Ye Olde YBR125

So here’s a bit of a tribute page to my previous bike. A 2005 YBR125 (carburettor version). Bought in February 2008, with only 500 miles on the clock, and covering an equivelant distance of about 1 and 2/3rds around the entire planet (just under 40’000 miles), ridden all year round. This is the machine that I passed my test with, and which kindled my love of motorcycles and tinkering in the first place.

By the time this bike was written off, I had done the following:

  • LED indicators, brake/rear light, front position light and instrument cluster lights, all replacement bulbs, not new fittings.
  • Halogen replacement front headlamp bulb (same wattage as original, but much brighter).
  • Goodridge stainless steel brake hose for the front disc brake.
  • The standard Yamaha screen.
  • Black Yamaha engine bars.
  • Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres (these are fantastic tyres).
  • Motad stainless steel exhaust system.
  • Givi E30 top box, with backrest.
  • Iridium spark plug (better cold starting, lasts a very long time).
  • Fork gaiters.
  • Oxford Hot Hands heated grips (later failed so removed).
  • Oxford Sports bar muffs.
  • Touratech TomTom Rider (v1) cradle (the original TomTom Rider mount was notorious for letting the GPS fall out!).
One day soon I’ll resurrect it (when I get enough time off work). My wife is also eager to help and this is a great bike to learn this sort of stuff on. After the repairs and full service are done (it was actually just due one when the crash happened!), I’m not so sure what I’ll be doing with this tired old YBR. I’d imagine the engine has plenty of miles left in it. Perhaps I’ll keep it as a hack, or maybe sell it on (although I don’t really know anyone who’d buy a 40’000 mile bike).

17 thoughts on “Ye Olde YBR125”

    1. Sadly, it’s still sitting in the garage – I don’t have the time or motivation to do anything with it and it’s only worth a couple of hundred pounds as salvage right now. Full time work and my family literally consume most of my time and energy. I have re-fitted the stock exhaust and fixed the leaking carb. The engine still runs fantastically – no nasty noises, good constant idle and revs freely. Besides the cosmetic damage, I just need to replace a foot-peg rubber and indicator lens.

      I start it up every week or so to keep things moving but it needs a fair bit of work – 3 years have taken their toll on it, there’s rust/corrosion in places (which is my main worry, especially on the frame – could do with an expert to tell me if it’s really bad to be honest), the front brake needs an overhaul as it’s binding, needs new chain/sprockets, new air filter, plug, basically a good service (it’s actually due one). The swingarm bushes aren’t that good – one has seized and although I managed to free the other, the swingarm movement is fairly stiff. I think the shocks are also tired. I also suspect the clutch might be on its way out – I noticed a slight loss in power/momentum at high speeds and revs which felt like the clutch starting to slip. I wouldn’t be surprised if a new set of plates would remedy it, even though the issue wasn’t major.

      The steering head bearings have a couple of small notches – passed MOT but they annoy me and they should be replaced – big job. I also replaced the front wheel bearings and was going to do the rear ones but then I had my accident. The original bearings were okay, but the age/mileage was concerning me. The 6 year old battery could probably do with being replaced – its the old fashioned liquid cell type that you top up with distilled water.

      It’s all basic stuff but it mounts up and this is what you get when you reach a high mileage. I also have most of the parts I need kicking about. I’m just missing the last ingredient – someone to do the work (i.e. me)!!!

  1. Hello, great site. I have a YBR (07 injection) but still found the CBF info interesting.

    For your old YBR, could you give some more ino on the mods you did? I;m interested in the headlight upgrade and the exhaust (did it get a better sound/performance, or was it just better for looks?).
    Best wishes.

    1. The headlamp upgrade was simply a replacement bulb that was halogen rather than krypton based. It improved things quite a lot and the headlamp shell had no issues with the heat. Since it’s still 35/35W, the current draw is the same as the OEM bulb and as such there are no considerations to take with regards to the bike’s wiring/electrical systems. This is the one to go for:

      As for the exhaust, I went for a stainless unit for practical reasons – they are nowhere near as prone to corrosion as a standard mild steel exhaust. As I ride so much, including over winter, I bought it for longevity. The sound is a little ‘meatier’ than the stock exhaust which is a bonus. However, the baffle worked loose and started to rattle around inside the silencer after 6 months or so. It didn’t cause any running issues but was annoyingly noisy. I never got around to sending it back to Motad for repair (3 year warranty should have covered it) and then the accident happened which damaged it beyond repair (gave it to a scrap metal collector!). I noticed no difference in performance and didn’t have to make any changes to the fueling (carb/air filter etc) for it as it was meant as a direct replacement for the OEM unit.

  2. Hi there, cool blog 🙂

    Since you’ve had the CBF for a while now, I was wondering if you could comment on the pros and cons against the YBR for those of us who are trying to decide between the two? I’m swaying towards the YBR (older, carb version) as like yourself I’d prefer the option to fix something rather than be left staring at a black box shouting “what’s wrong with you??1?!?” 🙂

    And having lived with both, here’s the big question – if you were buying from scratch, which one would you choose now? 🙂

    1. Definately go for the CBF 125. I had a YBR 2006 model (carb) and although it was 1 hp more than the cbf it had nothing like the performance and smoothness of the honda. Am now on my second CBF (with tacho and continental tyres – recommended) and have fitted the tall screen. I find that the bike gets up to speed much quicker with this screen and also in my opinion gives the bike a greater presence on the road. I have had a full license for four years but love this bike, dirt cheap to run, and will cover long distances cruising at 60 mph without problems – go for it! PS Just had my bike back after the dreaded fuel pump failure – dealer service and honda care superb. Full marks to Sutton Motorcycles of Bromsgrove.

