Honda CB125F

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Road Test -

Old-school smiles

On face value the Honda didn’t get off to the best start. It’s the only bike with twin rear shocks and a drum brake on the rear, and it’s near the top of our price range at £2699. The rear brake pedal assem­bly ap­pears to have been taken from a Honda C90, and it’s hard to de­cide if the all-ana­logue clocks are cool be­cause they’re retro, or just old fash­ioned. I couldn’t help but smile as I wound the me­chan­i­cal trip back to zero.

The switchgear is ac­tu­ally mod­ern, and not dis­sim­i­lar to Honda’s larger mod­els, ape­ing the VFR800’S an­noy­ing trait of hav­ing the horn but­ton above the in­di­ca­tor switch. There’s an il­lu­mi­nated gear po­si­tion in­di­ca­tor and on-board the styling isn’t bad. There’s also a cen­tre­stand, as there is on the Lex­moto.

Styling-wise the Honda scores well, and de­spite the twin shocks and drum brake, it has an air of qual­ity. With all the lo­gos and badges re­moved, we all agreed we’d still pick the Honda out as the high­est qual­ity bike on test.

The four-stroke Honda is the only fuel-in­jected bike on test, ab­solv­ing us of any need to play around with a choke lever when cold. The fu­elling is near­fault­less, and even low down there’s enough torque to make good progress. In town you don’t have to dance up and down the smooth gear­box, and it’ll hap­pily pull away in sec­ond gear.

Away from the city com­mute it’s no quicker than the rest; 55mph is about it sat bolt up­right, while you might see 60mph if con­di­tions are per­fect. With a favourable tail­wind, tucked in tight, I nearly saw 70mph.

The ride is com­fort­able, the sus­pen­sion isn’t bad, and de­spite the odd-sized wheels the han­dling isn’t bad, ei­ther. You don’t get thrown out of the seat over road im­per­fec­tions, and cob­bles won’t rat­tle your fill­ings. The turn­ing cir­cle is tight, it’s light and – de­spite their an­cient de­sign – the brakes are more than up to the job, although there’s no ABS. It’s a dod­dle to ride; no won­der rid­ing schools up and down the land use them.

On the down side the Honda is phys­i­cally small – the small­est of the bunch, in fact – and the stan­dard Chi­nese tyres aren’t great, es­pe­cially in the wet. But as Justin said after he stepped off the Honda: “I’d hap­pily courier around London on one all day – and it does 100mpg.”

‘The ride is com­fort­able, the turn­ing cir­cle tight and the brakes am­ple’

Some­thing charm­ing about ana­logue clocks

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