1972 RC125M

18 Июн 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи 1972 RC125M отключены
Honda CD 125

Honda’s first works Taichi Yoshimura with his own of Legendary Motocross Bikes

Motocross the Beginning

When the 10 containing the 1972 RC125M from Japan, I was very to see exactly what this was all about. Prior to this, the time I had seen or ever of a 1972 RC125 was back in The bike was featured in a small release in Cycle World It looked super trick and but that was it. It never showed up and for nearly 40 years the details unknown and forgotten.

The truth is, few were ever made and never left Japan. The featured here is the only one in the world and it is in 100% original It is the earliest known RC Honda bike in existence.

When I to open the boxes, Not only was the in remarkable condition, I was stunned by the of the individual parts and how lightweight was; this is a very bike. The attention to detail that of the 1980’s HRC bikes and in ways surpasses them. The and handwork is amazing and many of the are like jewelry.

Parts the titanium exhaust manifold, bearings in the clutch cover for the shaft and the clutch assembly to name a few. Everything in the is machined with laser precision. You spin something and it keeps spinning, no friction. I had seen anything like and the weight at 138 lbs. is just

I have seen inside Bob championship bikes. I have inside DeCoster’s and Joel Suzuki’s. The HRC Honda’s…. seen too. All unbelievable bikes but was way over the top.

I had to find out the story was behind this motorcycle. Fortunately Holly, the guy I it from knows and is very friends with the guy that developed and raced this motorcycle in the “All Japan Championship” back in 1972. Mr. Yoshimura. After asking the history, Taichi was kind to sit down with Holly and his Masayo and tell the incredible from the beginning.

This be the first time this would be told and in print To fully understand the history and of this historic motorcycle a background history is warranted.

the inception of the sport thru the 1960’s, motocross was dominated by From the late 1950’s the early 1960’s, companies as Monark, Lito, Husqvarna, FN, BSA and made some awesome motocross machinery. These were designed and for the most hand built by some of the engineers, craftsmen and riders of the

Their ability to travel at rates of speed over rough terrain was truly They were state of the art bikes made in very numbers and ridden by the best riders in the world to do one thing, win But all of that was about to change. By the to mid 1960’s, European manufacturers CZ, Husqvarna and Greeves to name a started designing and building motocross bikes.

These were lighter and handled better than the 4-… that had dominated the sport for Almost overnight the 4-… bike became obsolete.

no secret that in the late and early 70’s, motocross had the fastest growing motorsport in the It’s also no secret at that same time, the companies Suzuki, Yamaha and were getting involved in a big way and by the 70’s were dominating the at the professional level with lightweight 2-… works

This dominance led to unprecedented of their production bikes and to day, the sales figures this era remain unmatched! from all walks of life now getting involved in this new of motocross.

1967 was the year motocross officially came to It was the year of the first “All Motocross” championship, sanctioned by the Federation of Japan. At this Suzuki led the way with a development that started in 1965 and was on their way to building a competitive motocross bike.

By 1970 had developed the incredible works and in the hands of multi world Belgium’s Joel Robert, Suzuki and Japan’s first FIM Championship. Yamaha wasn’t far with Sweden’s multi champion Torsten Hallman and was now involved too. Honda was not involved.

In-fact, Honda’s founder and Mr. Soichiro Honda went out of his way to say will never build a motorcycle!”

Mr. Honda was a very man and under his supervision, Honda was very much involved in GP racing. His attitude and approach was the same as Enzo Ferrari’s of racing fame, “win at all Second place was not an option and on the team understood this. He the best engineers and technicians graduated from the most universities in the world to design the best race bikes built.

Some amazing was conceived and built by this Honda Motors works RD like the RC166 250cc 19,000rpm road-racer or the 5 cylinder These bikes were The result of all this was complete in the super competitive, highly world championship road series in Europe. The cost of was staggering but Honda achieved a status that no ad-campaign buy.

They proved to the that they could and build anything better anyone else. When achieved all their goals, stopped and after the 1967 Honda pulled out of GP road-racing.

