Thousands upon thousands of kids lusted over shiny new Honda Trail 70s during the Seventies, and many of those little folks probably fit the definition of “grom.” I was one of those kids, although since I didn’t grow up surfing, it took until now for me to learn that Honda’s new little 125cc funbike got its name as a shortening of grommet, surfer slang for a young shredder. “Grom” definitely boosts the cool factor of this new-for-2014 model vs. the MSX 125 designation this world bike carries markets abroad.
Gen Y references are prevalent in Grom press materials, but this modern interpretation of that CT70 of my youth makes this four-speed, air-cooled, four-stroke Single predictably irresistible to kids of all ages and/or gender. Honda’s recent barrage of entry-level models has been impressive, but even if you added up the impact of all of the CBR/CRF250 and CB500 variants, it wouldn’t match the level of interest that the little Grom has generated around the Cycle World water cooler. Word also has it that the $2999 machine is getting snatched up as quickly as dealers can get them uncrated and prepped.
There’s just something about this small bike that fires up the riding imagination. The biggest surprise on my first ride? How spacious the ergonomics are on this pint-sized, street-legal package. The Grom is quite roomy overall, with plenty of space for my 5-foot-11 frame. Distance between the 30.1-inch-high seat and footpegs was comfortable, while the reach to the bike’s mid-height handlebar felt natural and relaxed. Not only is the bike large enough to transport a full-sized adult, its seat is also long enough to accommodate a passenger.
About the only comfort-related downside was that the saddle started working against my bony butt near the end of my 45-mile ride at the bike’s Southern California press introduction. Our group rolled through a mix of city, beach-town and backroad terrain, but avoided freeways because state law requires a minimum 150cc displacement. And common sense calls for more top velocity than the 52-mph indicated speed I achieved on a level road. In town, the Grom is in its element, accelerating off the line with ease and zinging out enough power (throttle pinned) to hang with urban traffic.
Ease of use and approachability were clearly Job One on the Grom. As such, hit the electric-start button and the PGM-FI makes sure the eighth-liter mill fires right up, hot or cold. Power is delivered with seamless response across the rev range and light clutch action makes it a very easy-to-ride manual-shift motorcycle. The fitment of wide, grippy road rubber on the Grom’s 12-inch-diameter wheels complements a competent chassis and disc brakes that work and feel like those of a larger motorcycle.
Few streetbikes are as accessible to the beginner while simultaneously tickling an advanced rider’s funnybone. I know I’m sort of an old dude because when the Grom speaks to me it sounds like Jeff Spicoli, the laid-back surf dude in the ’80s classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High: “Hey Bud, let’s party!”
But no matter your age, the Grom is ready for fun.
|ENGINE TYPE||124.9cc air-cooled, four-stroke Single|
|BORE x STROKE||52.4mm x 57.9mm|
|VALVE TRAIN||SOHC; two valves per cylinder|
|INDUCTION||PGM-FI with automatic enrichment|
|FRONT||31mm inverted fork; 3.9 inches travel|
|REAR||Single shock with steel box-section swingarm; 4.1 inches travel|
|FRONT||Single 220mm disc with hydraulic dual-piston caliper|
|REAR||Single 190mm disc with hydraulic single-piston caliper|
|CLAIMED SEAT HEIGHT||30.1 in.|
|FUEL CAPACITY||1.45 gallons, including 0.38-gallon reserve|
|CURB WEIGHT||225 lb.|
|COLORS||Pearl Red, Metallic Black|
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