HONDA XR125L (2003 - 2013) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Honda XR125L is not a 'true' XR (just check out the electric start and the large tank range) maybe, but this is a great little commuter and green-laner. It lacks power up top but there’s more than enough for town riding and a spot of weekend fun off-road. It looks absolutely gorgeous, too.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The Honda XR125L's tall-ish seat gives a commanding riding position (great for city riding) but isn’t out of reach for the average rider. The bike’s narrow and very light, making handling easy and fun. Long travel suspension works well, brakes are ample and it’ll cruise at 50mph comfortably. Fifth gear’s a bit pointless: no extra “go” in it.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Honda XR125L has a grunty, four stroke single with enough power to propel you around town with ease. Open roads and steep gradients prove a bit too much of a challenge, however. Very similar to the engine of the CLR125 City Fly and XL125R: in other words, it’s extremely reliable and long-lasting.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Plastic panelling ensures expensive dents are kept to a minimum whilst the Honda XR125L's engine is capable of taking any amount of abuse thrown at it. However, problems with ignition coils and bikes cutting out prompted recalls on some machines. Make sure your bike’s sorted.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Excellent. With the Honda XR125L you get Honda reliability and a top engine for a pretty good price. You can go for miles on a tankful of fuel, insurance is cheap and they hold their value well. Closest rivals are probably Yamaha’s XT125R and XT125X, each with a smidgeon more power and marginally higher prices. Find a Honda XR125L for sale.
The Honda XR125L's seat’s actually quite comfy, surprisingly, but equipment’s generally on the basic side. There’s a small screen, spoked wheels and a steel rear carrier for tying bits and pieces to. Extras include a top box (which looks hilarious) and a belly pan.
|Engine type||2v single cylinder, 5 gears|
|Frame type||Tubular steel double cradle|
|Fuel capacity||12 litres|
|Front brake||240mm disc|
|Rear brake||110mm drum|
|Front tyre size||90/90 x 19|
|Rear tyre size||110/90 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||65 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£20|
|Annual service cost||£200|
4 of 17
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||11 bhp|
|Max torque||7 ft-lb|
|Top speed||65 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||19 secs|
|Tank range||172 miles|
Model history & versions
2003: Honda XR125L launched. No changes since.
Owners' reviews for the HONDA XR125L (2003 - 2013)
12 owners have reviewed their HONDA XR125L (2003 - 2013) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£200|
So much fun for a 125 cc! I traded my 2007 cbr 125 for one, since that bike was too small for me. You sit higher on this bike and it felt much better. I once got it too 70 mph, but really that is just torturing the engine. I cruised it daily at 55 mph, no problem. A sixth gear would have been nice. A lot more fun than a stiff "racer" 125, more agile, and you can take it greenlaning. It also looks really good and gets a lot of looks on the street. The stock exhaust is quiet but makes a fun old school sound.
I give it three stars because the brakes were quite bad (drum brake at the rear). Keep that in mind. Suspension was very soft, but that can also be fun! it was a hoot to drive it in towns and on small roads, and ofcourse to take it greenlaning !
0 problems with it. Felt like it had more torque than my CBR 125, but slower overall acceleration and top speed ( but very small difference).
Very reliable but mine had a carburetor issue. Took it to a mechanic and he could not completly fix it. He told me the previous owner probably neglected the maintenance interval and used bad fuel. That is why I give it three stars, but otherwise never had a problem with it !
Super cheap running costs. Fuel consumption was very low. If you don't know much about motorcycle maintenance, take it to a mechanic! the price will be low anyway. ( Or you have a crooked one.. ;) )
Basic bike. Comes with cool toolkit under the fender.
Buying experience: Dealer was one who only sold second hand bikes, but his prices are way to expensive. But I really wanted the bike and it is quite rare in my country (belgium). Paid 1500 uk pounds for it.
Annual servicing cost: £200
This bike is absolutely bullet proof I've fell off it (hard) 3 times in 2 weeks and on the 3rd fall going about 15-20 mph it only bent the gear shifter and scratched up the clutch lever and the tip of the handle bars (Renthal). These bikes don't want to break and I enjoy riding it very much. The only down side is top speed. In ideal conditions I can only manage to get to about 60 mph but i'm a bit heavy (13 stone).
Bikes at it's best in town and off road. long runs e.g. bypass is depressing as you can only go 60mph. Very comfortable riding position and seat
Solid engine, nothing much I can say apart from being bullet proof but low top end performance.
Superb quality almost indestructible! Frame does get quite rusty and bolts starting to corrode after 11 years of neglect from previous owners
This is an estimate as I've only had the bike 2 months.
My favorite feature is probably the knobbly tyres (really hard to find) you can oversize tyres but not by much these tyres should be sufficient rear tyre: 120/90/17 Mt21. Front tyre: Continental TKC 80 Twinduro 100/90-19 57. My 2nd favorite feature is the arrow exhaust system, really sounds nice especially if you take the baffle out ;)
Buying experience: Buying experience wasn't so good (privately brought) the owner was a liar and completely neglected it, the oil was not even showing on the dipstick. starter motor was shot, carb needed adjusting for the Arrow exhaust but all easily fixed and now runs like a beauty.
