Honda CR 125 M « Elsinore » - 1977 (Type 400)
Achievement : complete restoration
Purpose : private collection
Price : not to sell !
Mythical « Elsinore »
Early 70’s, motocross market comes down to the only European production represented by brands like CZ, Maïco, Bultaco, Montesa or Husqvarna. The manufacturing of these ultra specialized machines is very confidential and holds more like small business crafts than a well-organized distribution. Facing the advent of off-road leisure’s in USA, Honda decides to strike a big blow by developing a motocross rides dedicated machine “race ready”. That is to say a bike ready to line-up behind a starting grid without modifications. From 1971, Honda develops its project by breaking one of its founding principles: the use of four-stroke motorization
Facing the specificities of MX riding, which need lightness, the winged brand develops a simple and basic two-stroke engine. In their hunt for weight, the engineers have recourse to magnesium crankcases, to a big quantity of aluminium parts (rims, tank), and a plastic body. The first one since front and rear defender or side panels were by that time in metal. In parallel, Honda deals with the finishing, the electric components and the ergonomics of the bike to offer a until then reliability and agreement.
Announced in late ‘72, Honda looks after its communication by drafting Steve McQueen. No chance since the heroin of Bullit was expert amateur MX racer and participated in local races under Harvey Mushman pseudonym to by-pass the clauses of insurance linked to his actor's job ! It’s in prime times on the big screen that we see Steve Mc Queen showing the performances of the CR 125/250 M "Elsinore" in a superb commercial. Impact is considerable and the Elsinore (of the name of the eponymous Lake in California where took place a famous competition) reaches an unpublished level of popularity for a off-road machine. So as to become THE motorcycle of the famous Big Jim faithfully reproduced by Mattel Inc.!
On the track the Elsinore was light, easy to handle and offer a smart engine response. Especially, the bike shows reliability unmatched before. By 1973, Gary Jones will give the first AMA MX Outdoor title to the bike with the 250’s version, while Marty Smith will imitate him the following season with the 125. The already wide Honda USA network will finish the picture by distributing the Elsinore all over America to make of this first MX machine made in big series a real commercial success.
For 1976, joined by an upset Japanese competition, the Elsinoregot a revised frame and a long travel rear suspension of 7 inches. Specifications stayed more or less the same for the ‘77 and ‘78 MY under the “type 400” code. The designation "Elsinore" will disappear with the release of a new major evolution in 1979 simply named CR 125 R. The Elsinore had a good run, but times changed… The race through Lake Elsinore had stopped, and the name was non longer synonymous with motocross. Fact remains that the Elsinore will remain as the first MX production bike.
" I found this ’77 Elsinore 125 on a well known in France ‘sales between individuals’ website. The owner was an Elsinore enthusiast in the area of Biarritz. I went there and found a bike "in its juice" as we said over here, but "a very correct juice" and especially the bike still have its original parts.
The bike totally corresponding to the production one’s. And when you have in front of you a such mythical bike as an Elsinore, you not allowed to do anything with! No hesitation, it was a perfect base for a restoration in the art of state. Anyway, Patrick and I, in parallel of our creations around existing motorcycles into unique machines, also wanted to show of what Félix Workshops were capable of regarding in pure and hard restoration.
Once the process of a complete restoration validated, Patrick was in charge of the entire taking down to be able to make a first balance sheet. From the original specs and data, we patiently listed the missing parts and those, more many, to replace. I found the largest number of theses missing or wasted parts in the US. After we get the complete puzzle, Patrick continued with the reprocessing, the sanding of the frame, tank, etc. and the painting. Then, time has come to proceed to the complete reassembly according to the original owner’s manual specifications.
Our ’77 Elsinore 125 under our eyes was new and bet is earned! However, we pushed vice farther giving the exhaust a “works” finish that asked Patrick a big work on the welds and the general looking. The final result is just awesome ! To the point that Honda France relieved the pictures of the bike on its social networks. A nice proof of interest and respect with the quality of the job done ! "Antoine FLORIO / Garage de FelixFounder & Inspirer
Type : mono 2T à refroidissement par air
Alésage x course : 56 x 50 mm
Cylindrée : 124 cm3
Puissance maxi : 22 cv
Alimentation : carburateur Keihin ø 28 mm
Boîte : 6 rapports
Démarrage : kick
Poids du moteur avec carburateur : 21 kg
Cadre : simple berceau en acier chromoly
Fourche : télescopique, déb. 200 mm
Amortisseur : bi-amortisseur, déb. 180 mm
Freins AV/AR : tambour/tambour
Empattement : 1 385 mm
Garde au sol : 225 mm
Hauteur de selle : 890 mm