HONDA CB125F (2015 - on) Review

Highlights

  • One of the UK's best-selling bikes when new
  • Cheap to buy and run
  • Ideal for new riders

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £110
Power: 10 bhp
Seat height: Low (30.5 in / 775 mm)
Weight: Low (282 lbs / 128 kg)

Prices

New £2,499
Used £1,500 - £2,300

Overall rating

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

The 2015 Honda CB125F had a demanding job on its hands. In the modern world a 125 has to be a multi-faceted machine, capable of being the most economical way of getting from A to B, as well as being durable, easy to live with and economical. But it also most riders’ first bike, meaning that it needs to deliver excitement, inspire confidence, and have enough style and credibility to mean that you don’t park round the corner from the pub.

It’s a tough gig, but the 2015 CB125F builds on the talents of the old model, and gets a stronger family resemblance to the CB500F and CB650F, to boost its presence. Honda insisted upon launch that that the CB had a decent hike in quality, too, underlying the fact by stating that it’s “been built to endure the rigours of European weather.”

This bike replaced the 2009-2014 Honda CBF125. In September 2015 the CB125F became the best-selling bike in the UK. It remains on sale five years after launch. 

Ride quality & brakes

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

Honda introduced an all-new steel frame and 18in six-spoke wheels (up from 17in). The CB125F also gets an ever-so-slightly fatter 120mm telescopic fork up front and the same five-step spring preload adjustable rear shocks (now painted red for added speed) – they’re budget but do the job.

The single disc brake up front and drum brake at the rear are competent enough to stop you in a hurry, and more than adequate for both the learner rider and those whizzing through London’s rush hour. There's a complete lack of vibrations from the engine. Singles suffer more from primary vibes than most engine configurations, but an added balancer shaft has reduced vibes in every gear, even at top speed. 

Engine

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

The engine was virtually new with very few parts retained from the old motor. One of the most important additions was Honda’s latest fuel injection system, which, coupled with a revised cylinder head and exhaust system, increased the bike’s low to midrange torque and fuel economy. 

As a side effect, the power and torque figures are down from 11.1bhp to 10.46 and 8.2ftlb to 7.52. But working with such low numbers in the first place, you’re not going to feel it. And the revised mapping and FI certainly adds more of a poke low down which makes it stronger when pulling away from lights than the previous model anyway.

Reliability & build quality

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

Production has switched from India to China, but the little CB125F still retains the usual Honda build quality. Everything feels well put together, and nothing stands out as being overly cheap.

We've got 13 Honda CB125F owners' reviews on the MCN site, with an overall score of 3.8 stars out of 5. That's not a particularly impressive score, and buyers are less than impressed with some aspects of the bike's build quality. We suggest you have a read before heading out for a test ride. 

Value vs rivals

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

At £2499 the CB125F is £200 cheaper than its predecessor which makes it excellent value for money. Honda claim upto 145mpg, but we only managed 107mpg, although that's still enough to cover over 300 miles to a tank.

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

The CB125F is a budget bike, and as such the equipment you get as standard is incredibly basic. There's no ABS and the dash is a simple analogue affair, with digital gear indicator. It's basic, but it's all you need.

Specs

Engine size 125cc
Engine type Air-cooled, 2-valve OHC, single
Frame type Steel diamond
Fuel capacity 13 litres
Seat height 775mm
Bike weight 128kg
Front suspension 120mm telescopic fork
Rear suspension Dual rear shocks with 5-step spring preload adjustment
Front brake 240mm disc, double piston caliper
Rear brake 130mm drum brake
Front tyre size -
Rear tyre size -

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 107 mpg
Annual road tax £20
Annual service cost £110
New price £2,499
Used price £1,500 - £2,300
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 10 bhp
Max torque 7.52 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 310 miles

Owners' reviews for the HONDA CB125F (2015 - on)

13 owners have reviewed their HONDA CB125F (2015 - 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.

