HONDA CG125 (1975-2008) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"It goes, it stops, it goes again the next day - simple as that"

Honda CG125 motorcycle review - Riding

"It goes, it stops, it goes again the next day - simple as that"

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

How can you argue with ten million commuters worldwide, still pootling to work in mucky overalls, some thirty years after the Honda CG125 was launched? The Honda CG125 goes, it stops, it goes again the next day - simple as that. The Honda CG125 is the Spam of biking; a bit downmarket, stodgy and uninspiring, but ultimately does exactly what it says on the tin.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

The Honda CG125 is, in a word, bouncy. Especially if riden by a large lady in a tabard down to Netto. But that's OK, because only a complete madman would expect a Honda CG125 to handle anything like an Aprilia RS125. The basic suspension does the job and if you are on the hefty side, then jack up the preload on the Honda CG125's shocks.

Engine 4 out of 5

The Honda CG125 motor plods on remarkably well, often with very little maintenance. In fact you could probably run the thing on turnip juice for 1000 miles without it suffering engine failure. The later 2004 onwards Honda CG125s have a vastly improved gearbox and slightly more power, but not much.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5

OK, you need to run your motorbike on distilled chicken dung. No problem, buy a Honda CG125 and it will probably get you home. The Honda CG125 is - or at least was - the very definition of rugged reliability, although it's arguable that the original version had more durable cycle parts than later examples. 

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

Brand new, the Honda CG125 it is an expensive motorcycle, especially when you consider how long Honda has been making it, and how cheaply the exact same bike retails in developing markets. Chinese Honda CG125 rivals are 300-500 quid cheaper, but lack Honda's dealer network or warranty back-up. Find Honda CG125 motorcycles for sale.

Insurance group: 3 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

The layout on the older Honda CG125 brought new depth to the word `basic.' Later Honda CG125 models have a much better saddle, mirrors, disc rather than drum front brake, plus a five speed gearbox instead of just four speeds. One detail that isn't really progress is losing the fully enclosed drive chain on the older Honda CG125s.

Owners' Reviews

24 owners have reviewed their HONDA CG125 (1975-2008) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your HONDA CG125 (1975-2008)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3.8 out of 5
Engine 4.4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 3.3 out of 5
5 out of 5

22 June 2016 by Javier

I think it is the best motorcycle in terms of cost-benefit Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
good performance for the kind of motorcycle that it is
Engine
5 out of 5
Indestructible
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
My motorcycle has 50 thousand kms and the original engine. Just replaced the clutch disks.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Very low maintenance cost
Equipment
2 out of 5
Poor lighting, no tachometer.
Buying experience

It's a very noble and durable motorcycle. It is very popular in Argentina.

5 out of 5

Best bike ever!!!

