HONDA SH125 i (2020 - on) Review
- Available for under £100 a month
- CBT friendly
- New engine for better performance
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
In the current climate where many commuters are wishing to avoid crowded public transport due to health concerns, it is inconceivable that the SH125i shouldn’t continue to sell like hotcakes (it was Europe’s best-selling scooter in 2018, shifting nearly 19,000 units).
- Related: How to pass your CBT
- Related: 2020 Honda SH125i revealed
- Related: Best 125 motorcycles of 2020
The ease of use, inbuilt safety assists and storage capacity of this excellent scooter make it ideal for newer riders and at less than £100 a month on PCP or HP it is well within reach of any budget. To be honest, it should be a no brainer for any urban commuter.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Thanks to its 'big' 16-inch wheels the SH125i is stable at speed and in town it is light and agile with a very tight turning circle, making U-turns a breeze.
If you are over six-feet it feels a touch compact and the accessory screen (£160) is very close to your chin, but the trade-off is lots of weather protection as you look through it. The suspension is a bit basic over harsh bumps but more than adequate for urban use.
EngineNext up: Reliability
New for 2020, the four-valve eSP+ motor replaces the older model’s two-valve eSP engine (enhanced Smart Power) and makes more power and torque, with the claimed 12.9bhp (up from 11.9bhp) and 8.9ftlb of torque (up from 8.5ftlb) delivered lower in the rev range thanks to a new bigger bore/shorter stroke design.
Idling Stop technology is included (which can be deactivated via a bar-mounted switch) and so is Honda Selectable Torque Control (traction control), which can be deactivated. While the motor does feel a bit sprightlier than before, it’s not a dramatic performance increase and only very loose gravel sees the HSTC activate.
On a level road, the SH will hold 65mph with this dropping to the high-50s uphill and increasing to just over 70mph on a downhill stretch, which is acceptable for a scooter. Overall it does all that is asked of it and is smooth, vibe-free and pleasant to use.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The SH125i has been around in some way, shape or form since 2001 and has a proven track record for reliability. Yes, the engine has an all-new four-valve head and altered bore and stroke but this is unlikely to be the cause of any reliability downfalls.
You get a two year warranty included as standard, which is reassuring, as well as two-years European breakdown cover and Honda’s spare parts supply is hardly a concern. Overall, you can buy with total confidence.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Although not as cheap to buy as some Far Eastern brands' offerings, at £3459 (2020 pricing) the SH125i represents excellent value for money considering its spec list and the fact it is a Honda-branded product (it is also built in Italy, not China).
A three-year PCP plan sees you paying in the region of £69 a month (under £100 on an HP deal) after a small deposit of a few hundred quid.
Honda claim thanks to the eSP+ motor with Idling Stop you can get between 122 and 129mpg, which is very impressive economy figures, however the reality is it averages 90mpg on open roads with only urban use approaching the claimed figures.
Considering it is a 'budget' scooter the fact you get proper ABS and not combined brakes like some 125s feature, not to mention Honda Selectable Torque Control (HSTC), Idling Stop, LED lights, a USB charger, LCD display and a Honda Smart Key, which is a keyless ignition system, is very impressive.
In the UK we also get a topbox included in the price, which increases the SH125i’s already extended, and rather enormous, 28 litres of storage – although disappointingly MCN’s Arai didn’t fit under the seat despite Honda claiming a full face lid will.
The only things really missing is any form of connectivity to a smartphone, but that is hardly a glaring oversight, and self-cancelling indicators. A Datatool GPS tracker is free with the bike but there are extra fitting and subscription costs associated.
Pleasingly, a button on the key fob flashes the bike’s indicators, helping you locate it in a packed scooter bay. Honda sell a keyless top box (there is a hidden button on the underside of the luggage rack) but it costs £545 as you need a complete new box and not just a lock change, which is annoying.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 4v, SOHC single|
|Frame type||High-tensile tubular steel underbone|
|Fuel capacity||7 litres|
|Front suspension||33mm telescopic forks, non-adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Dual shocks, 5-stage adjustable spring preload|
|Front brake||1 x 240mm disc with two-piston caliper. ABS|
|Rear brake||240mm single disc with single-piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||100/80 x 16|
|Rear tyre size||120/80 x 16|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||125 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£20|
|Annual service cost||-|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||13 bhp|
|Max torque||8.9 ft-lb|
|Top speed||65 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||199 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2001: The SH125 is launched in Europe following on from the first SH model, the SH50, which was built in 1984.
- 2005: Second-generation of SH125i gains fuel-injection.
- 2013: Honda add the eSP (enhanced Smart Power) motor to the two-valve SH125i.
- 2017: A new look, LED lights and Smart Key are introduced.
- 2020: An all-new SH125i comes with a four-valve eSP+ motor, all new chassis and improved looks and storage.
There are no other versions of the 125, however a 150 is also available.
Owners' reviews for the HONDA SH125 (2020 - on)
No owners have yet reviewed the HONDA SH125 (2020 - on).