Honda CBF 125 -2009
There are probably literally tens of thousands of riders who started their riding careers on the Honda CG125. This rugged, simple little machine first appeared over 30 years ago in 1976, just in time to take advantage of the changes to the motorcycle test when it moved to a two part affair.
The bike quickly found favour with the riding schools for its simple single cylinder four-stroke that was literally unburstable as well as frugal. In fact many commuter motorcyclists stayed with this long after passing their test ignoring the more sport siblings that appeared along the way.
However, nothing lasts for ever and the CG 125 has now been consigned to the history books with the introduction of the new CBF125. According to Honda this new machine ‘combines the best features of Honda’s Naked and 125cc motorcycles from the past 60 years to provide the ultimate in small motorcycle style and performance’, something of a bold statement! Likewise their claim that CBF means - Cheap to keep. Built to last. Fun to run
As you might expect for a 21st century model it is far more stylish than its predecessor with sleek lines aided by the angular top half fairing.
Perhaps it is not as sporty in its appeal as it sister CBR version, but once you sit on it you realise it is far more comfortable, providing an all-round appeal to a larger variety of riders, than just the sporty type.
Unfortunately when on the bike you also realise that it has been built down to a price as the clocks, dashboard and switchgear appear antiquated in comparison to its looks. Look harder and the build quality would suggest that this machine does not hail from Japan, but from one of their other plants.
But, in fairness it is priced well below £2,000 (£1899) and you have to make savings somewhere and this will be of little consequence to most riders who will just use the bike to pass their test on!
At its heart is an air-cooled, fuel-injected, five-speed engine that delivers strong power and torque despite its small capacity. Honda claim that under test conditions the bike will give 134 miles to the gallon, which would equate to arrange of 300 miles from the 13 litre tank. Even in real world conditions over 250 miles between fill-ups is pretty impressive!
The motor is everything you have come to expect from Honda though and this new version is so smooth you cannot detect it is running at tick-over (no rev counter). On the move it is glitch-free and pulls happily in all but top of its five ratios unless the speedometer is showing above 50 mph.
Gears are well matched to the power delivery and on a flat road with a prevailing wind, the needle will show 70 mph. Ten below that is a more comfortable cruising speed on the open road and does at least leave something in reserve! Around town you like any similar machine need to rev it, but once you get used to this, it will easily keep you well up with normal traffic flow.
The riding position is quite comfortable with the tiny smoked screen deflecting the worst of the wind blast at speed.
Around town the bike is easy to ride lock to lock through gaps in traffic and is very well balanced, so once again it should find favour with learner riding schools.
The dual seat is comfortable solo, although Honda claims it is also comfortable for a pillion thanks to items like generous seating and the grab rail.
Whilst I did not take a pillion during the test, I would think that the already basic soft suspension would not particularly like to have to deal with any additional weight. Besides if it is aimed at the L market they cannot legally take a pillion!
Like the suspension, the brake set-up is clearly budget orientated with a single disc at the front and a drum at the rear. It is fair to say that they are more than up to the task of stopping the bike and rider without drama. Given the fact that they are not as fierce as some twin disc pairings, they are probably just right for learners as they are not too fierce.
Despite my criticisms the new CBF 125 does what it sets out to do in that it provides a stylish entry to the world of motorcycling at a very acceptable price. It will make passing the test easy and go on to provide cheap, reliable motorcycling and enable riders to gain valuable experience post-test.
At the other end of the scale it will be an excellent commuting tool for those whose pence per-mile and low running costs are more important than any other factors.
Certainly the CBF125’s DNA combines everything that Honda’s founder, Soichiro Honda, instilled into his first motorcycles – affordable, reliable, safe, good quality and a joy to own and use.
Given the choice between this and a Chinese machine (even the really cheap ones) I would choose the Honda any day, thanks to the known reliability and spares back up from dealers liberally spread around the country. Honda has been around 60 years and is well set for their first century and this new CBF 125 will help take them there.
Review by Ian Kerr
Type Air-cooled 4-stroke 2-valve OHC single
Bore ´ Stroke 52.4 ´ 57.8mm
Compression Ratio 9.2: 1
Max. Power Output 8.3kw/8,000min-1
Max. Torque 11.2Nm/6,250min-1
Idling Speed 1500rpm
Oil Capacity 1.1 litres
Carburetion PGM-FI electronic fuel injection
Throttle Bore 26mm
Aircleaner Non-woven sheet-type
Fuel Tank Capacity 13 litres
Ignition System Computer controlled fully transistorised with
Ignition Timing 10° BTDC (idle) ~ 49° BTDC (5,000min-1)
Sparkplug Type UR6DC(MICO)
Battery Capacity 12V/6AH
ACG Output 170W
Headlights 12V 35W ´ 1 (low) / 35W ´ 1 (high)
Clutch Wet, multiplate with coil springs
Clutch Operation Mechanical; cable-actuated
Transmission Type 5-speed
Primary Reduction 3.350
Gear Ratios 1 3.076
Final Reduction 2.625
Final Drive O-ring sealed chain
Type Diamond; steel
Dimensions (L´W´H) 1,955 ´ 760 ´ 1,110mm
Caster Angle 25° 55’
Turning Radius 2.10mm
Seat Height 792mm
Ground Clearance 173mm
Kerb Weight 128kg
Max. Carrying Capacity 180kg
Loaded Weight 308kg
Front 30mm telescopic fork, 115mm axle travel
Rear Conventional twin shock, double tube damper with
3-step adjustable spring preload, 87mm axle travel
Type Front U-cross-section 6-spoke cast aluminium
Rear U-cross-section 6-spoke cast aluminium
Rim Size Front 17M/C ´ MT1.85
Rear 17M/C ´ MT2.15
Tyre Size Front 80/100–17M/C 46P
Rear 100/90–17M/C 55P
Tyre Pressure Front 175kPa
Front 240mm hydraulic disc with 2-pod calliper and resin
Rear 130mm leading/trailing drum