Drag site icon to your taskbar to pin site. Learn More

2014 Honda CRF125F First Ride

Friday, August 9, 2013


Videos Our Sponsor
2014 Honda CRF125F First Ride Video
Click to view video
Learning how to ride a motorcycle gets that much easier with Honda’s latest CRF125F. See and hear our thoughts on it in the 2014 Honda CRF125F First Ride Video.
Honda’s line of junior-sized dirt bikes has nurtured young riders for decades. And Big Red is poised to carry the newbie torch for years to come with its freshly released Honda CRF125F (starting at $2799). Available in standard and Big Wheel variations, Honda’s latest trail bike replaces the CRF80F and 100F models and offers owners more bang for their buck than ever before.

A fun ride and easy operation were the main goals for Honda’s latest trail bike. To achieve these, engineers fitted a larger displacement engine. Still air-cooled for simplicity sake, the 125cc four-stroke Single employs a longer piston stroke compared to the 80 and 100 CRFs boosting torque and making it more adept at tackling inclines or hills. The engine is still fueled through a carburetor and 1.1-gallon gas tank. Additionally, the motor can run on regular 87-octane gasoline instead of the more expensive premium blend.

Electric start was added and the engine lights with a simple push of the button. A kickstart lever remains as a backup in case the battery runs out of juice. Either method performed flawlessly and we were especially pleased by how little muscle the kickstart lever demanded.
Hondas venerable air-cooled four-stroke Single gets a longer stroke engine boosting displacement to 125cc.
Suspension was cozy for our 110-pound tester. This made it easy for her to get a feel for it on the dirt.
The cockpit of the CRF125F is neutral-feeling and functions well for tall and short riders alike. We also love that the CRF now offers the push-button convenience of electric start.
(Top) Honda’s venerable air-cooled four-stroke Single gets a longer stroke engine boosting displacement to 125cc. (Center) Suspension was cozy for our 110-pound tester. This made it easy for her to get a feel for it on the dirt. (Bottom) The cockpit of the CRF125F is neutral-feeling and functions well for tall and short riders alike. We also love that the CRF now offers the push-button convenience of electric start.

“It’s smooth,” says our lady tester and novice-level rider, Mayra Tinajero, when asked to describe the CRF’s motor performance. “When you go to give it throttle, the way it takes off is so easy. It’s never jerky and I always felt in control.”

Power is transferred to the back knobby tire through a four-speed transmission and manual, cable-actuated clutch. Lever pull is light yet has a positive and responsive actuation akin to a premium, full-sized motorcycle. Paired with the engine’s low-end grunt this CRF is easy to get moving forward from a standstill. Although the gearbox no longer offers fifth gear you won’t miss it due to the 125’s broader powerband.

“It’s really easy to shift,” shares Tinajero. “So for anybody new to riding that is stressed about controlling the throttle, the brake, your feet, just know that it’s really easy with the 125. That’s something that definitely alleviates the mind when you’re starting out.”

As she points out it is an easy-shifting bike that delivers precise feel at the shift lever along with an audible and reassuring thud when the next gear is engaged. Finding neutral position (between first and second gears) at a stop was equally simple.

The standard CRF125F rolls on 17-inch front and 14-inch rear spoked wheels with a seat height at 28.9 inches (identical to the outgoing CRF80F). Taller riders will appreciate the $400 more expensive Big Wheel which makes use of a larger 19/16-inch combo boosting saddle height by two inches and ground clearance by 2.1 inches (the same seat measurement as the ’13 CRF100F). It also uses a larger 49-tooth rear sprocket compared to the standard model’s 46-tooth piece (due to the larger diameter of the wheel).

Suspension and brakes are the same on both options, with a non-adjustable fork soaking up bumps at the front and a spring preload-adjustable shock providing rear damping. Front suspension travel is rated at 5.5 inches with the back measurement coming in at 4.5 inches for the standard model. The Big Wheel CRF gets added travel with nearly six inches fore and aft.

“The suspension was awesome,” said 110-pound Tinajero who spent most of the afternoon riding the standard model. “Going over any rough spots or jumps, and around turns it was great. It was smooth riding all the time.”
Hondas all-new CRF125F makes use of a larger engine that produces more torque. This not only makes it easier to ride but more fun  too.
Both CRF125F models get a 220mm cross-drilled hydraulic disc brake up front.
Big smiles are what the CRF125F is all about. Its a great learning tool for beginners and plenty fun to play around for seasoned riders  too.
(Top) Honda’s all-new CRF125F makes use of a larger engine that produces more torque. This not only makes it easier to ride but more fun, too. (Center) Both CRF125F models get a 220mm cross-drilled hydraulic disc brake up front. (Bottom) Big smiles are what the CRF125F is all about. It’s a great learning tool for beginners and plenty fun to play around for seasoned riders, too.

