Honda CBF125

A forum for owners and fans of the Honda CBF125.

    The Daily Telegraph Review


    Posts : 10
    Join date : 2009-02-05

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    Post  Admin on Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:50 pm

    Fuel prices are all over the place, no one's spending any money, jobs are being lost… sorry for the cheery intro, but these are exactly the reasons why the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is so wrong to condemn motorcycles as irrelevant toys to the Transport Select Committee. We're not just saying this is nonsense, we've been proving it with our wallets, as October's bike sales figures are up by four per cent over October 2007 – yes, that's up, ACPO, in the worst recession since the 1930s. The weather's not helped either.

    It's bikes like Honda's new CBF125 which are fuelling much of the growth (but superbikes are doing nicely, too), because they have fantastic fuel-economy figures. So, what everyone wants to know is, not how it handles, its 0-60mph time or what it looks like parked outside a Milanese pavement café, but... what'll it do to the gallon?

    There's no legal obligation for bike makers to supply standardised fuel economy figures, as there is with cars, so most manufacturers either don't bother or they'll quote absurdly irrelevant ones, like consumption at a steady 30mph. Honda's own figures look a bit daft: it says the CBF125 will cover 134 miles on one gallon.

    Yeah right… So, on reading that, there was nothing else for it but to put it to the test. I hope, dear reader, you fully appreciate what that means and what I did on your behalf: it means riding a very small motorcycle a very long way, in the winter, on very boring roads.

    I did 92 miles. That was enough, and at the end of it I brimmed the bike very carefully, exactly as it had been brimmed before I set off on my marathon. As the last drop of unleaded was squeezed into the tank, the fuel pump clocked up… 3.57 litres. Useless when we all want to know mpg, but frozen fingers stabbing at my phone-in-calculator mode converted that to 0.786 gallons. I'd just achieved 117mpg, so I calculated it again because I'd been riding the bike not for economy but to get those wretched, stretched-out miles behind me as quickly as possible.

    In short, most of it was dual carriageway, jousting with trucks at 65mph or so, throttle against the stop, with a few forays across busy towns, and no trickling through the traffic either, but nosing to the front at lights and beating them all away. It sounds harsh but that's how 125s often get ridden, so about 120mpg would be normal for many riders. And it does make Honda's figures look reasonable: indeed, on a commuting route with less throttle and a relaxed rider I'd think you could better 134mpg.

    How about performance then? Those dual carriageways show the worst side of the little bike, but it was bearable, nudging an indicated 75mph when the wind was helpful, even if it did start to feel a bit flighty. And, in fact, it's a lot quicker than a Ferrari. Don't believe me? Then I'll race you… Tower of London to Buckingham Palace, 8.30am on a Friday. Don't forget the congestion charge, although it won't apply to me. As any big bike rider will tell you, power and capacity count for little in city commuting, but door to door, all bikes are far, far quicker than any other transport, and at Honda CBF125 prices, much cheaper than most, too. You'd save more by cycling but be much more distance-restricted.

    Honda says the CBF will cost less than £2,000, which for many people compares very well with a season ticket. And a season ticket's depreciation is rather higher: try and sell one after a year and see how much you get.

    The CBF held a real surprise for me though: those 92 miles were rather fun, as was the rest of my ride. Maybe this is where ACPO gets confused, but even little commuter bikes can be enjoyable as well as useful. The fuel-injected engine is lively with plenty of zest at lower revs, so you don't need to scream it to get anywhere, and it's smooth, too, except at its very highest revs.

    The handling is dismissively easy, the brakes do their job efficiently enough. I found the switchgear a little sticky and worried about the longevity of the black exhaust finish, otherwise quality is fine for this level. It was even comfortable: I'm not sure I'd want to empty the 2.86-gallon tank in one hit – I'd do 370 miles at 60mph for a good-sized bet, but not much else – though a couple of hours aboard don't hurt.

    If the CBF looks good fiscally, it doesn't do so badly in the more obvious sense. It's rather daringly sporty in fact, with its disc brake, blended bodywork and two-tier seat – it doesn't make you look like Scrooge but someone who's chosen a bike to enjoy it. And while you're saving pounds and the planet, you will.

    If you're new to motorcycling, there's information on everything from the route to a licence, to bike, scooter and clothing choice, training and safety, on Kevin Ash's website:


    Price/availability: less than £2,000. On sale December 2008. Contact Honda (UK), 0845 200 8000,

    Engine/transmission: 124.7cc, single-cylinder four-stroke with two valves; 11.1bhp at 8,000rpm, 8.3lb ft of torque at 6,250rpm. Five-speed gearbox, chain final drive.

    Performance: top speed, 65mph estimated, average fuel consumption 125mpg.

    We like: Economy, fun, style.

    We don't like: Variable quality.

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