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Honda XL125V VARADERO Trail Motorbike Review

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Honda XL125 Varadero motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

Although only a 125, there’s plenty of big bike feel with the Honda XL125 Varadero. The proportions are right, the motor feels spunky and as it’s a Honda you know it’s not going to fall apart beneath you. As a first bike or commuter the Honda XL125 Varadero represents a clever investment with its low insurance group and parsimonious fuel consumption.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

There’s not much to get excited about with four-stroke 125s normally. And in the original VT125 Shadow micro-cruiser this V-twin SOHC lump just about copes. But in the Honda XL125 Varadero it rips around town just fine. With a low weight of just 149kg there’s not much mass to haul around, either. Just avoid long straights on the Honda XL125 Varadero.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Honda XL125 Varadero is a neat handling thing, thanks to its wide bars, a terrific steering lock, commanding riding position and poise. The brakes work fine, but it pays not to get too ambitious. The Honda XL125 Varadero's seat and riding position is very comfortable and not a bad place to spend a morning carving across town.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

There’s a raft of official kit for the Honda XL125 Varadero, including hard luggage, a taller windscreen, a centrestand, heated grips and sump guard. Most reviews from Honda XL125 Varadero owners will mention the addition of aftermarket parts.

Honda XL125 Varadero (2001-2009)

Detail Value
New price £4,470
Dealer used prices
£2,470 (2007) - £4,040 (2012)
Private used prices
£2,220 (2007) - £3,880 (2012)
  View full used price info
Engine size 125 cc
Power 15 bhp
Top speed 72 mph
Insurance group 6 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 4
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 2 rating is 3.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Honda XL125 Varadero's mild steel downpipes rust through if they’re neglected over a winter, but that’s about it. Everything else on the Honda XL125 Varadero is up to Honda’s usual high standards.

Value

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

Compared to its XR125L and CBR125RR stablemates a new Honda XL125 Varadero is overpriced to the tune of almost £1000 and £700 respectively and it’s hard to say it’s worth that much more than either of the other two. However, Honda XL125 Varaderos do hold their value well, but not enough to tempt the canny buyer away from the other two. Find a Honda XL125 Varadero for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 6 of 17

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Model History

2001: Honda XL125 Varadero launched.
2003: Minor detail changes to Honda XL125 Varadero.
2011: Renamed XL125V Varadero

Other Versions

None.

Specifications

Top speed 72 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 21 secs
Max power 15 bhp
Max torque 8 ft-lb
Weight 149 kg
Seat height 802 mm
Fuel capacity 17.5 litres
Average fuel consumption 65 mpg
Tank range 250 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 6 of 17
Engine size 125 cc
Engine specification 4v V-twin, 5 gears
Frame Steel spine
Front suspension adjustment None
Rear suspension adjustment Preload
Front brakes 220mm disc
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 100/90 x 18
Rear tyre size 130/80 x 17

See all Honda XL125V VARADERO motorcycles for sale

Honda
XL125V VARADERO

2448 miles

£3,495

Honda
XL125V VARADERO

2883 miles

£2,495

Honda
XL125V VARADERO

11700 miles

£3,195

Honda
XL125V VARADERO

3621 miles

£3,495

Honda
XL125V VARADERO

18650 miles

£1,950

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4(26 reviews)

  • Honda Varadero Review

    andydero

    Average rating rating is 4

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    Hi all. Got my varadero 9 months ago and been commuting to daily.What a fabulous starter/ beginner bike,I took it in for mot last week and it sailed through with no faults.Also Passed my module 1 last week on it 1st time due to its easy ride....Brilliant

    29 May 2010

  • My first bike

    Robert Taylor

    Average rating rating is 4

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    I bought my Varadero to get more practice after failing my Mod 1 test twice on the slow speed sections. It feels so comfortable & stable that I am considering taking my Mod 1 & 2 tests on it despite the fact this will restrict me to 33bhp for two years. I'm 6'+, 17St & 49yo but the Varadero feels like a 600 for size & gives you much more confidence in traffic due to its ride height. I feel I'm 'eye to eye' with the 'Chelsea Tractor' drivers. More expensive than other 125's but well worth it if you have the money.

