Memorial ride (2013) - SS1000M on a 125cc


Premier Member
Memorial ride (2013) on a 125cc bike

The starter engages and the engine roars to life and settles down to a purr as the 125 holds a steady idle.

I picked the Honda air-cooled CB125e up almost two weeks earlier, added a few farkles and was ready for the SS1000M ride. No shakedown rides, no long distance testing because I knew if I rode any substantial distance there was a possibility I would not get back onto Casper. Scheduled depart time 1400hrs was slightly delayed due to not finishing work on time.

I refuel at Dubbo Caltex at 1417hrs heading to Yass for the next scheduled stop 340 kilometres away. The 110 kph speed limit was nothing but a dream, within 15 kilometres I realised that I had miscalculated Casper’s capabilities and would be hard pushed to make the sign in on time 24hrs later. The naked 125 had substantially less cruising power than I had expected, optimistically calculating an 83.5 kph OA, dream on I thought. Passed through Wellington and settling in for the adventure, when disaster struck, roadwork’s!

Roadwork’s outside Wellington

Got the green light some 25 minutes later, what an absolute disaster, quick calculations and I identify three options; pull the pin and restart at Dubbo and take different route to Molong, continue the ride to Wilmington just for a feed or continue and adjust timings on the fly and flog Casper to an inch of his life. Yea, what else would I chose, of course the last option. I knew it would be tight but planned to arrive with an hour to spare with current timings.

About 60 kilometres out of Yass I kept looking in the mirrors, I saw red flashing lights following me, the tolerance on the foot brake switch was minimal and when I hit bumps the brake light and brake LED’s flashed illuminating all the signs, I knew I couldn’t be speeding and stopped briefly to adjust the switch to rectify the problem before I got on the freeway near Yass.

Arrived Yass at 1852hrs (about 1.5hrs outside my plan, goal was still achievable), dumped the jerry can into the tank, and topped the fuel tank up at the browser and added about two litres into the jerry can if needed later. I didn’t realise how much longer it took to fill Casper. The last 2 litres had to be dribbled into the tank, what a slow process and I had to find a secure place for the removable fuel cap. I realised that I didn’t need the jerry can as I was able to travel over 340 kilometres on a tank (13.5 litres).

The bike was running well, close to ‘red line’ most of the way, not that it had a tacho but running on the figures written on the driving light brackets.

Modified Tachometer

I listen carefully to the motor as he screamed for hours on end and keep the revs up to maintain a reasonable pace well at least make the 1600 odd kilometres in under 24 hrs. Gear changes were smooth and all that could be heard was a slight change in tone as the gearbox worked seamlessly.

Onto the Hume, oh boy, not much traffic but a few trucks whistled past. Didn’t take long to work out a system to increase my speed, occasionally I actually achieved 100 kph! I was literally passed by everything including caravans. Pulled into Narrandera at 2240hrs (2hrs outside plan), feeling great and appreciated Casper was working hard. I serviced Casper pre departure, filled him with quality synthetic oil and inserted a cooler spark plug. I have previously burned a hole in a piston with a different bike. I felt I wasn’t overly pushing Casper, yet anyway. A slow stop pulled out about 20 minutes later refreshed and ready for the next leg, traffic was very light.

I passed through Hay and continued to Balranald, I refuelled at 0319hrs (now 3hrs outside schedule, calculating about an hour to spare), completed paperwork, quick mental math’s, goal still achievable. I pulled out of the servo, less traffic and it was getting cold, real cold. About 20 kilometres later three semi’s were approaching when my low beam let go, I fumbled and turned my driving lights on and instantly the trucks started flashing their high beams, quick modification to one driving light now I had a powerful low beam, awesome and I continued. I missed the fairing, heated grips, cruise control and ability to move around freely during my routine exercises.

I thought why am I doing this, it’s insane, it’s cold, if I turned around now I could save 500 kilometres and just head home. I needed to re-focus, take control of my mind otherwise things were going to go feral. I played a few mind games, refocused and whammo, back into it, our mind is a powerful tool but can betray us quickly. The bike was very cramped to say the least. Most reports state they are ideal for town running, well I suppose I am only running between towns. I carry out half hourly exercises; they are getting more difficult because of the cold.

About 20km west of town I pull to the side of the road, park the bike and find a soft spot on the ground. All I could smell as I drifted off was freshly cut grass only to be rudely woken 30 minutes later when the alarm went off. Mildura was quiet except for a bull wagon rushing through town. About forty five minutes out of Renmark I was starting to stiffen up, I was unable to stretch my legs let alone stand up, the pain was unbearable and I was not going to stop.

