Additional photos of this Honda RS125 are available here for your perusal.
The RS125R was the last factory Honda to compete in the 125 GP class, and from the beginning it was an excellent privateer race bike straight off the dealership floor. They were offered for over a decade and were the launching point for most of your favorite modern racing heroes.
At the highest levels, competitors were seeing 44 horsepower from the 125cc engine! Think about it this way: if you had a literbike making similar power/displacement numbers, it would put down just over 350 horsepower. Wet weight is around 160 pounds. As is often the case with bikes like this, the numbers tell just a small part of the story. Here’s a recent tale from Emma Franklin, Deputy Editor at MCN, who shares why she loves her ’98 RS125 so much:
“All these factors combine to make a riding experience that’s just simply out of this world. Full throttle, sixth gear, tucked in, shut off slightly then barrel in; the RS’s lack of mass makes for corner entry and mid-corner velocities that are simply unthinkable on bigger bikes. After a race, my front slick looks more tattered than a superbike’s rear. Every lap is a rush of revs, razor-sharp steering, last minute braking and constant body position shifting as I try to maintain every shred of momentum. It doesn’t matter where I’m riding it or for what reason, whether it’s testing, racing or just a trackday, it leaves me trembling for hours afterwards. I’ve been lucky enough to ride a lot of bikes, but nothing, nothing, compares to this.”
This RS125 (VIN: RS125RF-9111540, Engine #: RS125RE-9111527) is one of three classic race bikes we’re auctioning this week out of the estate of a long time AHRMA racer named Tom Whiteside. He intended on riding it, but his health deteriorated to the point where it did not see the track despite the rebuild.
Per the seller, this “was a national race winning bike in Sweden in the 1992 National Championship.” The following year, it was imported to the US for Daytona, “where the owner had it prepped with a Honda Smokin’ Joe’s livery to match Duhamel’s ride!”
“Sadly, after import the owner found the AMA was cancelling the 125 national class, and so it sat (fully rebuilt and race ready) in a private collection until 2006 when it was recommissioned and briefly raced at Loudon in a vintage weekend.”
“From there the engine was freshened up and placed back in the collection until now. It was last run approximately six years ago, but not raced since 2006. Although exact HRC kit race internals are not known, its safe to say this bike was a national level winner when new.”
The sale includes a “fairly extensive box of spares with it, many being discontinued HRC factory parts.” The seller has provided a list in this Excel file.
The bike was put away dry and the throttle still snaps back, but the seller states that it should get a “quick carb look over and fluid change.” The seller also notes that the front caliper “has some slight drag from sitting and will likely need a master cylinder kit to remedy correctly.”