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Honda MSX 125 - Grom Review


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Make - Honda

Model - Honda MSX 125 / Grom

Year - 2015 Model

Delivered - 21st April 2015

Cost - £2500 (RRP £2800)

Delivery Mileage- 0

Current Mileage - 900ish



A bit of background about me:

I’m a 26 girl from Scotland, currently living in Dundee. I’ve been driving since late 2009 and covered around 95k miles in my little Clio since then. Ever since I was around 10 years old and first saw “The Terminator” I wanted a bike. This year, I decided it was time!

Now I'll point out that when I started seriously looking into getting my bike licence I pretty much discounted getting a 125cc bike as I am of an age where I could do Direct Access. Also, I was finding it difficult to find a 125 bike that I liked and felt comfortable on. The most common 125s I found too tall for my short legs (I’m around 5’2 with 27” inseam) The only one that I came close to considering was the VanVan. But even then I would need the seat shaved as it was wide, and there were very few for sale 2nd hand near me.

On the other hand, I found a number of larger cc bikes that I felt very comfortable on and they seemed to crop up for sale on a regular basis.


Then, in February 2014 I spotted this little yellow bike in a bike dealers, and instantly fell in love with it.

8yfv4XJqw7EnXpf64kraTCUETeEkOirH-KHdB60hIFu3YIWvKg5iNGeImLEjs_JgVlhlOIr0jN1hsHI5PcupCmsg0vj8IRCQTjTahTCBLZ3UJISXBU95cwkhL3wb767_mnTNG0YmJMn4jkxgs-Qt6kv8wwypCx9AMygMxlJG7eQYwSD0dafYyZMy_HIjLCgRvsZVkz0-bpA8KgEy4_vqmBuIm04adhdQGfU98SIgOdxe9OW19_MnSOta07Z4NQO4sQ25Mn6uzVMVEqteNo6EZ2E2fxYFemZTucuRbFHmjC8v_2L3mgd9oPNyiQuyvWEvKVekP0dgZuESj_V3peua2thvnyfoPo3WUp9-VtSM9lEzV7YbxvSeqy17kERMeE3qTYD5RkCXZkG_rXCBCWyd-0vIFRtNvma7QBKu09ruxZ262ZdR0H2juD4vjM6_AU2J5jF1cWpqL66JwKfMQEEJyEMnfiYq1t_7OkCsKCiiS05zwI1bHgoVCS-LDoVwdMuN7G_zvLzRspJQFS5BBO9n-WnO0tkhku0Qa6a8NL-rHA4D=w758-h1023-no

I loved how small it was, that even though I could only just get the balls of both feet on the ground with it, it felt very manageable as all the weight was below me. And, dare I say it, I loved how cute it looked as well :D


This started off a year of debating with myself on what to do. Should I buy one of them and have some fun on it, while saving up for a cheap 2nd hand bigger bike once I pass my full test? Or should I spend the money I had saved up on DAS and a reasonably new bigger bike?

Come February 2015, I made the decision to book my CBT. I completed my CBT on 15th March on a Suzuki GN125 , which I found to be much heavier than I expected!

The MSX finally won the debate, mostly due to the fact I changed jobs and my commute went from 38 miles each way to 7 miles each way. And partly due to the fact I found myself trawling bike forums to do with it, reading reviews and looking at pictures of it and any opportunity I got!


Due to various delays by the dealer, my brand new MSX was delivered on the 21st April.

NPX-5HoaOzTP0CyEQgyMWnfbGNeiofgQCNCGZE72Vt6W95sQj4if9OonvFcn3FM6LOBTAXN6nnGoZLa6cplPXzv2A8t6lQ9h5mQtCxBsMeFZPjDjUEq7gnRNb9neajHbGmKr1fuHWzxWGC_bWur1i2XhjyhI4caK9y_ea_I439lJhac2RrXYFZRTW9NJ72uOe5BQHAonQ_YERcOdPLLpoNSc0q8OVbiqiKipgQjGNd4l80RVcvcl57NRrgHRR-imb0AgWbypqDXQBR3ypIRtfPCWrXGXtHFwunjmN-bdqISrfCbb1_LccrO2AAJiezIbUoNxQTPiEN8rcSJPw_DBfLivcmT-G7XHJLJAvFoGsy-C7zOs7MyA7fB476N2-ZaLfRU1A6V5n_EA3L8ew9z-PeOyatUJiamXqdEs_kdYPadyyA-Qyo6RQeiBLd-e5VoggKwzHVGU4i1v8kuFHrkA96rA0irdsrVE7c6QGzV7bzjabLrjmz5JD3GBM_cJ6uCHVDPNUCyqVwQVRdTS8-JVOh1_uLGZqU06mSORjnCP96xf=w876-h560-no





Performance I broke the engine in pretty much as the instruction manual recommends. I mainly use the bike on 30 and 40 mph roads anyway so this wasn't too hard to follow. Over the course of the first 400 miles I found the bike becoming more responsive and quicker at getting up to speed. Even now I am still seeing some improvements in getting up to speed, and the engine is sounding more at home when cruising at 50mph+.

