Rolling burnouts in a parking garage? Dirt-track slides through construction zones? Wheelies that would impress Travis Pastrana? What’s gotten into Honda? The future of motorcycling, maybe. This is the Taiwanese-built MSX125, known as the Grom 125 in Japan. Launched overseas early this year, the MSX (Mini Street Xtreme) is rumored to be coming to the U.S. as a 2014 model.
Honda says development of the MSX125 resulted in four patent applications “focused around the split-structure tank cover and frame.” To keep the package desirably small, components for the PGM fuel injection are housed inside the cover of the 1.45-gallon gas tank. Despite scooter-size 120/70-12 front and 130/70-12 rear rubber, this entry-level machine said to use “full-size motorcycle parts.” Claimed curb weight is 224 pounds. Seat height is 30.1 inches, .4 shorter than a CBR250R.
Like the littlest CBR, the MSX125 is equipped with big-bike features, such as a projector-beam headlight, an LED taillight, a liquid-crystal-display dash and hydraulic disc brakes front and rear. Output for the air-cooled, two-valve Single is reported to be 9.7 horsepower at 7000 rpm with 8.0 foot-pounds of torque at 5500 rpm; hop-up kits, including a bigger-bore cylinder and throttle body, are already available in Japan. A four-speed transmission works in concert with chain final drive.
Larger picture? Honda is steadily stuffing its U.S. model line from the displacement basement: step-through Ruckus, Metropolitan and PCX150 scooters, dual-purpose CRF250L, CBR250R, three sporty 500cc Twins—CB500F, CB500R, CB500X—plus the modular NC700X standard and CTX700 cruisers.
Will the MSX125 be the two-wheel kick in the pants that drives today’s teens to motorcycling? “Small it may be,” says Honda, “but in terms of worldwide sales, brand awareness and owner satisfaction, its impact will be large.”