Riding along the rain soaked, pothole-laden cobbled streets of Lisbon, Portugal, the ride felt plush and forgiving – ironing out all but the largest of creases with minimal fuss.
As well as being comfortable, it also feels refreshingly nimble, thanks to grippy Dunlop Sportmax GPR-300 rubber and a claimed kerb weight of just 125.8kg – allowing you to scythe through congestion with ease.
Away from the city centre, the little Honda is also perfectly competent when the going gets twisty, with plenty of ground clearance to inspire healthy lean angles and a mildly aggressive riding position.
At the heart of the CB125R lies a peppy 125cc 2v SOHC single-cylinder engine, producing 13.1bhp. Although up to 1.7bhp down on its main rivals, it’s more than capable of getting ahead and staying ahead of the urban sprawl.
Allowing the bike to stretch its legs, the power delivery feels linear and predictable, pulling comfortably all the way to its 11,000rpm redline and producing a characterful warble, reminiscent of a low capacity trail bike.
This is audible at all times, too - thanks to a deliberately up-turned muffler, which Honda designed to help novice riders operating a motorcycle for the first time.
Unfortunately, my time spent with the CB was not without fault and on a few occasions, the bike refused to click from neutral to first gear.
The front four-piston radial caliper also feels vague and progressive, lacking that initial, confidence inspiring bite that learners desperately need.
The CB125R is serious value for money. It's the second cheapest in class (sitting behind the lesser-equipped Suzuki GSX-S125) and boasts a similar spec sheet to the more expensive Aprilia SX125, KTM 125 Duke and Yamaha MT-125 options.
Being a Honda, you also get the added bonus of a strong dealer network – something not shared as much by the Aprilia or KTM.
Replacing the now outgoing fully-faired CBR125R, the upright CB adds a level of sophistication to the genre, offering big bike looks and components alongside a claimed lightest weight in class and near 300-mile tank range.
With an easy to read and operate LCD dash upfront, the CB also shares the same frame and 41mm upside down Showa forks as the larger soon-to-be released CB300R and would be more than adequate for experienced riders looking for a cheap inner-city commuter.
You also get an appropriately-damped non-adjustable rear shock, full LED lighting (including indicators), IMU-operated two-channel ABS and a four-piston radial front brake caliper.