Honda has made a strong commitment to the 125cc street bike class. Called miniMOTO by Honda, there are four 125 offerings—the Monkey, Grom, Super Cub C125, and Trail 125. However, that just scratches the surface on 125s sold worldwide by Honda. One of the most intriguing among European Honda 125s is the CB125R Neo Sports Café. It looks like its 300, 650, and 1000 brothers, but with an urban-friendly powerplant. The 2021 Honda CB125R gets an update this year, so let’s take a look at it and consider how much fun it would be in American cities.
To understand the appeal of 125s in Europe, we need a little background. With tiered licensing in Europe, 125cc is the magic number for the A1 category. You have to be 17 years old to qualify for an A1 license, and the engine cannot put out more than 11 kW (14.75 horsepower). Riders have to wait until age 19 to get an A2, and 21 years old for an unrestricted A license.
With that in mind, the new engine in the 2021 Honda CB125R hits right up against that 14.75 horsepower limit. With that challenge resolved, engine designers can provide a broader torque curve for increased real-world performance. Honda did that by also increasing the torque output of the CB125R.
As expected, the short-stroke powerplant demands high rpm and plenty of breathing to perform. It has a DOHC, 4-valve configuration, with liquid cooling and EFI. That allows it to rev to 10,000 for the horsepower peak, and maximum torque doesn’t appear until 8000 rpm. That combo gives the CB125R a top speed of 75 mph and fuel consumption better than 100 mpg—not bad.
The chassis is far more sophisticated than you would expect from a 125 street bike. It features Showa Separate Function Front Fork Big Piston front suspension—the same fork used on the CB650R. The ABS is IMU-supported, and a radially mounted Nissin 4-piston caliper grasps the 296mm floating front disc. Lighting is LED, and the dash is a quality LCD screen. Curb weight is 286 pounds with the 2.7-gallon fuel tank filled.
While we might not see a 2021 Honda CB125R in the United States, cross your fingers for 2022.
Honda CB125R Neo Sports Café Specs
- Type: Single cylinder
- Displacement: 125cc
- Bore x stroke: 57.3 x 48.4mm
- Maximum power: 14.75 horsepower @ 10,000 rpm
- Maximum torque: 8.6 ft-lbs @ 8000 rpm
- Top speed: 75 mph
- Compression ratio: 11.3:1
- Valvetrain: DOHC; 4-valve
- Starting: Electric
- Transmission: 6-speed
- Final drive: Chain
- Frame: Steel diamond-type
- Front suspension: Non-adjustable Showa SFF-BP 41mm inverted fork
- Rear suspension: Spring-preload adjustable shock
- Wheel: 10-spoke
- Front wheel: 17 x 3.00
- Rear wheel: 17 x 4.00
- Tires: Dunlop Sportmax GPR-300
- Front tire: 110/70 x 17
- Rear tire: 150/60 x 17
- Front brake: 296mm disc w/ radially mounted Nissin 4-piston caliper
- Rear brake: 220mm disc w/ Nissin single-piston caliper
- ABS: IMU-supported
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 53.3 inches
- Rake: 24.2 degrees
- Trail: 3.6 inches
- Seat height: 32.1 inches
- Fuel capacity: 2.7 gallons
- Estimated fuel consumption: 107 mpg
- Curb weight: 286 pounds
- Mat Gunpowder Black Metallic
- Matte Jeans Blue Metallic
- Candy Chromosphere Red
2021 Honda CB125R Neo Sports Café Price: MSRP TBA