Globally the 125cc motorcycle segment is considered to be an entry level segment. It is the segment where a new rider learns riding motorcycle. Ease of ride and handling, Light and compact structure, reliable and low maintenance are some of the characteristics of this segment.
For the same purpose Honda launched the CBR125R in 2004. The old CBR125R was positioned as a 125cc lightweight sports bike. Today Honda CBR125R is considered to be having qualities such as compact, lightweight, refined engine, ease of use and class leading handling.
But according to Honda the time has come for a more sophisticated sports bike, a 125 with the ‘feel’ more often associated with bigger machines and to cater this demand Honda chose their existing CBR125R. The idea behind creating 2011 CBR125R was to create a 125cc sports bike which can give feel of big and expensive sports bike while retaining the traditional qualities of old CBR125R.
The entire design of CBR125R has been revised first time since its launch in 2004. According to Honda the new CBR125R is first sports bike for a new generation of riders. Let’s have look to new CBR125R.
Engine and Transmission
The new CBR125R is equipped with 124.7cc, liquid cooled, 4-stroke, 2 valve SOHC single cylinder engine. The bore x stroke of 58 x 47.2 mm gives it bore/stroke ratio of 1.23 which means a short stroke engine with lower friction losses and torque generation at higher rpm. The compression ratio 11 : 1 which indicates better initial pick up and power output. The engine is enable to produce maximum power of 13.13 bhp (9.8 KW) @ 10,000 rpm (electronically controlled.
The power to weight ratio stands at 95.9 bhp / tonne which is higher than its current offering in India Stunner CBF’s 90.62 bhp / tonne despite weighing 9 KG more than Stunner. The new CBR125R engine produces maximum torque of 10.41Nm @ 8,000 rpm (electronically controlled).
Now this is the area where the figure has gone down compare to Stunner CBF which produces maximum torque of 11.2Nm @ 6,250 rpm. The reduction in torque figure and increment in bhp and compression ratio demonstrate the CBR125R’s ability to outperform in any riding condition be it commuting, racing with friends or a ride with girlfriend.
The fuel delivery in CBR125R is handled via Honda’s patented PGM-FI (Programmed Fuel injection System). The advanced PGM-FI system with electronic ignition ensures a lean and perfect air/fuel mixture for the given throttle position be it racing, cruising, or top speed.
This system also ensures optimum throttle response to boost the confidence of its rider. The new FI settings on CBR125R has made the engine more fuel efficient than its predecessor. The other good thing Honda did by moving the filter outside the tank which supplies fuel to the fuel injection system. This makes the service and maintenance process simple and fast. There is no need to worry about overheating condition of engine, as the engine is cooled via liquid cool system.
The transmission is handled via six speed gear box with wet multi plate coil springs clutch. The short gear ratios suggest better initial pick up and faster gear shifting. The difference between first and second gear ratio is more than its elder brother CBR250R which means that this bike has more fun than CBR250R. Honda has revised final drive ratio in order to improve fuel efficiency of new CBR125R.
As always seen in Honda product the clutch feel is very smooth and precise. Moreover the bike has sporty half chain cover which looks great but it require more maintenance than the full chain cover. In order to avoid chain slackness in CBR125R Honda changed the conventional chain to O ring chain.
As we have seen in CBR250R the new CBR125R also got new exhaust system incorporating an oxygen sensor and tri metal catalytic converter which helps to reduce pollution of gases like carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides and hydrocarbons. The pollution further reduced at source by the PGM-FI system, which analyses the exhaust gases via the oxygen sensor to maintain the air/fuel ratio at the ideal for clean combustion. All these things have made CBR125R future proof for emission standards.
Chassis and Suspension
The new CBR125R got lightweight pentagonal-section steel twin spar frame. This is the same kind of frame which we have seen on new CBR250R and ensure the same advantage of stiffness. According to Honda this design is proven one, linking the critical areas of the headstock and the swingarm pivot point using a straight and unbroken spar on both sides of the engine.
The frame gives feel of sports bike frame while also being light and compact. Though the steel frame is heavier than aluminum frame, it is more stiffer and stable compare to aluminum frame. Whether you ride solo or with pillion the new frame boost your confidence to push the bike to the limit. The wheelbase of 1313 mm and trail of 90mm has been kept lower to the wheelbase of 1369 mm and trail of 95 mm of CBR250R to give the feel of fun riding in 125cc segment.
The new CBR125R got the best out of lot suspension for 125cc segment. The new CBR125R got 31mm hydraulic telescopic fork as a front suspension which offers travel of 120 mm slightly lower to CBR250R 130mm while the rear got damper monoshock suspension which offers travel of 126mm much higher than 104mm of CBR250R.
The bike is more pillion friendly compare to CBR250R. Honda guarantee you superb ride feel and control by the new CBR125R’s premium suspension components. Overall the new CBR125R ride feels comfortable be it on road or off road.
The new CBR125R got the same treatment as its elder brother CBR250R in tire and rim department to ensure firm road grip in any condition. The front got rim size of 2.5 x 17 inch with tire size 100/80 x17 the rear got 3.5 x 17 inch rim size with tire size of 130/70 x 17 which is considerable broad enough compare to the stunner CBF which uses tire size of 80/100 x17 for front and 100/90 for rear. In India the trend for 17 inch tire started with Discover 125cc and It seems that 17 inch rim and tire are gaining more recognition over 18 inch tire and rim due to its advantage of low center of gravity and reduced mass.
Another good thing about chassis is wide spread use of mass centralization concept. The new CBR125R weight 136.9 KG and the entire mass is distributed between front and rear wheel in 49:51 ratio which means class leading ride and handling ability. In short the CBR125R is ready for anything, from super-smooth open roads to the traffic-packed and bumpy challenge of the city.