06 November 2015 by Daniel

I have been riding a CG125-ES4 version since July 2014. Before that I was riding bigger BMWs (F650CS, R1150GS) and being a cheapskate and someone who doesn't like to go to the dealer or anything as well as transient in life, I found the CG fitted my... Read more needs and lifestyle the best. I had been previously riding a 52-plate CG125M1 version which I put aside when I moved onto the BMWs and it had a few MOT failures... but that still lives in my garage and I hope to bring it back to working order one day. I did almost all my own maintenance with my first CG so going back to a CG was a great for me as I knew how to do everything and I've done a few more of the advanced service items since (valve clearances, centrifugal oil filter). It's never going to be the best bike in the world for everyone, but to me that is EXACTLY what it is. Sometimes I wish I had a bigger engine or higher top speed so I could go further but then I remind myself how awesome this little bike is. It's very reliable, second hand parts always come up on eBay if you're looking to save even more money (I had to sort out a few things as I bought mine after it had aftermarket stuff installed due to being stolen previously) and it is very economical on the wallet. I can do London to Swansea and further still on 1 tank of petrol - and one tank of petrol costs about £12-14. I took it to the south of France when I went there for work and it was great for the local hills. It was a lot of fun. After my work finished I went up to Andorra down to Barcelona then followed the coast east to Italy, went up to Milan, Switzerland and back through France and it didn't skip a beat. It's such a nice little bike that locals are very interested in where you have been and I'm certain I wouldn't get that if I were on my GS - those are plentiful. I will always have my CG125. Love it to bits!!!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
The brakes on my CG125-M1 weren't the best and I can't say the ES4 brakes are that much better despite being disc brakes. I read online and from other people's experiences that the EBC brake pads are better and gone through a genuine Honda set in not a lot of time and having used the EBCs for a bit, I would agree that the EBC are not only better but possibly may outlive the genuine ones. I'm really not a fan of the genuine set as they really didn't last (brake fluid was changed at the same time), and the brakes felt similar in terms of sponginess to how the drum brakes on the M1 felt. In terms of the ride quality and handling the bike is alright. Obviously there are bikes that handle better out there and the suspension is a bit basic for me but it's perfectly useable.
Engine
5 out of 5
You aren't ever going to get motorway top speeds with this, but the bike is happy at a max of about 50-55 mph (80kmh). It will do more, and up to 70 with a wind behind you, going downhill but at the end of the day I'd say take it easy on the engine and it will get you there and look after you. Although you could use it on the motorway (and I do!) I wouldn't recommend doing it on a regular basis or pushing it above 55 mph for long periods of time. The engine power is great for country lanes or London/city riding - enough to overtake most cars at the lights.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Having owned both the CG125-ES4 and the CG125M1, I can say that it suffers a little bit if you don't give it some TLC. When we were looking for them second hand we saw a lot of rusty ones that had been neglected (and the sellers had the cheek to describe them as "good condition"!!). They are bulletproof but do require a little TLC. I would recommend a can of ACF50 (about £15-17) and 1 can goes a long way - use this to look after the CG125 and itll stay relatively rust and corrosion free. Our roads in the UK aren't the kindest. Other than that I am happy with the build quality.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I do my own servicing so it's hard to comment on running and service costs. I'm also very obsessive about it. Look after it well and it'll look after you - that's what I say. Mine gets treated to genuine parts all the time but I know not everyone wants or can afford this - eBay is a good source of NOS or used stuff though! If you are willing to learn some maintenance basics then the CG125 is very good for that - there are some good websites and videos on Youtube which show you how - it's a basic bike so you can watch videos for other bikes like the CBF125 if you can't find good videos to show you how to do what you want to do. I started doing my own maintenance out of a lack of money as well as being into taking apart things since I was a kid so it lent itself well to that. The ES4 version has one or two more things that need more attention than previous models so if you are considering this version then do consider the fact that the chain is uncovered unlike the previous ones. This will mean the chain needs more attention. The case covering it on my M1 was fantastic and helped a lot!! The ES4 variant also has a disc brake so occasionally you will be looking at one more thing to service - the brake fluid. It needs to be done every 2 years apparently, or when it's a honey colour.
Equipment
5 out of 5
It's a basic bike so doesn't have many big features but the single most useful accessory I would say is a rack and topbox. If you are new to biking, just be aware that a loaded topbox does change how the bike handles. I'm quite used to it though, and you will be too. Givi do decent topboxes that are good quality, water resistant and well built. Givi do make a specific rack for the CG125 but I don't see many of these about so might want to use the general all-purpose base plate and find a rack for it. The Givi model-specific rack also isn't cheap. For the long distance/adventure rider you may wish to consider a tank bag or change the normal BA20d bulb to a halogen one (try the Ring brand one rather than cheap no-name ones). Michelin Pilot Sporty tyres used to be the best until they stopped making them. Now I use Michelin Pilot Street which are not bad but not quite as good. Avoid Michelin M45's for purely city-tarmac riding. They are alright if you do some offroad stuff though but brake awful in the rain on tarmac.
Buying experience

I paid £650 for a 52-plate CG125M1 in 2008 and I paid £600 for a 06-plate CG125-ES4 in 2010 - these prices are on the cheaper end of the scale. Tips for buyers - you'll find a cheaper price out in the country - the kind of bikes you want to buy ideally are looked after ones by careful owners that aren't heavily modified and ridden by an older/elderly rider who looked after the bike. We found both of ours this way. There are a lot out there with rusty rims, aftermarket bits and bobs fixed on and whilst they work, try and get one with original stuff on it because long term it doesn't last!! Generally speaking, if you are looking in/around London, you'll pay a little more and possibly get a rustier model that may have had a harder life. If you have the transport (like a friend with a car or dad?) then it is worth going further to find a good one if you don't have any near you.

4 out of 5

Nukeproof honda that keeps me and several 3rd world countries moving

17 October 2015 by TLOTHEMARRA

It goes and goes until you forget to fill it back up, getting it to stop as well as it goes is another matter, Starts with the first kick even for a 20 year old bike thats had a hard paper round from previous owners, The brakes are it's worst feature... Read more needing a fair bit of foresight to get it to stop where you want it when travelling anything over 20mph