As of just now, the bike will happily sit around 60-65mph, so long as the wind is not overly strong and the road is reasonably level. When going up hill, it can maintain at least 55mph well.

I have had it indicating 69mph but I’m sure the speedo over reads slightly.

Acceleration on this little bike I find is more than fine for city/town traffic. It is quick off the line if you want it to be, leaving most cars behind. It surprised one of my instructors when I was doing a mock Mod 1 exam on it. The training pad is about 2/3rds the length of the official test pad, yet I was still easily making the 50Kph speed requirement for the manoeuvres on it.

It's 4 speed gear box I find very easy to live with. At first I found the clutch to be very snatchy, but after 50 miles or so it settled down and became fine. Finding neutral from 2nd was at first a bit tricky, and also occasionally I had a few false neutrals while at junctions at traffic lights. But by around 300 miles it had settled down and has behaved well since.

I spend most of my time in 3rd gear around town, as it sits nicely at 30mph and also gives me the bit of power I need if it need to quickly move out of harms way. 4th gear is pretty much reserved for open roads when I know I won't need to change speed often.



Comfort The seating position is very upright, which I find comfortable. I sit against the tank and my knees fit perfectly against the fairing. I have however changed the seat, as the stock one I found very uncomfortable after 40min or so. It is simply too hard, and too skinny.

My new seat is softer, very slightly wider and also lower. I can happily sit in the saddle for 90min+ now. I do miss the strap that goes along the width of the stock seat however. It was very handy for holding onto the bike while manually moving it around. Now I tend to either hold the rear of the seat, or the side of the rack.

I don’t notice the engine being overly vibraty, even at speed.

The stock mirrors are reasonable in my opinion. I can see behind me pretty well, with little arm showing the in the mirrors even when riding normally. They are however standard 10m fitments. So are easy enough to replace if required.

The short wheel base and small wheels makes filtering and general town riding very easy. Sharp turns and going round small roundabout are a doddle. It is however a little amusing when going over a speed bump and feeling the back wheel coming onto the bump before the front wheel has left it!

Uneven roads and small potholes are dealt with by the USD forks and single rear shock surprisingly well in my opinion. I was expecting much more of an issue with the terrible roads we have here. The front can be a little soft, and the rear a little hard for my liking but it is not so bad that I feel the need to change the set up any time soon.

The narrow handlebars means that this little bike can fit through most doors with relative ease, to much amusement from some people. They also make it easy to park in busy parking bays and such. for example it fits in the push bike rack at my local gym with no issues.



Brakes The brakes are both are discs and steadily got better the more miles I covered. After around 60 miles I found they were worn in properly. The front brake I find very effective and easy to feel how much force you are applying. I rarely use the back brake, but find it does the job just fine when I do use it. It definitely feels much better than the drum brake on the GN125 that I done my CBT on.


Wheels/Tyres Even though it has tiny 12" wheel, it feels remarkably well planted on the road when going at higher speeds. Although it does suffer badly (in my opinion) when the wind picks up.

The stock Vee Rubber tyres are simply awful in the wet or damp conditions however. Which is partly why I have not done as many miles as I had hoped by this point. I'll be swapping them over for some decent tyres in the next few weeks or so.



Equipment To be fair, there is not much equipment as standard on this little bike. The dash is all digital and glows a warm amber colour with black text. It is a simple affair, showing Rev’s along the top, MPH in big numbers, fuel gauge on the left and the odometer and clock on the right. There is also the Engine, Neutral, full beam and indicator lights just above the display.

