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The Honda CG125 is a commuter bike made by Honda of Japan. It has been in continuous production since 1976 and was originally manufactured in Japan, but source for European market was eventually moved to Brazil around 2000, where this model is also produced since 1976. Over its lifetime, the CG125 has received numerous enhancements and tweaks:
- The electrics were upgraded from 6 V to 12 V, replacing the old contact set by CDI system (capacitor discharge ignition).
- An electric start was added in 2001, originally alongside the original kick start and replacing it completely in 2004 (in the European Market).
2004 saw a number of further changes: (in European Market)
- The front drum brake was replaced by a disc brake
- A new instrument cluster, including a fuel gauge for the first time, replaced the old square unit.
- The fuel capacity was increased to 13 L
- The styling was modernised
- The chain casing was dropped in favour of a simpler chain guard
This last change is one of the very few changes that sacrificed functionality (longer chain life) in favour of aesthetics.
The CG125 is powered by a very fuel efficient 124 cc single cylinder 4-stroke OHV engine that has changed little over the years. With careful use, it is quite capable of achieving more than 100 mpg, and over its comparatively long history has earned itself a reputation as "bullet proof".
The CG125 was not universally loved in its early days and was developed from the superior CB125. This was an overhead cam engine which revved more freely and was more reliable than early CG125 models. There were many parts in common between the two - basically just the top end was different. Presumably the CG125 was cheaper to build and easier to maintain. One fault with the OHC engine, in common with many Honda engines of that era, was that it had a tendency to wear in the camshaft bearings if oil changes were skipped.
Due to its design success, several direct copies of the CG125 have sprung up (mostly from Chinese and Korean manufacturers), such as the Hongdou CG125, the Champ Commuter, the Warrior Dispatch and the Kymco Pulsar125.
In Brazil and in the UK, it is easily the most widely used beginner motorcycle by training schools for teaching and Compulsory Basic Training because they can take a 'beating' when inexperienced riders use them, spare parts are in abundance and they are cheap to insure. As a result, many new riders purchase a second-hand CG to gain experience before upgrading to a more powerful machine. In the UK in particular, the relaxed licensing requirements for low-powered motorcycles adds to its popularity.
In Brazil due to emission laws from 2009 the engine has been redesigned with an OHC (bore and stroke also changed).
Due to Euro 3 emission laws the Honda CG125 has been replaced by the Fuel_injection Honda CBF125 in UK and Europe from 2009.