Yamaha 125 1970

Maya learns the mechanics behind it all

I’m independent and don’t like to rely on people too much (others may call me stubborn).

Michael has traveled the world (he was in the military); this meant there was a considerable amount of time he was not around. Rather than be helpless or not participate, my strategy is generally to learn what I don’t understand. This extends to motorcycles.

I purchased this small Yamaha, mostly in a box, for the sole purpose of taking it completely apart and putting it back together – every single bolt, screw and washer.

The motorcycle was not running when I bought it. I wanted something simple and small, the purpose of this project was to understand the mechanics, not really ride it.

I bought a manual, took pictures of how things looked before I took it apart, and made notes just like I did in college. I bagged screws and associated hardware in Zip-lock bags and labeled them with a Sharpie marker. Although it took me several months to complete, I basically reassembled the entire bike. Because I washed everything and inspected all the pieces (replacing anything that looked worn or broken), when I was finished, it looked like a brand new motorcycle. The bike fired right up and I took it for a spin.

This process, thus this bike, taught me to understand my machinery – at least how it works in a very basic way. It was an invaluable lesson I still use today. Of course I still prefer someone else to fix my bikes (and I am a firm believer in roadside assistance plans), but I know that I can effectively troubleshoot my bike on the road and patch things to get me to the next big town, even if I’m riding by myself.

If you have never had a project bike like this, especially if you are a woman, my advice would be to create your own project (pick one that is small, fairly basic, and has parts that are widely available – in junkyards). Make sure you can get a manual. Then, enjoy it without any pressure. Completing such a project will not only give you a basic understanding of the primary systems and how they work, but also help you with your fears of the machine.

1970 Yamaha 125

Maya’s first technical project

Honda XR200R 2005
Honda XR200R 1983
About Maya

My name is Maya, and I wander.


  1. […] not running, as a project bike, for her to learn by taking it apart and putting it back together. Here is the story as told by […]

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