Now Honda had pulled out of GP road at about the same time started in Japan, some of the engineers in the works RD team a voluntary group called Association to Study the Motorcycle.” was an independent group, not officially an arm of even though they all for Honda. These guys race enthusiasts through and and collectively, they turned eye and attention to this new sport of

Since it was common knowledge Honda Motors that the disliked 2-strokes they limited to using a 4-… machine in an attempt to make it against the 2-… machines other manufacturers. The bike chose to start with was the production SL125. After considerable time reducing its and modifying the engine they they were ready to put highly modified SL to the test.

In May of as Honda’s first official team, they entered the 6 th of the MFJ Motocross Grand Prix in Fukuoka Japan.

In their real competition in a sanctioned against the best 2-… machines from the other manufacturers, the sobering reality set in. they finished the race, highly modified 4-… was outclassed and their attempt in failure. They were acutely aware of the progress of the of the art 2-… engines and that any to win with the 4-… would be difficult.

They also that the more motocross as a sport, the more Honda be left behind as long as hesitated to build a 2-…

The atmosphere within the company was very strong against the but the Honda race team did the company aware of the situation and the problem. This however did not their enthusiasm. At a request by the younger engineers to RD management, were allowed to purchase two motocross bikes for evaluation. was a private and unofficial arrangement by the RD management and the independent voluntary

One bike was a Greeves and the other a When the bikes arrived, the engineers examined the cutting machines in great detail and dreamt of the day when they surpass them.

Development of 335

At Honda, development of a new 4-… was underway. It would be the successor to the scrambler series. It was the 250 single

Many of the members from the RD gave it a very careful as the foundation of a race bike but it would have to compete 2-strokes they couldn’t having misgivings about its The rest of the bike seemed and so they decided to submit a for developing a 2-… engine for the as it would be called (code 335). This would run with the original plan of the of the 4-… engine.

The proposal was in January of 1971. RD management this to happen mainly of the enthusiasm of the young engineers. It be stressed enough how taboo the was for Honda to build a 2-… at time.

When the SL250 4-… was completed it was a huge success as an bike and the 2-… project lost its importance. The new 4-… was in some ways a break but it still was not up to par with the 2-… engines at any level as far as performance

Even though the project was the young engineers proceeded to the new engine and at this time the name was changed to 335B. 6 months they had the engine level clearing 30ps/7000rpm. was their tentative goal.

this goal achieved, started on the chassis. At first the was copied from a Husqvarna. the remaining components were other various competitors.

The bike looked like sort of homemade bike together but this was of unimportance to the engineers. They wanted to the engine in a real life environment in a real race and wanted the results as soon as In a strange way, this was the first 2-… Honda bike.

Once the bike was they decided to enter it in the All Motocross Championship. Since was not an official Honda, they a race in the series that was far from any large city the crowd would be smaller and that they wouldn’t any attention. They entered the as a private team.

The event was August 22, 1971 at the 9 th round in Yamaguchi. Contrary to their they were recognized and got all kinds of attention from the teams and the media. They their debut race due to problems and not enough preparation to a built machine but they able to get enough feedback on the performance.

Most of it was positive. The and other media outlets no time in reporting about new 2-… at Mine, Yamaguchi. The was out of the barn!

Mr Matsuura awaits the on the 335a at Mine Yamaguchi Note the Yamaha DT2 gas tank.

attention and interest was now directed at and this new 2-… motocross The trouble was it wasn’t an official project. It was just some Honda engineers from the club, “The Association to the Motorcycle.” What would if Mr. Honda found out?

all he hated 2-strokes and publically the company would never one. Now that the secret was no a secret the RD management decided the 335B project idea was and due to the enormous interest from the they decided to make an proposal to Mr. Soichiro Honda

They were going to do the Ask Mr. Honda, the same guy who said will never build a to build an official Honda works motocross bike.

official Honda enters with a 2-…

Those were at the meeting remember it After quietly listening to the Mr. Honda’s response was very and to the point. “If you insist on building a engine, you can do it.” Once you it had better be the best 2-… in the world and the engine should be to any of the competitors!” The young engineers had come true, they got the light, but the pressure was on.

