Motorcycle Test by Wayne Vickers – Images RbMotoLens
Cheap. As. Chips. That is the first thing that comes to mind. It’s hard to ignore.
So I went to work researching the important stuff. Maccas large fries cost $4.10 and have an average of 100 chips in a serve. Some quick math and more googling told me that you’ll get around 25 large fries servings into a well stacked regular household bucket. And apparently you’ll fit 5 buckets into a standard wheelbarrow. So for the asking price of the CB125F you can either buy 7 wheelbarrows* of Maccas large fries… or you can have your very own CB125F.
It’s $3,800-ish ride away incidentally. Crazy. Which is a bit over 1,200 boxes of 10 nuggets in case you’re interested. Though, cheap as nugs really doesn’t have the same ring to it does it.
Once you wrap your head around that price you then need to judge the bike accordingly. Let’s be honest, it’s not the most stylish, the fastest, or most powerful thing on the market. It’s not going to rip skids or pull 4th gear wheelies. That’s not the brief here. Being cheap to buy and run as well as being easy to ride around town – that’s the brief. And objectively there’s no denying that it meets the brief.
Now given that I was seeing between 2 and 3 litres per hundred kilometres when riding around at full throttle everywhere, I’d confidently say the 12 litre tank will get you 400 plus kays before needing a refill. And that’s leaving a bit in the tank for reserve. It doesn’t just run on the smell of petrol. It would probably run if you simply kept saying the word petrol repeatedly.
It’s small, it’s light (at 115 kg it’s actually really, really light), it has a super low seat height so would be a great entry bike for a smaller/lighter rider keen to learn on something cheap around town. Maybe commute to Uni or work – that sort of thing.
It will get to 100 km/hr.. eventually. I managed to see 110 on the speedo. On a slight downhill. With a tail wind. But really it’s best to be thinking of it as a suburban ride. It’s fine for anything up to 80 km/h zones and will keep up with traffic when pulling away from the lights.
That little 124 cc fuel injected single certainly won’t upset the neighbours either. Super quiet. It’s a fairly flat power delivery with no noticeable peaks or dips. It will rev out (and needs to if you take it on the highway!), but you’ll need to give that throttle a decent twist as it’s quite a slow throttle – which means that it’s very user friendly for less experienced riders.
Brakes aren’t particularly amazing but they work. The feel is ok but they aren’t the most powerful stoppers ever. They’re a linked system that will engage some front (disc) brake when you tap the rear (drum) on, but being under 250cc they don’t need to come with ABS. So they don’t.
The suspension is also super light, but functional. Tiny little forks and shock do the job, just don’t expect to be amazed by either end in terms of feel or feedback. Didn’t seem to bottom out though – and it’s not exactly a bike you’re going to be punting along hard.. so.. suspension requirements are admittedly pretty low.
Clutch is also really light. Combined with a super low first gear, even the most ham fisted of riders from Hamville would struggle to stall the little CBF. Not sure you’d want to smash it doing hard launches at the traffic light Grand Prix repeatedly though. I got the feeling it wasn’t up for abuse. Just saying.
That gearing. I’d actually be tempted to throw a bigger front sprocket on there, I found first unnecessarily low and second was a smidge too tall for starting off in. Not sure what that would do for fuel usage. Might even make it use less!
The dash is nice and clear and simple, in fact it follows the rest of the bike in that there’s nothing on there beyond the bare minimum. And that’s ok. That’s how you manage to build a bike for that price.
It should be reliable. It’s a Honda after all. And while it might not represent what many first think of when we think Honda (which is leading edge engineering), when you think about the highest selling bikes of all time.. little Honda’s are wayyyy out in front. There have been over 100 million Honda Cubs sold since 1958. 100 Million!!! And while that might be a different model, they’ve sold a truck load of these CB125s as well.
I reckon they know a thing or two about mass producing cheap runners. Bikes that will happily run you down to your local Maccas and back for less than the price of a soft serve cone. Geez I could smash an apple pie and caramel sundae right now…
I like the CB125F because…
It’s cheap. Damn cheap
And it uses almost no fuel
Super light and easy to ride too
I’d like the CB125F more if…
You know I could suggest all manner of improvements to this bike. But then it would no longer be cheap. So in terms of tiny tweaks that I’d look to do?
I’d like slightly more powerful brakes, maybe more aggressive pads
And I’d up the front sprocket a tooth for a slightly taller first gear
That’s it. I reckon if you want ‘more’, then you probably won’t be looking at a 125 🙂
Wayne loves all things motorsport, but lives for two wheels. Mountain bikes, dirt bikes, adventure bikes, road bikes, race bikes, the lot.
An ex riding coach and road racer wannabe who simultaneously ran out of talent and money.
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.