Sunday, 12 March 2017

£50 Hacks: Benelli 125

Another two stroke single, but rarely used as just a commuter and subsequently thrashed (it'll do 75mph on a good day). Handling ls Italian stiff and stable when new, but the Wop suspension isn't of the usual high quality and wears out after twenty grand, But the handling is still quite reasonable - up to new CG125 standards, for instance.

Brakes are, er, drums but, again not top rate stuff and the extremes of performance induce mucho fade. You like living dangerously then this one will do very nicely. All the usual problems with flaking paint, peeling chrome and self igniting electrics after just two years. The engine either explodes, seizes or just gets slower when thrashed. Given reasonable treatment it may make it to 25000 miles. If you don't know anything about engines, you'll do well to give this one a miss.

I have had a quick blast on a '78 bike that was extensively rebuilt, resprayed and modified with better quality forks and brakes - it cost about £300 to do this, which is more than the bike is worth, but the owner appears happy with the end result. Engine mods include a newer crank out of a low mileage bike and. a re-bored cylinder with enlarged ports. The thing runs really well up to an indicated 80mph and is light and nimble to chuck through traffic or the back lanes (it weighs about 220lbs now, as against 250lbs stock). It averages 60mpg with the modified engine against 85mpg as standard (which can drop to 50mpg on a worn engine). Nice bike, but an expensive way of going fast. Spares and used bikes are both very rare.

Built between '78 and '82, only the earlier bikes are going to be available for fifty quid and they'll need a lot of tidying up to make them usable. I wouldn't go too far out of my way to buy one of these bikes.

Bill Fowler

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