    09 May 2010

  • 6 months ... 10,000 miles!

    oldrocka

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Had my 09 Varadero six months now and I've just clocked up 10,000 miles. The 09 (and I think from 07 upwards) is the fuel injected motor and it runs just fine. Fuel consumption averages out at 78 mpg (usually get around 280 miles out of the tank), she handles my 80 mile a day use very well and being 20 stone she is phyiscally great with most people thinking it is a 600. Performance even with my weight is good you will see 70mph any day of the week, cruise happily at 60-65mph and on a good day will go off the speedometer without hitting red that would be 85mph but thats on the clock even if it is 75mph in reality its not bad. Bad points are service intervals ... 2500 mile service intervals are ridiculous at that rate i would be paying my dealer £140 every six weeks ... essentially for them to check the oil and do nuts and bolts ... I now service the bike myself every 2500 miles, I've lost the warranty but since I am unlikely to sell this bike on probably handing the bike on to my 16 year old son in a years time the money i save will pay for any repairs. Other moans are ... well the Gel batteries are poor, my bike is on its second in six months, the honda heater grips are poor (probably something to do with the Gel battery!) and the fairing mounted mirrors are next to useless if you are of a certain size. As a bike though this is hard to beat biggest mileage I have ever done is 390 in one day, no problem, and have ridden from Coventry to London a number of times with no issues, just stick to the fast A roads ... its good fun. Another tip is to junk the standard Bridgstone Trail Wing tires for Pirelli MT90s as soon as you can ... no comparison there ... would i buy another yes but not if I was just looking to pass my test and move on too expensive ... buy to keep and its a great machine

    08 November 2009

  • great bike

    headoned

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    i love evry minuite of learning to ride on it. it inspires and helps you grow in confidence . i love it.

    23 September 2009

  • great bike to have

    David Hill

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    i past my cbt in late march and got a 2009 model.i only use my bike for plesure and what a plesure it has been.ive clocked up over 1500 miles so far.the ride is smooth and for a 125 the power is fine.do get questioned on size of bike alot as it is a big 125.looking forward to passing test to remove L plates but will be sad to see it go when the time comes to trade in .

    11 June 2009

  • not bad for a 6"4 lump

    bigSpaniard

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    For my first bike i loved it,and i needed to purchase a bike which was able to take my 19 stone frame i had the bike for just over a year and raked upto 8k comuting into london.I rode it all year round from summer to winter,due to the bike being quite high of the ground and also having a top heavy weight i found that i was been blown across the road a few times.I got it upto 75mph (took a while)and found the gear changing quite annoying after a while.When I passed my advanced test i took the missus out on the back and very nearly killed her (the bike!)so dont look at the pillion seat in hope of it someday being able to carry someone as the bike aint going to like it.Overall if youre a big fella or a big and beatifull babe i would strongly recomend it as a first bike.

    26 April 2009

  • Perfect Place to Start

    Martin Deakins

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    When I bought my 2004 Honda Varadero, I did so with my sensible hat well and truly on. The bike is expensive, there is no getting away from that fact, however, with my biking experience totalling about 20 minutes, the Varadero represented an easy introduction into motorbikes. The bike verges on loveable, it wants, and tries so hard to be a bigger bike, and as close as a 125cc could get The steering is light, has a tiny turning circle, and the bike weighs very little. Add to that the ability to get anything up to 90mpg, means this bike is a great commuter, coupled with an enormous 17l tank, you will get 200 miles per tank easily. If you can get it below 65mpg, then it will be an impressive feat. The 125cc V-Twin engine is a riot. While it lacks any top speed, it will still peak over 70mph, so is a genuine dual carriage-way machine. Acceleration from a standstill can be a little sluggish if you’re slow on the throttle, but the 12,800 rpm peak feels urgent when you want to have fun. Even better, its smooth, which means it won’t try to vibrate you to pieces like a lot of single cylinder engines. As with just about every Honda the gearbox is a bit clunky, but the lack of engine size means it’s pretty good. The odd ‘box of neutrals and false gears is annoying, but are rare. The nicest thing is being able to beat the clutch and gearbox mercilessly and it just thanking you for it. Expect to pay about £1500-2000, which for a 125cc is steep, but you’ll not regret it if you want a truly competent bike to give yourself confidence while you learn the intricacies of biking. If you asked me for the worst thing about the Varadero, it would be you do not get a fuel gauge. On the EFI version (’07 onwards), you get a light to tell you that you are on the 2l reserve. All other versions get a reserve tap, which is ridiculous in my opinion. All in all, this is, in my opinion, THE best 125 you could ask for. It’s as powerful as a 125cc can be, it’s got a lovely engine, can take weight (I’ve been two up and it’ll still do 65-70mph), its 17 fuel tank gives a HUGE range, it’ll try hard when you ask it too, or just trickle along with rush hour traffic, and it handles nicely. Why WOULDN’T you at least consider it?

