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2014 Honda MSX125 Review
2014 Honda MSX125
The MSX125 Is part mini-bike, part motorcycle with involving performance matched to confident handling and styling that combines a sense of fun with a tough, urban edge.
The MSX125 (“Mini Street X-treme 125”) carries on the tradition of the original, small-wheeled leisure motorcycle, defined by Honda in 1963 with the iconic Monkey, and continued with the Dax and Ape.
Manufactured in Thailand, the MSX125 is small enough to be supremely manageable yet has a fully-fledged feel thanks to a selection of standard sized motorcycle parts.
It is part mini-bike, part motorcycle, with engaging performance matched to confident handling and styling that combines a sense of fun with a tough, urban edge. The MSX125 is powered by a well-proven and efficient 125cc fuel-injected 4-stroke engine, which has been refined for even greater economy and smoother torque and power delivery, and also features a motorcycle-style four-speed gearbox and clutch.
Complementing the power train is a compact chassis that features a sturdy steel frame, inverted front forks, monoshock rear suspension, hydraulic disc brakes (front and rear) and lightweight 12-inch wheels sporting wide, low profile tyres.
Easy to use, fun and functional, the original leisure motorcycle was defined by Honda in 1963 with the iconic, small-wheeled Monkey bike and carried on – redefined for each respective generation – with the Dax and Ape. And it’s a formula that still has resonance for a completely new breed of young riders; known as ‘Generation Y’ in the USA, ‘Dek Neaw’ in Thailand and ‘Street-Kei’ in Japan many of today’s teenagers – having grown up in the borderless, internet age – share a culture, fashion and spirit that defies convention.
Instinctively drawn to motorcycling they need their first two-wheeled transport to be exciting but not unduly challenging, and want it to pack a design that makes them smile. They also have a desire to turn heads and be more than just a little bit different. Plus, given the usual financial pressures of starting out in life, all of this needs to be achieved as economically as possible.
For Honda the early acquisition and introduction to the quality and values of the brand is important – the youthful buyer of a small capacity leisure bike today could very likely be back for something much bigger tomorrow, and lifelong brand loyalty can often result.
To cater specifically for this generation of young riders Honda has produced the MSX125 (Mini Street X-treme 125). It’s everything expected of a Honda, in terms of performance, build quality and usability, but also wears a style and exudes an attitude all its own. Born of a feeling, of now, it’s quirkily fresh and fittingly unconventional.
2014 Honda MSX125 Key Features
Manufactured in Thailand, the MSX125 is small enough to be supremely manageable yet also has a fully-fledged feel thanks to some standard sized motorcycle parts. It is part mini-bike, part motorcycle with involving performance matched to confident handling and styling that combines a sense of fun with a tough, urban edge.
Its well-proven and efficient 125cc fuel-injected engine has been further refined for even greater economy, plus smooth torque and power delivery, and also features a motorcycle-style four-speed gearbox and clutch. Complementing the powerplant is a compact chassis that features a sturdy steel frame, inverted front fork, monoshock rear suspension, hydraulic disc brakes front and rear and lightweight 12-inch wheels sporting wide, low profile tyres.
Four patents have been applied for through development of the MSX125, focused around the split structure tank cover and frame, proof of just how seriously this bike is taken by Honda. Small it may be, but it in terms of worldwide sales, brand awareness and owner satisfaction, its impact is expected to be large.
2014 Honda MSX125 Features and Benefits
Priorities for the MSX125’s chassis were threefold: it needed to provide the base for a practical bike that new riders could use – and park – with ease in an urban environment. But it also needed to be just as useable and enjoyable out of town, and also readily accept a pillion.
A steel mono-backbone frame has been employed. Its rigid, square-section tube joins the headstock directly to the swingarm pivot plates and every other part in effect hangs visibly from the frame, greatly contributing to the MSX125’s minimalist look. Specifically tuned vertical/horizontal rigidity and flex in the swingarm pivot and engine hanger plates provides the perfect balance of comfort and confidence.
The new frame structure has also enabled efficient storage of PGM-FI-related components and electrical parts inside the tank cover without reducing fuel capacity (5.5L). Wheelbase is a snug 1200mm, with rake and trail of 25? and 81mm and kerb weight of 101.7kg. The MSX125 has a low 765mm seat height making it very manageable; its size also ensures that motor home owners are sure to find it easy to load/unload, transport and use.
Another aim for the MSX125 was to provide ‘beyond class’ suspension quality. The 31mm USD fork – a first for Honda on a 125cc motorcycle – reduces unsprung weight and thanks to the pistons’ greater pressure-bearing area (compared to a standard telescopic fork) offers improved damping feel throughout the stroke. The top and bottom yokes are full-sized, further enhancing handling and rider feel, while a lightweight and robust single rear shock operates a simple and tough H-shape, 50mm x 25mm steel box section swingarm.
