2021 Honda CRF125F review

2021 Honda CRF125F

Editor’s Note: 80.0%

Motor 15.0 / 20
Suspension / Handling 11.0 / 15
Transmission / Clutch 8.0 / 10
Brakes 7.0 / 10
Instruments / Controls 3.0 / 5
Ergonomics / Comfort 9.0 / 10
Appearance / Quality 9.0 / 10
desirability 9.0 / 10
Value 9.0 / 10
Overall score 80/100

This year has been rich in firsts for this father. My oldest left home to start her adult life on a college campus, and my youngest told me she wanted to learn to ride motorcycles. Guess which of these I’m going to write about here? For a 13-year-old girl there is really only one option to ride her own bike, and apparently within minutes of her declaration I had her enrolled in MSF certified off-road training with a appropriate driving equipment ordered and on the way. I didn’t want to miss the window of interest. The class takes place at Colton Rider Education Center closed the deal from the moment she successfully released the clutch for the first time. The bike she was learning on? A Honda CRF125F.

Riding: teaching your child to drive

Honda, when designing the little CRF, was smart enough to build two versions, as kids come in a variety of sizes. The CRF125F my daughter threw a strut on first was the smaller version, with a 17 inch front wheel and a 14 inch rear wheel. The CRF125F Big Wheel features a 19-inch front roll bar and a 16-inch rear for a more complete driving experience. Aside from an almost 2-inch higher seat (the standard CRF has a 29.1-inch seat, the Big Wheel 30.9-inch) and component variations to accommodate the larger rims, the two bikes are functionally the same. .

An indulgent engine

As far as I’m concerned, the two most important features of the little CRF are the easy-to-use clutch and the user-friendly, reliable engine. For the little ones, a semi-automatic transmission is great for getting started on the road, but for a 13 year old, learning how to properly use the clutch right off the bat was high on my list of skills I wanted my daughter to master. . The small, air-cooled 125cc single cylinder features SOHC and two valves. It also has fuel injection and an electric starter. Best of all, it’s tuned for low-end torque, allowing new riders with their inconsistent clutch hands to start more easily without stalling. The short gear also plays a supporting role here.

The little engine that could. The CRF125F’s engine delivers the controlled power that new pilots need.

Once on the move, the tame power delivery builds in a non-intimidating way, leading us to an interesting tidbit. All that low-end torque comes at the expense of high-end power, which means that at some point cranking the engine faster doesn’t provide much more power, just vibration and noise. I’m sure my daughter would have been happy to ride in first gear much longer than she did – if she could have gone a little faster. Alas, she had to learn to change. Whereas in our time with this Honda, it did not reach the top of the four-speed gearbox. Still, it’s good to know that it’s there for her continued growth as a rider.

Instruments, we don’t need instruments!

A basic and robust chassis

The steel frame is about as basic as it gets, and the steering geometry (27 ° tilt and 3.2 inch track) is more for confidence-building stability than motocross handling. The 31mm fork has 5.2 inches of travel, while the Pro-Link rear monoshock has 5.5 inches. The suspension seems ideally tuned for the speeds and capabilities of his ideal rider, which means in my observing experience since works great on washboard bumps and whoops at speeds a new rider is likely to. to go.

Honda CRF125F

Everything a new rider needs (almost) and nothing more.

Haven’t seen any air under the tires yet (except when the bike is lying on its side), but given the simple needs of a new rider, I guess once the rider makes a big jump , it’ll probably be time to switch to a more capable all-terrain bike. (That’s just a guess on my part, and Burns says the TTR125L he and his son had at this point in his parenthood could handle the jumps very well.) Then the little CRF can move on to its next owner. , having fulfilled its functions as a gateway drug in the world of motorcycles in our house.

The two-piston front caliper grips a 220mm disc while a drum (gasp!) Handles rear braking tasks. Both are powerful enough for a rider learning to operate five controls with just four appendages.

Whoops! Without a standard handguard, that broken lever can be a frequent sight.

Off-road motorcycles, by their very nature, spend more time on the ground than other categories of motorcycles. While my daughter should be able to pick up the bike (with her claimed wet weight of 194 pounds) she has, so far, found herself under the bike in all of her crashes and needed me to lift the bike. of her. The plastic body received a few scuffs, and the steel brake pedal and shifter had to be straightened out several times. So, so far, every component – with the exception of the clutch lever – has proven itself capable of withstanding its tumbles at low speeds. Why a bike designed for beginners doesn’t come with hand guards to protect the levers is beyond me.

Many of our readers may never have owned a bicycle with a drum brake, but the CRF really doesn’t need more stopping power.

The verdict

When I asked my daughter what she would like to say about the Honda CRF125F for this review, she said it was the right size for her and really easy to drive. She also added that she wanted us to get one permanently. From my point of view, it will be a sad day at the Brasfield house when we have to return the little CRF to Honda. Thanks to the rise of COVID in off-road motorcycle sales, new CRF125Fs are hard to find and used ones cost more than the MSRP of $ 3,249. Never mind, the hook has been planted (at the father and daughter), and we will find a bike to buy him as soon as possible. The first change we’re going to make is to add hand guards.

Honda CRF125F

If you have a kid who shows even the slightest interest in motorcycling, take them to a biker training course! I’ve been fortunate enough to ride a lot of cool motorcycles in great places all over the world, and this summer riding the Honda CRF125F with my daughter has been the most fun I’ve ever had on two wheels. (And the conversations on the way to and from our rides were pretty spectacular as well.)

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About Rachelle Roosevelt

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