For those searching for a bare essentials bike, the new CB125R might be just the one. Honda tries to promote it as an affordable entry-level, so don't expect much performance. But it still comes with some goodies.
The new CB125R is part of a new family using Honda’s new ‘Neo Sports Café’ styling – which includes the CB1000R and CB300R, both new for 2018. Its main attraction? It's fun to ride, and even if it's an entry-level machine, it has some of the premium features found on its larger capacity siblings.
Honda CB 125R – what's new
The CB125R weighs just 125.8kg (wet), so it's easy to manage in busy traffic. It has a liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine that delivers decent low-to mid-range acceleration, a new frame mixes pressed and tubular steel, and also offers high specification 41mm USD forks, preload adjustable monoshock, radial-mount 4-piston front caliper, IMU-based ABS and full-size Dunlop radial tyres.
Other features usually found on much larger machines such as the tapered aluminium handlebar, LCD instrument display and full LED lighting can convince beginners to try it for starters.
At a glance:
Industrial minimal styling makes bold visual impact
Lightweight frame mixes tubular and pressed steel
41mm USD front forks and irregular-cross section steel swingarm
Radial-mount 4-piston caliper and hubless 296mm floating front disc
ABS works through IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit)
Full LED lighting and LCD instrumentation
Honda CB125R – main features
The CB125R’s styling follows the ‘Neo Sports Café’ design language of the new CB1000R: minimalist and brutally neat, bringing a new harder-edged attitude to Honda’s entry level range. The cutaway tail unit is minimalist in the extreme, and holds the nylon rear mudguard mount; both rider and pillion footpeg hangers are aluminium.
The CB125R has a tubular pressed steel frame; the swingarm is manufactured from steel plate, irregularly shaped in cross-section. Both are designed to achieve high longitudinal rigidity and control torsion from wheel deflection without excess rigidity or weight.
The chassis’ core strength is anchored by the pressed steel swingarm pivot plates and swingarm, allowing the tubular steel lattice frame to deliver agile handling with stability and feedback; rake and trail are set at 24.2°/90.2mm. High specification 41mm USD forks also complement the CB125R’s handling, with compliant damping and supple spring rate.
The single rear shock offers 5-step spring preload adjustment. A 51.6% front/48.4% rear weight bias should offer a good feel for front-end grip and easy steering should be also helped by the low, 125.8kg wet weight and compact 1345mm wheelbase.
The aluminium fat bar-style handlebars turn through 40° and the 2.3m turning circle guarantees easy passage in jammed city traffic. Seat height is 816mm.
The front 296mm hubless floating disc is worked by a radial-mount Nissin 4-piston caliper, the rear 220mm disc a single-piston caliper; both are modulated by 2-channel ABS. The high specification system works through an IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) to give precise front to rear distribution of ABS operation depending on the vehicle behaviour. The 150/60R-17 radial rear tyre is matched to a 110/70R-17 radial front.
A thin (23.5mm) lightweight (230g) full function LCD instrument display provides speed, engine rpm, fuel level and gear position, with warning lights arrayed across the top. Full LED lighting – including indicators – adds a nice premium, while the headlight uses a dual bar light signature, upper for low beam and lower for high beam. The taillight is the thinnest ever mounted on a Honda motorcycle.
The 10.1L fuel tank is hidden underneath an angular cover and shrouds and houses an aircraft-style filler cap. With fuel economy of 48.4km/l (WMTC mode), the CB125R can cover over 480km from full.
Single-cylinder SOHC 2-valve engine
9.8kW peak power/10Nm peak torque
PGM-FI fuel injection
The CB125R’s compact 124.7cc SOHC 2-valve liquid-cooled single cylinder engine (derived from the CBR125R) is designed to be responsive in real-world road riding conditions. Peak power of 9.8kW arrives @ 10,000rpm, with peak torque of 10Nm delivered @ 8,000rpm. It's mated to a 6-speed gearbox balanced for strong low to mid-range acceleration; the CB125R will reach 50km/h in 11.4s, which is slow, but decent for beginners.