Mr. Honda was a driven man especially when it to racing. He did not accept losing or and did not handle it well when it Some of the best engineers in the learned this the hard You did not want to be on his bad side if you were of something that did not work or

This coupled with the that he did not like 2-strokes put the heat on these young engineers. They absolutely not fail. They had to dominate they did in the road-race GP’s and the best motocross bike in the To this day, no one knows if Mr.

ever knew about the Honda 2-… 335B.

the President gave the OK, the project was 335C. The same RD engineers built the incredible works that dominated the GP’s in the would now start with a sheet of paper and attempt to the best 2-… motocross in the world from the ground up. would be spared in this

They had to succeed!

“ This was a deal,” says ex-Team racing manager and current RD employee Dave Arnold, who build Team Honda the biggest, baddest and most motocross team ever the ’70s and ’80s. “Mr. was absolutely a win-at-all-cost sort of and he was also a little crazy – so I’m the team was very, very about going to him with the Mr.

Honda’s temper was well throughout the company, and there several incidents where he abused engineers emotionally and for mechanical failures.” Mr. Honda did not 2-strokes, that’s for sure. But he was no dummy, and he obviously realized things were going.

And Honda was first and foremost an company, it made sense for him to to dominate, and right out of the gate. It was all proving Honda was the best manufacturer in the world – just as had so successfully in the ’60s during GP roadracing experience.”

As far as putting a race team for the AJMC, already had the pieces in place. had an excellent administrative staff as manager, mechanics, engineers and with plenty of professional experience. Kunihiko Aika was the engineer.

Katsumasa Suzuki was the mechanic and Kazuhisa Sekiguchi was the MX advisor. In November 1971 the of two of the best riders in Japan being pursued in profound They hired Koichi and from the works Suzuki Taichi Yoshimura to be the development and compete in the AJMC.

The announcement of caused a huge sensation in and immediately put the duo in the limelight. Shortly the development started, Ueno an illness that would him bedridden the remainder of the season and left Yoshimura alone to and race the bikes.

In January the official name RC250M was to the 335C. This was the official for any machine developed under Works.” If is designated RC it is works and means this will be best effort for performance.

developing and testing began soon and the work was very and focused. The bike was getting and better at a very quick The bike had progressed to the point the team felt it was time to it in the AJMC. The opening round was 12, 1972 at a high-speed track in Ibaragi.

In the bikes debut the result was a 6 th place. The RC250M had a few such as an over heated carburetor jetting was off and wrong setting. The team’s inexperience in was evident as this was completely than road racing.

up to the other teams experience and them was a priority.

After the race the team worked on all the one by one. Trial and error it was perfected. “We want to catch the runners and somehow overtake no matter what. We want to the top technology in the 2-… world.” It was days that such gave them energy to out the unique research at the racetrack.

For One of the team members went up to a works machines from and pushed the palm of his hand the exhaust pipe so that the could be measured to learn diameter that had a big influence of power. Another member at the track late and after left, went through the works teams trash to try and anything such as a broken ring or gasket so they analyze the material. After a deal of trial and error, the felt the RC250M was ready to

Honda 335C

Koichi #1 and Taichi Yoshimura #3 on the 335c

The motocross victory

On June 4 th round 6 of the AJMC at Kannabe ski his Highness Prince Takamatsu of the Family of Japan and founder and of Honda Motor Company Honda were in attendance in the visitor’s gallery. They there to see the first official works Honda compete for the The team was extremely nervous of his presence.

It was just eight before that Mr. Honda the 2-… and everyone there was aware of Mr. Honda’s words. The had to be the best in the world.

In the first heat after the holeshot, Taichi was in a close for the lead and ended up with a 2 nd. It was his moto finish of the season so In the second heat, Taichi the fantastic Honda power, got the again and went wire to for the win.

