Honda CB125F: Long-distance biking for learners

  • Awesome range on its 13-litre tank
  • Great choice for a learner rider
  • ‘Trouble-free’ transport at basic level
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SIMPLE, STRONG AND EASY TO RIDE: The five-speed 2016 Honda CB125F makes great sense as an entry into the wonderful word of biking. Image: Honda Motorcycles

HONDA believes an entry-level 125cc motorcycle must multi-faceted – durable, easy to live with and economical – simple and trouble-free transport at its most basic.

However, for many new riders, such a machine will be the start of a motorcycling adventure, that must deliver not only all of the above but also the excitement, freedom and pleasure that two wheels bring to everyday life.

Yet it also has to be easy for a novice to manage while learning and have build quality that instills pride of ownership and street cred. It’s also in the interests of Honda: the initial experience with a brank can lead to a lifelong association – or not.

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REAR DRUM  BRAKE, ADJUSTABLE SHOCKS: Get comfortable, brake safely, aboard  the 2016 Honda CB125F. Image: Honda Motorcycles

“Our CBF125,” the bikemaker says, “has long proved itself as a tough and user-friendly entry-level motorcycle so this new CB125F has drawn from a gene pool that maintains the previous model’s core strengths – including quality, ease of use and a desirable new look.

“It’s a great bike to simply get you where you need to be – or from where to begin the ride of a lifetime.”

Honda believes the machine has a strong family resemblance to the twin-cylinder CB500F and four-cylinder CB650F and that the upright riding position and wide handlebars give excellent control.

The bike rides on 18″wheels (bigger the better when South Africa’s potholed roads are considered) which help with a newbie’s stability – as do the telescopic forks and twin rear shocks. The brakes are powerful, but novice-friendly – a 240mm disc up front and 130mm drum at the rear.

2016 Honda CB125F Image: Honda Motorcycles
COMMUTING MADE HANDSOME: The 2016 Honda CB125F had adopted the modern ‘mass forward’ styling of its bigger sisters. Image: Honda Motorcycles

The engine, Honda says, is a robust, fuel-injected, single-cylinder intended to deliver strong low- and mid-range torque, brisk acceleration and smooth running. The instrument panel is compact, sufficiently informative and includes a gear-selection indicator.

Angular side shrouds emphasise the bike’s inherited ‘mass forward’ stance and the compact nose cowl around the multi-reflector headlight completes the assertive new look.

Clear indicator lenses and orange bulbs add a stylish finishing touch.

The engine, exhaust downpipe and silencer, lower forks and wheels are blacked “to underline the crisp lines and bright paintwork”. Red detailing has been added to the shock-absorber springs. Seat height is 775mm – fine for commuting and the bike’s kerb weight is only 128kg.

The two rear shock-absorbers have five-step adjustment.

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Now let’s talk about the engine: the CB125F’s 124.7cc, air-cooled, fuel-injected, overhead cam, two-valve engine is, Honda says, tough, proven and efficient. Bore/stroke is 52.4×57.8mm, compression ratio 9.2:1, the gearbox five-speed.

Peak power of 7.8kW arrives at 7750rpm, maximum torque of 10.2Nm at 6250rpm and Honda promises strong low- and mid-range torque and excellent acceleration from still.

Fuel consumption of 60km/litre is possible, Honda says, which (if actually achieved) would give the bike and its 13-litre tank a range way beyond that of most motorcycles – at least 600km.

That’s a range even the hardened bum of a veteran rider probably couldn’t handle at one go…

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