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
It is one of the cheapest motorbikes ever for a reason and the ride is not too clever particularly in traffic, as mentioned the brakes are pretty rubbish and it's obvious why they traded up to a front disc on later models, saying this though I have had some quite pleasurable rides on all the local b roads, unfortunately mine can't get past 50mph but this maybe because i am 6,2 and 15 stone
Engine
5 out of 5
It will keep going aslong as there is oil left to extract from the earth. Nuff said.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
The engine seems virtually bombproof however all plastics have broken needing a fair few cable ties to keep on, fork seals seam to be a problem.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
I paid 300quid for mine from a teenager on a council estate who used it to commute to work and had obviously neglected to maintain it during his ownership, however with 100 quid on tyres and a few other bits its done a sterling job getting me through my DAS and commuting to work. At 33 and a first bike it only cost 100 quid to insure.
Equipment
3 out of 5
As you'd expect on a cheap 125 turn and neutral indicator etc, my biggest problem is no fuel guage I have conked out numerous times forgetting to check.
Buying experience

Bought from a young lad who threw in a jacket, decent chain and some engine oil, bargain for 300 quid

4 out of 5

Good little workhorse

11 July 2015 by snowblind94

I thoroughly enjoyed riding this bike. Used as a daily commuter for nearly 12 months, did a 400-mile round trip to Bristol on it, managed to get 73mph on the clock a few times (downhill and fully loaded for extra momentum)! Good riding position for a... Read more 6 foot overweight male with a dodgy back and knees at 20 years old! Probably would have been happier if I was 5 stone lighter though!

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Being a heavy bloke I probably got the short end of the stick on bumps and potholes, and the overall cornering and feel changed significantly once it had new tyres. Brakes worked fine as far as I'm concerned, but there's not a lot of horses to reign in...
Engine
5 out of 5
Solid as hell. Never had any problems with the engine itself. It's everything else I needed to keep an eye one! Ran it in properly (it was completely stripped down, cleaned and rebuilt shortly before I got it) on a trip to Bristol in November on A-roads (damn L-plates) and it was much happier after!
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Only had minor issues with the bike. As a Sheffield rider, the potholes did most of the damage! Had to strip the starter motor once to get it to start without bumping, and a spring in the selector mechanism wore out so I could hit neutral or first gear for a while. Other than that everything seems original bar the front disc pads!
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Well I spent around half it's value repairing it in my first year of owning it, so I decided it was time to move onto another. It may just be that all the original parts decided to go after I got it and I'm just unlucky there! Regardless, it should make it's next owner a very reliable runabout. Never spent more than £12 to fill it from nearly empty and it'd do around 2-2.5 weeks short commutes and going out on weekends on that!
Equipment
3 out of 5
It's a learner/small commuter bike. You get lights, engine, a frame and a fuel tank. There's grab handles/bungee attaching points too, but you'd need to be light riders for a two-up journey I reckon. I did buy a rack for mounting a top-box but it seems the mounts were designed for a slightly different model or were out slightly so it never went on.
Buying experience

Bought private for £1050 - £150 less than he asked for seeing as he was a friend of my uncle!

4 out of 5

It's a keeper!

27 February 2014 by wintthesprint

I bought an 1988 CG125 for £150 "on a whim" about 4 or 5 years ago. I thought perhaps it would encourage my partmer to get back on 2 wheels, but she wasn't having it, so 2 years ago I started using it myself as a run around so I wouldn't have to get... Read more my nice bike (Harley)out of the garage for short errands, especially in bad weather. I ride it everywhere. Before I was familiar with it, I took it up to London on the A3 and it all but ran out of oil and broke down. I refilled it with a litre of oil from Screwfix, and it started running again, but smoked like crazy. I stripped the top end and discovered the piston rings had gummed into their grooves, so I installed a new piston and ring set and gaskets - £5.84 and £2 respectively from ebay - total repair cost £5.84. Next day I rode 265 miles to The Dragon Rally in North Wales, and 255 miles home the day after (in the severe weather, rain and gales of the february 8th-9th 2014 weekend)- the tiny Honda never skipped a beat! The following weekend I rode it to the London Motorcycle Show at the Excel Centre in the east end. I filled it to the brim before and after the 69.6 mile return journey and it used 2.9 litres of fuel (£4) which equates to 108.5 MPG - I couldn't believe it! Wow!! I have fitted a wind screen, carrier, top box, panniers and handle bar muffs. I use the bike all the time. As long as you don't expect it to do much over 50 mph, or 45 mph in foul windy weather, it will take you anywhere, but I would caution against motorway use and riding at night because of the poor lights. I have many bikes, but I can see myself hanging onto this one forever. It costs £17 to tax and pocket money to insure...

Ride Quality & Brakes
2 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
1 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Fantastic bike

30 January 2013 by db609

I bought my cg from a salvage yard for 60 quid in 2007. it had 10k on it. All I've needed to do to its engine since is change oil,clean filters, new plug every once in a while although not mandatory. love it to bits. will never get another bike like... Read more it. it has never let me down always got me home even when i was so skint i accepted a tank of 50/50 petrol and diesel stuck it in and off she went. shell bumble away at 60 easy and i have had 75 out of it in the right conditions and that was when i was 16 stone! she is approaching 50,000 miles now and piston rings are worn now but she still starts and takes me where i need to go. If i was given £2000 to get another bike with i would rebuild the engine on this one and go again. I recommend this bike to anyone who is new to bikes. it is more forgiving than any scooter even though mines got 2 buckled wheels it still handles well. well done honda great bike. shame they replaced it with the crf :(

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Mint First Bike!

