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A new classic MV owner saying hello - just picked up my newly acquired 1957 125cc Turismo Rapido Lusso yesterday. Bit of a contrast as its classic garage-mate is a Jota! Haven't been on anything less than 1000cc for a good few years...:jsm:

Ebay purchase from a dealer - seems as though the previous owner (from whom the dealer bought it) has done a fair amount of work , but as you can see in the photos it is largely in primer, lacking a seat cover and a litle care-worn (or is that patinated). It starts with some encouragement, doesn't idle and it's difficult to tell on first acquaintance whether it's making all of its 6.5bhp.

As per usual I'm now doing the research after buying it - it looks very original with the bulky mudguards (which according to the MV "bible" I've acquired seem particular to the TRL) and fish tail exhaust. The plan is to do the Moto Giro next year, so I've got time to get it sorted - a group of us are all preparing different tiddlers but I've got lucky by being first in with an MV. Interestingly, amongst the papers that came with it is a hand-written 1993 letter from an E P Eacott of the MV Owners Club GB, confirming its age/type.

I am sure there are some 125 experts here so I look forward to sharing info. in due course. Could I start with some simple questions:

- I gather the Owners Club can help with spares; I have just joined and will be interested to see what they have - do they have much for 125s?
- Any tips or contacts for rebuilding the seat ? - the sprung frame is in good condition, but nothing else is left.
- Will slightly later or larger engines/barrels fit? It would be nice to eek out a bit more performance. What about a bigger carb? The Rapido Sport model of the same vintage was I gather more powerful?
- The TRL front mudguard and the way it hangs off the yoke is not its most elegant feature - is it an easy swap to the slimline type as on some of the other 125s? I guess I'd have to be lucky to find one, but I could always make one up (fortunately I've got some clever and able mates).
- It has no speedo (or tacho); are there any options that are tried and tested?
- Can I get hold of a manual or parts listings anywhere?

That will do for now I guess, thanks for your indulgence and look forward to happy times with the MV - it's a great looking little bike.

Regards
David
 

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Hello David,

First of all, congratulations with your purchase!

Looks like I beat Dorian. That doesn't happen a lot.

I got the manual for a 125 Centomila. I just looked at the website of the Swiss club (you could find a bunch of manuals there) but apparently they revamped their site and those manuals are gone. Strange.
Anyway, no problem! There's definitely someone on here with the manual and parts catalogue for your bike.

Jon (SheriffofO) has a bike like yours.

Btw, I think that front mudguard shouldn't be attached the way it is now.

Regarding getting more power out of it. Don't know if it's worth the trouble. My 125 is stock and it goes just fine. If it doesn't need a rebuild I'd leave the engine as it is.

A while ago I measured every bit of my saddle for Vincent here who had a seatcover made for his bike. If you want those measurements and photos of the saddle, I can mail them to you.

Cheers,
Johan
 

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Hi Dave.

Welcome to the world of classic MV's and indeed this forum.

Yes Johan, you were too quick for me this time:)

So you bought this lovely little thing Dave. I had seen it on the market and thought what a great little project it would be.

It is indeed an very late production '2 bolt' 125 and is not far off being correct. The '2 bolt' bit referes to the number of bolts holding the rocker cover on. These early engines are completly different to the later '4 bolt' ones and i'm afraid bits are a lot harder to come by.

The UK spares scheme is indeed the first place to go. I helped run this for a few years and there are some parts available. Speak to Jerry and Richard and i'm sure they will do what they can. Don't forget to tell Jerry it's a '2 bolt' though!

The forks and front guard are correct for this model and year. Please leave them as they are:) To fit the lower skimpy guard would need a LOT of work as the forks are completly different. These are actulay quite a rare little bike and i would hate to see another one ruined.

Almost none of these came with a speedo and a tacho was never a fitment on these little 125's. You have a blanking plate on the front hub to fit a speedo drive but these are very hard to come by. You will also need to check that the drive gear is in the hub. It is possible to fit a more normal speedo drive on the other side of the hub and the club may still have a few left along with a basic speedo head.

Please don't try and 'tune' this bike. You will never get it to beat your Laverda:). Seriously they don't respond to tuning very well and are best left as they were intended. The head design is the main problem and a bigger carb won't get you very far. Just a nice little bike to potter around the lanes on. They don't like going fast:). Some parts of this early design are a bit fragile and any extra stress might not be appreciated by the valve train etc for instence.

