HONDA CBF 125 – Detailed Review, Road Test Ownership Report (8500+ kms)
Just as the CBR125 is the baby version of the CBR1000RR and 600RR sports machines, the CBF125 is a mini version of the CBF1000 and 600 novice-friendly machines.
The bike, while compact, is still full of features. The frontal design also cleanly integrates a pair of large, brilliant multi-reflector headlights, presented in a chic and almost feline design that’s unique to this new model. The fairing design was inspired by Honda’s large semi-faired and naked bikes and incorporates a half fairing and screen, which will offer some measure of protection against wind at speed.
The upright riding position will give a reassuring amount of visibility, which is especially good for new riders in busy traffic. The instrument panel is also clear and easy to read, featuring a large speedometer and indicator lights, and a highly practical fuel gauge.
It’s a look that means business to Honda, and the attention to detail doesn’t stop there. The neat rear profile is also sharply aerodynamic and is set off by a nifty wedge-shaped tail-light and a pair of bright clear lens indicators with amber bulb indicators.
The new wheel design is also specially conceived for the CBF125. Beautiful 17in Mat Axis Grey Metallic alloys, they feature an elegant swept 6-spoke pattern that amplifies its ‘real motorcycle’ appeal, and have the practical advantages of being both robust and easy to clean. At the front, the wheel’s contour is accentuated by a sporty two-tone red and black fender.
The rear hugger is also unique, offering additional protection for the swingarm. The rear wheel mounts a wide tyre that adds to the bike’s streetfighter image as well as its plush ride feel.
A LITTLE RESEARCH:
125cc was the engine limit sealed by my Dad, so there were only few commuters in this category which include the 2 Hondas, a Yamaha, few Hero Honda’s, a TVS etc
I went to the Yamaha Outlet to checkout their latest product and I was really impressed by the GLADIATOR RS whose engine is really revvy (for its class) at once I decided to go for it. Next day I went to the Honda outlet and they were proudly displaying their latest CBF 125 all over their entire three floors,
22 January 2009: My first impression – IS THIS REALLY a 125? Later I met a representative there who was very eager only to give me the brochure, when I compared the Yamaha and Honda the difference is so negligible that except for the gear ratios every technical aspect is similar, but still I was thinking of Yamaha.
23 January 2009 I along with my Dad and Mom went directly to the Yamaha with cash, and then suddenly something happened there, my father said to me Why don’t you test the YAMAHA and HONDA one after another? (The Outlets are very near to each other), I took a small ride still my option was Yamaha, then we went to HONDA and there it was standing in its full glory the CBF 125, after the test I was a little doubtful of the Honda because both the bikes were just awesome, well till then the Honda had already woven its charm on my father and Mom, and they said to me that You take this one and father went to pay the cash, Oh boy what a big BLOW but the excitement of CBF 125 faded those memories away..
Now was the time to break the seal. Ahem. I remembered the engine break in techniques I had read online about 2-3 years back (you can find more info in team BHP forum), now I used the same for a not so long stretch.
And I must say that it really works (Even though it was a big risk), even after 8500kms the spark plug is in perfect state as it should be theoretically. Now begins the real testing of CBF 125 I was really pissed off due to time required for first engine oil change for a few days, In the mean time when I was loitering around the streets I saw many curious faces (8 months ago) examining the CBF 125 and the first question everywhere was Mileage kitna hai? I waited till the first oil change and didn’t push it even beyond 50kmph till the first oil change (First Service) which was very early.
After First Oil change I took the CBF 125 to check out the pros and cons, the midrange and low end torque is just excellent (I didn’t expected this) but the top end torque well, Open the throttle and the CBF 125 is heavily gasping for breadth in no time (11 BHP only). the CBF 125 doesn’t feels like a 125 when I am doing 30-70 acceleration is blistering, I can actually feel the surge of raw fuel burning inside the tiny little engine and this is the only thing I liked about the engine.
