Bikes Reviews & More

Honda CB125 Naked (2015 - ) review


The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.9

The Honda CB125F is a class-leading A1 category motorcycle, thanks to its ease of use, high quality and superb value for money. Its popularity in learner riding centres across the UK is wholly justified.

Reasons to buy

  • Class-leading A1 category motorcycle
  • Affordable to buy and run
  • Easy and enjoyable to ride

Design 3/5

The naked styling was created to help reduce costs as well as potential fairing damage

The Honda CB125F is a simple motorcycle, both mechanically and aesthetically. The naked styling was created to help reduce costs and potential fairing damage, but it still looks like a legitimate member of the CB family. Despite the budget beginnings, the finish on this bike is also strong, with clear indicator lenses, a black powder coated engine, exhaust, downpipe and 18-inch alloy wheels. Colour options are limited to Candy Blazing Red, Pearl Twinkle Yellow and Pearl Sunbeam White, though we’d probably stick to calling them just red, yellow and white…

Riding position 4/5

Riders have a commanding and comfortable view of the road ahead

The riding position is upright with the handlebar position further back and footrests further forward than its predecessor, the CBF125. This helps give novice riders a commanding, more comfortable and more confident view of the road ahead.

Practicality 5/5

The dashboard is very considered for such an entry-level bike

The dashboard is very considered for such an entry-level bike, with an easy-to-read, analogue speedometer, prominent indicator buttons, a gear position display and a fuel gauge - items that aren’t necessarily a given on bikes costing three times this amount. Only the lack of a kill switch seems like an omission, although Honda says this was purposely deleted to avoid confusion for new riders. At 128kg (wet), it’s incredibly light, the slim tank and low seat helps most riders get their feet flat on the floor, while the 45-degree steering lock left and right aids maneuverability in town.

Performance & braking 3/5

The CB125F uses a 124.7cc, air-cooled single cylinder engine that develops a little more than 10bhp and features a crankshaft balancer to help reduce the vibrations that you’d normally associate with a thrummy, single cylinder unit. Fuel injection gives good urge low down when pulling away from traffic lights, but don’t get too excited by the tachometer stating 90mph. With a good tailwind, you’ll be lucky to see the speedo quiver past 65mph.

The single 240mm disc brake up front and drum rear are competent enough to stop you quickly, too.

Ride & handling 4/5

You can’t help but have a giggle on the CB125F

The Honda CB125F is happy to bumble through town with its excellent low speed manners and easy steering, or bounce you down a B-road at speed. Thanks to a basic, 120mm telescopic fork up front and a rear shock that’s equally basic, but offering a five-step adjustability for preload, the ride quality is never going to be the most compliant. That said, you can’t help but have a giggle on the CB125F, with the 18-inch wheels providing good high speed stability and the bike only really becoming flustered on the most severely broken of British roads.

Running costs 5/5

Value for money is this small Honda’s hero card, and that’s regardless of whether you’re buying outright or through finance, looking at a 125cc because of age restrictions or because you need something dependable for commuting. Not only is the CB125F cheaper than the bike it replaces, it’s substantially cheaper than its closest rival, the Yamaha YBR125, and will average a faintly ridiculous 145mpg.

Reliability 4/5

Honda is justifiably revered for its attention to engineering detail

Honda is justifiably revered for its attention to engineering detail and its impressive reliability record, so we’re hopeful the mechanically basic CB125F will continue that sterling reputation.

Warranty & servicing 3/5

A two-year warranty is standard issue, but the single cylinder engine does require a slightly higher servicing frequency. After an initial 600-mile check-up, Honda suggests conducting a minor service every 2,500 miles.

Equipment 4/5

Standard equipment is really impressive with the gear position indicator, lockable fuel filler cap and a centre stand, but optional accessories are severely limited. You’ll have to look to the aftermarket if you want items such as heated grips or a tank bag.

Why buy? 4/5

Owning a motorcycle doesn’t get any easier with the CB125F

Owning a motorcycle doesn’t get any easier with the CB125F. This is an affordable, solid and pragmatic commuter that is justifiably popular.