Winning in front of Mr. was a great satisfaction and the team worked so hard had finally The research team and their had taken an important step making the best 2-… in the world.

Taichi Yoshimura’s 1972 factory Honda This was the first official Honda jersey and one of only a few in the world. The word Honda and T. are embroidered. Way before HRC, it was Technical Sports Honda.

the patch at top left. The jersey was to MXworksbike.com by Holly and Taichi.

The photos were taken after Taichi’s historic win on the at Kannabe ski area. Taichi archives.

History is made. The world would change

The 1972 RC125M

Once the on the RC250M was complete, it was decided to put the effort into developing a the RC125M. This was started in and much of what was learned the RC250M was applied to the RC125M. And of this the development proceeded at a faster pace. When the bike was extremely fast and lightweight.

The new RC125M competed in its race on July 2 nd at the 7 th round of the and finished a very respectable 4 th. In the 8 th they moved up and got 3 rd. In the 9 th round, Yoshimura and the RC125M won!

was Honda’s first ever win in 125 and it was only the third time the had ever been raced. An achievement since they competing against the works Suzuki’s and Kawasaki’s, all of which had years of experience and very bikes.

Honda’s first 125 win is moments away at Aso Japan.

The RC125M was the result of two years of non-stop development. Even construction of the bike started in much of the data that the team learned from the project was applied to the 125. The was excellent almost from the

A 125 is much more sensitive to and power than say a 250. is lightweight more important on a 125. To produce low lap times, the momentum on the race track is important and must be maintained. A 125 does not have the engine to pull itself out if any lost like that of a larger

The Honda engineers understood and to build the best 125 possible, reduction was a primary goal. part was designed and made as as possible without sacrificing Parts like the swingarm, hubs and suspension components make up the un-sprung weight given much attention to be lightweight.

At just over 3 the all aluminum swingarm is a great of how much attention was paid to reduction. The rear shocks made with extra bodies and large shafts but very lightweight. Since the RC was to be raced and serviced by Honda’s team only, extreme could be taken in reducing as cost was not an issue and the bike was by some of the best engineers and in the world.

Honda has always had in their engine development and the was no exception. The engineers applied bit of knowledge from their degrees in engineering and then when designing the little 125 plant. Several engine were initially tried different configurations. Five and six gearboxes were used and the were very carefully to the engine power band.

350cc of oil capacity was used in the case. The engine components made with the lightest and materials possible. They machined with extreme at very close tolerances. greatly reduced any friction of parts.

The entire clutch was fastened to the main shaft a large cir-clip to save The complete engine weighed than 30lbs and made 21 peaking at 9500rpm.

Overall the was a huge success. With a lightweight chassis and a very tuned engine the acceleration of the RC was The extreme lightweight of the machine was a huge advantage on the rough as well as improving handling and

Every single aspect of the performance was greatly enhanced of this.

The result of producing a of this caliber is an incredible especially since it was Honda’s effort at a 125 2-…. For a 125 to be over 60 lbs than a standard 125 of the day and carry an that has near 250 performance this bike on the short of one of the most advanced motocross ever built in relative

The young engineers in Honda’s RD shop that started out as a of enthusiasts with a dream in building a bike that I’m surpassed even their expectations. But when Soichiro is your boss and says it had to be the 2-… in the world, they didn’t have much of a

It is amazing that the bike is in all original un-restored condition. the number plate backgrounds and the logo on the tank were A tremendous amount of research into getting them to original spec.

Throttle in Kokomo Indiana did a fantastic job the number plate backgrounds and the font gold Honda on the tank.

Photo Haim

The Number plate from the was sent back to Japan for autograph.

Taichi Yoshimura, first works rider tells Holly the incredible story about how Honda first got into motocross (Mr said he would never a 2-…) and about the development of the RC works Honda’s. Holly’s Masayo takes notes.

Yoshimura Reflects

At the end of the 1971 I received an offer from to develop and race their new motocross bike. I knew of high standards and thought would do a good job so I decided to the offer. Prior to this I was a rider for Suzuki.