24 January 2012 by MikeyBrown

I bought my R-reg model in January 2011 and wow what a first bike! It was kick start too...the way bikes SHOULD be started ;) It did 120mpg around town(200 miles to £10!) and it was only £164 to insure TPO and I got 73mph (on the clocks haha). I... Read more would recommend one to anyone and the only thing that went wrong with it was a puncture! They may not be the prettiest or the best handling (although I could outhandle my mates when they were on their posh 125s hehe).Built to last, parts are plentiful AND very cheap! £35 for a chain and sprockets and £40 for a pair of rear shocks! Can't grumble at that! I did 3500miles on mine in just 4 months before I passed my bike test and bought a GPZ500. My trusty little CG was fantastic on the Mod.1 test and for the Mod.2, it was re-assuring to have a bike so easy to ride that you could just concentrate on the test in hand! I paid £580 for my CG and 4 months later I sold it for £600. --Mikey B--

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

(almost) perfect

22 October 2011 by mcrmike

Been riding since 1966,last bike was NTV650.Time to retire,duff knee from kicking too many brit singles into life, need a bike to keep me sane,chose the Cg 125, no regrets. Managed to find one of the last carb versions,3 years old with 157miles... Read more only,as new. First ride i couldn't stop laughing it was so much fun!Miserly on fuel,bit bouncey but good handling, just nail it through bends to keep your speed up and just smile.Mods; large wind deflector over headlight to improve drag and 1 tooth bigger front sprocket to raise the gearing just enough, to do that you doo have to file out the clearance on the sprocket guide plate, there is just enough slack on the chain! next mod is to put a remote choke cable on as the lever is buried deep under the tank,hard to find even when you know where it is,impossible to reach when youre moving.First service took 30 mins, drain oil clean filter, check tappets ok, the airvalve on the cover doesnt help one bit!Carb I can work on, pushrod engine tubed tyres,cable analogue clocks etc etc, it will never need to see a dealer! last NTV service cost£200plus,this one cost £5, i'm happy.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Impressed from Manchester

07 December 2010 by fordlatch41

I bought my 57 plate cg125es with only 65 miles on the clock 3 years of age with its first MOT,I have always promised myself one ever since I was given a ride on my foreman's back in 1979, sounds funny but I was gobsmacked by the power it had, but... Read more then again I owned a moped, anyway jump foreward to November 2010 and I am now riding one to work and back, the tank was full when I picked it up from the shop and the fuel guage just did not move after 70 or so miles I covered in the first week, and I still did not need to put petrol in after three weeks but I filled it up anyway.This surely has to be the future of commuting.As for the bike itself, well it is a beautifully built little bike fully modernised with its styling and new clocks which include the fuel guage as mentioned before.The front brake was poor when I first got the bike but I have noticed it getting better due to use/bedding in, EBC pads apparently improve the brake even more so I might try a set soon. I love my zzr1200, and my gpz900, but I now also love the honda and I am going to be using my cg125 as much as possible saving money on fuel and still biking at the same time. All in all a very impressed experienced motorcyclist.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Ok, it won't win any style awards

31 October 2010 by AdieR

but I did my test on a 55 plate bike: its cheap to buy, cheap to run, and a doddle to insure, loads of spares available, won't kill you, filtering is dead easy, nothing to worry about if you drop it - what more can you ask for from a beginner... Read more bike? As a cheap and easy runabout, its perfect.

Ride Quality & Brakes
3 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
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Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
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Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
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Equipment
3 out of 5
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Read all 24 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1975
Year discontinued 2008
Original price £1,999
Used price £1,000 to £2,500
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 3 of 17
Annual road tax £17
Annual service cost £550
Performance
Max power 11 bhp
Max torque 7 ft-lb
Top speed 65 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 24 secs
Average fuel consumption 95 mpg
Tank range 280 miles
Specification
Engine size 124cc
Engine type 2v, single, 5 gears
Frame type Steel tubular cradle
Fuel capacity 13.5 litres
Seat height 781mm
Bike weight 114kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake 240mm disc
Rear brake Drum
Front tyre size 2.75 x 18
Rear tyre size 90/90 x 18

History & Versions

Model history

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.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

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  • Honda CG125 motorcycle review - Side view
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  • Honda CG125 motorcycle review - Rear view
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