- Priced under three grand
- Simple design, easy to ride
- None that we can think of—this is a great motorcycle at an even better price. Thanks, Honda.
Honda nurtured generations of motorcyclists with its original CT and ST line of small displacement street-legal motorcycles. But for the last decade or so Big Red has shied away from the segment, instead focusing resources on bigger bikes for more experienced riders. But for 2014 it goes back to the basics with the all-new Grom. This 125cc street bike offers big bike-like controls in a fun and easy-to-exploit package with a pricetag under three grand.
Named the MSX125 in other parts of the world, the Grom is a global model made to put power back into the people’s right hand by offering flexible and affordable transportation for both young and older riders alike. Powered by a simple, effective and virtually maintenance-free 125cc four-stroke Single, this little air-cooled engine employs fuel injection and electric start making it simple to get moving hot or cold, day or night.
The motor sips low cost 87-octane from a 1.45-gallon fuel tank netting a range in excess of 100 miles, though exact fuel mileage is still a question mark as we didn’t get to ride it for more than a few miles. Power is put to the tarmac through a manual, cable actuated clutch and four-speed gearbox. Despite its outwardly small dimensions including a 47.4-inch wheelbase and ultra-low 30.1-inch seat height, when seated at the controls the Grom actually feels like a real motorcycle rather than a Chinese-made play toy you’d find near the checkout counter at Pep Boys.
It offers a well proportioned rider’s triangle that doesn’t put undue stress on an adult rider’s knees or wrists, even for me at six-foot tall. It also comes outfitted with passenger footpegs so a friend can tag along, too. Just remember that maximum rated payload is 300 pounds.
(Top) Despite its small-ish dimensions the Grom doesn’t feel outrageously tiny behind the handlebar. (Center) The Grom has a super low 30.1 inch seat height. It can also carry a small passenger, however, it will be a tight squeeze. (Below) The Tawian-made Grom uses a simple yet effective air-cooled 125cc four-stroke single-cylinder engine with fuel injection and electric start.
While the clutch lever offers one-finger-light pull, the point of engagement is at the end of the throw which takes a little getting used to. Nevertheless, it’s easy to get a feel for it and the Grom clutch gets the job done without fuss. Although the transmission doesn’t offer the same precise feel and reassuring engagement of its off-road brother, the CRF125F (read about it in the 2014 Honda CRF125F First Ride), it too is effective offering an appropriate gear for going up and down hills and cruising the boulevard at 50 mph in top gear without the excessive vibration of a worn-out blender. We never got to ride the Grom at full tilt, but expect top speed to be right around 60 mph. It can even be legally ridden on the interstate in some U.S. states, for example in Oregon, but not in California.
The Grom sports hydraulic disc brakes front and rear just like its CBR line of sportbikes.
Considering the size of the eighth-liter engine, acceleration is muted and though you won’t outrun lead foot drivers, the Grom’s got just enough pep to jump in front of minivan-driving moms who aren’t running late for soccer practice. But if they are, this little 225-pound Grom is so light and nimble that it makes it less intimidating to split traffic on Golden State roads. And for the time when someone gets in your way it has a nice loud push-button horn to help get their attention.
Instrumentation is modern with a one-piece LCD housing a fuel gauge, tachometer (rev counter), speedometer, clock and odometer with dual trip meters. The set-up is legible, even in direct sunlight and simple to glance at while riding. The Grom also offers a projector-style headlight and LED taillight however since we didn’t ride after sundown we can’t comment on how its lighting set-up performs.
(Top) Whether you’re looking to get into motorcycling or just looking for an inexpensive way to get around town the Honda Grom fits the bill. (Below) We loved the wide footprint of the Grom’s road tires that roll on 12-inch cast aluminum wheels.
The Grom rolls on a pair of black aluminum 12-inch wheels shod with a wide set of 70-series road tires (120 front, 130 rear). The set-up offers a surefooted contact patch against pavement with no recognizable road noise even at speeds in excess of 50 mph. Each wheel gets its own cross-drilled disc that is clamped hydraulically via a conventional right-handside hand and foot levers. Both brakes aren’t sensitive when touched yet still deliver adequate stopping performance when needed. Although it’s missing ABS, considering the pricetag and how effective the sum of its manual braking components are, we’d never miss it.