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Bike test: Honda's CBR125R

2011-06-03 09:09

DARKEST AFRICA: Well not quite, but the diminutive Honda 125 was perfectly happy showing me around the fairest Cape. Down below is the Slangkop Llghthouse near Kommetjie. Image: DAVE FALL

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Honda
Model CBR125R
Engine 125cc, liquid-cooled
Power 9.8kW @ 10 000rpm
Torque 10.41Nm @ 8 000rpm
Zero To Hundred 12 sec
Top Speed 125km/h
Fuel Tank 13-litres
Weight 136kg
Price R30 999

DAVE FALL

The long and the short of it

The weather has generally been atrocious this past week here in the Mother City.

True to form as Fall’s luck goes, it wasn’t a car company this time around asking me to evaluate their latest convertible, it was Honda Motors Southern Africa (the motorcycle division’s new name) that wanted a two-wheeler story…I had five days with the bike and I was determined to make every moment count.

SPORTY COMMUTER? REALLY?

Honda’s latest CBR125R is a sporty commuter bike, right? That decided, I dutifully went through the motions of travelling to and from work twice a day.  Although retired, my only stipulation to HMSA was that I "would go to work and come home" in my own time — well I am retired you know!

The 13-litre fuel tank was topped up and the trip computer reset — my "office" would be the centre of Simonstown — quite a busy route from Tokai to the naval base.

Cape Town bikers will no doubt tell you how challenging this stretch of road has become, with heavy traffic crawling along Main Road in Tokai; serious road works to be found through Muizenberg (will they ever end?); standing traffic trying to thread its way through Fish Hoek’s narrow high street and, finally, open stretches in the Pitcairn area, prior to entering Simonstown.

Oh dear, rain and heavy showers accompanied by fierce winds was the miserable weather forecast for at least three days of that week. Thankfully my faithful, old, Belstaff rainsuit came to the rescue — the show must go on!

SPORTY COMMUTER? REALLY?

Travelling in convoy for most of the journey always meant there was time to look around and study the antics of fellow motorists — albeit in their tin boxes. A few did move over to allow me through on the really easy to ride Honda — but perhaps surprisingly it was the taxis that were the most friendly and courteous towards two-wheelers.   

Home-to-office was just 17km in distance: travelling time: 21 minutes, traffic jam frustration levels: zero! Okay, I was outwardly rather wet but nothing a cappuccino wasn’t about to remedy at one the coffee houses to be found in downtown Simonstown. Parking: to be found right outside, of course!

On three of the occasions I journeyed back — albeit having to take the Boyes Drive diversion — each time a major hold up meant being patient even on a bike, a helicopter had apparently landed on the road ahead, my return journey taking 40 minutes — but no fault of the Honda …

ALL IN ITS STRIDE

Initially I did have reservations about the CBR125R’s "staying power" but as the weather had cleared up I decided to try the long way around that is, past Cape Point, Red Hill, Noordhoek, Kommetjie and Sun Valley before dropping down through Old Kaapse Weg — an additional 51km — more than most people would consider commuting on most other 125 cc machines, I’d wager.

The Honda simply took it all in its stride keeping up with the quickest traffic along the route.

Five days, 10 trips to my imaginary place of work: and 270km showing on the trip recorder. The fuel gauge was low but the bike wasn’t yet ready to flash a low-level warning light at me to top up. Very few cars — outside of a Jaguar, I suppose, would be able to do the trip any quicker…

Cost of Jaguar: About R675 000, price of Honda CBR125R: R30 000.

• Don’t forget! Monday, June 20 is international “Ride to Work Day".
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