- New name for 2021 for Honda’s fun-focussed mini-bike – the MSX125 Grom
- 2kW from new 2021 engine, now with 5 speed gearbox
- New design with quick-release bodywork that promotes adaptability and customisation
On sale in Europe as the MSX125 since 2013, Honda’s ultra-fun minibike follows a tradition started in the 60s with the Monkey and continued through other much-loved machines such as the Dax and Ape up to the present day. For 2021, the new version adds the ‘Grom’ name used elsewhere across the world (becoming the ‘MSX125 Grom’) for the mini-bike which has been an international hit with young riders, racking up sales of over 750,000 units. As a term used since the 1960s to describe young surfers, ‘Grom’ is the perfect moniker for a mini-bike with a fun, counter-culture spirit.
The new 7.2kW air-cooled engine blends accessible roll-on performance with useful all-round ability and now features a 5th gear for out of town riding; it is matched to a responsive, easy-to-ride chassis equipped with 31mm USD forks, 12in wheels and disc brakes front and rear. The ABS system operates through an IMU. Seat height is a welcoming 761mm, and the redesigned sharp and compact LCD meter now features a rev-counter and gear position indicator.
The biggest change for 2021 is the radical new look that brings a quirky, distinctive individuality from a new sleek LED headlight, pared-down seat unit and subframe, and super-compact side panels and tank covers. The gold forks and brake calipers and yellow rear suspension finish off the head-turning styling. Easy-to-change bodywork further promotes adaptability and customisation opportunities for Honda’s small bike with a big attitude.
- Model overview
- Key features
- Technical specifications
The formula has found resonance with the new breed of young riders. Known as ‘Generation Y’ in the USA, ‘Dek Neaw’ in Thailand and ‘Street-Kei’ in Japan, they have grown up in the borderless internet age, and share a culture, outlook and spirit that defies convention.
Instinctively drawn to motorcycling, they need their first two-wheeled transport to be exciting but not unduly challenging, with a design that sets them apart and a reasonable price tag. In 2013 Honda introduced the MSX125 (Mini Street X-treme 125) to cater specifically for such young riders.
A truly global product the MSX125 (known as the ‘Grom’ in Japan and USA) has been a hit across the world. In its first sales season the MSX125 joined the CBF125 in the ranks of Europe’s top 5 best-selling 125cc motorcycles. And, over the last few years, it has established itself as a firm favourite, whether used for simple urban transport or as a heavily customised style statement by its target market.
After 6 years of quiet success and several small styling evolutions, with an eye on the next wave of young riders, it’s time for a new MSX125. Or, to give it its new official European name, a new MSX125 Grom. Fully refreshed, with an even cooler direction of travel, it’s still Honda’s little machine with big dreams.
- Model Overview
A new air-cooled engine maintains the usable performance of the MSX125 but adds an extra fifth gear. And the unchanged chassis offers the same small-bike dimensions with big-bike suspension, braking and handling qualities.
- Key Features
- Redesigned bodywork elevates individuality
- Easy custom potential; all four panels attach with just six bolts each side
- LCD dash now includes rev counter and gear position indicator
The previous MSX125’s look was very much a miniature reflection of the modern lines of Honda’s sport naked motorcycles of the time. For 2021, the new MSX125 Grom takes a different design direction.
There’s a new kind of quirkiness about the bodywork – a distinctive individuality that mixes the modernity of sleek LED headlight, pared-down seat unit and subframe with the retro of the super-compact side panels and tank covers. And, influenced by customers’ ongoing efforts to make their bike unique, the MSX125 Grom is designed around the concept of adaptability and easy customisation – all of the bodywork attaches with six bolts each side, a detail highlighted by large bolt surrounds for another unique design touch.
The gold finish to the USD front forks, and yellow shock spring stand out in bright contrast to the blacked-out engine, exhaust, wheels and swingarm. Easy to read for its compact size the LCD digital dash has been redesigned to include a rev-counter and gear position indicator, alongside the speedometer, twin trip meters, fuel gauge and clock. Resetting of the trip meters and clock, or alternation between odometer and trip meter, is managed by the switches either side of the display.
The new 2021 MSX125 Grom will be available in the following colour options:
- Force Silver Metallic
- Mat Gunpowder Black Metallic
- Gayety Red
- All-new, 125cc air-cooled two-valve engine
- Five-speed gearbox improves out-of-town cruising potential
- EURO5 compliance
The MSX125 Grom has a new, 125cc two-valve air-cooled engine, with 50mm bore and 63.1mm stroke, and compression ratio of 10.0:1. Peak power of 7.2kW arrives at 7,250rpm, with peak torque of 10.5Nm at 5,500rpm.
Just like the previous design, the MSX125 Grom’s engine packs a perfect blend of zippy roll-on performance with useful, accessible all-round ability. Really, this unit all about fun of twisting a throttle, but one major upgrade that riders will appreciate is the application of a 5-speed gearbox (rather than 4-speed) to spread the ratios further and give more relaxed, higher-speed cruising. Top speed goes from 92km/h to 94km/h.
Manual clutch operation still imparts a full-sized motorcycle experience, while the 15T gearbox sprocket, 38T 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.
It’s also economical, returning 66.6km/l (WMTC mode) by using low-friction technologies, such as an offset cylinder and roller-rocker arm for the valve gear. 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. A large, 2.5L airbox and panel-type, wet paper filter provide reliable and quiet airflow; the filter itself has a life of 10,000 miles. The exhaust downpipe and muffler are now two separate parts.
The MSX125 Grom is homologated for EURO5, which from January 1st 2020, introduced significantly stricter engine emissions standards compared to EURO4. These requirements include substantial reductions in permitted carbon monoxide emissions, an over 40% decrease in total hydrocarbon emissions, tougher misfire detection and the introduction of a particulate matter limit.
- Steel mono-backbone frame provides central strength; 761mm seat height
- Quality suspension performance from 31mm USD forks and rear monoshock
- 12-inch wheel rims and hydraulic disc brakes front and rear
The MSX125 Grom’s well-proven chassis is essentially unchanged during its 2021 makeover, and the original priorities of design remain relevant: provide the base for a practical bike that new riders could use – and park – with ease in an urban environment, but be just as useable and enjoyable out of town, and also readily accept a pillion.
A steel mono-backbone frame ensures the MSX125 Grom’s core strength. 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 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 frame structure also enables efficient storage of PGM-FI-related components and electrical parts inside the tank cover and fuel capacity is increased (6.0L). Wheelbase is a snug 1200mm, with rake and trail of 25°/84mm. Kerb weight is reduced to 103kg. A low 761mm seat height makes the MSX125 Grom very manageable; its size also ensures that motor home owners find it easy to load/unload, transport and use.
Suspension front and rear delivers ‘beyond class’ quality. The 31mm USD fork 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 MSX Grom’s form and function are its 5-spoke (re-styled) 12-inch cast aluminium wheels, which feature wide 2.5-inch rims. Front 120/70-12 and 130/70-12 rear tyres also inject dynamic looks and performance. Hydraulic dual piston front (finished in gold) and single piston rear brake calipers work front 220mm and rear 190mm discs. The ABS system operates through an IMU.