-hH5Z24iql8PwkQFELFCOIBf4-eDNsyt6K-yKcD4LbqLRzuoxQjsg2QGjaq2lxS9OwniyECTxzoKUOpiHm9IFW-0GR_kMYqiGZ-a9Gz5RD5OvkJCF8MhR4u5j7vytFqaaSRExmQBIWguMqRH0SUjFzVUYLK28ihQPQGmSCCnY437j-NDn53DTQq2suWH5uO-geRsVYWJvZakqjpidStw8GDQajuK2n31SBcxT5ZIjW-HxafjIqZXXhhVf2sVtmIoh8Lliv1lDlWUmrqKFeh_etuQCypP8Xx782fD3h5OOtObkdkcitZQUCOtFcM5drPFWuTBviCSWFd5L91CntCPV0h48D-shEg735bKDS-OWsMvFkpe_yEclKLhF5OXdHeXb90rtSQIEodJlyQGRwt833ytBHmYj53MrGfqosw3V9EO185vCsyE0ETRx-3CzrOz1See9U6p1swEJA3zluBg2uxOIDum6pJRFeLrmcV_AFTRvT-luZ3KnNAf3vFZ2SzPoocAycN40ARxcKP2qPYgHBo-59BXrNoSsEAvbYKmKlAv=w1363-h1024-no


Economy 148MPG This is 90% town riding. The Tank is 5.5l in size. I get around 130 miles before the warning light comes on and I go fill up. My usual fill up is around 4l so it could easily do more, I just never like to run the risk of draining my engines.


Gripes No major gripes with the bike at all up to this point. A few little niggles however -

The placement of the indicators and the horn. As you can see here:-

IwBjvIkSq7Ah-035khT9enaofmotULjhZm0I5qtYNgb2gikodUD9RPPbPqIy82rMi2sEEIFO1rn1XyaViOPYmfx0pHQMDajw2-Ke54nyFKoby7NuI07NDageZwBurIe0Y0heC99qOeJRM2p8UWV5KEDPnkjHTzPilYDB_9xmdPXBzer8fU7Ox4xYOIFETjkELu9Goi7lnqcWLsk4s1_rKpbk7XbJ8rTl1jJrIsvs21H6HKiejP2uWWzJzbxjZS6xVjx050KOlewp2Yfz12Cb3_hrPrzAOI_rS4migEix7VR6NTOcFS77i_6PH6u2EHZBzP95eEsSkqQqOilzgJqcG0f3P4aRuL5_LXphJCu7y0Ft3kjsU1JNBd3MPAmpXGkqFPLvpDUJZf-ejtZpEfRbcm_ZS3jF37xMn1nIlD9XIRvJIn4EHm_jMkuRxmbyl0rSBmW_Ip0pk9DxGZVhC8h0dnz4EiS8Zf_hCY45Szd1NjsGsPep0KYXvKrbJMHpAMI6GO2afergW5e0xE9n4dyQmbIIFvUlEywBpsHP-pgbNuLQ=w1363-h1024-no

This may be a Honda way of setting them out, but in my mind they are the wrong way around.

The horn is definitely loud enough, as I routinely find out when I've had a lesson/exam on the training school bike. Where its indicators and horn are the right way round!


Also, at standard the indicators are always on when the bike is on. These are called “Amber Positioning Lights” and caused various amounts of confusion while on my commute. Mostly at the many roundabout we have in Dundee. I have now modified these to be the more normal white Daylight Running Lights by using LED switchback bulbs. These are white when the bike is on, and turn amber when I use the indicators.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGFIj7aUoJw



Conclusion

All in all, I love my little bike and do not regret my purchase in the slightest. Thankfully I am in the lucky position that I will be able to keep this little bike alongside a bigger bike when I eventually get one. Even though I do not actually feel the need to get a bigger one yet.

I much prefer my bike without the top box on it, but it is much easier to throw my work stuff in there than attaching a bag to the rear of the seat every time. I also got it for free because of the issues I had with the dealer

I only have Mod 2 left to sit and pass before I can remove the L plates from my wee beastie :D


My Bike :

SbFSgwL5ioakXQYKrrd6s9MSpA1jfRdIHD2rku8_0cCaYV_kOzx9oakt2EI_nFHzFz97Q3PuTqugnXxhA1OgLjbB2jKPsUrnr8MW3nqTCRf2sa803PbtJizoIeugZAtILj0pqAZZ2poPrtDehsK0MNDu4_hnj4uRsmMOh11YFeKkFal5kkuvOLQi8-I4yiiTvkFDMFaD9XHGgBZn-rUBK9RfTuwTp3-rOqXSXsugDUWiXsTVOF7hB57uJ6ADWLIJRdC6zarkueqN1Dyk04fGEI4NlF9cWpLnbbOqhlhpRS3pJoD5OlpxxAItpSMwaik8vjaGlss5KFEPg-na7X3ZyJWc4HUIOzDMg29_x8ZJWEixp-AUAJx9wlxjEQruz4asX9WpkSx0MKhJUHf5RAU0LkmbAKgrES6QEcqs9PA8aCrchs3OQtpTY8mJEzszOwWvgUrGfE0VQHivON5WCyR2O44BaLalA6K6R61S4jIfQkmd74ibPFhHVaVAtq77x78GjsMyf0L8HF4ygVlJra7KZA3xD9Z_5eGk3kMfjMJLB4Z9=w1363-h1024-no


Current Modifications:

Honda Top box and rack

Replaced red Honda Wings decals with classic black and gold wings.

