuading to remove it.  The only bike I have ever owned with a chrome plated frame.


Stumped by the Aussies

So, Honda UK have replied to my email regarding information on the bike…

“Thank you for your recent contact. This model was never sold in the UK so we cannot assist you with your enquiry”.  That’s useful!

Honda Australia – You’ve let me down as well.   Not a hint of a reply.   If I emigrate to Australia I shall only buy from Yamaha.   I also tried Australia’s “biggest and best bikers forum”.   Very kindly, Phil01 replied to my request with “Try Postman Pat”.  Oh the humour of the colonists thrills me on a daily basis.   It’s back to Wikipedia and the vaguest hint that the CT125 is just an XL125 with a single seat.

Ebay is a great source.   Parts that fit my bike also fit a bunch of others, so I should be sorted for cables and clutches and possibly a piston. The boy found a breakers yard (sorry, wreckers) that he’s offered to pop in to if I want any parts collecting.   Not sure whether his little car is going to make it to Alice Springs and back on a regular basis but I’ll bear it in mind.  An email to them did elicit a reply but sadly not to the question that I asked.

I think the bike was also sold in the USA for one year only in 1977.  I may have to resort to begging our cousins on the other side of the pond to start rooting around the local wreckers for bits.