Honda CR125M

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The Honda CR125M Elsinore is a motorcycle designed and manufactured by Honda and released in late 1973. Modeled after the first Elsinore, the Honda CR250M, the 124cc version sold for $749 at its debut. A CR125M ridden by Marty Smith won the 1974 AMA National Motocross championship,[1] echoing the success of Gary Jones on a factory CR250M in 1973 and further spurring the Elsinore's popularity. According to the September 1973 issue of Dirt Bike, the 125 Honda Elsinore was the only off-road bike on the market at the time that offered both speed and reliability.[2] Any other Japanese 125cc motocross bike at the time would have to have undergone major suspension, motor, and chassis upgrades to be able to handle the rigors of motocross racing.

The CR125M was built in Japan and was extensively tested on motocross tracks in both Japan and California.[3] It had a chrome-moly tube frame, a six-speed gearbox, four-point adjustable Showa shocks, plastic fenders and a magnesium alloy engine casing for weight economy. The bike weighed 154 pounds dry.[4] With a full tank, the CR125M tipped the scales at 188 pounds.[5] The CR125M’s single-cylinder, two-stroke 124cc engine weighed 46 pounds, inclusive of the 28mm Keihin carburetor.

In the hands of a sensitive and insightful rider, the ergonomics enabled good performance, as evidenced in Cycle World’s 1974 review: “Controls are placed precisely where they should be.” “Honda has literally set a new level of motocross excellence in motocross machinery that will have the rest of the industry straining to match it, much less surpass it.”[citation needed]


  • Engine type: 125cc air cooled single-cylinder two-stroke producing 22 hp (claimed)
  • Weight (dry): 154 lbs
  • Carburetion: 28mm Keihin
  • Transmission: close ratio six speed
  • Bore and Stroke: 56 x 50mm[6]
  • Brakes: front and rear drum brake


  1. ^ Frank, Aaron. Honda Motorcycles, p. 95 and 97. Motorbooks International. ISBN 0-7-603-1077-7.
  2. ^ Siegal, Margie. "King of the Hill: Honda Elsinore CR125". Motorcycle Classics November/December 2012. Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  3. ^ Walker, Mick. Honda Production Motorcycles 1946-1980, p. 196. The Crowood Press. ISBN 1 86126 820 3.
  4. ^ Siegal, Margie. "King of the Hill: 1974 Honda CR125M Elsinore".
  5. ^ Aaron, Frank. Honda Motorcycles.
  6. ^ Siegal, Margie. "King of the Hill: 1974 Honda CR125M Elsinore".