    05 April 2009

  • 2 years with the bike

    teddy1981

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    To be honest, when you set out on the bike as a first bike, it feels great, but thats it, it's a first bike. Great engine, good handling and the excellent Honda back-up, but its a First bike, you aint gonna keep it. Great guts, keeps a few of my friends on their toes through the twisty bits, but, all you want is some more grunt/speed out of it. Think its time to move onto a bigger cc bike. In conclusion, great bike, fantastic ride/handling, just a shame the engine is so small.

    27 March 2009

  • Great Bike

    Warble

    Average rating rating is 4

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    I love this bike. I am new to biking and bought it second had some months ago. It does my 40 mile round trip commute with ease, covering motorways, A, B and C roads. It has started faultlessly over the winter months and I easily get 70-75 mpg. Big and comfy with a great road presence – for a ‘humble’ 125. I find it easy to filter through traffic and quick enough at the lights to get away from most ‘white van men’. I have been cursing the bad weather as I want to get out more, even though I have covered nearly 4000 miles since September! It doesn’t like cross-winds - it is a ‘big’ bike but lacks the power (after all it is only 125). It is heavy and has blown over on a particularly windy day. Centre stand quickly purchased and fitted – a MUCH better job. Honestly can’t fault it and will be sorry to see it go. If I could keep it for the commute and have another bike for bigger runs – I would.

    09 March 2009

  • Super Varadero 125

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    I have a 2007 Varadero 125 which I use mainly for commuting. My journey to work racks up about 7000 – 8000 miles a year. Roughly another 2000 miles through the spring and summer for day trips etc. The bike is a good average size. I’m 5’ 10” and can comfortably get my feet down. A well proportioned ‘sit up and beg’ riding position keeps you tall in the seat with a good view of the road ahead. Balance on the bike does feel a little top heavy and therefore can ‘fall’ into turns a little bit, but that is fairly typical of a bike of this height and sitting position. Although it is a heavy bike for the capacity, it can catch wind gusts quite noticeably The seat is quite comfortable for a 100miles before you start wanting to shift around on it for relief. Quite capable of 2 up but it does suffer under the weight. Can handle top box and panniers if that’s your bag. Absolute reliability. I’ve had a 2005 model and now the 2007 model and both have been excellent starters all year round. Service and maintenance costs are quite affordable in comparison to a larger bike. Services tend to be around the £90 - £110 mark. The 600cc I’ve just downsized from was costing more like £200 - £250. Admittedly that is at a Honda main dealer for both, so it could conceivably be cheaper. A small number of parts on the bike do suffer over the winter months like many bikes. Most notably on the Varadero is a linkage attached to the gear shift lever. I’m sure it would of cost little more to make it out of stainless steel. One of the sections on the exhaust also suffer + a few of the fixing nuts. However, keep on top of the cleaning as you really need to with all bikes and you’ll prevent or slow down most of the rusting. Fuel consumption is more like 80mpg. I get 250-260 miles before hitting reserve. Bike will cruise well within its capability at marginally under 70mph. I find the bike happiest at 10,000rpm top gear 68mph, but have taken her up to 80mph for a short period, just over the 12,000rpm red line. Obviously too long there is not going to do her any good if you still want to be riding it 2 or 3 years down the road. Do take into account, this bike is a ‘plodder’, if you want something approaching acceleration on a 125 then consider 2 stroke(high running costs) or perhaps the Yamaha YZF-R (a real looker too). The initial cost of the bike is high by comparison to others, and frankly you have really got want this style of bike to pay that kind of money. However, the quality is good and there probably isn’t a bike of this style and capacity that comes near it. Don’t try to compare the Varadero 125 with larger capacity bikes and you won’t be disappointed. It, and most 125’s don’t come any where near providing the joy and exhilaration available from more cc’s. However, for commuters, and those looking for the comfort of this style of ride it’s almost unbeatable.

    21 January 2009

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