Fundamental to the MSX125’s form and function are its 12-inch cast aluminium wheels, which feature wide 2.5-inch rims. New ‘Y’ shaped spokes not only look great they also save weight and the front 120/70-12 and 130/70-12 rear tyres also inject a different dynamic, both in terms of looks and performance. Hydraulic dual piston front and single piston rear brake calipers work front 220mm and rear 190mm discs.
The MSX125 uses a combined projector headlight – not only does this feature give the front of the bike a strong identity and presence it also uses a single light source (an HS1 35W/35W double filament bulb) rather than a pair of bulbs for both high and low beam. Low beam is generated by the upper projection unit and high beam is produced by multi-reflectors which spread out in its lower section. A subtle blue light flanks the projector lens and adds character and visibility while the bright LED taillight melts seamlessly into the bike’s stubby silhouette.
Easy to read for its compact size the LCD digital dash delivers all the information the rider needs – speedometer, twin trip meters, fuel gauge and clock. Resetting the trip meters and clock, or alternation between odometer and trip meter is via switches either side of the display.
Suiting its individuality (and that of its owners) the MSX125 is available in four paint options:
Pearl Himalayas White
Pearl Queen Bee Yellow
Pearl Valentine Red
The MSX125’s 125cc two-valve air-cooled engine is based on one of Honda’s most well-proven power units; recently employed in the Wave 125i, over 930,000 have been produced since initial introduction in 2003, and it’s won universal praise over the last decade for fuel efficiency, ease of use and longevity.
Further development of the engine for the MSX125 has resulted in improved fuel economy; the engine uses low-friction technology such as an offset cylinder and a roller-rocker arm for the valve gear. Reducing crank inertia has also resulted in improved throttle feel and a smooth power delivery.
Imparting a motorcycle feel to the MSX125 the four-speed gearbox is managed via manual clutch and offers smooth and consistent gear changes. The 15T gearbox sprocket, 34T final drive sprocket and 12-inch wheels deliver lively around-town response plus the ability to travel slowly in a high gear – perfect for threading easily through tight traffic.
Sophisticated PGM-FI guarantees highly efficient combustion, and works in conjunction with both air intake and exhaust to deliver an involving experience at the throttle. The air intake connecting tube and funnel is divided in two, allowing its length to be optimised for consistent torque delivery at low and mid rpm. A large, 3L airbox and panel-type, wet paper filter provide reliable and quiet airflow; the filter itself has a life of 16,000km.
The exhaust pipe features a larger, 28.6mm diameter bore with increased 3L multi-section muffler volume, allowing a strong power output in the mid and upper rpm ranges. The muffler itself uses a dual-layer protector, featuring an inner metal cover that contains heat and a resin outer shield. Improving the efficiency of the catalyser has been achieved by placing it in the exhaust pipe itself; the higher temperature triggers earlier activation while an elongated tapered shaped section in front of the catalyser means spent gases strike it evenly.
All in all the MSX125’s engine packs a perfect blend of punchy roll-on performance with useful, accessible and fun all-round ability. The effort put into reducing internal friction and increasing intake and exhaust efficiency has also produced a highly economical unit.
2014 Honda MSX125 – USA Specifications/Technical Details
US MSRP Price: $NA USD
See 2014 Honda Grom 125
2014 Honda MSX125 – Canadian Specifications/Technical Details
Canada MSRP Price: NA CDN
See 2014 Honda Grom 125
2014 Honda MSX125 – European Specifications/Technical Details
European MSRP Price: £2,600* GBP (* Includes first registration and road tax)
ACG Output 160W/5000 rpm
Bore x Stroke 52.4mm x 57.9mm
Engine Displacement 124.9cc
Oil Capacity 1.1L
Compression Ratio 9.3:1
Max. Torque 10.9 Nm @ 5500 rpm
Battery Capacity 12V 3.5AH
Engine Type 2-valve air-cooled single cylinder
Max. Power Output 7.2 Kw @ 7000 rpm
Instruments LCD digital dash with speedometer, twin trip meters, fuel gauge and clock.
Transmission Type 4 speed
Final Drive Chain
Dimensions and Weight
Seat Height 765mm
Fuel Capacity 5.5L
Ground Clearance 160mm
Turning Radius 1.9m
Length x Width x Height 1760mm x 755mm x 1010mm
Kerb Weight 101.7kg
Headlights Combined projector headlight with HS1 35W/35W double filament bulb
Caster Angle 25?
Fuel Consumption TBC
Wheels, Suspension and Brakes
Tyres Front 120/70-12
Suspension Front USD Front Forks, 31mm
Tyres Rear 130/70-12
Brakes Rear Single 190mm disc with hydraulic single-piston brake caliper
Wheels Front Y-Spoke Aluminium Cast, MT 2.5 -12
Wheels Rear Y-Spoke Aluminium Cast, MT 2.5 -12
Suspension Rear Mono shock, steel square pipe swingarm
Brakes Front Single 220mm disc with hydraulic dual-piston brake caliper
2014 Honda MSX125 – Australian Specifications/Technical Details
Australia MSRP Price: $ AUD
Not available at press time.
Specifications, features and prices to change by manufacturer without notice. All information correct as of posted date.