When I saw the for the first time Mr. Matuura and Mr. was riding it at the Nishinihon Circuit. At the I never heard or thought would make a 2-….

I the bike would be successful because Honda was involved.

I first rode the bike the power of the engine was much powerful than I was expecting. were some durability though in the beginning, mainly

One of the problems we had initially was to learn the silicone content for the piston. For originally the material of the piston was on the basis of our 4-… pistons are always soaked in oil. The were not as critical on a 4-… because of this.

On the 2-…, the had portholes and because of the portholes the temperature was not consistent with the of the piston. This was compensated for by the content of the piston. We had many failures because of this in the

All of this was new to Honda because to this, they only 4-strokes. Cylinder studs went from the case to the also contributed to engine The stud gets very hot but has no way to the heat and will cause the to distort.

We solved this by the cylinder to the case near the port. We had to learn all of this a continuation of trial and errors.

We had a lot of of 4-strokes but knew very about 2-strokes when we started. I gradually understood the of the exhaust chamber. It was similar to the of a 4-…. Gradually we became to the 2-strokes, but they were noisy!

Also, in the beginning the was not so good. By the time the 1972 season began, we had the engine reliable and the bike was ready.

I was confident and thought if the bike break down I could When I won with the 250 and the 125 for the first both races were days and the bike was not as big of a factor as it have been in dry conditions. The 250 win was at and the 125 win was at Aso.

These were the wins for Honda for the 125 and 250.

In those days technology was not it is today. Back then, If the didn’t fit the rider you would When the rider is in agreement the bike the gears mesh and you get results. I was a technical rider and confident in my ability, this was for development. We did some mean to the young engineers back

I remember sometimes kicking the when they didn’t get it They must have upset with me at times and I look back on it now, I was for kicking the machine that people made for me. However, days there are many people who could use a good

I enjoyed my time at Honda much. I liked developing a new more than I liked a developed one. Honda me a spot that I really It was a pleasure to work there the RC works bikes. While the bikes, I could feel the in performance of the machine little by until it was right.

Honda is at development in an unknown field.

The races I won with the RC will be in my memories. But I don’t forget the races I rode with even if I won or lost.

Summary of the

Way back in 1972 when I saw the press release in Cycle featuring the RC125M, I remember much more impressed it than I was with the 250 (335) that was announced a little The top production 125 bikes at that were the 200+ lb. Penton’s and In comparison, the Honda RC was in another It was very sleek and had that all “no frills works bike” to it.

Everything just seemed it was in the right place. Probably the impressive part that out in the press release was the stat They had a claimed weight of 154 listed. This was unbelievable! It showed how serious and to what Honda was getting into

From that point on, the RC125M has always been my Honda even though the I ever got to one was that photograph in World magazine.

After examination, the bike has far exceeded any expectations. The thirty eight old mystery is now a reality. There are so things that set this apart from the other bikes but the thing that me the most is the same thing amazed me the most back in

The weight, only it is 16 lbs lighter the stat sheet said it I am a firm believer that Honda wants to win, out of the way.”

Holly, the man who made acquisition possible with his friend and Honda’s first motocross rider Taichi

Two great friends after the interview Holly and Taichi

Before heading to the states the RC got the Peter Rabbit weigh-in by our friend Masafumi Holly in Japan. We will be doing projects with Holly in the He is a first class guy and a true Check out his web site www.hollyequip.com .

It is 63 kgs! This makes the RC125M the lightest motocross ever built. Holly (on the and his assistant Toshio balance the RC for the

These guys are crazy.

factory rider Taichi at the All Japan Motocross in 1972 the RC125M.

So what does Yoshimura do today? Taichi is as as ever. He owns the famous RS clothing company. An international end motorcycle apparel company

Also Taichi is still active in motocross. He is the team for the Suzuki factory motocross in Japan.

Honda CD 125
Honda CD 125
Honda CD 125
Honda CD 125
Honda CD 125
Honda CD 125

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