Say hello to the 2021 Honda MSX125 Grom
As expected, Honda’s cult, uber-cute MSX125 mini-bike is getting a significant update for 2021 – and this is the result: the all-new Honda Grom.
First launched in 2014, the 1970s monkey-bike-inspired, 12-inch wheeled 125 caused a global sensation for its mix of funky looks, easy-peasy rideability and huge fun factor – so much so the ‘Grom’, as it was called in Japan and the US, became something of a cult machine.
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Six years on, and with a refresh forced by the need for it to now pass Euro5, the MSX has received its first significant makeover.
Now officially called the ‘MSX125 Grom’ the pocket-sized funster gets a new Euro5-compliant but still air-cooled 125cc motor, while the gearbox is now five speed, rather than four.
Top speed remains about the same (58mph) but with a better spread between each gear. As you may have already guessed, power remains unchanged, however the internal updates have made everything that bit smoother running, just like the new CBF125, so it can now do over 150mpg!
The biggest change is arguably the styling, with a big refresh of the bodywork with a bit of neo-retro influence thrown in. Interestingly the refresh has ushered in easily removable body panels that can be removed with just six bolts.
Nestled in the bodywork is a revised digital LCD dash that now includes a rev-counter and gear indicator, although the chassis is unchanged.
Going, going Grom! HRC racing kit announced for 2021
Announced on Tuesday, October 22 - the day after the reveal of the 2021 MSX125 road bike – the kit will be available in HRC Service Shops as of March 2021, transforming the standard machine to compete in the domestic HRC Grom Cup.
Starting in 2017, the popular series sees the micro machines raced at a number of iconic short circuits, including Tsukuba, Sugo and Twin Ring Motegi.
Doing away with all road-going amenities, such as lights, indicators and bracketry, the kit Grom is sold as a full race bike and gets special bodywork, including a belly pan and revised tail. There’s also a performance exhaust, lever guards and more – not to mention the striking HRC paint job.
A potted history of the Honda MSX125 Grom range
First published October 28 2020 by Dan Sutherland
Receiving minor updates throughout its seven-year-history before its first major overhaul ahead of 2021, over 750,000 units have now been sold world-wide. Next year will see the bike become Euro5 compliant and gain a five-speed manual gearbox for the first time, as well as receive fresh bodywork.
But where did the journey start, and what are you missing out on if you opt to purchase an older used model instead? Well, to answer those questions and more, we’ve compiled a potted history of the bike, which you can find below. Enjoy!
2013: First Honda MSX125s revealed
The first-generation Honda MSX125s were launched in 2013. Also known as the 'Grom' in Japan and America, the MSX name stood for 'Mini Street X-treme' and proved to be an instant hit, selling over 3000 units across Europe in its first eight months to become one of the top-five best-selling 125s across the continent. 2021 will see the 'Grom' name incorporated everywhere for the first time, too.
Powered by an air-cooled two-valve four-stroke 124.9cc engine sandwiched within a dinky steel backbone frame, the nano naked remained largely the same – barring colour updates – until 2016, before being treated to updated styling.
2016 styling update
Starting up front, the large, rounded single headlight was removed and replaced with a more modern stacked design, complete with LEDs. There was also a reshaped fuel tank and side panels, plus a redesigned tail – again with LED lighting. The pillion seat was also raised and made shorter, with the raised single exhaust also replaced with a low-slung alternative.
By this point, over 300,000 MSX125s had been sold globally and despite the fresh aggressive looks, the bike remained the same user-friendly steed it always had been, with a modest seat height of just 765mm. Despite the new fuel tank shape, capacity remained the same at 5.5 litres – enough for a claimed range of around 187 miles.
2017 Euro4 update
Just a year on from updating the styling, Honda were back at it again – this time fettling the MSX’s tiny single-cylinder engine to meet Euro4 emissions regulations. Also needed to meet requirements was the new front brake ABS system, which also featured from 2017 onwards.
Despite these additions, overall kerb weight remained a miniscule 101.7kg, with the bike now available in grey, white, red, or yellow options. Those wanting to purchase one of the remaining models in this shape can do so at UK dealers for a 2020 price of £3449 OTR in either red or black.