Production Racer: 1977 Honda MT125R

The list of motorcycle racing greats who started their careers on small-capacity machines is pretty extensive, as those machines have allowed some of the legends to hone their racing skills to a high level. This 1977 Honda MT125R is just such a machine, and it would appear that not only is it completely original, but it has never actually seen a racetrack during its entire life. The current owner purchased the machine 25-years-ago and has never actually used it. He has now decided that the time has come for it to head to a new home, and to a new owner who will appreciate and enjoy this racing classic. It is located in Bakersfield, California, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $5,400, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The originality of this little Honda classic is quite extraordinary. Its presentation is first-rate, right down to its period graphics and signage. The owner states that the tank and seat still wear their factory gel-coat, and the majority of the controls such as the brake and clutch levers are still fitted with the now slightly-yellowed factory plastic sleeves. The owner supplies a great selection of photos of various aspects of the machine, and the frame in particular looks to be spotlessly clean. There are no signs of any chips or gravel rash, which seems to reinforce the owner’s belief that the Honda has seen little in the way of active duty.

The MT125R really was a pocket rocket in its day, and this one is fitted with its original 123cc single-cylinder air-cooled engine and 6-speed transmission. This engine produces a mere 26hp, but thanks to its ability to wind-out to 14,000rpm, it could still achieve a top speed of 125mph. Interestingly, the factory tachometer as fitted to this bike doesn’t start registering until the 5,000rpm mark, simply because this was an engine that was at its best revving at around the 10,000 mark. The engine in this particular Honda has done minimal work and is said to have only been run long enough to break it in. The owner hasn’t started the engine during the past 25-years, so it will undoubtedly need a thorough check before it is kicked into life once again. However, once this process has been completed, this little Honda will pack quite a bit of punch in a very small package.

Vintage racing machinery continues to grow in popularity, and that also means that values are on a continual upward spiral. It also means that for those who wish to partake in vintage competition, the costs have the potential to be pretty astronomical. That is one of the aspects of this Honda MT125R that makes it so attractive. I don’t know where the reserve has been set, but I suspect that bidding is probably now getting pretty close to the mark. If this is the case, then this could represent an affordable option for those individuals who wish to take on this hobby. So, if you have the desire to release your inner Dani Pedrosa or Valentino Rossi, then your machinery awaits you right here.

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  1. Howard A Member

    Here, like the twin engine kart, is something you need “grapes” for. Going 125 mph on a glorified bicycle is not for everyone. It’s not something to go for a putt on, it needs a track. That could limit riding substantially, but would be quite a rush. The fact they get 14K rpms out of a reciprocating motor is amazing. Electric motors hardly turn that fast. Cool bike, and I love the “rattle can” carb cover. Whatever fits.

    • Howard A Member

      Want to go for a virtual ride on one? Why not? ( shortest one I could find) Little loud, and they don’t actually show the bike, you don’t have to watch it all, but you get the idea, and this is a 125!!! If my old man saw me doing this, he’d have me committed to an asylum. ( btw, I did plenty of shenanigans he never knew about) :)

      • Dave

        Just imagine racing this around the IOM Mountain Course…37.75 miles flat out!

    • Derek

      Howard, check out the redlines on CBR400s and 250s. The VFR400’s no’ shy either (rev it ’til it stutters on the limiter and snick up…).

  2. Cold340t

    Saw a ca plated one of these in downtown Berkeley in 2015. Poor little bike had to be revved to the moon just to get going from stoplight. Not for commuting by any means. But, admit to being a little envious. Got an nsr250 plated week later. Because of it.
    Still looking out for that little 125 the plate makes it a real unicorn. If this had plate it would be on its way to my house. Cool bike!
    Hope it’s new owner rides it.

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    Honda went for racing almost from the get-go. His first attempt was nothing to write home about but tech writers said that his second attempt was built like a Swiss watch. Thinking about that I’m a little surprised to see a port-timed two-stroke single in a Honda racing bike. Obviously this one worked because Honda didn’t release a dud that I know of. I might add that two-strokes were not Honda’s forte for many years. I remember a 50 cc TWIN 4-stroke back in the 60s. And for those who think this engine revs high, that twin was capable of 18K rpm (some reports say as high as 22K) which is approaching the speed of a dentist’s drill (well maybe quite shy of a drill which is somewhere around 200K rpm).

  4. Scuderia

    Friend of mine (many years ago) ran across a pair of early 70’s Yamaha TA125’s these were two cylinder 125’s with tiny little pistons. Anyway he told me if I got them going we could go race them. So I got them going and we showed up for new racers school. During the classroom segment someone asked the teacher what was the worst bike someone could take the class on? His reply “Probably an early 70’s Yamaha 2 cylinder 125. We couldn’t stop laughing for the entire rest of the class. We both passed and the rest as they say, is history :) Fun little bikes

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Great story!!!!!!

  5. SMS

    125’s are so much fun to race. They have no weight and no power. The goal is to be so smooth as to scrub off as little speed as possible.

  6. Troyce Walls

    Maximum output: over 14PS/21,500rpm

  7. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Reserve Not Met at $5,401.

  8. Mitchell Member

    I’ve never even rode a motorcycle and I still want this so bad

  9. stillrunners stillrunners Member


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