Honda CB125R Review (2018)
What Is It?
The Honda CB125R is a premium naked bike with a distinct retro feel. It's powered by a liquid cooled 124.7 cc single cylinder engine, producing 13.1 bhp / 10 kW at 10,000 rpm and maximum torque at 8,000 rpm.
- Seat Height: Average (816 mm / 32.1 inches)
- Weight: Light (126 kg / 278 lbs)
- Economy: Very good (90 mpg / 3.1 l/100km / 31.9 km/l)
- Range: High (200 miles / 322 km)
- Power to Weight: Low (0.103 bhp/kg / 0.077 kW/kg)
- Top Speed: Average (75 mph / 121 km/h)
What Is It Like?
Why The CB125R?
Riding the Honda CB125R for just over 300 miles I find it to have some good and some bad bits. The bike itself is great; Honda have made a small bike look like its big brothers the CB300R and the CB1000R. Over the years they have made some great 125cc motorbikes and seem to have a taste for the small bike market.
Let's take this back a few years. Honda bring out the Honda C90, one of the best-selling motorbikes in history, add on a few years and they had a big success with two bikes the CB125 and the Varadero 125, one small the other big. Now they have the Honda CB125R, the MT-125 killer, with a great engine and even better styling so let's slow it down and really look at one of the best 125cc motorbikes you can buy.
Let's start with the engine. Honda pack a free-revving 124.7cc two valve liquid cooled engine in to the new bike, proven in the CBR125R sports bike. This nice little runner puts out 13.1bhp peak power at 10,000rpm, feels good on pull away and once it's up to speed it feels better. With PGM-fi fuel injection the bike will never let you down.
Honda definitely thought about this one by adding LED lights and indicators, giving the lighting a good advantage in the dark. Following on from the LEDs the dash is one of the best digital dash clusters I have ever seen with all the info you need plus that little extra.
Honda have looked and asked what a new rider would want. I've been riding bikes for 10 years on L plates and it delivers that and more, from the handy side stand reminder, to the flashing gear change light and to what I think is a pointless stopwatch. Honda have built a good dash for the bike.
Let's have a look at the styling. Looking from a distance it would be hard to see what size engine the bike has, only when you get nearer does it show that there are small differences between the 125 and the 1,000cc. The neo café racer look gives this bike a great stance and look. Any new rider will feel like a big rider on this.
Colour is sometimes a matter of personal opinion, but I think the pearl metallic paint is one of the best and gives the bike a whole new look.
To Sum Up
All in all Honda have made a great bike with amazing styling, great performance and all-around comfort. The new Honda CB125R is for me one of, if not the best, 125 on the market.
- James J, 2018
Gear & Accessories
Honda CB300R - Closely related bike with an A2 licence friendly 31bhp.
The Second Opinion
The CB125R is a decent little bike, although little isn't the right way to put it since it's difficult to tell it and its big brother the CB300R apart at a distance.
It pulls better than any other 125 four stroke bike I've ridden and I've owned the MT-125 and the YZF-R125. Both of which hold nothing on this bike in my opinion. Top speed is about the same as other 125s in its class but looks and acceleration make this bike a winner for me.
I changed the mirrors for a set of bar ends which I think give the bike more of a 'cafe' look, because let's be honest it's pretty much just a naked sporty 125.
The bar ends with the already wide bars give you a brilliant view of what's behind you. I'm 6'2 and with the stock mirrors I struggled to see past my elbows. All in all I'm really happy with my bike.
- Jake W, 2018
A Few More Thoughts
Lets get started with this absolute beauty of a bike. One of the best looking 125 bikes on the market if not the best in my eyes.
So after my 600 miles there are a few rattles coming from somewhere, Honda will look at this on the first service. One bad design aspect is that the stand is too small and sits close to your foot peg.
The ride is very smooth, changes gears like butter, pulls good if you need to get away from lights or a tricky situation and handles very well in corners. We've not had much rain in the Summer so it will be good to see how it handles then.
Yes, Honda did do a test in Portugal while it rained and they said its handles very well, but it's not your own test. You may be 6ft2, skinny or heavy set; it will handle differently so take your time and learn from your bike.
There's aren't many accessories out yet so it will take a few more months to fully kit it out at a reasonable price.
- Jamie C, 2018
The bike itself is perfect but there are only two things I don’t like. The long tail but can be fixed with a tail tidy and the weight of the exhaust muffler is pretty heavy for the bike, which can also be fixed, but other than that it's an excellent bike.
I use it every week and it has never failed me. I've just clocked up 1,000 miles on my CB125R this weekend and would recommend it to anyone looking for a learner bike.
- Andrew W, 2019
What's It Like?
I've done 4,800 miles on the bike now, I’m getting it serviced next week and it’s been the best bike I’ve ever ridden.
For a 125 you wouldn’t expect much but in my opinion it’s the best 125 on the market today. I’ve loved the bike so much I’ve changed exhaust to a Scorpion, put tank grips on it and a front plate to protect the display.
There is only one bad point and that’s the gears can sometimes slip out and you need to hold the clutch in to sort it out. Apart from that I've had absolutely no problems.
It will reach 70mph easily and that is all you need really.
- Gary M, 2019
What's It Like?
The bike rides fine, there is no lack of power in any gear and it happily sits at 70mph. It's amazing on twisty roads and is also very good in built up areas.
I've changed the clutch and brake levers to CNC snapbacks for better movement, added a custom LED and I have just purchased a full Leo Vince system.
- Connor A, 2019
Check out this video review from CagerOnTwoWheels.