Braking components consist of a 220mm front cross-drilled disc clamped by a twin-piston caliper actuated hydraulically with a simple and more cost-oriented lever-operated drum brake keeping rear wheel speed in check. Both brakes provided effective stopping power and were easy to operate. Another plus is how grippy the OE tires are even on silty hard-pack.

While our 5’5” tester got along with the smaller wheeled version, she still felt the larger wheeled version would be the right one for someone her size.

“I felt a little big on the small one,” she said. “It was still comfortable and really fun to ride, but I think I would outgrow it kind of fast. If I had to choose, I’d probably go with the bigger one.”

Much to my surprise the larger wheeled CRF was adequate for my six-foot tall frame, too. Obviously I was a little cramped but not enough to keep me from blasting across berms all the while grinning like a Slurpee-drunk schoolboy beneath my helmet.

And that in essence is the coolest thing about the CRF125F—it’s friendly and non-intimidating for a novice yet still delivers adequate performance for more seasoned riders.

“I would completely recommend this bike for someone that is looking to start out riding and hasn’t necessarily had a whole lot of experience,” sums up Tinajero. “It’s definitely an excellent bike to start out on.”

Honda CRF125F Highs & Lows
Highs
  • Smooth engine power 
  • Clutch and transmission are easy to use
  • Electric start and fun to ride!
Lows
  • None – this is a fun, and affordable motorcycle to learn how to ride on.
2014 Honda CRF125F Photos
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Slideshow
Troy Lee Designs SE3 Helmet
Half the fun of riding is looking the part. Troy Lee Designs makes it easy to look like a pro with its Troy Lee Designs SE3 Baja Helmet. Available in two colorways in sizes XS-XXL the SE3 is the Southern California safety and apparel brand’s top-of-the-line moto helmet worn by Supercross and motocross racers Cole Seely and Malcolm Stewart. With numerous intake and exhaust vents it flows a fair amount of air which helps keep the rider cool and collect while riding. Another plus is the large eye port that is compatible with a wide range of goggles.
Recent Dirt Bike Reviews
2015 Suzuki RM-Z450 First Ride
Suzuki continues to hone its tried-and-true RM-Z450 motocrosser. Three-time X-Games Gold Medalist Vicki Golden gives us her take.
2015 Honda CRF250R First Ride
Honda targets the suspension and power delivery of its 2015 CRF250R motocrosser. But do the updates equate to a improved 250 MX package?
Dirt Bike Dealer Locator
2014 Honda CRF125F Specs
The CRF125F big wheel features the identical seat height of the outgoing CRF100F at 30.9 inches.
Engine: 125cc air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke Bore x Stroke: 52.4 x 57.9mm
Compression Ratio: 9.0:1
Fuel Delivery: 20mm piston-valve carburetor
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate, cable actuation 
Transmission: Four-speed
Front Suspension: 31.0mm telescopic fork; 5.5 in. travel (standard) / 5.9 in. travel (big wheel)
Rear Suspension: Hydraulic shock absorber; 4.5 in. travel (standard) / 5.9 in. travel (big wheel) 
Front Brake: 220mm cross-drilled hydraulic disc
Rear Brake: Mechanical drum 
Wheels: 70/100-17 front, 90/100-14 rear (standard)  70/100-19 front, 90/100-16 rear (big wheel)
Curb Weight: 192 lbs. / 194 lbs. (big wheel)
Wheelbase: 48.0 in. / 49.4 in. (big wheel)
Seat Height: 28.9 in. / 30.9 in. (big wheel)
Fuel Capacity: 1.1 gallon
MSRP: $2799 (standad) / $3199 (big wheel)
Colors: Red
Warranty: Six months

Login or sign up to comment.

Comments
Poncho167   August 20, 2013 08:15 AM
Yes, but children don't need a 125cc engine that can go over 50 mph.

Honda will lose the entry market with this mistake.
motousa_adam   August 15, 2013 03:59 PM
Yes they dropped the 80 and 100. Seat height and general dimensions of the new 125 is similar to the old bikes. The idea behind fitting a larger engine is that the new motor makes more torque which generally makes the bike easier to ride over a wider range of terrain. Adam
Poncho167   August 13, 2013 04:40 PM
They dropped the 80 and 100 for this? The 80 was the entry model. Now a kid would step up to a 125? This does not sound like a good plan Honda. There was a reason why since the 1970's that you had a 70cc bike with a step up 100cc, then 125cc, etc.