HONDA CBF125 (2009-on) Review

Published: 10 July 2009

"Dependable utilitarian transport but with a dash of style"

Honda CBF125

"Dependable utilitarian transport but with a dash of style"

  • At a glance
  • 125cc  -  11.3 bhp
  • 87.5 mpg  -  250 miles range
  • Medium seat height (792mm)
  • Suitable for A1 licence
  • £2,600

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Cheap-as-chips replacement for the venerable CG125 offers the same kind dependable utilitarian transport but with a dash of style. The CBF125 has flown out of showrooms since its introduction in January – so much so that dealers complain of not being able to get hold of them quickly enough – and we’re not surprised. It’s a Honda, it’s good looking, it’s cheaper to run than catching a bus, it may be the only transport you need and it costs just a shade over £2000 on the road. It’s even been described as fun. The only question seems to be: Why doesn’t everyone have one?

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

Handling and brakes (drum rear and single disc front) are the right side of competent. For half-hour rides it’s as comfortable as almost any bike but on longer trips your backside will pay a price for the cheap and cheerful twin rear shocks, especially on the motorway. In town you may be reminded of a rocking horse when switching between braking and accelerating in stop-start traffic.

Engine 4 out of 5

The CBF’s 124.7cc four-speed fuel injected single is squarely aimed at delivering fuel economy rather that thrills. With a top speed of around 65mph, it’s up to motorway use but you might not want to make a habit of it. Honda claim 11bhp, one more than its closest rival, Yamaha’s YBR125. In reality there’s nothing between the two in performance. In an MCN test neither could pass the other flat out. 

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

At this price something has to give. So perhaps it’s not surprising, if disappointing, that the finish on the exhaust doesn’t seem fit to last. An MCN test bike was showing rust after a few weeks of winter use. We have also heard from readers unsatisfied with the longevity of that matt black finish. Plastics are flimsy, with easily broken grommets. If the CBF has inherited anything from the CG125, reliability shouldn’t be an issue.

Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5

In Top Trumps this is where the CBF would be unrivalled. Unless perhaps the other player had a YBR125 card. The CBF started the year at £1795 but has now gone up to £2020, just £49 less than the YBR. The CBF comes with fairing while the YBR is naked; but the YBR has a rack, arguably more important on this kind of bike, and the CBF doesn’t. Fuel economy figures don’t help. Honda claims 134mpg for the CBF but it managed an actual 87.5mpg in MCN tests while the YBR returned 87.3. In the end superior styling makes the CBF seem like a better overall package per dollar while both bikes offer economy levels to put public transport to shame. Find a Honda CBF125 for sale.

Insurance group: 4 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The CBF is all about providing only what you need for the cheapest possible price. In equipment terms that means numbers around the edge of the speedometer dial indicating what gear you should be in instead of a rev counter. You do get a fuel gauge, though. If you start with a brimmed tank, you’ll have about a third left by the time it says half. Compare and buy parts for the Honda CBF125 in the MCN Shop.

Owners' Reviews

29 owners have reviewed their HONDA CBF125 (2009-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.7 out of 5
Engine 3.6 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.2 out of 5
Equipment 3.3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Competent little commuter

10 July 2013 by konarob8

It does what it is supposed to. It is cheap to buy, frugal in use and competent enough on the road. I've ridden worse. It isn't perfect, another few HP would make all the difference to its usability, it struggles to make more than 50-60 with 14... Read more stone of me on the back. It could do with a clock, I've zip tied a cheap digital clock on to the handlebars. The headlights are a bit puny too, it's fine in town, but once you get out into the country or on a bigger road you realise how weak they are. All that said though, I think it is primarily designed as an urban commuter and in that role it excels. Well over 100mpg, cheap to tax,easy to ride, give it a wash down and oil once a week and it seems fine (I've had mine for nearly a year). The only problem I've had was avoiding the M25 trying to get to Heathrow and I think it overheated in the traffic jams, it started having fuelling problems. But after letting it cool down for a few minutes it was fine and the problem hasn't recurred. If you only want a 125 (and not a high powered one at that) this could be for you.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
1 out of 5

Leave Well Alone

31 May 2013 by sgtspet1375

Bought as new as a commuter bike and can't wait to get rid of it. Looks the part. That is the only plus point. The rest is all negative. have had problems from near enough from buying it. Very sluggish. Struggles to maintain 50 mph. struggles to... Read more change down in gears. What doesn't help is that you're tied in to expensive services with Honda dealers to keep your warranty valid.