Noi Seat

Swapped front amber indicator lens for lightly tinted ones. Installed LED switchback bulbs that give me white DRL and normal amber indicators in one. (Stock has amber DRL, which were causing confusion.)



Wish List: (After I have my full licence)

Moriwaki Exhaust

Tail Tidy

Repaint some of the matt black fairings purple

Possibly get the wheels done in shiny purple.

Edited by Arwen
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looking through various you tube videos, the grom is a popular modded bike.... so go for it...

maybe get the wheels powder coated....


http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/fc/c9/ea/fcc9ea19f536ea7a6f549b27b5c0e42e.jpg


or maybe post some pics with you riding it like this :P...lol j/k.. just goes to show that if they want to put half naked women with them they must have a sturdy following


http://images.motorcycle-usa.com/WallpaperGallerys/1600/motobabe-wallpaper-13-november-08.jpg


well enuff of sexual exploitation and motorcycles, this one looks like an idea project for you


http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/73/55/76/73557608a0bdc82b975844ff9a13ecbb.jpg

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That adventure one needs some proper tyres on it... ;-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4Cu4cdjYvw


@Soll I understand the scantily clad women on the bike much more than the weird obsession folk have with lowering and stretching them. There are some very odd looking groms out there!

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  • 4 weeks later...

For anyone who gets one of these little bikes, I cannot emphasise enough how much changing the tyres makes the bike feel.

I got a pair of Metzeler Feelfree Wintec put on at the weekend (£75+£20 fitting for the pair) and oh my word what a difference they make! Gone is the skittishness in the wet/damp. It is much more willing to corner tightly, and you can feel the grip so much more the whole time. Why I did not change them before I have no idea.


First ride out after getting them done was only just around town for 30min as there was gale force winds, but went out for a bit longer today and they are absolutely fantastic. Feel so much more confident in both the bike's. and my own abilities now. Feel so much more secure on the road.

Eventually had to call it a day as I only have summer gloves and my hands were numb from the cold, grrr!!!

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For anyone who gets one of these little bikes, I cannot emphasise enough how much changing the tyres makes the bike feel.

I got a pair of Metzeler Feelfree Wintec put on at the weekend (£75+£20 fitting for the pair) and oh my word what a difference they make! Gone is the skittishness in the wet/damp. It is much more willing to corner tightly, and you can feel the grip so much more the whole time. Why I did not change them before I have no idea.


First ride out after getting them done was only just around town for 30min as there was gale force winds, but went out for a bit longer today and they are absolutely fantastic. Feel so much more confident in both the bike's. and my own abilities now. Feel so much more secure on the road.

Eventually had to call it a day as I only have summer gloves and my hands were numb from the cold, grrr!!!

 

was discussing these in my honda dealership last night while waiting for my forks to be sorted.

there is one with a cbr fireblade body fitted to it.. looks mental


found it

http://www.hondagrom.net/forums/attachments/12362d1404759483-racing-fever-full-fairing-kit-racing-fever-full-fairing-kit.jpg

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This whole thread makes me a bit sad, because these look like crazy amounts of fun but I worry I would look a complete spoon on one as I'm edging towards 5'11"!! Great review Arwen :thumb:


Look at this one!

http://gas2.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/grom_1.jpg

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was discussing these in my honda dealership last night while waiting for my forks to be sorted.

there is one with a cbr fireblade body fitted to it.. looks mental


found it

http://www.hondagrom.net/forums/attachments/12362d1404759483-racing-fever-full-fairing-kit-racing-fever-full-fairing-kit.jpg


Yea you can get all sorts of kits for them. Some dealers are buying in the Tyda body kit and doing various paint jobs on it, some looks rather lovely. There was one that was done to model the BWM S1000 RR, looked lovely but cannot find the picture :-/

I think it started as a few of the racers were using them as bikes around the pits/paddock. I'm guessing they wanted them in their team colours, then things spiralled from there!

