HONDA XLR125 (1997-2002) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"It's got flaws but still provides lots of fun for newbies"

Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding

"It's got flaws but still provides lots of fun for newbies"

  • At a glance
  • 124cc  -  11 bhp
  • 46 mpg  -  128 miles range
  • High seat height (858mm)
  • Suitable for A1 licence

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

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.

Engine 4 out of 5

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).

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

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.

Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5

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 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 3 out of 5

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.

Owners' Reviews

1 owner has reviewed their HONDA XLR125 (1997-2002) 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 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
3 out of 5

54 plate

16 March 2009 by pointrosie

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... Read more so i am happy

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
Read all 1 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1997
Year discontinued 2002
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 6 of 17
Annual road tax £17
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 11 bhp
Max torque 18 ft-lb
Top speed 87 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Tank range 128 miles
Specification
Engine size 124cc
Engine type 2v single cylinder, 5 gears
Frame type Steel semi double cradle
Fuel capacity 9 litres
Seat height 858mm
Bike weight 119kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake 230mm disc
Rear brake 110mm drum
Front tyre size 2.75 x 21
Rear tyre size 4.10 x 18

History & Versions

Model history

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

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Riding
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Rear view
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Suspension
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Front view
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Side view
  • Honda XLR125R motorcycle review - Side view