  3. Hi

    I’m also interested to know, given the choice, which you would choose out of the CBF and YBR. I am shortly to be getting one myself and am torn between the two. Any pro’s and con’s of either would be good to know.


    1. Honestly? I’m a bit divided to be honest, there are minor pro’s and cons to each bike… The CBF seems to have had more warranty issues than the YBR – the Indian build quality is questionable, but then again, the YBR is made in China and has also had issues, specifically with premature corrosion etc.

      Differences I can see:

      * The CBF has a 2 piston brake calliper, the YBR has a single piston one. The CBF front brake has more stopping power in my opinion because of this.

      * The CBF powers a lot of the ‘running lights’ (headlamp, tail, instruments) from the alternator directly, the YBR powers them from the battery. The current going to the lights on the CBF is ‘pulsed’ DC, which you could argue shortens bulb life (a lot of people have reported this). I haven’t noticed this greatly, apart from the glass on the 5W ‘sidelight’ going black.

      * The YBR comes with a decent luggage rack and bungee points under the pillion seat, the CBF doesn’t, but you can buy an after-market rack for the CBF. The YBR wins at carrying big loads on the back.

      * Fuel pump – on the CBF you’ll probably have to get a new one. This is due to Honda putting some kind of protective coating inside the fuel tank, which should be washed out before the bike is fuelled up for the first time. Dealers didn’t do this and as a result, this stuff clogged up the fuel pump after a few hundred miles. That’s what I’ve been told anyway. I’m on my second pump and it’s been fine for nearly 13’000 miles.

      * Electrics – I feel the CBF has better built electrics – wiring etc. Connectors have rubber boots all over the place to protect them, whereas they didn’t on the YBR. I also notice rubber boots on control cables as well on the CBF. I like that sort of thing.

      * Headlight – the CBF wins on this hands down, compared to my 2005 YBR. I don’t know what newer YBRs are like in comparison as the reflector design has changed on them, but the spread of the beam is wide and you get a halogen bulb as standard (my old YBR came with a krypton bulb – very old school!).

      * Tyres – you have more choice with the YBR due to the sizes. On the CBF you basically have to have Conti-Go! or TVS, unless you deviate from the specified tyre size slightly, then you can go for others. You’d need to declare this as a modification to your insurers though. The CBF tyres are a bit wider.

      * Size – the CBF is bigger than the YBR and you can notice this – on big roads when you see both bikes, the YBR looks very ‘puny’ in comparison.

      * Riding position – the seat on the CBF is wider than the YBR, I find it comfortable. You also sit higher on the CBF, and your knees tuck in more, giving you a little bit of a forward lean. It’s quite an ‘assertive’ position, almost like you’re commanding the road, so to speak. It gives you confidence. The YBR is more like a ‘dining room chair’, or ‘sit up and beg’ affair, more laid back. I prefer the CBF.

      * Handling – I personally prefer the YBR, especially the way it takes corners. I felt I could really lean it into corners and it held its grip very well (using Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres). It naturally wanted to corner. The CBF is different – it feels like you’re going to let the back slip out during a corner and doesn’t inspire confidence. How you shift your weight around the bike makes a lot of difference, and because you’re sitting higher, you don’t think you’re leaning as much as you actually might be! It took me a lot of getting used to, but I’m more comfortable with it now. Others may have different opinions entirely!

  4. Hello, I’ve an 07 YBR with a bit of a problem at present. I used to change smoothly from gear 1 to gear 2 when pulling away. Recently it frequently gets stuck in neutral and I have to release the clutch, re-engage the clutch and push from neutral to 2nd gear (i.e. go from first to neutral and then neutral to second). This is a bit difficult if trying to go quickly! Also it doesn’t always happen – seems to occur less when the engine is fully warmed (i.e. after 10/15 miles). It hasn’t had an oil change for a while – could it be that or do you think it is more serious?
    Oh, and have you any experience with diy puncture repair using those rubber bungs – like this: ? I have a very small hole puncture – used tyre weld to get home (tyre has since deflated). Do you think the sefl repair is viabel for the longer term or should it only be used to get to a garage? Really annoyed about that one as the punctured tyre only had 300 miles on it! A pilot sporty as well, so not too cheap.
    Quite a lot of Q’s here – so if you don’t have time to answer i will understand.

    Many thanks either way – great site.

    1. UPDATE – I took this gear problem into the garage… not good news. They kept it for five weeks and tried the following one by one: new clutch, new gear selector arm, new gear selector drum, new gear box. None of these things fixed the problem and the eventual solution? A new engine – sounded like overkill to me but the garage insisted it was the most cost effective solution. They put an engine from an ’09 bike which had (apparantly) done 3k miles before being written off, into my bike. The engine was £185 + 1.5 hour fitting.
      Oh, and I asked about those rubber tyre repairs – only temporary fix. But, take the bike the garage after doing it and they can then do a permanent repair on the hole that you plugged.

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