HONDA NSR125 (1996 - 2001) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 3.9 out of 5 (3.9/5)
Annual servicing cost: £50
Power: 11 bhp
Seat height: Low (27.2 in / 690 mm)
Weight: Low (280 lbs / 127 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
2 out of 5 (2/5)

The problem with the Honda NSR125R, and all other two-stroke 125cc motorcycles out there, is that the newer, four-stroke, Honda CBR125R has come along and made them look expensive and unreliable. The Honda NSR125R itself isn’t a bad motorcycle, but it’s way too dear and way too hard to de-restrict. Honda NR750 superbike styling looks great.

Ride quality & brakes

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

Unless you’re well under the age of 25 or have the pain threshold of an elephant in labour the Honda NSR125R is supremely uncomfortable after about 30 minutes. The handling is very good and the package gels better the faster you go. The lock is poor and feet-up U-turns on the Honda NSR125R are a no-no on most roads. The brakes work well, though they require regular attention if they’re not to go off quickly.

Engine

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

As stock the Honda NSR125R makes a learner-legal 11.3bhp. But as the UK limit is 14.7bhp, this means the Honda NSR125R makes only 77 per cent of the power it could. If it’s your first motorcycle then it’ll feel fast…for about a month. De-restricting it requires drilling out some welds in the exhaust and chucking away the intake restrictor. Now you can hit over 100mph, do 0-60 in just six seconds and expect a much shorter engine life.

Reliability & build quality

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

Largely the Honda NSR125R is a survivor. Keep it topped up with quality two-stroke oil and your chances of seizing the motorcycle are greatly reduced. The Honda quality shines through, though a succession of owners learning their craft on a Honda NSR125R means that you should pay careful attention to hidden crash damage (beware stickers!).

Value vs rivals

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

The Honda CBR125R makes the sports two-stroke motorcycles look ridiculously over-priced. Although the Honda CBR125R is slower than the Honda NSR125R and almost impossible to tune, you can have a new one for the price of a slightly used Honda NSR125R or Aprilia RS125. Find a Honda NSR125R for sale.

Equipment

2 out of 5 (2/5)

There’s not much equipment on the Honda NSR125R, but then what do you need? There’s a tacho, which works, and lights, which work until dusk. However, there are, if you look hard enough a few tuning goodies for this motorcycle like race exhausts and reeds kicking about.

Specs

Engine size 124cc
Engine type Two-stroke single, 6 gears
Frame type Ally twin spar
Fuel capacity 13 litres
Seat height 690mm
Bike weight 127kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Ally twin spar
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 110/80 x 17
Rear tyre size 130/70 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 56 mpg
Annual road tax £20
Annual service cost £50
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 7 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 11 bhp
Max torque 11 ft-lb
Top speed 75 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 17 secs
Tank range 165 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

1996: Honda NSR125R introduced.
2001: Honda NSR125R Model deleted.

Other versions

None.

Owners' reviews for the HONDA NSR125 (1996 - 2001)

10 owners have reviewed their HONDA NSR125 (1996 - 2001) 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 NSR125 (1996 - 2001)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Engine: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 3.9 out of 5 (3.9/5)
Value vs rivals: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Equipment: 2.9 out of 5 (2.9/5)
Annual servicing cost: £50
5 out of 5 Best 125
23 August 2020 by Crazym

Year: 2001

Annual servicing cost: £50

Loved my nsr, I had the black one with gray details. My first bike and what a bike it was, I went all over Wales with it never missed a beat. Really have to pick at the little things to find bad points about this bike and the only thing I could think of was the lack of a fule gauge....ran out of fule a few times while having to much fun. Handles great, mine was moded alot and it went like hell for a 125😜 got noticed by the big boys who always had a chat about the bike. I'm thinking of getting another one but need to convince the wife first as I was band from having another bike after crashing my much loved nc30 vfr400.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Good breaks

Engine 5 out of 5

Sweet

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Never let me down

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Did all of it my self

Equipment 4 out of 5

Needed a fule gauge

4 out of 5 Tuned
27 March 2012 by hoddie94

Got this bike in pretty bad nick and have sorted it and restored it since then :D The handling is amazing-it can get low, its great at low speeds, I passed my mod 1 on it, it handles switchbacks easily and the engine is immense. Mine has a tuned engine, and once its warmed up it goes, but let the powerband loose and hold on tight-this bike kicks out about 28bhp when tuned properly, and if you keep the stock exhaust, reliability isn't damaged too much. The lights let you see, the seats quite comfortable and the poisitioning not as bad as an RS. Leave it outside and it'll suffer, quite a bit. Leave it in the cold and you'll have to choke-start it.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5 The NSR
04 March 2010 by georgeadams1991

On the NSR there is a very strong power band. For those of you that didn’t know what this is, it is where the engine reaches a stage in the rev’s where it suddenly becomes a lot more powerful. So for the NSR, this starts at 7 000 RPM and peaks at 9 000 RPM! When you’re in this band of revs, the NSR loves it, and has a lot of power. I didn’t know about this when I first rode the bike, so was out on a nice leisurely ride when I revved a bit higher and entered the power band at 7 000 RPM, before I knew it, from 40 mph, I was doing 70 in what felt like an instant. I felt my self slide back on the bike and thought.... to read this review in full go to http://hubpages.com/hub/Honda-NSR-125-Review

