Honda NSR 125 Review
Honda NSR 125 review
I have owned a Honda NSR 125 2002 plate now for about 9 months and done a couple of thousand miles so I think I am fairly well experienced on the bike.
I bought the bike off eBay for 900 GBP which I thought was a bargain but of course turned out to have a number of problems. A new MOT found out that I needed to forks, new tyres, new chain, new battery and a few other things which suddenly all became very expensive so watch out for little things like this when looking to buy. Ideally buy one with a long MOT and tax as this will help prove the bike is in condition. Check the tyres for tread and cracks and make sure the mileage isn’t too high bearing in mind these bikes are 2 stroke which do blow up if constantly ridden too hard and done too many miles.
Generally after I had all the niggles fixed, the bike has shown Honda reliability. It starts on the button first time in the warmth and second time in the cold and once the engine is warmed up runs very nicely.
The best thing about this bike compared to lower CC mopeds of course is going to be the acceleration…and god does this bike accelerate! I had ridden a 50 cc bike for a year before so was used to a top speed of 40 mph and getting there in about 20 seconds! This bike however is comfortable at 70 which it gets to in 11 seconds at can be pushed to about 90 still restricted! It may not sound that fast when comparing to fast bikes and cars, but trust me, it feels incredibly fast the first few months after changing from a smaller bike. I have a mate who has a bandit 600, a proper fast bike and on most roads I can keep up with him. That is until we get to a long straight.
On the NSR there is a very strong power band. For those of you that didn’t know what this is, it is where the engine reaches a stage in the rev’s where it suddenly becomes a lot more powerful. So for the NSR, this starts at 7 000 RPM and peaks at 9 000 RPM! When you’re in this band of revs, the NSR loves it, and has a lot of power. I didn’t know about this when I first rode the bike, so was out on a nice leisurely ride when I revved a bit higher and entered the power band at 7 000 RPM, before I knew it, from 40 mph, I was doing 70 in what felt like an instant. I felt my self slide back on the bike and thought I was going to fall off when it happened. To be frank I shit myself. From that moment onwards I was hooked on the NSR.
The handling on this bike is fantastic. Cornering is so easy and great fun when you’re leaning right over feeling like a proper GP racer. The bike is easy to corner on and only takes a light movement to get it at a 45 degree angle as you fly round a corner. The problem with bigger, faster bikes is the weight. This makes taking corners much slower as the rider needs to move the heavier bike over. With the NSR is incredibly light weighing just 138 KG compared to over 200 kg for a Honda Fireblade. This also makes the step up from a moped easier.
Lastly the sound. 2 strokes are known for sounding crappy and ‘ring-ding-ding-ding’ if you catch my drift. However, the NSR for some reason doesn’t have this sound. It sounds like a much lower note and when you have the bike screaming in the high rev range, sounds like a big bike. People compliment the sound a lot, saying it doesn’t sound or look like a 125 at all and I always get a nod from the bigger bikers on the road.
With so many positives with the NSR there must be some negatives? Well there are one or two. The riding position isn’t fantastic, it is a bit front heavy on the wrists, and you may find your wrists ache after the first couple of times, especially on longer rides. However, you don’t normally notice this when riding and the problem goes away after the first few rides. The second problem is that the bike comes restricted as standard. This is so it is legal to ride on a CBT and it is fairly difficult to de-restrict by yourself. My bike is still restricted and as you can tell, this doesn’t bother me. The change from de-restricting would be a change in acceleration time to about 5 seconds for 0- 60 and a top speed of about a 100, so I am told. A garage would be able to de-restrict it for you for a 100 quid or so. The last problem is the headlights. They do the job but no more. They are quite dim and make riding in pitch black a bit tricky. This is not a major problem and doesn’t stop you from riding at night.
So why buy a Honda NSR 125? First of all the speed and handling and superbike looks are the three biggest selling points. The bike is not quite as fast (but very similar) as a Aprilia RS or Cagiva Mito, but both of these are Italian and break down every 5 minutes and sound crap and expensive. I would definitely recommend a NSR for the reliability, fun, looks and most of all, jealousy from your mates.