I have been a massive Honda fan always had XR400'S CARS ETC the time came to get my son a Bike age 17. Odvious choice was a Honda XR125. bought a 2004 bike from the local paper which was a cheapish price. within 4 weeks we had sold it on, to me it was not a real Honda! It was a Nightmare everything fell off it I replaced the battery starting motor all cables Tyres and the fork seals then the bike still would not start. in the end we cut our losses. It was over complimated LOTS OF DAFT CABLES, heavy and not the usual Honda build.even though it was only 7 years old it was a wreck the rust was amazing for a Honda gutted my advice is get a Yamaha xt or DT.
this was my first bike and im about to move ub to somthing a bit bigger so i thought i should say a few words abou it. in the honda xr there isnt much power to it i could get 60 on flat but on the other hand i waigh 14 stone but still its not the most powerfull bike. the handeling and suspention on the bike is fantastic! i ride on country roads to work and back and it has never let me down on the corners. i have rid this bike for around 18 months now and the engine has never let me down, it has done 35,000 miles now and the engine is still showing no signs of age, and the best thing about the bike is it keeps its price, i am selling it for almost what i bought it for.
I have learnt to ride on this bike and it has proved to me to be a very reliable and easy to ride bike. I have owned it for just over a year and I have had no problems with it. The only thing of which I can fault on it is its lack of top end power but for a 125 its acceptable and it can keep up with most other 125 around.
I've had my XR for a while now and it is absolutely brilliant. If you are 17 and are planning to get 125 this is the bike for you. It is a guarantee first time pass. At slow speeds especially when it comes to U-turns and figure of eights the XR is easy to balance and control therefore it will blitz that part of the test. It is comfortable for long journeys and the suspension absorbs every bump in the road. It does have a lot of pull in the gears expected for 5th very disappointing however it will get up to a top speed of 75 mph. It is also good for running around with passengers, it makes light work of 20 stone on the back. The only bad point I found with it is that the choke is not really effective so starting on a cold morning requires 3-5 mins of a bit of revs to get it to tickover. It brakes very well and is very responsive. Styling is also a bit soft could have made it like the original XR 250/400. But it is a good buy and is highly recommended.
You may not believe this but the XR125L is comfortable enough for 250 mile days out. I can average 40 mph overall which means a trip to the Scottish Borders from Co Durham/ North Yorks (even to St Mary's Loch) and back in a day is easily possible. It's not logical that part throttle gives 100 mpg and full throttle (but obeying speed limits) only reduces this to the high 80s, but that's how it performs. A nuisance in this sunny weather is that the midday sun reflects straight off the instruments into my eyes, and wearing specs aggravates this. Having a speedometer that doesn't flatter your speed like most digital ones is useful. Overtaking is possible with care and planning. So I'm getting to like it more and of course it's relatively cheap to buy and run in these days of rocketing prices.
I had one of these back in the 70s and it hasn't changed that much - better suspension, a front disc but worse instruments (very basic and really difficult to see when you are trying to keep to 30 mph). At least you can ride it all day without discomfort and do 200 miles or more. Top speed is low (generally 50-55 mph on the flat) but it is very economical. Thrashing it gives 88 mpg, pussy-footing around gives up to 110 mpg. Good range up to 170 miles before reserve needed. Considering I am 6 foot 2 inches tall and weigh 15 stone, I don't look a complete prat on it. Overtaking is a nightmare - as soon as a car doing only 40 mph gets in front you can forget overtaking. Please Honda bring back the XL185 or XL250 to remedy this!
This is my first motorbike and being over 6 foot very little works except the trailies but what an introduction! Yes fair enough after riding a CB500 on my assessed ride before I take my direct access next month it is slow and lacks grunt in comparison but it blasts through town and the twisties with ease and inspires confidence that when you start riding needs time to grow. Basically if you're new to bikes buy one of these and it'll put a smile on your face without killing you!
I was commuting on my R6 but needed something more practical. Paid £1900 brand new last year, i've done 5500 miles so far. likes:- 100mpg, comfy seat, good steering lock, upright position, build quality, good fun. dislikes:- choke on carb, only 11bhp, tyres are slippy when wet and have inner tube. reserve too big (80 miles) I'd recommend this bike for being cheap and fun but i wouldn't buy another unless 15bhp (or more), supermoto wheels and choke sorted. Honda are you listening?
Traded in a disintegrating GSX600F last year as commute to work is now much reduced. Honda were offering an excellent finance deal, so I bought new. Performance is perfect for town use with an excellent riding position, handling and mirrors. Around town I average 75mpg giving 150 miles to reserve. Max speed with a following wind is 65mph, but 55 – 60 is more realistic so not ideal for fast roads. Riding through winter showed up some corrosion, but spraying the bike with ACF-50 anti-corrosion spray put an end to the problem.