The 3,449 pounds Lawson replica Mito 125 comes with good pedigree. The Man
Himself used one as a paddock bike last GP season. Ed's Milo became famous - the
only sure sign whether Eddie was in residence in his darkened motorhome. If the
little beauty was parked outside, it was worth a knock on the door. If it wasn't
you knew he was off somewhere else, like picking up his wages (though
unfortunately the Mito has no extra large top box),
The stock Mito is mischievous enough, hardly surprising at 206bhp/litre, but
the Lawson gets a Sports Production motor with even more outrageous porting,
modded piston, cylinder head, exhaust valve and carb plus a devilish carbon
Cagiva don't actually want to talk about maximum power figures, probably
because they'd be locked up for unleashing a road legal 125 which makes more
than 30bhp. This equatesto around 2401bhp per litre and yet there's
nothing hugely original about the motor - 28mm carb, reed valve induction and
CTS power valve. Cagiva have just cut out the back yard two-stroke tuner and
done the riffler file job themselves. The Japanese would never be so daring.
No surprise then that you gel a power band which sweeps majestically all the
way from 9500 to the rabid 1l.OOOrpm red line. That's right a whole 1500rpm of
raw, zinging two-stroke power.
The seven speed gearbox may sound like a typically Latin dose of oxer-indulgence
but when you've only got I500rpm to play with you need all the gears you can
get. Keeping the Milo dancing around the red line is an art which even Leonardo
da Vinci would have struggled to master.
Mustn't grumble though. The engine does work below nine-li\e. it just gets
all fussy and if xon actually want to get anywhere before next week, forget it.
Such a sacrifice for peak performance won't worry most teenagers, who care even
less about torque figures than they care about the FT index.
Instead they will be deliriously happy to learn that this is (almost
certainly) a real lOOmph 125. Riding in the approved Mito fashion with chin
rattling on the fuel tank and elbows tucked in until your arms ache, you shift
from sixth to seventh at ll,001rpm (ratios so close that there's about three rpm
difference) and the speedo creeps past 160kph.
Since the stock Mito (26bhp at 10,800rpm) managed a true 97.5mph, we can
estimate that this is a serious 160kph, rather than a figure dreamt up by a
insanely optimistic Italian speedometer designer.
The youth of today will also be well pleased that the Lawson rep retains the
stock Mito's lazy bastard-friendly electric starter and is quite the sexiest 125
race rep on any block, gaining extra cred for the meaningful number seven race
numbers and right-on GP sponsorship stickers.
As ever the teeny-weeny motor remains completely invisible beneath the
Eddie-clone bodywork and you only get to see the mighty alloy beam frame through
a couple of slots cut in the fairing expressly for that purpose.
The only other bit of framework you get to see is the totally trendy banana
swing-arm. This slinky, cast device is bolted to a shock which does just that
every time you hit a bump. The Marzocchi's efforts (it hides behind a yellow
spring, pretending to be an Öhlins) to keep the Mito on course can't be helped
by the massive unsprung weight it has to cope with — a wacking great 150/60-17
Michelin wrapped round a four inch rim. Big rubbers are all the rage but even
the Mito's nasty little power band isn't going to breathe useful heat into a
150/60 Hi-Sport radial. Even the front end is well endowed with a 110/70-17
Hi-Sport but the right-way-up Marzocchi forks lose the Mito a few credibility
points. Surprisingly the ultra-fat rear Mich doesn't dominate the steering at
slower speeds and the front end tips into turns rapidly, but not so fast as to
induce instant coronaries of the 'Shit, it's not going to stop 'til the fairing
hits the deck' kind.
This is the way it has to be because the Mito makes you work so hard to gain
every mph on the straight that you won't want to slow down any more than
absolutely necessary for the turns. Every moment on the bike has to be invested
in keeping the little engine singing around its power peak. Achieve this and the
bike is a ball to ride, fail and you'd get more fun out of a moped.
The Mito has other failings too. In its elevation to Lawson status, the bike
has not been cured of its built-in Latin glitches: like the gear lever which
fouls the sidestand (lummee, I thought only fifties Triumphs suffered such basic
cock-ups), the utterly, utterly, utterly useless mirrors, a notchy first gear,
plus, without doubt, a few more which I didn't discover while rushing round
Varese and its environs trying to impress the luscious Latin lovelies.
Of course the girls had probably seen Eddie Lawson doing a few laps of the
town a few weeks before so I was wasting my time. But did he ever get it into
seventh gear, that's what I want to know? Because I DID! I showed him, I tell ya,
I'll take on that Lawson guy any time, he's all washed up.
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