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Long Term Review

Honda Forza 125 long-term test review – 'Life as a commuter'

Auto Trader product manager and bike fanatic Phil Kendall is spending six months living with the Honda Forza 125. Can it offer more than a great commuting solution?

First report: June 2016
Mileage: 600
Costs: None
Having relied on London's public transport for the last 10 years as a sole means of getting me from A to B, I have probably experienced every pleasantry the network has to offer. Overcrowding, sweaty armpits, signal failures, ‘leaves on the line’, people stopping at the top of escalators, the angry person on a phone call, the angry person not on a phone call, you get the picture...
So when Honda asked me to run its new Forza 125 for a long-term test, it seemed the perfect opportunity to switch camps and guarantee a free, comfy chair every morning.
Honda is pitching the Forza as a multi-disciplined machine that stacks up as both a city commuter and weekend warrior, so it’s going to be interesting to discover if it can really match the marketing hype. It’s slightly larger than most 125cc scooters, better resembling a maxi-scooter with improved filtering credentials, but that’s no major trouble for my 6ft frame, plus it helps the bike both look and feel more substantial.
Honda Forza 125
Honda Forza 125
Honda Forza 125
Honda Forza 125
Having spent the majority of my motorcycle career on litre bikes, I wasn’t sure if a 125cc petrol engine would be urgent or exciting enough a proposition. Yet my initial impressions have been very positive: the four-valve PGM-FI fuel-injected engine has a sharp pick-up and strong mid-range, making the 0-30mph traffic light grand prix occur in the blink of an eye. Missed your turn? A veritable flick of the wrist and this featherweight (it’s only 162kg with ABS) is soon heading back the way you came. Honda even promises a faintly ridiculous 123mpg on the combined cycle.
Honda Forza 125
Honda Forza 125
Honda Forza 125
Honda Forza 125
Even the basics are brilliant. The ergonomics and easy-to-read digital dashboard feel instantly familiar and take as much of the stress out of city centre riding as possible. It means that all I need to focus on is learning the unwritten laws of dense urban traffic and reading the random behaviours of Mr. White Van Man.
With every day comes more confidence and familiarity on the pearlescent white Forza, and it's refreshing to be arriving at any destination in style, on time and feeling relaxed. On several occasions, other two-wheelers have pulled alongside to pay compliment - they thought the Forza looked quite stylish too of course!
So far then, so impressive. As far as the daily commute goes, it’s been a revelation to not arrive at work without the feeling I’ve been in a scrum and run a marathon, but its longer distance credentials and that mythical fuel consumption figure remains to be tested. I’m looking forward to finding out.
Honda Forza 125
Honda Forza 125
Honda Forza 125
Honda Forza 125
Key Specs:
  • Model: Honda Forza 125 ABS
  • Price as tested: £4,099
  • Engine/gearbox: 124.9cc, 4-stroke, CVT (twist-and-go)
  • Power: 14bhp @ 8,250 rpm
  • Torque: 8.9lbft @ 8,250 rpm
  • Economy: 123 mpg (2.3 L/100km)
  • Fuel capacity: 11.5 litres (2.53 gal)
  • Kerb weight: 162 kg
  • Seat height: 780 mm

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