Like little Oliver Twist, dish aloft, making his way up the dinner hall to the be-chopped Mr Bumble, I sense that the BSMC audience has not quite had it’s fill of shimmering blue metalflake this week. Quivering, sensing that Mr Bumble hasn’t gotten any in a while, you ask, yet you already know the reply.
Oh alright then, just a soupcon more. After the main course that was Tuesday’s Norton Commando, a light dessert follows. Though differing greatly in both capacity and reliability (sorry Gareth!) this little CG125, resplendent in it’s groovy hue, has far more to it than meets the eye. What I’m trying to say is that unlike Nancy, it’s not all front… Sorry I got distracted there.
This bike is a cockle warmer; built by 17 year old Angus Unsworth it’s great to see the young interested in motorcycles again. The keen eye, youthful sense of vigor and lack of respect for what’s ‘normal’ in motorcycling is already being kept alive by the next generation. Not just buzzing around on a scooter for a year then disappearing into the world of DubBimmerRice ‘n’ Furious cars, but instead, really having that underlying interest in their bikes. How the innards work, how changes affect the bike, and investing their time, money and energy into making something their own. There’s not been such a youthful feeling to motorcycling since the death of mainstream two-strokes or perhaps the 400cc grey import times.
This 1978 CG125 had been in the family since the mid ’80s and Angus recalls his 13-year old self’s excitement at it coming home with him in 2009. It was duly tinkered with, a carb clean and fresh fuel got it going before various bits were painted, polished and preened. A lack of available licence meant it found it’s place in the back of another shed until 2 years ago, when Angus decided to have a proper go. Now working Saturday mornings at custom paint shop The Paintbox, the means and the enthusiasm collided and the project was on. When stripped down, there is barely anything to these bikes, so a brief clean up of redundant bracketry and the addition of a rear hoop kept things simple chassis wise.
That stand out tank cannot be ignored for any longer. The standard article has been transformed with a deep coat of House of Kolor’s finest, layed down at Paintbox. The Honda scriptwork, a beautiful finishing touch was applied by the steady hand of Neil Melliard at ProSign. The extravagant colour works fabulously against what is an otherwise simple and staid machine; a cheeky grin on a street urchin’s face. Angus spent a lot of time on the set, trimming templates until he found his perfect shape. Cut from 5mm aluminium the base was then sent to local upholsterer Andy Nixon who created the beautiful diamond stitch pattern. Resting atop the rear muduard the recess, which is held in the rear hoop, the whole lot gives a great vintage scrambler feel.
Not wanting to chop up the original chrome item, a good pattern front mudguard was sourced and given a useful trim. A true convert to the delights of proper paint and the results you can get, Angus decided to forgo Powdercoat on many parts. The main frame was sent off for a coat of gloss black powder but upon seeing the result Angus felt he could achieve better and nearly everything else you can see is paint not powder. Fork lowers, engine cases, wheel hubs, mudguards were given a loving coat of deep gloss paint and lacquer. It’s hard to argue with the results!
The odd 18 inch wheels on the standard CG125 restrict tyre choice to lackluster commuting rubber and a few knobblies. As the wheels were broken down for paint Angus decided to swap out the rims for 17 inchers at either end giving this lightweight bike bantamweight footwork. Giving a little more width as well, the wheels were built up with Stainless spokes and the painted hubs. Road focused Continental rubber allows the most fun in the corners to be extracted. With such little weight and the little 4-stroke thumper providing just enough propulsion, this is motorcycling atrophy, wasted away to nothing
Frustratingly finished as summer 2012 disappeared, Angus managed to snatch 1000 miles on the bike before tucking it away from the salt and detritus. This year has seen the odometer spin further and the bike receive additional upgrades. It now sports a 200cc upgrade for a true wind in the whiskers experience, as well as a 12v conversion to give the Bates light more lumens to go with the looks. There are of course plans afoot for further customisiation. An aluminium swingarm beckons, as well as a fork brace to stiffen the somewhat skinny 27mm stanchions.
Good friend Tony Walters snapped the great pictures, capturing the deep House of Kolor paint. Angus is also at pains to thank the Parental Unit for putting up with the various scattered parts about the house. For the moment though, the bike gets ridden hard and doesn’t miss a beat. As Angus says, ‘What more could you want?’ Way to rub it in Oliver’s face!