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Honda CB125R | Neo-retro Class for the Learner

Honda’s CB 125 and CBF125 have sold incredibly well over recent years - mainly because the choice of learner 125cc motorcycles hasn’t been the most inspiring of late - but with KTM taking a chunk out of the market with their wonderful 125 Duke, Honda have had to fight back. And fight back they have - because the new for 2018 Honda CB 125 R is a stunning machine.

At the Tokyo Motor Show in 2017, Honda showed what they called their Neo-Sports Café concept motorcycle, and whilst little was confirmed about the mechanicals, it was the styling that took all of the plaudits.

Honda CB125R


Alongside its large, round, LED headlight, a sculpted tank that swooped back into the ‘floating’ seat and an imposing stance, the four exhaust headers that swooped down into double pipes hinted at a new, big 1000cc four-cylinder Café Racer - but what nobody suspected was that it would also form the design language for a 300cc and 125cc version too.

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We’d go so far as to say that the styling actually suits a smaller capacity machine better than the four-cylinder bike first shown (and has now become the CB1000R) and with its understated but classy style, it has already given KTMs more ‘shouty’ 125 Duke a much needed challenge.

For just £3949 the price is well within its competitors range too. But how does it ride?

Well. for a single cylinder engine making 13bhp it has a nice, keen feel to its power delivery - something you might well expect from a Honda engine but its pleasing to know that this attention and care has been carried over to its Thai-built machine.

Honda CB125R side view


Also pleasant is the lack of vibration felt when riding at speed. Quite often within the 125cc class, the buzzy, vibrating of footpegs and bars can put a rider off their stride - there’s nothing worse than shaky mirrors for shattering your confidence within traffic - but here the Honda CB 125 R scores excellently for the quality of its build.

It’s never the sexiest of details to discuss when writing about a motorcycle, but with what is essentially a commuter machine, fuel economy from the 10-litre Honda looks to be excellent. Honda claim a real-world range of 300 miles and test have regularly returned a figure of 75 mpg. So alongside that relatively low purchase price, you can expect to be saving pennies and pounds on your fuel bills too, with the Honda 125.

Everything about the Honda 125 Neo Sports Café says class. The underslung exhaust looks sexy and purposeful and is offset wonderfully by the brushed aluminium shrouds, the dash is a mix of retro LCD styling and modern motorcycling cool and whilst the engine might only be a 125cc capacity machine, the bike looks big, purposeful and has an understated elegance that gets noticed when parked up at your local coffee house.

Honda CB 125 R Specifications

Price: £3,949

Engine: 125cc, single cylinder, Four-stroke

Power: 13.0bhp

Top Speed: 80mph

Weight: 126kg

Licence needed : CBT (Over 17 years old)


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