1976 CZ 125 Falta
CZ's glory days were in the late 60s and early '70s, in which they had won their share of championships. By 1975/1976, motocross technology was evolving quickly. Riders were now expecting a lot out of production-level motocross bikes. Between the GP styling of the RM's, the factory-based Monoshock Yamaha's, the "Mikkola" Husqvarna's, the AW (Adolph Weil) Replica Maicos (which I really want to find), and the "Vehkonen Replica" VR Montesa's, developing new and competitive production bikes every year for international markets was extremely challenging.
CZ's answer was the Falta Replica, the lightest, fastest, and most reliable CZ to date. With parts right off the 1974 factory bikes, including very trick aluminum bodied spring-less pneumatic rear shocks providing 5 inches of travel and machined front forks sporting air caps and 8 inches of travel.
The CZ 125 Falta Replicas were only manufactured in 1975 and 1976, and to my knowledge, none were imported into the US because they weren't competitive with the Japanese brands. A very small number were imported into two (Montreal and Rexdale) Canadian distributors. Why I'm not sure, but my guess would be that the Japanese brands didn't yet have an established dealership network in Canada as they did in the US, so the CZ would still be competitive amongst other brands distributed in the Canadian market.
Ironically, CZ decided to use a plastic front fender (at least on the bikes imported into Canada), which seemed extremely brittle, the same old metal rear fender, and aluminum number plates. Other signature CZ components included its steel airbox, paper air filter, magnesium hubs, a handmade leather belt to hold on the coffin tank, Barum tires, Jikov carb, and their own chain with "CZ" stamped on each link. The iconic gold-colored hue on the CZ hubs was a function of the extraction process from the mold and also acted to protect the magnesium. A foundry outside of the CZ factory manufactured these hubs.
To my knowledge, there was never a magazine test on these bikes because they simply weren't available, but many of the components on the 125 were also on the 400 which was tested in Modern Cycle. Some of their issues with the bike were; the forks flexed too much, the wheels were way too heavy, and the rear air shocks started leaking after one hour of riding, likely due to the fact that the shafts were pre-pitted from the factory. "We took them apart, and it looked like they had been sandblasted." The Jikov carb blubbered at low rpm, leaks, and makes the bike hard to start. The good news… "The reliability of the bike kept at least part of the legend alive."
"One sidelight: our bike came with a PAL spark plug stripped into the head. Stock on a brand new bike from the factory."
"The brakes are excellent." "Grips are the usual things that you have to cut off before you ride one foot."
"The foxy looking tank and strap combo is not easy to take on and off until the leather gets some use grooves worn in."
"Oh yes, the gas cap leaks like a bad bladder from the very first moment. As do the shitty fork seals."
Bottom line: "The factory better take another hard look at the calendar, flip it a year or two ahead and get busy. That reputation can't hold out much longer under the barrage of excellent machinery that's available right now."
New 1976 CZ 125 Falta
This is a new, never ridden 1976 CZ 125 Falta; definitely one of the rarest bikes in my collection. Not only because it's new but also because these bikes were never imported into the US. Consequently, to my knowledge, there was never even a test on this model in any of the magazines. Only a few of these bikes were brought into Canada, including this one, and somehow it survived.
The only other complete original I've seen available anywhere (it was not NOS) was listed on eBay in 2004. The bike was located in Melbourne, Australia, and the bids quickly exceeded $15,000 before the seller removed it from the auction. At the time, I don't think the seller really knew what he had, and I don't believe it was ever relisted.
I acquired this bike from Robert Borg in August 2004. Because of the selling price, I actually flew out to see the bike firsthand prior to making a purchasing commitment. At that time, Bob had actually sold a couple of other bikes from his collection to the Barber Museum and was kind enough to deliver this bike to me on his way there.