Overall Rating 1 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 2 out of 5
Engine 1 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 1 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good commuter but..

10 April 2013 by lukeg

The CBF makes for a great commuter but if you're looking for a quick, fun bike at 17, this won't be the one. I found that the tyres were too skinny and feel like you'll topple over if you tip into a corner too quick and also that the metal parts do... Read more tend to rust away if left in the rain overnight. Main components that rust are the top fork bolts, gear changes, pedals, brakes...list goes on. Other than my gripes, the CBF is a great commuter but with a top speed of 70mph on a good day, it's not for the speed seeking, 17 year olds. I have to say though, the engine is brilliant, you can give that little 125 engine as much grief as you want and it will still come fighting back.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Awesome....!

15 September 2012 by moz251

I have owned my CBF125 for a while now, its the 2009 model and has covered now just over 25,000 miles which is quite alot for a little bike. I have serviced the bike regularly (New plug,oil etc) and it works well. My only slight reservations are the... Read more paint on the exhaust which does flake off after a while, however I have taken it off the bike sanded it down and resprayed it with matt black BBQ paint which is heat resistant and does the job. Also due to the mileage it is now a little smokey when in traffic, so it is off to my local garage next week for a new set of piston rings and an exhaust valve seal. Which means it should be good for another 25,000 :-) I've got to say even with its minor ailment it still got me to work and back every day (about 20 miles there and the same back) effortlessly... :-) As the 1970s advert said, "Good things happen on a Honda"!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
1 out of 5

Avoid this bike!

26 August 2012 by QWERTY81

I can tell from the other reviews that this seems to be a popular choice but in my experience I absolutely hate the thing & think it's bloody dangerous! I bought this bike in january new from a dealer and was excited about going to pick it up but... Read more that excitement dissapeared in about 2 days. It just didn't feel right the ride is awful and it feels as if the bike wants to slip out from underneath me when tackling anything that remotely looks like a bend! I had previously been riding a cbr 125 and loved it so thought that staying with a honda made sense whilst training for my big bike test, I am pleased to say I have just passed and am now shopping for my 1st big bike and I can't wait to get rid of this pokey horrible dangerous little bike!!

Overall Rating 1 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 1 out of 5
Engine 1 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 1 out of 5
Equipment 1 out of 5
4 out of 5

Mixed feelings

14 May 2012 by tamlin23

Firstly let's start with the economy. I am 15 stones and 6'1" tall and find the performance of this 125 to be very good considering the engine size. I have used it for a few hundred miles, mostly at 60 mph on a daily commute (15 miles each way). ... Read more The economy for me has been 109 mpg, people report varying mpg figures, which can be confusing. I believe this is due to correct servicing and adjustment. I use fully synth oil (after using standard for the first couple of thousand miles - to help hone the bores and achieve optimal compression), the valve clearances must also be kept correctly adjusted, which must be done with the oil change every 2.5k miles. It is my belief that the MCN test bike shall likely have had a hard time and not have been kept at its best. It's not expensive to keep the bike as it requires, it only takes one litre of oil, and the valve adjustment is 30-60 mins at a relaxed pace and attention to detail. So buy quality and take your time ;-). another obvious adjustment is the chain, the bike has a centre stand, so it's a simple but essential job, to keep drive train power losses to a minimum. The standard tyres have been slated, I have not tried them in the wet much, but in the dry I have no problem with them. I would replace them with the highest quality rubber I can, but only when they are worn. Honda's are always held in high regard for the quality of the finish, which is why I am so surprised that I can not be so positive about this bike. The metal paint, be it tank, frame forks etc, are all painted badly. The quality control must be almost non existent at the factory, and could have been easily avoided (Yamaha manage to do it just fine!). This said, I would still choose the cbf over the other 125's. I'm sure I am causing confusion at this point, so let me clear this one up. Ybr's and cg's are good bikes for round town use, but with the lack of streamlining /wind protection, you shall be lucky to see 60mph, let alone hold it comfortably. So why not go for the fully faired cbr or Yzf's then? Don't get me wrong, they look superb, especially the Yzf's, but they are not and shall never be fast bikes, so why would you choose to be leaning forward at an uncomfortable angle with your weight more on your wrists and genitals :-/ This is where the cbf slots in perfectly, it has good styling, good wind protection, punching a hole through the air and all done in comfort! Paint can be touched up, or even re sprayed, if you buy new you have warranty - so keep a close eye and use it if needs be. I would choose this cbf over all other 125's, but with a little * attached. If Yamaha were to create a 125 in the same mould as the cbf, that shall likely be better... But as yet (like Tigger) Honda is the only one!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great commuter/learner bike

