1977 CR125M Elsinore Motocrosser
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This bike belongs to a neighbor down the street from me. One day I was riding around one of my CT90s and he rolled this out of his garage and waved me over. Long story short: I stopped, we talked, he asked me if I'd be interested in restoring it, and I agreed! A few hours later she was down in my garage so I could try to get her started and get some idea of what I/we would be getting into.

I was able to get the bike running with surprisingly little effort considering how long it had sat around. It essentially only took a carb cleaning, an oil change (I STILL don't know what that crap that was in the crankcase was!), and a little bit of checking other stuff and TLC and she ran. I got my helmet and gloves on and pulled in the clutch, snicked 'er into 1st gear, started releasing the clutch, and SNAP! The rusty old chain broke within no more than a foot of movement! I'd sprayed it well with some WD40 in the hopes it'd last long enough at least for a test ride to ascertain how well the tranny and clutch and brakes were working, but no such luck.

A couple days and a new chain later, I did get her running and took off down the subdivision street on it. As I expected, it didn't like to run at anything but super-high revs...125 motocrossers, especially of that era, have absolutely no power unless they're "on the pipe", and that means you have to ride them by holding the throttle nearly wide-open and just dance on the gearshift lever to keep her in the powerband. This one was no exception. And MAN!! This thing was STUPID loud! I'd forgotten how loud an early MX bike was. No concern about muffling the sound in those days, it was all about tuning the pipe for power. God almighty it was loud! But anyway, I got in my test ride and surprisingly everything worked reasonably well. Everything would have to be serviced or replaced (like clutch discs, for example), but the trans worked well and the engine ran pretty darn good and idled nicely. Cool! No leaky seals in the engine to deal with.

So, the upshot is that the bike was in pretty good, though tired, condition. I went completely through the engine and put in new piston and rings, honed the cylinder, new clutch discs, blah blah and this and that. Spiffed 'er up nice. Was able to find everything I needed to fully rebuild the original forks and shocks, too! Surprising how many parts you can still get if you know how to search 'em out. There was very little I couldn't find.

As far as bodywork, the seat was shot (the bike had been flipped backward at some point in it's life and the seat pan was still creased and bent from it), but I was able to find a vintage foam and cover that was period-correct. It's called a GP seat, and was a popular replacement seat back in the day, and also actually has a little nicer overall shape than the stocker did, too. As far as the bodywork, the fuel tank paint was in really sweet condition, and after some TLC and some cleaner wax came back really nice. The sidecovers we decided to leave alone, because they were also in pretty good condition and would get the same boot scuffmarks showing on them when the bike was ridden the first time after the resto.

The front and rear fender were a different story. The plastic was fairly rough and pebbly, especially on the rear fender. (Yes, plastic can dry-rot!). The front wasn't too bad and smoothed out pretty decently with a little sanding. The rear was in rough shape, but the owner wanted me to try to save a few bucks and save it. (Personally I would have probably replaced it, but a new one was pretty expensive and by the time we got to the rear fender it was pretty clear he was getting a little dismayed at how much it was costing. I threw him a bone and redid the existing fender). The rear was a period piece, a Preston Petty; the original had probably been smashed when the rear-over that took out the seat pan happened. I had wanted to try the (then-new) Krylon Fusion paint for plastics, so I found a shade of red that was closest to what the frame and body panels would be and shot the fenders. Turned out pretty nice, actually! The Fusion takes a solid week to dry well enough to handle it easily, so be aware of that. It SEEMS dry sooner than that, but it's not cured enough to work with. Leave it a week.

I blasted and repainted the frame and engine parts as I went along, as well as all the other various items, replaced the tires, and here's the result! The thing really looks nice, and runs great, too. Someday I'd really love to get that thing out in the dirt just once and try it. Maybe someday.......

After

Before

During Resto