I have been riding a little motorcycle, the Honda CG Titan, also known as the CG125, for more than 4 years now. This motorcycle was purchased in the middle of my 5 months + 3 months + 3 months contract with a certain MNC. I was retrenched earlier on and thought that it was time to tighten my belt. So I bought this little motorcycle. It was the right bike at the right time.
Fast forward 4 years plus and I am now working as a permanent staff in another company and I still love this motorcycle. The problem is that the COE is coming to an end in less than 2 years and the motorcycle is in a sad state. The engine is leaking from all the gaskets, the clutch needs changing (though it is still useable if you know how to), the front disc is worn thin, the handlebar is bent and the sprocket and chain needs to be changed too. As you can probably guess, she was used as a work horse and maintained minimally. Considering that the COE is ending very soon, it doesn’t really make sense for me to send the bike for an entire make over. She was previously from a driving school and life has not treated her well to begin with.
The other problem was that while she has just enough power to carry me around when I ride solo. However, if I were to pillion my wife, the little CG struggles to keep up with the traffic. This is very apparent when I had to use the highways. I have to keep her engine on full throttle much of the time in order to keep up with the traffic. This also explains why the gaskets are leaking everywhere.
So I thought that it is time to search for a replacement.
Being the sensible, logical rider that I am, I decided that I needed:
1) Something slightly bigger – between 200 and 400 cc – for more power when 2 up riding.
2) Good fuel economy- fuel prices are still very high. Preferably consumption close to my CG Titan (which is 30km/l).
3) Economical – cheapish tires and other parts and maintenance costs
4) Parts availability.
I started looking around and thought that maybe the CBX250 Twister was the answer. I had a hard time finding one locally and during my search in the local forums and ads, I noted that for a little more money, I could get something much nicer. Like a CBR600. That’s a nice comfy bike isn’t it? Hey, there’s a Kawasaki ZX9R C1 for sale too.
My friend, after hearing that I was in the market looking for a bike, started saying that I should not consider a small bike, but to get a bigger one. A nice sportsbike, something for transport as well as some fun. Some of the oh-so-logical reasons were, you should learn to enjoy yourself once in a while, you only live one, you can’t ride sportsbikes for long you know…
The sensible, logical side of me told me to ignore this nonsense. However, when I had difficulty find the CBX250 Twister, I started looking around for alternatives and that started to lead me to the other extreme.
From a Hornet 600 to a CBR600, to a ZX9R and finally for whatever the reason was, I ended up with a 2001 GSXR 1000 K1. Wasn’t I out to buy a nice, economical transport bike? What the heck happened?
My 1st ride on a similar model was on the 2000 GSXR750. It has a very bum up head down riding position. The GSXR1000 is the same. It may make sense on the track, but it was totally wrong for daily commuting chores and riding in traffic.
The pegs are also high though that wasn’t too much of a problem for me. The seat was also high. I can plant 1 foot flat on the ground but could only tip toe if I wanted both feet on the ground (more on this later).
My first thought when I rode the bike was that this machine was designed to torture motorcyclists. As punishment, make riders ride for hours on a hot afternoon in a city traffic jam.
Round 1 – Lemozuki the Drama Queen
After collecting the bike, I noticed that her clutch was engaging abruptly or on or off suddenly at times. It was quite scary especially with all the power she has. My mechanic, friends and the ex-owner put it down to my unfamiliarity with the machine. Hmm…maybe so I thought.
To move off slowly without any jerks, I had to really rev very low – like 2000rpm – and so gently let go the clutch and she would move off nicely. That is not normal. I have never ridden any motorcycle or seen anyone having to ride like that. I felt ridiculous, especially if doing it on a sportsbike like this.
The first drama was at the 2nd ride.The 1st ride home after collecting the bike scared the s$%& out of me. The power, the jerking clutch and the horrible riding position. Especially the power. The thought that came to my mind was “this bike should not be street legal!”
After reaching my home’s carpark and parking the bike, I was taking some photos when suddenly, I noticed a pool of green fluid on the ground beneath her. Turns out that the hose radiator hose was leaking coolant! I had to call the workshop to send a tow truck and bring her to the shop. Since the bike was out of service anyway, I decided to ask the mechanic to service the forks, change the oil at the same time on top of the coolant change.
When I went to collect the bike, I mentioned the clutch issue to the mechanic again, but was again told that it was normal. Hmmm….normal?
Round 2 – At the Suzuki Agent
After riding for a week or two, I became convinced that riding with this clutch was simply ridiculous. The grabby clutch was sudden that it wrecked my nerves and scared me and some pedestrians as well. There is no way I can ride the bike like this. Which reminded me of the previous owner.
When I was viewing the bike and thinking to buy it, I wanted a test ride, but the owner refused saying that I was not insured and all that. Now I know what the real reason was, I was not pleased. Caveat Emptor!
I brought her to the Suzuki agent and to cut the long story short, after a few visits (like 6), the problem was finally solved. Her clutch friction plates as well as the steel plates were all changed for new ones. Though that helped reduce the grabbiness, she still engaged suddenly at higher revs. Finally, after searching the forums, I finally found a solution. I printed out the instructions and asked the Suzuki mechanic to get a ’04 ZX10R’s steel plate and replaced the 1st steel plate in the clutch with it. Whalla problem solved! Her clutch is as smooth as butter and she does not grab any more. Not even once! The following link is where I found the solution. Thanks to the folks at Gixxer Forum for sharing it!
However, being the drama queen, she could not let me go without throwing a tantrum. When the clutch was first changed, the Suzuki agent called me back saying that she was leaking coolant all over the floor! Turns out that a coolant system plastic cap was cracked! Man….
On Going Issue – Intermittent Head Lights
Next gremlin to turn up was the head lights. Sometimes the headlights will light up, sometimes it would not. There was a loose connection somewhere on the right side but when we tried to narrow down the source of the problem, we couldn’t. The bike’s electrics have been modified and the wires have been cut and spliced to attach a gear indicator, a loud electric horn and to attach twin filament winkers, all of which are great. However, the wiring looked a mess. The source of the problem seemed to come from 3 electrical connectors, but we couldn’t figure out which one. We tried cleaning them and reattaching them, but that didn’t seem to solve the problem either. It worked for a while, but after the 2nd service, the “lights went out” again because the right fairing was removed and the wires were touched or something. Sigh…at the time of writing, she’s back in the Suzuki agent to figure out the problem. Hope it won’t be too expensive.
The story is not over….stay tuned.