The hard-pressed, time-deprived, fun-loving commuter still has a place in Honda staff’s hearts. The great thing is that they still know how to have fun while offering the solution. Few small capacity bikes that have come to the market over the last few years have gained cult status like the MSX 125, or Grom to give it it’s street name, has.
At first glance the MSX is a little bike but look a little closer and everything that we have learned to expect from a Honda is here. The machine may be petite but it works. The switchgear, lights, foot pegs and bars are all full adult size. While the frame is small and the wheels are absolutely tiny, I’m surprised to find that at six feet tall, I’m actually quite comfortable on it.
Look a little closer and it continues to get better. The quality of the finish is excellent. The paint on the engine is so good it looks like it’ll still be good long after the next generation have started to ride. The forks are even upside-down units and the bike is very well balanced. There is no unpleasant rolling on the suspension; the set-up is as good as that found on many full sized bikes.
The clutch, gear-change lever and throttle units are all operated as one would expect to find on a full-sized bike. This is no automatic, dressed-up scooter, it’s the real thing, all be it a much smaller version of the real thing. The tyres are small in circumference but relatively wide and there were no issues with handling in either the wet or the dry.
The exhaust sweeps up and just under the usable pillion seat. The headlight is full size and on my local dark country road threw up a surprising amount of light. The lamp itself is a clever piece of technology called a ‘combined projector headlight’. In simple terms, this means that the same bulb is used for both high and low beam illumination.
The motor is a four-speed, single-cylinder four stroke with fuel injection and, according to the digital clocks, revs all the way up to 10,000 rpm. The acceleration is clean and predictable and since one of my colleagues suggested that I go nowhere near the motorway network, that’s exactly where I headed. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bike was capable of reaching a little over 100kph.
I did feel very vulnerable on the low bike. While the speed limit is there it doesn’t seem to be anything that’s taken too seriously by any other road users. Having the majority of the traffic moving at a higher speed than me while doing all the usual silly lane-changing nonsense as well as cutting me up was not a pleasant experience. The MSX isn’t something I’d be venturing out on to a motorway with again, as I’m not yet ready to die.
Back on the ‘surface streets’, as our American cousins call them, the bike was perfect. Being a whole lot of fun to ride as well as easy on fuel, it was ridiculously easy to filter through traffic on and enjoyed true ‘park anywhere’ status.
It was also quite the talking point when it was stopped, even at the lights. I really enjoyed my few days on the bike and would have no hesitation adding one to my garage and recommend that you add one to yours or better still, get started with one.
The MSX 125 is available from www.megabikes.ie and dealers nationwide at a price of €4,199.