Your rear lamp is wrong and the club has the correct small round one.

For a seat go to R K Leighton. They did all the club seats and i'm sure will make a great job. Give them a few pics as well if you can.

There are lot's of sources for parts and owners books (no workshop manual was ever printed) and the club can help out here as well.

As mentioned Jon has run one of these for a long time and i'm sure he will fill you in on all the adventures he and i had fixing it on occassions!

No doubt there will be more you find you need and please just drop me a pm if you wish.

Cheers.

Dorian.
 

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The forks and front guard are correct for this model and year. Please leave them as they are:) To fit the lower skimpy guard would need a LOT of work as the forks are completly different.
You learn something new every day! Thanks, Dorian :)
 

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Thanks for the replies; much appreciated:)

A 2-bolter it is then - your undoubtedly wise advice re tuning and modding is noted Dorian. I shall try and restrain my (un)natural urge to hot up everything I get!

I will contact Leighton's about the seat and also see what the UK spares scheme have around in due course.

Cheers
David
 

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Your 125 looks fantastic, Johan - great to see it's been over to Goodwood; I bet that was a fair ride getting it here!. I try and get there every year, but then I am a bit nearer than you...

Cheers
David
 

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Hi Dave,

It seems we've already been introduced and I do indeed have a very similar model. Mine's a '55 TR (not Lusso) and we've had numerous 'adventures' together as Johann and Dorian suggest. I can only repeat that MV GB Club membership is imperative with ownership of one of these for all the right reasons - they've stood me in very good stead over the last 5 years or so and I'm delighted to be a member.

As to your bike, well the tank livery looks very decent (just like mine) and you appear to have a rare, complete petrol cap with the coin holder cap still in situ. These are quite rare these days. I know from experience that the bakelite cap sans coin cover can allow water to be admitted to the tank through the breather hole during heavy rain. Took me a while to trouble shoot that one so I'll save you the trouble. If ever you lose the coin cap off the top, or of it's in bad shape sooner or later it may not start after heavy rain and you'll be trying to clear a few spoonfuls of water from your tank.

Continuing on the theme, I don't see a fuel filter - fit one. I'm currently using a very small plastic inline filter that's pretty unobtrusive and takes care of exactly what it should. Coupla quid. I tried a variety before relying on this simple and effective solution. As the engine is gravity fed you need also to make sure that the hose travels downwards as much as possible for as far as possible. Apologies if all this seems obvious and looking at the pictures your fuel line looks nicely configured. I only mention it because I got 'creative' once or twice and learned the hard way that you can 'run out of gas' when you still have gas in the tank....!!
Lastly on fuel, and forgive me again if I state what to you is obvious, (to me - a newbie - it wasn't), if you leave the tank short of gas in cold weather you can find that condensation forms on the interior and again, fouls the fuel. 'Nuff said on that score....

Dorian will correct me on this if I'm wrong but you'll bike will run better with BOTH fuel taps open, I don't think either are reserve tanks as I initially thought. Similarly, I laboured under the misapprehension that the Dell Orto choke was ON when in the UP position! Doh! I was exactly wrong.

Some useful stats for you:

Tank holds 12 litres and the sump 1.3 litres of 20/50 or 14/40 mineral oil. Dev=bate will continue to rage about what is best. You might get 50km per litre out of the Old gal if she's in good shape.

Your wheel size is 2 and a quart by 18" and tyre is 2 and 3 quart by 18". Inflate to 19.1 psi front and 25 psi rear.

Gear ratios are: 1st > 28kph; 2nd >48kph; 3rd >66kph and 4th to 80kph (let me know if you ever get there!)

Electrics are obviously 6v with a 30w headlight bulb; 15w brake light and a 5W tail light.

Tappet clearance should be 0.03-0.10mm depending upon age and condition.
In take valve opens 30 deg before TDC and closes 68 deg after TDC; exhaust valve opens 70 deg before TDC and closes 26 deg after TDC.

Spark gap is 0.6-0.7mm
I use an NGK B8ES - (I've tried Iridium plugs here BTW and they just never worked)

Points gap is 0.07mm
Ignition advance should be 38 deg
Compression 8.5:1

I should point out that the MA16b carb is getting very rare indeed and if you see a spare I would buy it if you can get it for under £100. They go for a lot more in good state of completion. Components are still quite readily available through Dell Orto UK who are excellent at providing them.