And now going beyond 70. Well be prepared for a vibratory massage for your whole body, It looks like Honda has fitted in it a exclusive vibrator in the core, you get the feeling that Yes, now I have really crossed the limit. Once it crosses the 80kph mark it feels as if every part of it is going to peel off in all different directions,
The exhaust note of CBF 125 is muffled very poorly (strict emission norms I think, Modding the exhaust end might give it a revvy feeling) but overall above average for a commuter.
(Note: after few services the vibration was reduced a bit by the chief mechanic here, I don’t know exactly what he did but a lot better now, vibration is a its peak near 95kph and beyond that you should forget about the vibration and concentrate on wind)
Acceleration. Yes! Plenty! It has the peak numbers in the most usable range, and thanks to the well spaced gear ratios you will hit 60 in under 5 sec (Only If you are quick in changing gears, Overall very good acceleration 9 of10 (Don’t forget this is a 125cc only)
TOP SPEED. This is a really commuter and I was expecting it to be around 95-100 (true speed) and well it is, I managed to get 110kph (Speedo) when I tucked in and kept the throttle cable pinned to stretching-point and honestly it makes you think that all the bolts are loosening fast, and I think this is what Honda wanted to do DO NOT PUSH THE LIMITS and this clearly reflects in the display console, just look at it and you will miss the most important thing A TACHEOMETER, Those engineers think they are pretty clever, duh.
Now that we are rolling faster we need to stop suddenly for some reason (Assume anything ), The brakes are a advantage in the CBF 125 especially the front disc and the large 130mm rear drum I don’t use the rear one except while parking or intentional rear wheel drifts ;-D, When you start applying the brakes your confidence starts building up higher and higher and higher until you come to a complete halt, practically I was never let down by the brakes at least till now and I pray to GOD for the future too.
Do you like cornering at high speeds, well I DO and I DO IT all the time, tackling corners at high speeds just races my adrenaline beyond its limits, the CBF 125 is a monster at corners you can take sharp turns at speeds you cant even imagine (Thanks to its thick fat rear tubeless tire) and the suspension is also good, I mean very good even among all 150cc’s (Unicorn and FZ are exception here) the feeling of grip you get is just exemplary (I have tuned the suspension as per the local road conditions here).
Well everyone in this world is unique and has unique taste, I love the way it t looks (Exterior only), there are many of these roaming around you, your choice.
The after sales service is good in my city, many service centers all over so that is not a problem. The people in Hyderabad are very friendly and this reflects in their attitude, I don’t have any thing to say about here and these people are best in here.
First thing here, even during the run in period the FE never fell below 44, presently I get about 55-60kmpl in city traffic and around 50-53 on highway, surprised?
Usually I drive faster here not less than 80kph will be touching 100 on straights.
(I don’t know how much will the CBF 125 bear in the long run)
In 8500kms I must have driven more than 5000kms on the highway or empty stretches on my way to college everyday (Note: My college is on a NH and is 20kms away from my home)
(I will tell you about this one very soon)
Honda has done a brilliant job by introducing this international model in India but a little more power with a tach and digital display would have made this one a truly world class.
Finally If you are looking for a bike that has awesome looks (looks only) and great FE (in awesome looking bikes) then this is the one for you, but be aware that this is not powerful enough for die hard power carvers and FE enthusiasts.
Overall 8 out of 10 will be on generous side.
Engine Type: Air-cooled 4-stroke 2-valve OHC single
Engine Size: 124.7cm3
Bore Stroke: 52.4 x 57.8mm
Compression Ratio: 9.2: 1
Max. Power Output: 8.3kW/8,000min-1
Max. Torque: 11.2Nm/6,250min-1
Ignition: Computer controlled fully transistorized with electronic advance
Wheels Front: U-cross-section 6-spoke cast aluminum 17M/C x MT1.85
Wheels Rear: U-cross-section 6-spoke cast aluminum 17M/C x MT2.15
Tyres Front: 80/100-17M/C (46P)
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