2018 Honda CB125R - first thoughts

Smart new learner cafe racer has big bike quality

2018 Honda CB125R

Our man Al is in a rather wet Lisbon, Portugal, riding Honda's new CB125R cafe racer. He's just got off the bike after a full day riding - and here's what he reckons.

"A day out in the rain on a restricted 125 might not sound like your idea of fun, but I've actually had a really good day on the little Honda CB125R. We spent the morning round town in Lisbon city centre, and it was great at threading the needle of screwed-up traffic and pissed-off locals. The motor only puts out learner-legal power of course, but the torque curve is satisfying enough and the fuelling is clean all the way through the revs. Honda's engineers reckon they put a lot of work into part-throttle settings, although there's not been much part-throttling today, ha!

"It looks good, and there are some really nice high-quality touches in the design and styling. Best bit is the chassis though. The weight feels low-down, and at slow speeds, it's really stable and well balanced. You can stop at a red light with your feet up for ages. There's a new ABS system, that has an IMU unit built in, which optimises front and rear brake effort, and it did well, keeping us upright on the wet cobbles, slippery tram lines and general buffonery on Lisbon's drenched streets.

"Out of town, we had a ball on the twisty backroads towards Cascais and Sintra. Uphill, the little motor gets a bit wheezy, but on the downhill stretches you could carry more speed, and the CB had the stability and agility of a much bigger bike. The suspension and chassis definitely doesn't have that unsophisticated feel you sometimes get on a 125."

Al will have more - much more - to say about the new CB125R when he gets back to London. Check back for his full launch report asap.