 

This whole thread makes me a bit sad, because these look like crazy amounts of fun but I worry I would look a complete spoon on one as I'm edging towards 5'11"!! Great review Arwen :thumb:


Look at this one!

http://gas2.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/grom_1.jpg

 

There are many guys your height and above use them. Yea it might look odd, but that is partly the fun of it :D

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  • 1 year later...

So I thought I would do a milestone update on this. I've now had the bike 2 years, and covered 3300 miles (yea I know... a 14 mile a day commute doesn't add up to much!)


I still get a stupid grin on my face when I'm riding it, I still love messing around and tinkering with it, and I still get people coming up to me, giggling, and asking what it is!

It is however looking quite a bit different than when I first got it now -

33790281600_bac7d3a716_z.jpg

Changes:

Purple paint!

Akrapovic carbon fiber exhaust and titanium header pipe.

Front Hel SS braided brake line (white sheath, purple bangos).

Rose joint mod for gear leaver.

Purple velocity stack in air box.


Durability: Ok, so this was a sub £3k bike when it was new and it is made in Thailand. Anyone who is expecting quality found on £10k+ bikes will be disappointed. However that's not to say it's all bad either. Mine gets a wash every month or so, coated in ACF-50 for winter and it seems to be holding up pretty good considering I ride it in Scotland, even when the roads are covered in road salt (even this week they have been gritting...). So far, all the mods I have done have been done out of choice, not out of any parts failing.

The front of the engine gets splattered by everything on the road, so it is not looking pristine. Try as I might, I cannot remove the black stuff from the two right hand side nuts here! The brown corrosion can however be removed with relative ease. There is also some paint wearing off the "fins". Doesn't seem to be disappearing too quickly however.

33791952470_b8fe0ef48b.jpg

The chain adjusters are a part that could have done with being a bit more "refined" from the start. I absolutely hate them! The plates fall out all the time when you are trying to adjust the chain, and then when you finally get it just right, tighten the axle and the whole right hand side of the axle shifts forward. Argh!!!

They also are a haven for collecting water and road salt, which in turn is going to eventually effect the swing arm I think.

34177007845_8320825be9.jpg

The gear leaver linkage is one of the mod's I done because the stock set up is rather rubbish and cheap. It is basically a stick of metal joining the leaver to the engine using split pins. Over time the split pins effectively weld themselves onto the metal or split, and the whole thing ends up with loads of free play that you cannot adjust. It causes gear changes to be rather hit and miss at times.

I replaced mine with a rose joint kit, that is much more smooth and has been faultless for around a year now. It also looks much better!

26748374235_3dcb2d4548.jpg

The stock exhaust was also a bit of a nightmare. I should have taken a picture of it, but it was getting to the point I was going to need to repaint the header pipe because so much of the black coating had peeled off. It's difficult to clean/dry because it's got shields and covers everywhere. Here is a picture of it in a bucket when I removed it putting on my Akrapovic :lol:

33334005404_e6cf98ecc0.jpg


General riding and stuff: As I said above, I still get a stupid grin on my face from riding this little bike. It's such a playful little thing compared to the bigger bikes I've ridden. Even after spending half a day on 650cc training school bikes, I still loved getting back on this one!

MPG is slightly lower than before now, mostly due to the Akrapovic I reckon. It sounds so good it is infectious! MPG is probably around 135mpg now for 80% city riding 20% country B roads.

I did have a slight issue with the bike refusing to start some times, for no apparent reasons it just wouldn't even try and turn over. But since getting the fuel pump recall this has never happened. So I suspect it was that part at fault.

Every where I go, or stop, this little bike gets attention. Even when I visit a BMW dealer and there are all the pretty and expensive BMW's littering the car park. This one gathers a gaggle of people around it!

Servicing the bike is still really cheap as I do it myself. 1l of oil is enough for a change and that plus an air filter and spark plug cost around £25. During the last service (March) I also checked the valves (dead easy, and they were fine) and installed a Hel SS front brake hose. I only changed the hose as the front brake was needing bled, and my logic said "well you are basically doing half the job anyways to bled it, lets just change it all!". So I did, and oh what a difference! Front brake is extremely effective now. It also looks rather good :D

32849843143_fee2843023.jpg


So to finish off, I still recommend this little bike to most people starting out. Especially if they are short in the leg, or want a very light bike. I enjoy commuting on it, especially when the roads are dry and I can have some fun on the twisty bits and roundabout! Filtering is super easy and the bike really does fill you with confidence as there is very little danger of dropping it when going slow.


34177623955_ec5863fd11_z.jpg

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