I pulled into Renmark at 0752hrs EST (3.5hrs later than expected) and dragged my left leg off the peg as it thumped to the ground. I slowly extracted my butt from the seat; we have all experienced that pain. I refuelled, stretched and stretched some more and enjoyed a cold chocolate milk and Kit Kat. I gingerly mounted the beast for the next leg. As I passed Burra, the scenery kept me in awe, so green, the undulating hills, absolutely majestic and at times I lost focus admiring the countryside.

Nothing like Green Power

More roadwork’s, I started laughing aloud, 80kph limit, bloody awesome that was my dream cruising speed. No problems, then the posted speed dropped to 60kph, not good, this was now getting a little close with the times.

I arrived Peterborough at 1156hrs EST (about 4.5hrs outside schedule), a fast stop and I was starting to sweat as things were now critical, kept thinking I should not have stopped to take the photos, but that’s done and I need to keep focus and hammer Casper a little harder, mindful that I still have to travel 1,200 kilometres home and it’s too far to push him.

I push Casper flat out through Horricks Pass and get a tail wind into Port Augusta and made a few minutes, get a corner receipt, fast turn around and yep, headwind for about 15 kilometres, back to 4th gear and 63kph. Push Casper flat out through the ‘S’s and into Wilmington at 1410hrs EST, seven minutes to spare, I sigh and head off to the pub. I park Casper in front of Wilmington Hotel and was met by Charles who passed me some kilometres earlier.

Some stats

Had a great night at the pub, many drinks flowed and off for an early night at about 2130hrs. Next morning the Hotel was buzzing with riders and there was a steady flow of new arrivals.

It was great catching up with old mates, sharing experiences and making new friendships.

Casper appears a little out of place

Off to the Plaque at 1340hrs, I leave slightly earlier however the swarm pass me a few minutes later as we head off to pay our respects and have time for personal reflection.

Paying Respects

A few cool ales were consumed, and what sounded like a swam of hornets approached and continued until a hundred or so Rebel riders passed with dozens of support vehicles and a dozen or so police including motorcycle travelled with them. More tales shared through the evening and what a meal.

I was off for an hours sleep before departing for the long haul back to Dubbo at about 2200hrs.

Now for the run home

Had a great run through Peterborough and absolutely no traffic and the LED’s illuminated the roadway reasonably well. I had previously disconnected the high beam as it was useless compared to the LED’s.

A little brighter than the stock 25 watt bulb

Stopped at Yunta, refuelled, a quick snack, and headed off again. It was a like a killing field, roo carcasses everywhere. Things were running well, very little traffic, settled back into the ride when right in the middle of the spot a roo headed straight towards me; I was travelling flat out at 78kph. First thought, ‘not again’ (maybe there was another word mixed in there somewhere), it collided head on into my leg jarring the bike from its path. I pulled to the roadside and stopped, all was good until I tried to lift my leg over the bike, I realised something was not quite rite. I couldn’t get off the bike and after a couple of seconds I just let the bike lay gently on the side, well maybe not gently but that was the intention. I lay there for a few minutes and it was absolutely black, nothing. I turned the ignition on and the lights came to life, I realised I had a dislocated patella, I massaged it and kept gently pressure on it and it reduced a few minutes later. I stood the bike up with much grunting even though it weighs a little over 100kg (I can assure you it’s easier to lift than the GTR).

The CB125w is a roo killer

I maneuverer Casper around and observe the roo dead on the side of the roadway. A land cruiser pulled up and offered assistance; they were locals and heading to their property 5km the other side of Broken Hill. The passenger confirmed the roo was deceased and pulled a joey from the pouch and said she would take it home. The driver said, ‘follow us’ and we will clear the road for you, I said I couldn’t go much faster than 80kph, not a problem mate, just follow us.

Had a great run into Broken Hill except for the continual pain from my knee, we stopped at the town limits; I thanked them and headed to the Shell servo for a rest and to lick my wounds.

My alarm woke me at 0455hrs; I refuelled and headed off refuelling at Wilcannia, then headed towards Emmdale for a decent breakfast. They always put on a great breakfast. I started kitting up and Tony arrived to refuel. We chatted for a few minutes then I departed, didn’t long for Tony to catch up to, pass me and disappear into the distance.

Been a long run, the sunrise makes it worthwhile

A few obstacles

Refuel at Cobar and continued to Dubbo finally arriving at about 1930hrs and greeted by Jo. Unpack Casper and he looks a bit naked. Go inside for a fabulous baked dinner, another great adventure complete on a pint sized bike.



Premier Member
Another awesome ride report .... amazing effort on the 125.
I love the affection you obviously have for Kangaroos ..... they are drawn to you :D

Grey Gentry

Premier Member
The 'roos keep Karl true to his nickname. Well done.
With all Karl's mini bike achievements made me think I didn't need a big bike for my LD adventures