In the beginning…

It has begun….

Having just got married this summer it seems appropriate to use the following phrase:

“My affair with all things trials, Honda and twin shock has begun”

Lets get the pleasantries out of the way:

My wife would like to thank my good friend for introducing me to my new aquisition
and the focus of my attention for not some considerable time I think…
I also would like to thank my good friend for the new collection of bent metal parts currently residing in my shed, that in the early seventies resembled an attractive little machine to say the least.

The project:

Fettled from the Honda stable and rising from the enthusiasm for trials in an era when the Carpenters and John Denver ruled the airwaves and chain guards were a necessity for those who preferred bell bottoms. The little Honda with its small simplistic four stroke engine and with parts still reasonably available seemed a perfect place to start my introduction to observed twin shock trials.
I have to admit though, that I have more than a little enthusiasm for the lovely little Honda. Currently awaiting a thorough going over, piece by piece it sits in all its original glory.. if only bikes could talk…

So what happens next ?

A fan of maintaining as much originality as is practical on a small budget I am going to attempt to illustrate the restoration of my Honda TL125 K. With my mechanical roots in classic car restoration, mostly early Triumphs, I have not set my sites on a bike project until now…. Make no mistake I am very very new to the trials scene and so I apologise in advance for any errors and rest assured that I am seeking guidance from those around me in the know and the mine of information that is the internet… which brings me to this site where I will be posting as many articles on my project as I can… I hope that this will provide an entertaining read and a bit of enthusiasm for those who want to give it a go.. I am hoping that piece by piece the little bike will come together and finally give me an insight into the trials and tribulations of a Honda tl125… (yes well I had hoped to slip that one in earlier..)

The first thing to do is put the kettle on make a nice cup of tea, walk around the bike a bit and then put the kettle on again… all of the important bits are there bar a few of the rarer bits and the engine turns over with a kick on the kickstart….

So the first thing to do in any project is to assess… the assessment in this case is mainly focused on the engine.. the plug is new and a bit sooty, there is compression and the engine oil looks surprisingly clean so someone has obviously tried to revive it at some point. Plug cap off, spark plug out and we have a healthy looking spark with a couple of kicks with the plug earthed on the cylinder head… good. I have decided that it is safe to fire up the engine as it does not appear to be seized and the oil looks good, no severe leaks or obvious ingress of water/filth either so it should be a good test for noise/smoke and other symptoms. There is no throttle cable and the carb looks a bit antiqued.. So this means that its off with the carb, a Keihin 20mm, a simplistic little thing it seems at first but after gaining the necessary access to it by removing the seat, air box and the two securing nuts it seems that its just not budging… in the end I removed it with a couple of very light taps from a rubber mallet and some gentle wiggling… The cause of the tricky removal is clearly seen to be distortion of the mounting plate caused, as I would later be expertly informed: by the carburettor mounting nuts being over tightened. After removing the screw top of the carb it is easy to tell that the carb slide is well and truly seized in its barrel and I am slightly worried that the overtightening of the mounting nuts and distortion have extended to the carb body and thus wedging the slide.. apparently this is a common fate for this type of carb on the early TL’s the basic fix for which is a replacement item!. After a generous soak in a suitable penetrating oil to my glee the slide moves freely up the carb body and reveals the needle and main jet below… a further strip of the carb involving removal of the bowl reveals a mass of gunk and gloop not entirely unexpected on a machine of this age and condition. As I am writing this the carb is stripped and sitting in a bath of petrol where all the sticky residue is slowly but surely being removed… once this has been done I can start to assess the condition of the individual components.. more to follow soon including some pictures……

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