Honda CB125F

Are the lat­est crop of sub-£3000 naked 125s worth it – or are you be­ing taken for a ride?

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Front Page - By Adam Child MCN SE­NIOR ROAD TESTER

You can buy a brand new 125cc naked bike with a 24-month war­ranty and dealer backup for less than £2000. You could run around on one of these for two trou­ble-free years then at the end of that pe­riod of fun com­mut­ing ei­ther trade it in for a new model or sell it for £500. You’ll still be quids in.

Think about it: would you rather be on the tube, sweat­ing hot, with your face buried in a stranger’s armpit – or ac­tu­ally en­joy­ing the world above the sur­face? I know where I’d rather be.

But am I paint­ing an un­re­al­is­tic pic­ture? How good can a bud­get 125cc re­ally be? In a win­try Novem­ber would I still choose two wheels, and if so where does the smart money go?

It’s not rub­bish... it’s worse

I can’t re­mem­ber rid­ing another new bike as bad as this. Some bikes get off to a bad start, but then you start to ap­pre­ci­ate their char­ac­ter – or make con­ces­sions be­cause of their bud­get price. But the Hyosung has no char­ac­ter, few re­deem­ing fea­tures, and is the most ex­pen­sive bike on test. Justin, our guest rider, owns a 1953 En­field that he feels is more re­fined than the Hyosung.

So, where do I start? Who thought putting an air/oil-cooled 125 V-twin in what ap­pears to be a 650 chas­sis was a good idea? The breath­less mo­tor has the pulling power of a one-eyed troll. A head­wind or slight gra­di­ent forces you to knock back a gear to main­tain any speed. There’s no torque, noth­ing be­low 6000rpm, and you have to

be bru­tal with the revs to keep up with traf­fic. Above 8000rpm it can just about stay with the other bikes here, but you re­ally need to cling to the red­line. That means beast­ing it at close to 10,500rpm all the time.

A lack of torque makes it a night­mare in town as you are al­ways revving the nuts out of the com­i­cally slow en­gine. Ev­ery­one turns around to stare as they hear a bike scream­ing at 10,000rpm – but only do­ing 20mph. And it’s heavy, too. At 167kg it weighs more than a BSB bike! It’s also phys­i­cally big, clunky, and has vir­tu­ally no steer­ing lock. Oh, and the brakes are shock­ing.

It looks like my two-year-old son made the rear disc at nurs­ery and the ex­haust looks like it’s been taken from a 1990s Suzuki Ban­dit. The en­gine, carbs and air­box are a mess.

The pos­i­tives? It looks and feels solid, and has road pres­ence. The big di­men­sions will favour larger rid­ers, but big, heavy rid­ers will only ex­ac­er­bate the gut­less de­liv­ery. The dash is the most mod­ern of the bunch, but that’s as good as it gets. Hyosung do make some good bikes, but this isn’t one of them.

HONDA CB125F £2699 This bike is made in China. It’s the only bike on test with twin shocks and a drum rear brake – but it is fuel in­jected. HYOSUNG GT125P £2899 The Korean Hyosung is the most ex­pen­sive bike here, pow­ered by an air/ oil-cooled 125cc V-twin. It also has the tallest seat. There are few things to rec­om­mend the GT125 V-twin as a town bike. But it is solidly built...

Keep it pinned at the 10,500rpm red­line

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