HONDA XLR125 (1997 - 2002) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Power: 11 bhp
Seat height: Tall (33.8 in / 858 mm)
Weight: Low (262 lbs / 119 kg)

Overall rating

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

The Honda XLR125 was launched to appeal to the sub-15bhp learner market, it was a shame Honda didn’t make full use of the regulations and give the little XLR a few more bhp. As it is, it’s got its flaws but still provides lots of fun for newbies as well as proving a useful town hack for more experienced riders.

Ride quality & brakes

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

The Honda XLR125R's rront suspension’s very soft, diving under even mild braking on the road and rather unstable during off-road riding. It’s fine for a bit of green laning though. The rear suspension’s a lot better. Brakes aren’t great but the bike weighs so little you can throw it around with ease. Tallish seating position aids a decent view.


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

Proven and reliable, the Honda XLR125R's engine’s been around, in one form or another, since the 1970s. It’s a bit basic and clattery but has enough power for punchy town riding although wheezing it up to 60mph+ is a chore. There’s an electric start but you need the help of the carb-mounted choke to get it to tick over from cold (it can be a bit stroppy).

Reliability & build quality

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

As mentioned, the Honda XLR125R's engine’s not a problem although they need regular oil changes and decent servicing. Nice bits are borrowed from other Hondas: the frame’s based on that of the XR200R and the silencer’s taken from the XR250R. Tough little things, these bikes can take a bashing… which is probably just as well.

Value vs rivals

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

When launched, the Honda XLR125R was up against Yamaha’s DT125 and Kawasaki’s KMX125. Both were dearer but had similar specs. The Honda has the advantage of excellent reliability so, if you can find a model which hasn’t been nicked or totalled by over-enthusiastic teenagers, it could well be worth a look. Find a Honda XLR125 for sale.


3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Honda XLR125R's nicely finished, with a paint job straight from the attractive XR range of Hondas. Basic but clear clocks, adequate mirrors, a grabrail (you wanna take a pillion?!) and a handy, colour-coded tail pouch for tools and bits. The saddle’s comfy and the bars are wide for decent leverage.


Engine size 124cc
Engine type 2v single cylinder, 5 gears
Frame type Steel semi double cradle
Fuel capacity 9 litres
Seat height 858mm
Bike weight 119kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake 230mm disc
Rear brake 110mm drum
Front tyre size 2.75 x 21
Rear tyre size 4.10 x 18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Annual road tax £25
Annual service cost -
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 6 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 11 bhp
Max torque 18 ft-lb
Top speed 87 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 128 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

1997: Honda XLR125R launched.
2002: Honda XLR125R discontinued.

Other versions


Owners' reviews for the HONDA XLR125 (1997 - 2002)

2 owners have reviewed their HONDA XLR125 (1997 - 2002) 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 XLR125 (1997 - 2002)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Engine: 2.5 out of 5 (2.5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Value vs rivals: 3.5 out of 5 (3.5/5)
Equipment: 2.5 out of 5 (2.5/5)
3 out of 5
20 July 2016 by Dexter24

Version: XLR125RW

Year: 1998

Would definitely have another one

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5

More Reliability than performance, but built to last....

Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

Not as good quality as other bikes in the honda trail/enduro CRF, XR versions....

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Dont know how they work the fuel costs but they are way off the line from my experience....!!! The 9 Ltr tank is just under 2 gallons (UK) I was getting 110 miles before hitting the reserve tap and pushed as far as 170 miles before filling up. So in my experience it was more like 85 mpg

Equipment 3 out of 5

Buying experience: Local Dealer

3 out of 5 54 plate
16 March 2009 by pointrosie

had this bike for 2 yrs a good learner bike no power to overtake good riding position and comfy bad brakes front end dives alot it rusts badly if you dont look after it i bough second hand for £1100 just traded up and still got what i paid for it so i am happy

Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
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