Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Honda SS125

Tue, April 27th, 2010

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Featuring a different Honda street bike each day.

1967–69 Honda SS125 Supersport
'SuperSport' didn't translate into any extra power. By the time the SS125 was introduced, the 125 twin was pretty long in the tooth and already making all the power it reliably could. Its 10,000 RPM redline was still remarkable, but all those revs only provided 16 crank horsepower and less torque than a 4-stroke twin was expected to make, especially with a 4-speed transmission.
The stamped steel frame was actually quite rigid. The flexy forks and swingarm, combined with garbage damping units and springs, made it less than sporting.
The stamped-frame Hondas have grown more attractive with the passage of time, and the SS125 is the best looker among them. I like the efficiency of the layout, but it certainly doesn't rival the best European designs of the time for sheer sculptural beauty.
Compared to a '70s Honda twin, parts are becoming scarce and surprisingly expensive, and its cruder to ride. Honda was still learning.
The SS125 has passed beyond that dividing line between daily rider and rolling museum exhibit.
The rarest and most attractive of the early, pre-tube-frame Hondas.
I normally limit my snap judgments to bikes from '70 and later. This one was close, and I really like it, but it illustrates just how rapidly bikes were progressing around that time. As Hondas go, this one is just plain old-fashioned.