Review your HONDA CB125F (2015 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3.9 out of 5 (3.9/5)
Engine: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Reliability & build quality: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.1 out of 5 (4.1/5)
Equipment: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £110
4 out of 5 1st honda bike ever
05 September 2019 by Dino Daccache

Year: 2016

Annual servicing cost: £120

1st decent 125cc bike I've ridden massive step up from my old kymco pulsar 07/08, I only picked up bike 2 days ago , I did 108 miles on first day I had it , comfortable to ride , very economical on fuel , it's good for riding through a city but on long A road it's a struggle to get past 65mph (albeit it is a 125) my 2 niggles with this bike is the thin tyres , dont feel enough traction or grip and the headlight isnt powerful enough , even full beam is weak ( dont know if bulb is on way out) , all in all I would definitely recommend this bike , perfect for beginners. Already exceeded my expectations.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

First day I had bike I did 108 miles comfortably

Engine 4 out of 5

Brilliant acceleration but lacks the top end speed but due to being a 125cc and it's more economical in fuel to compensate for lack of oomph on the top end

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Mine is 2016 and apart from cosmetic scratches , everything is sound,no corrosion, only did 2660 miles on the clock , when I bought it and regularly serviced once a year , surprisingly really reliable.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Cheap on fuel , very economical

Equipment 4 out of 5

I'm still in middle of choosing accessories, I dont know if it counts but I got a bluetooth headset for my helmet, very good , would recommend that , I also want a decent USB charger with fast charge for s9 and a mount for my phone.

Buying experience: was a bit weary as it was on ebay, I bought it for 1600 which included £60 delivery

3 out of 5 The perfect learner and torture beyond that
10 October 2018 by AH

Year: 2016

Rock hard suspension and gutless. Perfect bike for a CBT and little else. Had one as a loan from insurance company and it is so boring i have gone from riding everyday for fun to only when I need to get somewhere. The moment I have another bike sorted out I want it out of my garage. It manages to take riding a motorbike and make it boring.

Ride quality & brakes 2 out of 5

Awful suspension and weak brakes even for its lack of weight.

Engine 4 out of 5

It's a solid engine that never misses a beat. But it is so boring! Twist your wrist and it just farts a bit louder and oh so sloooooowly speeds up a little. Disappointing even for a 125.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Seems to be a pretty solid build.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Have to admit great fuel economy.

Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5 Good beginners bike
31 August 2018 by Newbiker

Year: 2018

First ever bike after CBT so although nothing to compare it to directly, it satisfies everything I was looking for in a bike in order to build-up my experience and skill. Yes I wish you didn't have to red line it to get over 60mph but apart from that i am really happy with my purchase.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Nice upright riding position. I "practice" regularly and include emergency stops and have not locked up or skidded [only dry surface], rear brake works well to bring to stop from traffic appropriate speeds.

Engine 4 out of 5

Pulls away at traffic lights briskly to give you good space before they catch up then will cruise at 50mph for as long as you want.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

I am aware of the comments regarding a tendency for corrosion but bought brand new and so far clean as a whistle.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I want to keep the dealer service book up to date so will be taking in soon for 600 mile service, been quoted about £70.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Gear indicator, as a new rider i wouldn`t have a clue beyond 1st! All reviews [You Tube] on tyres sound horrific so at first service will ask about upgrades

Buying experience: Looked at brand new 125cc prices from all main brands and rang Honda dealer who informed me they had a couple of pre registered CB125Fs with £400 off list price making it £2,500, came with 1/4 tank fuel and L plates fitted, Padgetts of Batley West Yorkshire.

5 out of 5 Great first bike
17 June 2018 by Rob

Year: 2016

Annual servicing cost: £150

When I bought my bike, it had already done 7500 miles but had only one previous owner. I had bought it from a respected Honda Dealer, for quite a good price (£1800). I would highly recommend this bike if you're a first-time rider (like me). The fuel economy is just idiotic, I got 350 miles out of a full (13 Litres) tank. The seat can get uncomfortable after riding for more than an hour or so. However, I am a frequent commuter and use my bike nearly every day and mine hasn't broken down yet, unlike other reviews. My total mileage is over the 10k miles now done 2500+ miles in 5 months, and i haven't had any problems so far, apart from getting new tyres and replacing chain and sprockets.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

The seat can be improved upon and the exhaust pipe is very susceptible to corrosion and rust.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

It is very cheap to fill up the tank with petrol. I spent nearly £15-£20 a month on petrol. Servicing costs are ok, for a respected garage you're looking at £100+, for a lesser known garage i think it is less.

Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 Interim commuter solution that I'm keeping
30 April 2017 by AnnieP

Year: 2016

I bought this bike after a decade away from riding, due to taking a new job involving a commute through and out of London. After learning the cost of insuring the Moto Guzzi I wanted I reluctantly opted to get a 125cc for a couple of years in order to build up some NCBs. Five months and 3500 miles on, I have to say I love my CB125F and I'm keeping it. It's small and agile enough to nip through most of the London congestion and get me out of town super fast, has enough torque for satisfying urban overtaking, and the engine seems to sip oil even though some of my commutes involve it being ridden up to red line for 30 miles of motorway.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Handles nicely and the position is very comfortable for all-day riding. No numbing vibrations, even when ridden at max speed (up to 67mph but only if there's a strong wind from behind). The slim tyres really don't like riding over the white lines when filtering, which is when the handling isn't so nice. That's the only time when I wish I had a bigger bike.

Engine 5 out of 5

Good torque for urban overtaking. Lack of vibration at top speed is another plus point. The little engine is very tolerant of being ridden at max throttle. I'm happy to cruise along the motorway at 60-65mph.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

The exhaust started getting rust marks at the slightest bit of rain, even though washed every week. Another niggle is the gear sometimes won't shift into neutral, which is a bit irritating during a long wait at traffic lights. Other than that, no complaints.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

I get 400km between fill-ups, which means fewer stops at the petrol station than many bigger bikes. I could get quite a bit more but I never trust vehicle fuel gauges. Plus I'm lucky enough to have Doble as my dealer, who don't rip you off.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The dealer threw in a handy top box. It's good that the bike comes with a centre stand, gear indicator and rev counter. At this price you don't really expect a lot of equipment. Has all it needs, really.

Buying experience: Got the bike from Doble in Coulsdon - a reputable dealer who really know how to look after their customers. I got a good deal from them.

3 out of 5 End result? Disappointing
28 April 2017 by snowblind94

Year: 2016

I didn't actually own this bike, it was a hire after I was knocked off my own bike. I really wanted to like this bike after previously owning a 2004 CG125 which I consider this bike's predecessor. As soon as I sat on the CB it felt familiar: same ergonomics, seat height, even almost the same colour. However, as soon as I started it, the criticisms came in, and I've ended up being really disappointed with it. But maybe that's because I went in full of nostalgia. Overall, for an affordable first bike for a young person (who's probably much much lighter than me) it'd probably be perfect, but this review is about how I found it.

Ride quality & brakes 2 out of 5

Suspension isn't great, but then neither are the potholes around Sheffield. Still very bouncy though. The narrow tyres make corners interesting as far as I'm concerned, but I feel more confident throwing it into them than I did my CG so Honda must have done something right. The brakes on the other hand are shocking. The front disc judders every time you use it no matter what speed you're doing, and there's not much feel on the rear drum unless you're already stopped at lights and just want to hold position with it. And if it's even slightly damp, the rear brake screeches like an eagle

Engine 2 out of 5

Somehow Honda have made it even worse than it used to be. It's now fuel injected and apparently been retuned for slightly more low down torque but it still feels like they lost 3 or 4 horses to Tesco's ready meals. It's saving grace is that there's next to no vibrations even when redlining it in 4th uphill, and on a nice day with a tailwind it'd do 45mph constantly. The clutch really lets it down though. It bounces out of 1st and 2nd without a care in the world, which is not good when you needed to make a quick change. It felt like I was setting off in 2nd gear from the lights at all times, and when setting off, the biting point was so vague 99% of the time I went straight through it and got thrown around as it suddenly threw power straight on.

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

Actual materials quality is questionable. It's only about 6 months old and almost all the chromed parts are scabby and rusty. The black painted exhaust is the same. The plastics and metal on the tank, fairings, tail unit and headlight look spot on though. The engine paint also seems to be holding up. Reliability-wise, it hasn't failed to start once while I've had it and any times it's stalled have been down to me getting used to the clutch. There's about a quarter turn on the throttle before it starts to pick up on this one which I never got used to.

