HONDA CA125 REBEL (1995 - 1999) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £780
Power: 11 bhp
Seat height: Low (26.6 in / 675 mm)
Weight: Low (302 lbs / 137 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

This 125 cruiser from the '90s loses out a little bit, mainly because it uses the old 1980s Honda CB125cc twin cylinder motor. If you're short in the leg, or short on cash, then the Honda CA125 Rebel makes an acceptable used bargain, as the build quality is a cut above some other 125 cruisers, but Honda's VT125 Shadow is miles better.

Honda CA125 Rebel motorcycle review - Riding

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Most 125cc cruisers have pretty basic suspension and frame technology and the Honda CA125 Rebel is no exception. But apart from a bit of choppiness and a slightly vague feeling at the front end, it commutes just fine. It just lacks the finesse of more modern motorcycles.

Honda CA125 Rebel motorcycle review - Riding


Next up: Reliability
2 out of 5 (2/5)

The old four valve, twin cylinder engine in the Honda CA125 Rebel dates back to the CB125 of the 1980s - the baby Superdream as it was known back then - and just hasn't got the refinement, or the acceleration of some V-twin powered 125cc cruisers. The engine gets you there eventually, and is frugal on fuel, but overall the Honda CA125 Rebel is hard work.

Honda CA125 Rebel motorcycle review - Side view

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Honda CA125 Rebel is a bit better made than the average 125cc cruiser from the Far East. Even today, there are some who would say that buying a used Honda CA125 Rebel would be a more reliable choice than an unknown brand new 125cc motorcycle off the internet. The Honda CA125 Rebel may be a bit dated, but at least it's a proven design.

Honda CA125 Rebel motorcycle review - Riding

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

As a first time machine the Honda CA125 Rebel allows the learner biker to try out motorcycling on the cheap, and if they find it isn't for them, sell the thing on fairly easily, losing relatively little money. If you can find a used motorcycle which hasn't been dropped on a wobbly three point turn, then you've probably started motorcycling for under a grand. Can't be bad.

Honda's own CG125 is a more popular choice if you're after a classic and has been tried and tested to destruction by CBT centres around the country.

If you're after a new 125 on a budget, Honda's CBF125 is worth consideration. Most manufacturers have a 125 in their range and the more desirable options these days are the KTM Duke 125 naked and Yamaha R125 sportsbike.

Honda CA125 Rebel motorcycle review - Side view


3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Honda CA125 Rebel is a one person cruiser, the pillion pad is just that - a small pad. There are basic mirrors, lighting and brakes fitted on the Honda CA125 Rebel. It's got everything it needs, but extras basically boil down to spoked wheels, forward foot controls and a grabrail.

Honda CA125 Rebel motorcycle review - Riding


Engine size 124cc
Engine type 4v, in line twin, 5 gears
Frame type Steel tubular cradle
Fuel capacity 10 litres
Seat height 675mm
Bike weight 137kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake 240mm disc
Rear brake Drum
Front tyre size 90/90 x 17
Rear tyre size 130/90 x 15

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 65 mpg
Annual road tax £24
Annual service cost £780
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 5 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 11 bhp
Max torque 6.6 ft-lb
Top speed 70 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 24 secs
Tank range 140 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

1995: Honda CA125 Rebel launched in UK.
1999: Honda VT125 Shadowreplaces CA125.

Other versions


Owners' reviews for the HONDA CA125 REBEL (1995 - 1999)

2 owners have reviewed their HONDA CA125 REBEL (1995 - 1999) 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 CA125 REBEL (1995 - 1999)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Engine: 3.5 out of 5 (3.5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Equipment: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £780
4 out of 5 Brilliant, sexy & cosy cruising bike with a woefully under-powered & rattly engine.
30 January 2020 by SB

Year: 1996

Annual servicing cost: £50

I love the comfort and fit + finish of this bike, I just got it in September 2019 with 6,000 miles on the clock and in overall brilliant condition. I would say that the only real issues these bikes can have is to do with owner maintenance, things like spongy brakes, dirty chain, gummed up controls and carburetor + spark plugs + oil are the only real problems but these are to be expected from a 20-25 year old learner bike that's been used and abused. If you're hands-on and willing to make the effort to fix these minor problems then this could be a great bike for you. The paintwork & chrome are very resilient, no signs of any noticable rust or fading. The engine is sluggish to say the least. The gearbox is smooth as butter and the bike is very stable around town but it cruises at 50, past there and it starts to vibrate through your groin and shake all your bolts loose. Tops out at 60-65 if you're lucky, I went there once and now my number plate bracket and brake lights are loose. There are big bore kits out there which might be worth a look, and the engine can be converted to a 250 by anyone with some skill. You wouldn't be embarassed to ride the bike about, it's not as buzzy or jerky as modern 125s are. Birds love the bike, it always gets looks and comments when I take it out. I wouldn't take it to work unless you have a secure car park since it tends to attract attention, something like a CG125 would be better for a low profile commuter. You're probably more likely to find the Rebel as a "chopped" bike now sadly though.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5 Great First Bike!
23 August 2016 by RUSKIBiker

Year: 1998

Annual servicing cost: £1,500

First proper bike of my own. Upgraded from a CVT 150cc scooter. Makes a great noise at 10/15 km, like a mini-harley. Handles well, and gear-shifts are smooth and it looks like a stunner.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Brakes are responsive but forcing the rear brakes at excess speeds will force a skid.

Engine 3 out of 5

Engine is characterful and delightful but just not powerful. The 124cc (technically speaking) engine will do 0-60km in way that'll put a smile on your face, but long distance trips at its top speed of 100km become tiresome.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Mechanically speaking, near perfect. Metallic rims and parts do need regular polishing to avoid and curb rust. Clutch has to be adjusted every 500km or so to curb free play but other than that, reliable for 2000-3000km between services.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Services are pretty standard in cost, R1500-2000 ($150) every 3000/4000km. Every 3000km-4000km recommended based on engine health. A bit more hungry on petrol than display. Full tank will be enough for 160km (100miles).

Equipment 3 out of 5

Bought the bike second-hand. No standard equipment. Bikes two plastic side mounts, with the Rebel marking are gorgeous and pragmatic.

Buying experience: Bought the bike second-hand off a website. Bought it for R8000 ($750) with 5500km on the clock.

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