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HONDA CB125R (2018-on) Review

Published: 08 March 2018

Updated: 16 October 2019

Honda add a sophisticated touch to the sporty naked 125 class.

HONDA CB125R  (2018-on)

Honda add a sophisticated touch to the sporty naked 125 class.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

The Honda CB125R benefits from quality touches like beefy 41mm upside down forks, a four piston radial caliper and an LCD dash. Together these parts lend an added layer of sophistication not found elsewhere in this class.

Despite this, the front brake does lack bite and with a seat height of 816mm, it could feel intimidating to shorter novices.  

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

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.  

Engine 4 out of 5

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.

Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5

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. 

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

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. 

Equipment 5 out of 5

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. 

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2018
Year discontinued -
New price £3,949
Used price £3,200 to £4,000
Warranty term Two years
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £20
Annual service cost £180
Performance
Max power 13.1 bhp
Max torque 7.4 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption -
Tank range -
Specification
Engine size 125cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled 2v SOHC single
Frame type Tubular and pressed steel
Fuel capacity 10.1 litres
Seat height 816mm
Bike weight 126kg
Front suspension 41mm upside down fork, non-adjustable
Rear suspension Single shock, preload adjustable
Front brake 296mm single disc. Radial four-piston caliper
Rear brake 220mm single disc. Single-piston caliper
Front tyre size 110/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 150/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2018: Model introduced.

Other versions

Owners' Reviews

4 owners have reviewed their HONDA CB125R (2018-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 CB125R (2018-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.8 out of 5
Engine 4.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Honda CB125R

31 August 2019 by Al

This is a fantastic 125cc motorcycle and much much better than the Honda CB125F and Yamaha RD125 (twin cylinder, air cooled) that I had previously owned. This bike has 6 gears, disc brake front and rear, ABS, liquid cooled, monoshock, LED lights, gear indicator, LCD display with clock, wide tyres front and back. The ABS on this bike helped me to pass the A1 MOD1 test.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
The bike is light, nimble and agile. I tend to counter-steer round corners and if I feel I am running wide then I just counter-steer more. However, at really slow speeds it is better to turn in the direction of travel and shift your body weight in the other direction. The ride is firm and this is really good for stability, cornering and getting feedback from the road. As with all motorcycles the front brake is far more effective than the rear brake. The combination of brakes and Dunlop GPR300 tyres enables the bike to stop quickly.
Engine
5 out of 5
After getting the full motorcycle licence I took this bike out onto the M25. I am 13 and half stone so the bike did slow down going uphill but on the flat I was easily doing the National Speed limit. The liquid cooled engine seemed capable of cruising at 70 for hours on end on a hot day.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
It is a well built motorcycle but the exhaust is looking a bit tired for a bike that is only one year old.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
The running costs are low so the only cost that I have to keep an eye on is insurance.
Equipment
5 out of 5
The bike was used for commuting so I did not need any additional accessories. I did buy some rear spindle sliders to protect the bike and so I could lift the bike up using a paddock stand in order to clean and lube the chain.
Buying experience

I was getting my old bike serviced and before I knew it I has purchased the CB125R. On reflection it was the best purchasing decision I have ever made. The dealer made me an offer I could not refuse.

3 out of 5

Honda CB125R (Official designation CBF125N)

11 August 2019 by Nobby

I have had the bike from June 2018 to now 11 August 2016 so just over a year and the exhaust looks like it needs to be replaced. This is unacceptable from Honda as is look as if customers are powering the dreams of Honda rather than Honda powering the dreams of its customers. Other than the issue of quality it is a fantastic motorcycle. 6 gears. Liquid cooled. Monoshock. LED lights. Gear indicator. Front and rear disks. ABS. It can jump forwards and backwards in time (I may be exaggerating about this last point.) It looks good. (I may feel differently in 10 years time. Having said that I may dead in which case I will not care too much, either way.) I am a annoyed that one of the most expensive 125's has lost 50% of its value in one year.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
The seat is okay but it would be difficult to go more than an hour and a half without taking a break. The brakes work as you would expect them to.
Engine
4 out of 5
My spark plug were black and oily and this suggests the mixture was too rich. The sensor in the exhaust pipe, the ecu and the regulator in the fuel injection system is supposed to deal with this. So this is not good for fuel for the engine or the fuel economy,
Build Quality & Reliability
2 out of 5
The issue I have had the bike from June 2018 to now 11 August 2016, so just over a year, is that the exhaust looks like it needs to be replaced. This was highlighted when I was looking to trade the bike in. The quality of the exhaust is bad.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
The rusty exhaust has reduced its trade-in value as I was looking to upgrade to a bigger motorcycle. The cost of a new exhaust is £300 and I am going to have to fix it myself.
Equipment
5 out of 5
I am sure some propellor-head could point out, wouldn't it be nice to have a: 1) rear view camera 2) built-in sat-nav 3) on-board lavatory etc However, the best solution would be to slap the propellor-head.
Buying experience

I bought the bike new from a dealer. The bike was offered at the RRP and I was given a good deal on the trade-in. Not sure what this has to do with the Honda CB125R.

5 out of 5

Fun to ride, looks good and is economical.

27 September 2018 by Alex

My favourite features are, in no particular order, the digital display which is clear and easy to read. It includes a fuel gauge and gear selection indicator. The rev meter is easy to read at the top. The LED headlight is super bright at night and has a nice design to it with a whitish hue to the light. All the lights at the front stay on as daytime running lights so you feel safe and visible to traffic. Feels like a quality bike, solid on the road and nimble in the corners. Cheap to run. Looks bad ass in matt black.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Generally it's a very good ride. The way the bike is balanced makes twisty roads and navigating traffic brilliant. You can balance it almost at a standstill. Brakes solid to me.
Engine
5 out of 5
The bike feels torquey and picks up speed quickly. The power delivery is linear all the way up to the top of the revs where there's a slight power bump at the very top of the range. There's more than enough power to keep with the flow of traffic and sit at the legal limit. I haven't ridden it much on carriage ways, just short stretches. Like others have said about smaller capacity engines, it's a lot of fun using all the rev range through the gears.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Build quality feels rock solid and well put together. No issues after 3 months of ownership.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Averaging around 120mpg and that's using all the rev range! The range is near 300 miles.
Equipment
5 out of 5
I like the lights and display. Not many accessories out yet for this bike.
Buying experience

South Coast Honda have excellent service.

4 out of 5

Lovely bike, outstanding running costs.

16 September 2018 by Joe

Absolutely lovely ride! My first bike I’ve ever had, and it’s so easy to get used to.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Feels planted and is great fun down lanes and on bends.
Engine
5 out of 5
Doesn’t feel underpowered, however I’ve never ridden a bigger bike
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
One of the smartest looking 125’s on the market, however the only thing that has let it down is the fact that on two occasions so far (in the 2 weeks I’ve owned the bike) it was refused to come out of 4th gear.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Can’t argue with £8.50 for a full tank of fuel. Average mpg is 120 at the moment.
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Buying experience

Honda dealership in Bromsgrove were brilliant. Nothing was too much trouble.

Photo Gallery

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  • HONDA CB125R  (2018-on)
  • HONDA CB125R  (2018-on)
  • HONDA CB125R  (2018-on)
  • HONDA CB125R  (2018-on)
  • HONDA CB125R  (2018-on)
  • HONDA CB125R  (2018-on)
  • HONDA CB125R  (2018-on)
  • HONDA CB125R  (2018-on)
  • HONDA CB125R  (2018-on)
  • HONDA CB125R  (2018-on)
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