The Honda CR125 is a classic two-stroke option that has seen its share of love since its inception many, many years ago. What made this bike so well loved, and most importantly, is it fast?
You can expect a Honda CR125 two-stroke to be capable of reaching a max top speed of around 75 mph under ideal conditions. This bike has always been known for its high-powered engine, and with a low weight of around 200lbs, it’s easy to get these flying.
Are you interested in learning some of the specs on this bike? Read below and we will cover specs, the bike’s history, some of its features, and more.
Table of Contents
- Honda CR125 Background
- Honda CR125 Engine
- Honda CR125 Suspension
- Honda CR125 Ignition
- Honda CR125 Brakes
- Honda CR125 Handling
- Honda CR125 Dimensions
- Honda CR125 Top Speed
- Honda CR125 Common Issues
- Is The Honda CR125 A Good Bike?
Honda CR125 Background
This bike has a long history, owing greatly to its massive roster of devoted fans. It’s no stretch to say that the CR125 is a legend in its own right. In fact, following its introduction in 1973, this bike was quickly produced in greater numbers than any bike before it.
Supposedly, Soichiro Honda, the brand’s founder, had originally never intended to produce any two-stroke engine. However, when a young group of Honda engineers approached him with a project idea involving a two-stroke, he accepted with the condition that it must be the best two-stroke in the world.
They must have succeeded in the task because the result of the project was the creation of one of the most popular bikes that has ever been produced. Many attribute the following boom in the dirt bike boom to this bike, and the way that it introduced so many riders to the pastime of dirt biking.
Honda CR125 Engine
The Honda CR125 comes with a 125-cc engine. For modern bikes, this is definitely on the smaller, less high-powered side of bikes. Still, for the weight of the bike, and considering the time that these were originally released, this was more than enough power to impress.
In addition, the engine of the CR125 is known to be very reliable, and capable of staying in working order, even when put under strenuous conditions. A uniquely designed liquid-cooled engine is also featured to make things run extra efficiently.
This bike may be one of the last popular two-strokes around, perhaps the young engineers at Honda really did fulfill Soichiro Honda’s requirement that they build the best ever two-stroke?
Honda CR125 Suspension
CR125s are generally regarded as having a suspension that is adaptable and suited to a variety of tasks straight out of the lot. For most riders, the suspension is comfortable enough and should provide an appropriate level of support without needing adjustments.
Older models may feel underwhelmed by the standards set by today’s sportbikes, but it is important to give credit when it is due! Even the older bikes that feel rigid and bumpy by our standards were considered top of the line and in some cases even unparalleled by the competition!
Honda CR125 Ignition
The CR125 comes designed with its own unique ignition system called CDI. This is a digital ignition system. Because it is a fully digitized system, the ignition requires electronics and power in order to run.
Honda CR125 Brakes
Some older models of CR125 bikes have the same brakes used in both the front and back wheels. This utilized a drum brake system, also known as the expanding brake.
Later models switch to the modern standard of different brake sizes for the front and back. The front brakes for new models are typically 1,316mm and the back brakes are of the 1,539mm variety.
Honda CR125 Handling
Perhaps the best-regarded aspect of this bike is its highly impressive handling. While the handling changed from one year to the next due to part upgrades and regular design changes, one consistent element was an attention to the way that the bike handles.
Having produced so many models of this bike, Honda seized the opportunity to learn from and build upon the mistakes and design flaws of each of the previous models so that each following release could be better.
Honda CR125 Dimensions
An important, but perhaps less exciting part of the spec sheet is the overall dimensions of the bike. While these numbers are less exciting than engine stats or top speeds, it’s good to know what kind of footprint this bike will use up, whether that’s in your garage, out on the field, or in your truck/trailer.
The dimensions for the Honda CR125 are as follows:
- Length – 84.7 inches
- Width – 32.4 inches
- Height – 50.3 inches
- Seat height – 37.3 inches
- Ground clearance – 13.6 inches
The seat height is slightly above average but should be suitable for most older teenagers and adults unless they are of below-average height. If that is the case, then you will need to purchase and install a lowering kit. While it is nice to have this as an option, it will require technical skill, and of course, more money invested in the bike.
Honda CR125 Top Speed
The CR125 is a brilliantly designed motocross bike that eventually became Honda’s crown jewel of the two-stroke world. Despite being a two-stroke with only one cylinder, this is more than enough power to get this bike moving with power and confidence.
The great power output of this bike allows it to reach some pretty impressive speeds. The top speed a CR125 can reach under ideal conditions would be somewhere in the neighborhood of around 75 mph, and that is just a starting point for a stock model. High-skilled drivers on tuned bikes may be able to squeeze even more power!
Most CR125s on the road are going to be slightly older, so practicing a little extra care during maintenance is a good start if you want to push your Honda CR125 to perform at its best.
Honda CR125 Common Issues
Mostly everything made by a brand like Honda is considered top of the line when it comes to maintenance and the reliability of their build quality. One of the first things most Honda owners bring up in their decision to buy one is their reputation for reliability! But still, no vehicle is without a few common problems of its own…what about the CR125?
Jetting is one of the most dreaded parts of tuning a bike. It’s fidgety, and frustrating getting a bike properly jetted, and unfortunately, sometimes this is not an easy process for this Honda bike.
The two-stroke design of the CR125 tends to quickly blow out spark plugs when not properly jetted for the current temperature and altitude. This can quickly become a frustration if the bike is not properly jetted when you first purchase it. This means it may be beneficial to check out and test the jetting as soon as possible.
Even though the jetting can prove frustrating, if you have the skills and patience to deal with it, it is more than worth it. This is an excellent bike that will definitely pay you back for your time spent keeping it healthy.
Weak Rear Braking
This is not to say that your rear brakes will not work, but rather that they have a tendency to wear out quickly. The brake draggers often overheat during the year, causing deformation of the brakes and in worst cases, failure. Unfortunately, the low quality of the draggers can also result in deformed tires, which is of course a concern worth mentioning.
One of the most widely reported annoyances related to this model is the powerband. This bike is capable of pushing out lots of power, but the length of the powerband, unfortunately, reduces the efficiency of the engine’s output due to the width of the powerband’s output.
Because there is such a thin margin for this bike’s powerband, if the rider wants to hold a consistently high speed, they need to work harder to stay there. This is not uncommonly found in two-stroke bikes, so you’ll have to ride this one at a high RPM to keep it up to speed.
Is The Honda CR125 A Good Bike?
As always, a good bike for one person might not be the best for another. Still, for most purposes, the Honda CR125 delivers. With enough power to feel fun and engaging, but the right amount of handling to allow for technical turns, this bike feels ready to tackle anything you throw at it.
Whether you enjoy running trails and hopping jumps, or you need a bike for your commutes, the CR125 will be effective and comfortable. Still, it remains an excellent option for dirt bike racing due to its high top speed, and time-proven reliability.
The Honda CR125 is the last of the now disappearing class of two-stroke engines. This bike effectively revolutionized the way that bikes are made today and established a new kind of culture for the engineering of well-loved motorbikes.
While the unfortunate discontinuation of this bike in 2007 lowers the confidence most buyers have in getting support from Honda, or additional fixes, the great backlog of this model allows for lots of part swaps, and your choice in a more vintage selection if necessary.
All-in-all, this is a truly legendary bike. When it’s well taken care of, the sky’s the limit as far as fun and effective driving are concerned. If you can find one for yourself, we wish you happy trails on this legendary Honda classic!