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5 Great 125cc
09 February 2010 by HartyNSR

Ok here we go. I owned a Skyjet about 3 months which i bought from a so called "bike specialist" in Rugby Warickshire (not the one with a proper showroom), it was naff and slow, I thought that biking was suppose to be fun and enjoyable, needless to say i got bored of it. Then i thought i would try another bike so i bought the Honda NSR125 from a local garage and guess what, it was GREAT!!!! i've loved every second on it, other bikers pay u more attention and nod as you ride past them and the bike feels alot more secure on the straight and u can lean into almost any bend and know it's going to be ok, also the power is fab! All in all, if you can't afford an NSR save up and WAIT until you can!!!! Bought my Chinese skyjet for £800, and the NSR only cost me £1000 on an 02 plate. Its a NO-Brainer Hopefully i can do my restricted test this yr, Just hope to NSR is a good bike to do it on.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5 NSR 125 FL
05 February 2010 by Danilius14

Mine is the 1990 version. I'm riding a bike older than myself and love it. It's an Italian Import with a genuine 0 miles on the clock in 2008 for £1400. This means it has none of these restrictions mentioned for UK market. None. I did have a reliability problem though and my original engine blew, I could cry over this lol, I'd barely taken it up to 8000 revs as I had just finished running it in. It was idling away and something started scraping and then it jammed solid. :/ Anyway I couldn't be having that and bought a secnd hand engine which runs okay, but its not as clean as i remember the other one with a slight powerloss and backfire mid rev and power top of before the red line. My dream is to get the old engine running. The reviewer has no clue of 125s and if he could ride my bike in comparison to to my mates 125's he'd be in for a shock

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5 nsr
09 June 2009 by sean4danielle

i had 1 of these 2001 model in classic red and vlue but the engine was no where near standard it had a 175cc barrel strenthened con and crank the gear ratios changed and it toped at 130mph along side a blade so amazing little bikes but expensive when u tune them!

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5 crackin bike
09 March 2009 by icynet

This is one of those things, you shouldnt compare a 4 stoke 125 to a 2 stroke its a different breed. This is a crackin little bike that thinks its a big boy, looks the part and up to 60 goes well enough to make most cars think it is the part. Ive not foundd any reliability probs with my bike even though she is a little long in the tooth and personaly find her very comfortable to ride over even long distance and its always nice to wave to my friends on there 4 stokes as i change to 5th and accel away knowning ive got a gear in reserve.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
4 out of 5 Owners know more
06 July 2008 by RJJW

When one reads an MCN review. (I have been reading MCN for more than 50 years!!!) One is entitled to expect something approximating to the truth. However the MCN review of the NSR125 is completely way off the mark in nearly every respect. In this day and age with forums dedicated to NSR125's and dealing with everything under the sun one gains the impression that the MCN reviewer didn't know much about small two strokes (or possiblty held them in contempt) didn't appreciate that age has nothing to do with having fun riding a motorcycle, hasn't canvased a wider opinion or didn't ride the NSR for any length of period long enough have much of clue of the and negatives of the bike he was reviewing. I give the MSN reviewer - one star!

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
4 out of 5 Fun Little Bike
27 December 2007 by jmeade

I have owned this bike for about 6 months and its a brilliant little bike. It has great performance for a 125 and handles well, although the ride comfort is sacrificed. The suspention is very stiff which is great for the handling but not comfort. I would definately advise someone who is 17 and on a CBT to get one as its a fun bike to ride and quick. Will prepare you for your next bike aswell if your going to go for a full licence.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
4 out of 5 Great learner bike for people wanting to move on to bigger bikes
12 December 2007 by datadyne89

When first purchasing this bike i thought the power from it compared to other 125cc bikes were quite staggering, its very quick off the mark which is a great way for a learner to get a feel with a bike at there early motorcyling careea. The size of the bike is another great factor about this bike as you can ride around with other big bikes without not looking to out of place. It also gets you the feel for what other big sports bike will be like once you progress. The handleing i found was top notch when blasting around some country roads, although at low speeds the size does actually come into place and other 125 cc bikes can easily u turn without fuss this bike does have problems with that. I didnt feel it was too uncomfortuble but i was never on the bike for more than 2 hours at a go. The problems i faced with this bike was very minor which was the speedo drives cogs coroded meaning i had to repallce that. The lights are shit and its near impossle to ride fast on a dark twisty road. When i changed the bulbs for a high wattage the battery always lost power meaning once everyweek i had to bump start the bike. The petrol lasted a good 130 miles before switching to reserver which i though was reasonable. I also used £5.75 tub a liter oil which was put in at least once every month. I would consider this bike to anyone wanting to have big bike but as being a learner for them to use this as a beginier tool. You wont be dissappointed and you can pick them up quite cheap although be carful

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
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