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Honda XLR125 Trail Motorbike Review

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Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

The Honda XLR125 was launched to appeal to the sub-15bhp learner market, it was a shame Honda didn’t make full use of the regulations and give the little XLR a few more bhp. As it is, it’s got its flaws but still provides lots of fun for newbies as well as proving a useful town hack for more experienced riders.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 2

Proven and reliable, the Honda XLR125R's engine’s been around, in one form or another, since the 1970s. It’s a bit basic and clattery but has enough power for punchy town riding although wheezing it up to 60mph+ is a chore. There’s an electric start but you need the help of the carb-mounted choke to get it to tick over from cold (it can be a bit stroppy).

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3

The Honda XLR125R's rront suspension’s very soft, diving under even mild braking on the road and rather unstable during off-road riding. It’s fine for a bit of green laning though. The rear suspension’s a lot better. Brakes aren’t great but the bike weighs so little you can throw it around with ease. Tallish seating position aids a decent view.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 2

The Honda XLR125R's nicely finished, with a paint job straight from the attractive XR range of Hondas. Basic but clear clocks, adequate mirrors, a grabrail (you wanna take a pillion?!) and a handy, colour-coded tail pouch for tools and bits. The saddle’s comfy and the bars are wide for decent leverage.

Honda XLR125R (1997-2002)

Detail Value
Engine size 124 cc
Power 11 bhp
Top speed 87 mph
Insurance group 6 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 3
Engine rating is 4 rating is 2
Ride & Handling rating is 3 rating is 3
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 2
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 3
Value rating is 3 rating is 3

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3

As mentioned, the Honda XLR125R's engine’s not a problem although they need regular oil changes and decent servicing. Nice bits are borrowed from other Hondas: the frame’s based on that of the XR200R and the silencer’s taken from the XR250R. Tough little things, these bikes can take a bashing… which is probably just as well.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 3

When launched, the Honda XLR125R was up against Yamaha’s DT125 and Kawasaki’s KMX125. Both were dearer but had similar specs. The Honda has the advantage of excellent reliability so, if you can find a model which hasn’t been nicked or totalled by over-enthusiastic teenagers, it could well be worth a look. Find a Honda XLR125 for sale.


Insurance group: 6 of 17

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Model History

1997: Honda XLR125R launched.
2002: Honda XLR125R discontinued.

Other Versions



Top speed 87 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 11 bhp
Max torque 18 ft-lb
Weight 119 kg
Seat height 858 mm
Fuel capacity 9 litres
Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Tank range 128 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 6 of 17
Engine size 124 cc
Engine specification 2v single cylinder, 5 gears
Frame Steel semi double cradle
Front suspension adjustment None
Rear suspension adjustment Preload
Front brakes 230mm disc
Rear brake 110mm drum
Front tyre size 2.75 x 21
Rear tyre size 4.10 x 18

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 2.5(1 review)

  • 54 plate


    Average rating rating is 2.5

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    had this bike for 2 yrs a good learner bike no power to overtake good riding position and comfy bad brakes front end dives alot it rusts badly if you dont look after it i bough second hand for £1100 just traded up and still got what i paid for it so i am happy

    16 March 2009


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