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Article reprinted with permission from ACP Media (Motorcycle Trader)
I had an absolute hoot on the CBR125. Logically, my assumption is Mr Honda used 6'2, 95kg New Zealanders as the-person-we-are-emphatically-not designing this bike for, but it doesn't matter.
Why? It took me back a while. Remember learning, getting the hang of it, then fanging around like [insert racer star for correct decade here] until you ran out of gas, realising bikes were seriously, seriously good fun? This is what the CBR125R evokes for both learners and people who should know better.
Launched in Europe in 2004 to novices who wanted a corner-carver with a CBR look, the littlest CBR hits the target, combining ease of use with fully faired design cues from its racer brethren. It's got a comprehensive dash, with a tacho redlined at 11K, fuel gauge and a big bright indicator light. It's even got a big-boy aero-cap for the fuel tank.
As per Honda's green image, the 125 meets Euro 3 requirements, but still goes OK. This is no small feat with a 125 four-stoke eco requirements can murder a power output, and when you're only working with 13.41hp in the first place, cleaning up emissions and still getting up hills can cause major compromise.
To help out, Honda employs PGM-FI fuel injection, which also helps bottom end, such as it is. The result is a lovely, flexible little motor that will never frighten beginners and still get hippos to 100 clicks. From the first crack of the throttle the power is soft and manageable your grandma would be happy with it and aiding useability for beginners is a very light clutch and an ultra-low first gear.
What struck me was the ride. It's no dressed up commuter and the design team may well have had small' and affordable' as goals, but have also clearly had CBR' as a guiding principle. It handles smartly on its biscuit wheels, and what they've managed to do with low-end forks and shock is quite remarkable. Obviously it's no Ohlins, but the overall control and bottoming resistance is remarkable for a $5195 machine. Nothing I've ridden at this end of the market compares.
If you're a beginner, or just need a city commuter, take a close look; the CBR comes with Honda quality and backup, plus offers a little something more after you've got the hang of riding.
Heels on Wheels
Perfect beginners bike for those who would like to eventually get on a sports bike. Light, easy to corner, the levers are nice and close for small fingers, and best of all it looks cute. My first thought was I want to take a bunch of these bikes and go race them on a track.
For the ladies this is the perfect bike for those that are small and nimble. Has all the looks and positioning of a sports bike but without the weight and width.
C'mon dad, give me a go!
You could excuse the 125 down at the hairy-chest club as a buy for the wife or your teenager just remember to give them a go now and then. Other than that, turn the throttle to the stop, fan the clutch and redline it to the dairy at 50kph. You'll be surprised at how lively it is, and 100 clicks along the motorway is even quite comfortable once you've got there. It will be slow to offend in a supermarket car park if you're learning to get your knee down, and being narrower than a skinny dog it slips through traffic like it knows the butcher's door has been left open. You will near go over the bars a couple of times until you learn first is really loooow, but then, it wasn't built with you in mind, was it ya big ox!?
Engine: Liquid-cooled, four-stroke, two-valve SOHC single, 124.7cm³
Power & amp; torque: 10kW/10,000min and 10.6Nm/8250min
Carburetion: PGM-FI electronic fuel injection
Dimensions: (LxWxH) 1920 x 675 x 1070mm
Turning radius: 2.5m
Seat height: 776mm
Kerb weight: 127.3kg
Max. carrying capacity: 180kg