05 April 2012 by OllyTooting

I bought the CBF125 to get onto geared bikes gradually rather than doing 4 days on the DAS and then jumping onto a 900cc bike. I think I made a great decision. Especially with the bike I chose. It has everything you need: Tachometer, fuel gauge, etc.... Read more Gear changes are good and the clutch is good (but I must admit I have no experience of other clutches!). I use the bike for commuting in London and its perfect for the job. It uses so little petrol it's easy to forget to fill it up. I get 200miles to a tank before I fill it up again. I worked out my fuel economy as about 115 mpg which for town driving is great. With road tax at £16 you can't go wrong. I've only had it for 2 months so can't speak about reliability other than to say I've had no problems so far. The ride is responsive (good when black cabs pull out in front of you). Suspension isn't great but okay for the money. Front brake is fine (no locked wheels yet) but rear brake is a drum brake which will always be naff. It won't set your heart racing but it's a nice looking bike, quite fun to ride for its engine size and so cheap to buy and run. By riding it rather than getting the tube, I save well over £500 per year. Plus I don't get to work all flustered after being crammed on a tube train.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great commuter / first bike.

04 March 2012 by Anonymous

I bought a Honda cbf 125 brand new in 2009 which cost £1795 on the road. The same bike now would cost around £2500. I have owned larger bikes since passing my test in 2003. I sold my cbr 1000 for the cbf purely for commuting. The fuel economy of... Read more my bike was outstanding returning around 100 mpg regardless of the riding style. My best top speed was around 60 mph, very rarely above this. I never had any issues or problems with regard to reliability and always carried out my own servicing as I did take issue with the hourly service rate charged by Honda. I have read other reviews who describe handling as outstanding, I did not find this and found the bike to feel as though it wanted to tip away from underneath if you tried to corner hard. This may have been due to the tyres which were the original ones fitted when new which were made in India. On the positive side after 7000 miles they were showing very little sign of wear. I used the bike all year round and the only real area of concern was a little rust on the swing arm. The only reason I parted with the cbf was due to the fact that riding in the wind can be very dangerous as gusts can carry you several feet sideways. The brakes were ok but not fantastic. For what I paid the cbf was a very good bike that was good value for money. I am not sure that the current price tag would be such a bargain as there are other bikes that will probably perform better for a similar price. Probably not built to the same quality though. If you look after the cbf the depreciation value will be minimal. After 3 years I part exchanged my bike and got £1300 from a dealer. Apparently there is a shortage of cbf 125's as many never see their first MOT due to accident damage from novice riders. My bike failed the first MOT as the swingarm bolt was not as tight as it should have been. This was tightened up and the certificate was issued. I am a keen biker interested in the various machines on offer. Many reviews talk about performance usually associated with riding ridiculous speeds etc, I find that if I decide what I want my bike to do on a daily basis and stick within the perameters you identify that the bike will work for you and give many years of reliable affordable transport, as the cbf did for me. In many ways I was sad to see it go.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great commuter / first bike.