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

Drinks fuel like no-one's business. My own bike, an MT-125 probably uses about 2/3 of the fuel this one does every month and has more power. This is probably down to me having to rev the CB to the redline constantly to get any kind of speed out of it. The MT also has a smaller fuel tank and I had to fill the CB up two times more in the month and a half I had it than I would have had to the MT.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Fuel gauge, rev counter, standard switchgear. Good mirrors, surprisingly. It's one of only two bikes I've been on where I didn't have to contort myself to see what was going on in them.

2 out of 5 Would I buy another Honda?
12 July 2016 by AI

Year: 2015

I bought a brand new Honda CB125F in June 2015. I have had the bike serviced twice since I bought it. In June 2016, the chain came off the rear cog. The chain came off just before the second service and I specifically asked the dealer to check the chain. On Friday 8 July 2016, the chain came off again. I managed to get it back on and continued on my journey to work. On the way home the chain broke. I am having the chain and sprockets replaced with aftermarket parts. I realise that this will invalidate the warranty but that is no great loss given that Honda's warranty does not seem to be worth very much anyway. I do not blame the dealer. I do however believe that the parts on the CB125F are not as good as most British consumers would expect. I would suggest that people considering buying the CB125F should look instead to buying something with a proven track record. Kind regards Al

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

The brakes work as expected and the ride quality is quite good with the shocks absorbing most of the bumps in the road.

Engine 4 out of 5

The engine is quiet and the level of engine vibration is low.

Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5

I do not believe that the average British consumer would expect to have to change the chain and sprockets after less than 5,000 miles.

Value vs rivals 2 out of 5

These are starting to add up given that I have had to replace the chain and sprockets after less than 5,000 miles.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The gear indicator is a very useful feature.

Buying experience: Purchases from a dealer who provided a good service.

4 out of 5
04 May 2016 by RalphH

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £100

I've done 1700km on it and I think it's a good, economic commuter. Not many parts are available yet, especially exhausts.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Brakes aren't anything special but do the job. Skidded twice when breaking hard, be careful. Ride quality is fine, only thing I find the seat is somewhat uncomfortable. I tend to slide forward into the gas tank.

Engine 4 out of 5

Good low end torque for a 125cc. Max speed I achieved was 115kph, I weigh 61kg.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Had no problems yet.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Uses about 2.2l / 100km when doing urban commuting and is tax-free. I expect to ride about 3500km every year.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Very basic but has everything you need. Gear indicator is useful. Fuel gauge is somewhat unreliable. Mine stays at 100% voor 150km then drops to 0 within 250km but I got used to it.

2 out of 5 Think twice then trice
13 January 2016 by Motorbicoman

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £100

Would not recommend this bike. Get the bike that has a history of reliability like the cbf125. My 2015 cb125f broke within 6,000 miles. I'm being blamed for not taking the bike for a service every 6 weeks.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

When it worked it was good

Engine 3 out of 5

Slow but smooth

Reliability & build quality 1 out of 5

Should a bike be written off after 6,000 miles? I say no.

Value vs rivals 2 out of 5

First service at 600 miles a whopping £100. Just an oil change. Expect more from that.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Good number of extras compared to other 125s

Buying experience: Careful, this is a new model, hence has not yet got any history of reliability. It is not the same engine as the very successful cbf125 and it suffers on two fronts. 1. It's slower 2. If the engine is damaged you won't be able to replace it with the older cbf125 and repair costs will be astronomical if you're not covered by the warranty.

3 out of 5 Great bike on the surface but the devil is in the detail
29 December 2015 by Labgorilla

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £100

Best features: Easy to ride, fantastic manoeuvrability around town, great fuel consumption, gear indicator is a nice touch. Worst features: clunky gearbox, uncomfortable seat, realistic top speed 62 mph

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

It's pretty good, I'm probably one of the heaviest users of this bike and I've got to say that brakes stop well and the ride is fine.

Engine 4 out of 5

It's pretty smooth. So why it's working its impressive. Would like a little more top end speed but who doesn't.

Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5

Mine broke down after just over 5,000 miles. Still waiting to resolve the problem.

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Built very sensibly with the beginner rider in mind. Gear display is a great touch.

Buying experience: Bought from dealer for £2,500. Came with AA breakdown and 2 year warranty. But be very careful, warranty is invalidated if you don't keep up with the service schedule. So depending on your daily mileage, really consider this hidden cost. Because if you do many miles as I do it will eat into any savings you make.

4 out of 5 Wish I could give 5 star !!!!!
12 November 2015 by Bostonboy

Year: 2015

Seat is not very good. It tends push you forward into the saddle. This puts weight on your arms.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Possibly because of the skinny tyres the ride feels a bit hard & bumpy. I bought this bike because I got fed up with the small wheels on my last three scooters. Disappointing.

Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Mine had some slightly rusty bolts on delivery.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

How come its £45 dearer on insurance (Honda Ins) than the 400cc Forza I px'd it for? Certainly be shopping around when it is due.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Even as an experienced rider I find the gear indicator useful. No cut out switch & no overtaking switch but not needed !!

Buying experience: Part exchanged 2 year Forza and got cash back. paid full price. Can't fault dealer.

5 out of 5 Perfect Learner 125cc
23 August 2015 by Mark1962

Year: 2015

This is the Perfect Geared Learner Bike for my son and I after a 50cc Moped, Its easy to ride, handles nicely, light steering with a 45 deg turn for around town and mini roundabouts, Useful things like a Gear Indicator are handy for novices and nice big indicator dash lights, headlights are powerful after dim scooter ones! With Fuel injection it runs perfect from cold. Low seat height and very nice upright position. The Gear box is very positive, light clutch, no false neutrals yet. The bike definitely inspires confidence. It looks really good in the naked style and isnt too small for my 6ft 4in Son, he thinks it looks cool and the Pearlescent White version looks great with the Black and Red detail. This bike is fun, you want to jump on to it on a Sunday Morning for a drive down the country lanes...the fuel Gauge just never seems to move either! 150 mpg I can believe.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Good front Disc and rear Drum is fine, 18 inch wheels ride well over bumps etc. Its a firm ride but the rear shock does have 5 adjustments which we have yet to try out. Front fork takes most things in its stride.

Engine 5 out of 5

Very smooth, sounds good, revs very easily and effortlessly and with Fuel Injection it runs from cold faultlessly. Its got a nice thrum but is not too noisy either.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Well built, feels solid and usual Honda build quality, 2 years warranty and recovery gives peace of mind with Honda back up.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

First service at 600 for about £80 so quite short then 2500 miles

Equipment 3 out of 5

Its a basic but nice Traditional Non digital Car like Dash, Big dials, Big indicator flashers, Gear indicator, easy to see everything. Has both a Kick and centre stand. Tyres are a bit skinny from a look perspective but nice smart Alloys in a Graphite finish. For the price its spot on.

Buying experience: Tippetts Honda were very good and helpful, £2499 but included a £150 helmet so I was happy as its quite a new model.

5 out of 5 Great little commuter that's fun to ride on the open road.
02 June 2015 by Boycie86

Year: 2015

Had it just over a month now and is a joy to ride. Incredibly smooth engine for a single and doesn't mind being thrashed. Even at 65mph the engine is well over 8,000rpm but never feels it. Engine has a pleasing grumble to it as well. Good fun to thrash on the open road too!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Ride quality can be a bit harsh but handles surprisingly well for such a budget bike. You can really flick it through the corners.

Engine 5 out of 5

Very smooth power delivery. No vibrations. Can struggle a bit with a headwind but plenty of torque to pull you up hills. Sits quite happily at 65mph on the redline.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Quality is top notch being a Honda and I don't see it going wrong any time soon.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Manages well over 100mpg even when thrashed. And cheap to tax and insure.

Equipment 3 out of 5

It's basic but what do you expect? Dials are nice and clear and the gear position indicator is a nice touch. An accurate fuel gauge too which is a novelty.

Buying experience: Top notch. Can't complain about Hondas customer service!

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