If you need a mechanic who has worked extensively on this model I can recommend Pietro Di Marino from Motori di Marino down in West Sussex. He has helped me out an awful lot and has a great collection of small Italian bikes in which he specialises. A trip down there to see the garage and speak to Pietro is never wasted time!

I've had a couple of electrical challenges which are worth noting. Check your coil and see if the HT lead emerges from the front of the bike. When I obtained mine this was the case and the lead travelled alongside the right-hand strut of the bike. It took a while for me to work out that it would be better to reverse the coil and have the HT lead emerge from behind so as to a) better protect it from the weather b) stop it from occasionally discharging into the frame and baffling me as to why the bike would start but not run! I had a similar problem once where the simple act of releasing the clutch would short the bike owing to the *very* slight movement of the cable against the HT lead beneath the tank.

I'd recommend carrying a clip on bicycle light with you during the Winter months as that rear light ain't up to much! Moreover, the old school fuse style bulbs that mine takes are liable to blow quite frequently so carrying a few spares is wisest.

Oh and I'm sure you know but I'll mention it anyway, you should have a kill switch on the right hand side of the headlight.

I have numerous .pdfs for this model should you want them. Just PM for them or anything else...

Lastly, I live in Hampton so can't be too far from you if you fancy getting the two Old Gals together sometime for folk to stare at....

Cheers!

Jon.
 

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A couple more thoughts....

If you get more than a sick quack out of your horn, be grateful. That's the best you'll get from 6v
I've fitted a lovely 2 pipe clown's horn on mine!

Be careful not to over-oil. They don't like it and you'll be after new gaskets.
 

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Congratulations to that little bike. And for sure You got the best advise You could ever get by the fellows above. There is hardly anything to add for me. Just try to keep it in the original shape and don't mod it. This little bikes were meant for transportation and not for racing.
If You PM me Your e-mail address I can send You a pdf of the 57 TRL.
 

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Now I've seen the extra photos on the original eBay post I can see that you have a slightly different air-filter on the carb than do I and that the carb is photographed with the choke in the ON position.

Also your rims and the beautiful fish-tailed exhaust have been sprayed black !?

I can get a better look at your fuel line here and observe that each tap should be filtered or you will need to filter after a T-junction.

You got a decent price there!

This amused me "...and the gears select and perform just they did the day it left the factory in 1957".
 

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Thanks for all the further responses:)

Jon - I can see you are a mine of information and I am just starting to find out more about the little bike I've acquired. Even better you're just up the road so I can hopefully come and compare notes at some point...

Thanks for pointing out my choke ignorance:jsm: - having bought it from a small dealer (a good chap) there wasn't much of a hand over on the "little" things like that. It currently is a rather reluctant starter and won't idle, so I'll work through things gradually time permitting.

It's got an M16B carb - I don't know whether that is the original. I guess it probably is , although the book I was referencing said M18... It looks as though the exhaust has been sacrilegiously painted black - hopefully I can re-chrome it (at a cost!) - and the rims have been more recently painted black.

The spark plug has a very short thread compared to what I'm used to - I guess that is correct?

The downloads/manuals etc are great - many thanks. Also Haupti - thanks I'll pm you. So there is plenty to be getting on with and a lot to learn!

Thanks to all of you for your input so far.

Cheers
David
 

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Update:
Strapped an old pillow on the seat springs and ventured out on test this evening:f4:

Starts nicely from cold (now that the choke lever position has been mastered!) but not really interested in idling. Need to work out what does what on the carb for a bit of adjustment...

Rear brake a lot more effective than its front counterpart!

Gear change positive but need to recalibrate my approach to gaining momentum - at the moment 4th gear leads to a change in engine note, a bit of clutch slip but not much else!

Managed to slipstream past a lycra-clad cyclist through some esses and illuminate the 30mph warning signs at one point:D

I smiled and laughed all the way, despite the oil on my right foot.

So there is potential, but a fair bit to sort. The Owners' Club have already tracked me down a rear lamp and a speedo so we're off to a good start. Need to start thinking about colour schemes...

Cheers
D
 
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