04 March 2012 by Anonymous

I bought a Honda cbf 125 brand new in 2009 which cost £1795 on the road. The same bike now would cost around £2500. I have owned larger bikes since passing my test in 2003. I sold my cbr 1000 for the cbf purely for commuting. The fuel economy of... Read more my bike was outstanding returning around 100 mpg regardless of the riding style. My best top speed was around 60 mph, very rarely above this. I never had any issues or problems with regard to reliability and always carried out my own servicing as I did take issue with the hourly service rate charged by Honda. I have read other reviews who describe handling as outstanding, I did not find this and found the bike to feel as though it wanted to tip away from underneath if you tried to corner hard. This may have been due to the tyres which were the original ones fitted when new which were made in India. On the positive side after 7000 miles they were showing very little sign of wear. I used the bike all year round and the only real area of concern was a little rust on the swing arm. The only reason I parted with the cbf was due to the fact that riding in the wind can be very dangerous as gusts can carry you several feet sideways. The brakes were ok but not fantastic. For what I paid the cbf was a very good bike that was good value for money. I am not sure that the current price tag would be such a bargain as there are other bikes that will probably perform better for a similar price. Probably not built to the same quality though. If you look after the cbf the depreciation value will be minimal. After 3 years I part exchanged my bike and got £1300 from a dealer. Apparently there is a shortage of cbf 125's as many never see their first MOT due to accident damage from novice riders. My bike failed the first MOT as the swingarm bolt was not as tight as it should have been. This was tightened up and the certificate was issued. I am a keen biker interested in the various machines on offer. Many reviews talk about performance usually associated with riding ridiculous speeds etc, I find that if I decide what I want my bike to do on a daily basis and stick within the perameters you identify that the bike will work for you and give many years of reliable affordable transport, as the cbf did for me. In many ways I was sad to see it go.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great commuter / first bike.

04 March 2012 by Anonymous

I bought a Honda cbf 125 brand new in 2009 which cost £1795 on the road. The same bike now would cost around £2500. I have owned larger bikes since passing my test in 2003. I sold my cbr 1000 for the cbf purely for commuting. The fuel economy of... Read more my bike was outstanding returning around 100 mpg regardless of the riding style. My best top speed was around 60 mph, very rarely above this. I never had any issues or problems with regard to reliability and always carried out my own servicing as I did take issue with the hourly service rate charged by Honda. I have read other reviews who describe handling as outstanding, I did not find this and found the bike to feel as though it wanted to tip away from underneath if you tried to corner hard. This may have been due to the tyres which were the original ones fitted when new which were made in India. On the positive side after 7000 miles they were showing very little sign of wear. I used the bike all year round and the only real area of concern was a little rust on the swing arm. The only reason I parted with the cbf was due to the fact that riding in the wind can be very dangerous as gusts can carry you several feet sideways. The brakes were ok but not fantastic. For what I paid the cbf was a very good bike that was good value for money. I am not sure that the current price tag would be such a bargain as there are other bikes that will probably perform better for a similar price. Probably not built to the same quality though. If you look after the cbf the depreciation value will be minimal. After 3 years I part exchanged my bike and got £1300 from a dealer. Apparently there is a shortage of cbf 125's as many never see their first MOT due to accident damage from novice riders. My bike failed the first MOT as the swingarm bolt was not as tight as it should have been. This was tightened up and the certificate was issued. I am a keen biker interested in the various machines on offer. Many reviews talk about performance usually associated the riding ridiculous speeds etc, I find that if I decide what I want my bike to do on a daily basis and stick within the perameters you identify that the bike will work for you and give many years of reliable affordable transport, as the cbf did for me. In many ways I was sad to see it go.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
Read all 29 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2009
Year discontinued -
New price £2,600
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 4 of 17
Annual road tax £17
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 11.3 bhp
Max torque 8.27 ft-lb
Top speed 65 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 87.5 mpg
Tank range 250 miles
Specification
Engine size 125cc
Engine type Air-cooled 4-stroke 2-valve OHC single, fuel injection, 5 gears
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 13 litres
Seat height 792mm
Bike weight 128kg
Front suspension No
Rear suspension Preload only
Front brake 240mm disc, twin-piston calliper
Rear brake Drum
Front tyre size 80/100x17
Rear tyre size 100/90x17

History & Versions

Model history

New for this year but replaces CG125.
1975: Honda CG125 launched.
1988: Main Honda CG125 production shifts to Brazil.
1996: Honda CG125 `clones' exported in volume from China.
2004: Updated Honda CG125 gets disc front brake, bigger tank, new styling.
2009: Replaced by CBF125

Other versions

None

Photo Gallery

  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
  • Honda CBF125
All related bikes for sale