The new CBR125R generates power of 13.13 bhp which can easily be handled by front disc brake and rear drum brake but for giving complete feel of sporty machine, the new CBR125R has got disc brake at front and rear both. It seems like Honda did not want to leave any room for improvement for CBR125R. The front has got 276mm disc with dual piston caliper and sintered metal pads, which seems like largest for 125cc class. The rear got 220 mm disc with single piston caliper. With this configuration of braking is the one department where CBR125R will be far ahead compare to other 125cc motorcycle.
Styling and instrument Panel
This is the area where the new CBR125R looks ditto to new CBR250R. The new faring has been design to provide protection from windblast. As we seen in CBR250R case the front cowl and headlight is largely derived from the VFR1200F and the muscular tank and sharp rear tail look like derived from its larger sibling CBR1000RR. The new CBR125R got 55 watt light for its monoblock Y shaped integrated headlight with separate left/right position lights which makes the visibility better during night journeys.
The clear lens for turn signals looks sporty and futuristic. For the taillight lens Honda chose a honeycomb cut for improved light distribution. The middle cowl designed to provide an aerodynamic feel, taking on a high-efficiency air management function that aims to achieve both high cooling performance and low Cd value (A measure to check aerodynamic efficiency). The under cowl is designed to channel air directly to the engine and catalyzer, in order to boost cooling performance.
The seat of CBR125R is 31 inch (793mm) above the ground level slightly above to the new CBR250R 784 mm. As seen in CBR250R the new CBR125R also got a separated seat to enable the rider to enjoy wide variety of situations from touring to sport riding. The location of the handlebars and footpegs has been revised for improved control while maintaining outstanding rider comfort. The riding posture of CBR125R offers optimum comfort and safety. The airy cockpit provides ample amount of air around head and shoulder.
To give sporty look and feel of large bike the new CBR125R got all new multifunction LCD instrumentation panel derived from CBR250R. The new instrumentation panel boasts wealth of information and are dynamically designed and coated in silver. The LCD area and indicators includes information like rpm meter, speedometer, engine temperature, six segment fuel gauge level, clock, odometer, trip meter and neutral and light indicators. With a brilliant orange LCD backlight, the display looks modern and futuristic.
A special silencer with an irregular pentagonal section was chosen for the muffler design in order to reflect the cutting-edge design of Honda motorcycles. The black coated stainless steel muffler with matte silver coated protector is one of the features which add five stars in the style department.
Currently Honda offers three color schemes for new CBR125R which are Terra Silver Metallic SE, Ross White Tricolour and Asteroid Black Metallic.
The CBR125R comes with following Optional Accessories
Seat Cowl: The seat cowl designed to cover the passenger seat if you ride solo. The color scheme of seat cowl designed to match with the front faring of CBR125R.
Rear seat bag: The rear seat bag designed to provide extra carriage space while riding.
Tank pad: The tank pad for preventing bike from scratches.
Wheel stickers: To give feel of super sports bike Honda offers you wheel stickers for CBR125R
U-Loc: The U-Loc is specially designed to fit under the seat of CBR125R it also prevent from theft of bike.
Overall it seems like Honda has developed a new CBR platform for 125-250 cc range. Take any one CBR125R, CBR150R or CBR250R, they all share a common styling, chassis type, suspensions, brakes and Instrumental panel. It is possible that Honda will position this as a new platform for entirely new customer segment. For example Honda CBR125R might be positioned against KTM Duke125.
Similarly Honda CBR150R and CBR250R might be positioned against Yamaha R15 and upcoming 250cc bikes respectively. Another thing, this common platform is going to save huge amount for Honda. Be it R & D, manufacturing process or sales and marketing. Think about the amount Honda had to spend if there were three different motorcycles to be developed.
Honda can save large amount while sourcing parts as most of the parts are same for all three new CBR series bikes. It also gives an advantage of economy of scale during manufacturing process. A common styling has much more brand recall than different one. So it might be possible that the expected India launch of CBR250R in April 2011 might be followed by CBR125R or CBR150R but as if now Honda did not mention when they are going to launch CBR125R or CBR150R in India.
2011 Honda CBR125R Specifications
Type Liquid–cooled 4-stroke, 2-valve SOHC single
Displacement 124.7 cc
Bore X Stroke 58 x 47.2 mm
Compression Ration 11:1
Maximum Power 13.13 bhp (9.8KW) @ 10,000 min-1 (95/1/EC)
Maximum Torque 10.41 Nm @ 8,000 min-1 (95/1/EC)
Clutch Wet, multiplate with coil springs
Clutch Operation Mechanical; cable-actuated
Transmission Type 6-speed
Final Drive O-ring sealed chain
Carburetion PGM-FI electronic fuel injection
Throttle Bore 30mm
Fuel Tank Capacity 13litres (including LCD-indicated reserve)
Ignition System Computer-controlled digital transistorized with electronic advance
Battery Capacity 12V
Headlight 55W x 1 (low)
Frame Type Pentagonal; steel twin-spar
Dimensions 1,946 x 704 x 1,089mm
Caster Angle 35°
Seat Height 793mm
Ground Clearance 185mm
Kerb Weight 136.9kg
Front 31mm telescopic fork, 120mm axle travel
Rear Monoshock damper, 126mm axle travel
Rim Size Front 17M/C x MT2.5
Rim Size Rear 17M/C x MT3.5
Tire Size Front 100/80-17M/C ()
Tire Size Rear 130/70-17M/C ()
Front 276 x 4mm dual hydraulic disc with dual-piston caliper and sintered metal pads
Rear 220 x 4mm hydraulic disc with single-piston caliper and sintered metal pads
Note: All specifications are provisional and subject to change without notice.
– Mahavir Kothari
(Source: Official Honda Press Release)