CMBL CB125 The Hotdogger
By Gareth Charlton - 02 Jul 15
125cc motorcycles rock. Remember your earliest experiences of true freedom? Honing about the countryside or city streets aboard the lithe 125 of your formative years? They are the hook that pulled us into a lifetime of two wheeled daftness.
A best mate of mine who somehow escaped the two wheeled bug in his teenage years has finally succumbed to my peer pressure and the lure of the wind in his perfectly quiffed locks. The CBT is passed and every other day another stunningly modified 125 from ebayland falls into my inbox accompanied by a fresh congregation of exclamation marks. They are all wonderful - there is something about the smaller capacity machines that inspires a sense of fun and creativity - it's only a 125, do with it what you will as long as you enjoy it. I know that this little beauty from CMBL is going to really float his boat...
CMBL are based in the wild lands of Cornwall where they combine their passions for surfing and riding. This slice of joy was founded by John Eldridge. With the typical wanderlust that those craggy Cornish coasts and vibrant vistas inspire John found himself travelling the world in search of the perfect wave. Indonesia inevitably crossed his path and of course that temple of temptation, Deus Ex machina. John was hooked. By the time his feet had brought him back to old Kernow CMBL was a fully developed dream that he set about making real.
Our first featured CMBL bike was the charming Beach Hopper that pitched up at our second event back in Shoreditch Studios, but we first met The Hotdogger at the third event when it rolled out of the CMBL van along with their stunning Zed Cat.
"The Hotdogger is our second motorcycle in the Beach Hopper series. Our Beach Hoppers are small capacity sub 125cc motorcycles that can be whipped out the garage (or off the back of a camper van), loaded with a board & beach necessities and throttled down to the beach for a quick surf or a full day trip exploring the local coast."
They sourced a Honda CB125T as the donor motorcycle and soon had it stripped down so they could redesign the overall look, but first up they wanted to improve the little twins most glaring flaw.
"Anyone who has ridden a cable disc brake on a motorcycle knows that the braking power is close to none existent so we went about modifying the front hub to accommodate a hydraulic disc brake with plenty more breaking power."
While they were at it they re-laced some freshly polished hubs with stainless spokes and fitted Heidenau rubber to the rims. A new rear frame loop, leather seat, micro switchgear, mini speedo, classic scrambler bars, gum grips, aluminium battery box and of course the detachable board racks were also thrown into the mix.
"We had a few different tank options from various classic motorcycles but eventually settled on the Fantic Caballero tank. It’s general proportions were perfect but also had the added bonus of the fixing mounts for a tank rack. The owner of this motorcycle is a big Stevie Gee fan (and of course we are too!) and so we put the two in touch and left them to their own devices to discuss ideas for the artwork. We had no doubt in our mind that the artwork would in a way marry the owner to the motorcycle and lift the motorcycle to epic proportions. Stevie did us more than proud and we are over the moon to have been able to work together on the Hotdogger."
The tank is a great fit for the CB and that natty little rack is the perfect size to strap a sandwich to from the CMBL sister cafe Strong Adolfos - check out the food on that website! I am already planning a trip…. The proportions are so tidy that a single colour paint scheme would have sat elegantly enough but remember this is a 125, sod elegance we want character and fun, which are delivered by the beach bucket load with the stunning work of Stevie Gee. See more of Stevie's jocular work on Sideburn's The Slacker. The relevance of the graphics to the owner is unknown but we are pretty sure he must be a hell of a good laugh.
"When it came to the exhausts and as we were mocking the motorcycle up we just couldn’t draw our eyes away from the lines of the original pieces. The more we thought about it the more we decided they should remain. As far as we are concerned they just compliment the motorcycle in such a way that we couldn’t live without them."
John and the guys at CMBL certainly get the fun side of 125cc bike building but then fun is a quality that infects their entire catalogue of work.
"When we are not surfing we are riding motorcycles. When we are not riding motorcycles we are shaping surfboards and building motorcycles."