Honda CBF 125

Visual Impressions
The Honda CBF 125 was launched in 2008, replacing the CG 125. The CG had been on sale for around 30 years, so it was therefore due a replacement. This replacement is not a bike that anyone buys to impress people. This is a bike we buy because we want cheap two wheeled transport, while it does look quite good for such a tiny machine. In conclusion, I like it as it’s unassuming and inoffensive, but not embarrassing. However, if you’re prone to embarrassment, don’t park next to a 1000. Or maybe you should, as I’ll explain later.

About as much security as this bike needs….

On Board
No one will have much trouble getting comfortable on the bike, as the seat height is low, and the bike itself is narrow. It is likely to be mainly ridden by learners and those less experienced on two wheels. Therefore there are no high footpegs and clip-on bars here. The pegs are low, and the bars are high and wide. This makes for a very natural riding position (for me anyway). Moreover, it means means that the bike is not intimidating even before we’ve set off. It’s very easy to get comfy on, and the pillion seat is reasonably accommodating as well.

No way around this I’m afraid because the engine only has about 11 bhp. This bike is not fast, so apologies if you were hoping for something that would eat R8s and laugh at M3s. This is not that bike. The Honda is built for town riding and it’s perfectly nippy and darty around town traffic. But out on the open road, it’s quite hilariously slow due to the lack of power. I think I may have coaxed it up to 70 once, downhill and with a large vehicle not too far in front. A top speed of 60-65 is more realistic, and even that depends on the rider’s build.

If you’re carrying a pillion, book a couple of extra days off work. Those after missile-like performance should continue shopping around. It’s the same story with most 125s. I rode one while helping a riding school out with new learners, after I had bought my second 1000 and I was astounded by the difference.

Driving Experience
With this sort of bike, there is little point in talking about getting knees down or edge tyre grip. Let’s relax, and take things slow (not that we have much choice). As you start up the bike, you notice how quiet the engine is. Pushing the bike around, you notice how light it is and how easy it is to manoeuvre out of your driveway. Climb aboard, and revel in the lightness of the controls. This is a very easy bike to ride, as long as it’s in town where it belongs. Definitely a case here of playing to a vehicle’s strengths.

Running Costs
This is where the Honda starts to claw back a lot of ground. I paid 1300 for mine back in 2016, and a grand should ease you into a decent one now. Insurance was very cheap, because this isn’t the sort of bike that people steal for money. Sports-bikes more often serve that purpose, which is why it helps to park up next to something more desirable! Servicing is cheap: it has a one cylinder engine which doesn’t use a lot of fuel or oil. So even if we wring its neck, you should still get 80 mpg, because it’s not in a particularly high state of tune (by law)! I did, and if you’re careful, 100 is not out of the question. This really is motorcycling for the masses until a full license is gained, because that role then falls on bikes like the SV650.

Who’s it for?
This bike is for those starting out on two wheels. It’s for those want a cheap set of two wheels as a town runaround. This is a good bike for the commute, with its low costs and nippy nature. It’s the perfect point at which to start a motorcycling story.

MotorKwirks Value Rating: 80%
This is a bike that fulfils its brief well. It is neither pretentious or expensive, but an honest motorcycle for honest people. Current prices are good for what the bike can achieve. As a result, I have no trouble recommending this bike for those wanting to give motorcycling a go!