MXWORKSBIKE.com

the ultimate collection of ultimate bikes

HOMEINTROFORWARDBIOGRAPHYNEWS COLUMNTHE BIKESTHE RIDERSTHE MECHANICSMEMORABILIAPHOTO VAULTINTERVIEWSBIKE OF MONTHRIDER OF MONTHHISTORYTECH SHEETSREFERENCE WORKS PARTSMESSAGE BOARDWANTEDLINKSSTORE

 

    
     

 

                                                                      More progress pictures now posted below

 

                Marty Smith's 1976 Honda RC125M Type 2       

The 1976 AMA 125 National Championship series (see here) will go down as one of the most dramatic series in motocross history. The invincible Mary Smith backed by the mighty factory Honda motocross team found themselves at the mercy of a relentless upstart named Bob Hannah. Hannah a rookie Yamaha factory rider was competing on the all new water cooled works Yamaha, the OW27. From the season opener at Hangtown where Hannah came from last place to win, Honda and Smith were doing everything possible to retain the 125 National Championship that they had owned for the past two years. Along with the spectacular "win at all cost" riding ability of Hannah, Honda was also out classed in the bike department. The super lightweight long travel water cooled monoshock OW27 was too much for the RC125 Honda that was based on the prior years works bike.  By the mid point of the season (four races) Marty had tried three completely different bikes including an hybrid RC/FMF/Dave Arnold special (where Marty did win the USGP) and all fell short of the OW27. It appeared that nothing could stop Hannah and his factory OW27. But with four races down and four to go all that was about to change. On July 31st 1976 at the Holiday Inn parking lot in Toledo Ohio, Marty's mechanics Dave Arnold and Jon R uncrated Honda's latest top secret weapon. The all new RC125M Type2. Two bikes were uncrated that day with one being serial number 08. The bike was so advanced that upon seeing it for the first time, Hannah's mechanic Bill Buchka thought their lead in the championship was in serious jeopardy.

Bill Buchka reflects; "The day before the Delta Ohio National, I was walking through the parking lot at the race headquarters Hotel and there it was. Dave and Jon R. were uncrating the much rumored works Honda. That red just jumped out at you. When I saw that motorcycle I can tell you “I got scared.” That bike was going fast in the crate. I really got worried. Honda had just dropped a psychological bomb on everybody. I didn’t in anyway want to upset Bob. I thought I would let him make his own judgment. He was the guy that had to throw his leg over his motorcycle and compete with Marty on that bike. I really tried to find a positive in competing with that and came to the conclusion, “Hey, Marty has only had that bike for a week or so, so maybe it’s not that well developed yet.” I had to refer back to our strategic plan, one race at a time. Luck went our way again and Marty had a mishap as a lapper took him out while maintaining a huge lead. It was really unfortunate for Marty as his new works bike really looked good. To have a lead of over fourteen seconds and have a misfortune like that must have had a negative psychological impact on him."

Dave Arnold reflects;  "The Type 2 arrived in the typical Honda R&D overbuilt perfectly packaged wooden crate. I believe Jon R and I uncrated it in the Delta hotel parking lot. It was not a warmed over Type 1 at all, it was a totally new bike from the ground up. The engine, frame construction & geometry, suspension components, tank shape and ride position looked very cutting edge. It even smelled good (something to do with titanium and magnesium fermenting in a mahogany wooden crate that usually translates into fast) The bike was awesome! Marty really liked the new bike in every way. He looked fast and was very happy and confident in general. We finally had a bike that could respectfully go up against Yamaha's OW27 with confidence."

After almost losing the Type2 to a privateer who filed a claim on the bike at Delta (see here), it was pulled for the following race in San Antonio and then Marty used it at Houston and then again for the finale at New Orleans. After the 125 National series both bikes were shipped back to Japan. Marty competed on one of them for the last time in Japan late1976 and then the whereabouts of both bikes was unknown until 2007 when they were both discovered. One went to the Honda museum in Japan and the other (serial number 08) was purchased by MXworksbike.com. It is ironic that the serial number sequence of Marty Smith's Type2 (08) is the same as Hannah's championship winning OW27 (08).

When we received the bike we noticed that a few parts had been changed out and a few components were missing. After five years of searching, we found the original parts and the restoration is now underway! Dave Arnold will be assisting us every step of the way making sure we get it right and I'm sure Marty will be chiming in too. Follow along as we reassemble this historical treasure. We will be adding to this page as we make progress.

                        

                     One of the most stylish riders ever, Marty Smith with a 14 second lead over Hannah at Delta Ohio dragging the bars.

 

While your checking out the restoration progress, we thought we would share a little trivia about the bike.

1. For over thirty years now many have wondered where the super cool looking number 1's on the number plates came from. They only appeared on this bike and the hybrid Elsinore Marty rode at Midland Michigan. Did Honda in Japan make them?  We asked Marty's mechanic Dave Arnold who wrenched on this bike. "I just bought some black contact paper, the real thin stuff, from a hardware store while on the road and cut them out by hand. Super cool for under a dollar!"

2. The entire engine without oil for the bike weigh's in at 28lbs. Everything is hand machined, the gears, the clutch basket, the shift linkage, the crankshaft and so on. The cases (crank and side) are sand cast magnesium coated with a material to prevent corrosion and the crankcases are a different color red than the cylinder and the side cases. Check out the offset cylinder bolt pattern. Also note how wide the bolt pattern is at the rear to support the new transfer design. The crankcases are even trenched at the rear for a more direct flow. Honda once again, way ahead of the curve in engine design.

3. The engine sports a 5 speed transmission. Reason; The motor made so much more power (top and mid-range) compared to anything else that the Honda engineers decided 5 gears was enough and they could save weight and reduce rotating mass by eliminating a gear. The bike was a rocket ship. Next year's 1977 model ridden by Warren Reid went to back to a conventional six speed transmission as well as other mods.

4. Why is it called a Type 2? The new engine design with a massive transfer port area, required holes through the cylinder fins to access the cylinder mounting studs. Type 1 bikes had a much more conventional (for the time) transfer design. The 1977 works Honda's were also the Type 2 design.

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

      

                                                                                     Getting close....