Honda introduced the Grom in 2014, and the world immediately fell in love with this compact, fuel-efficient 125cc mini-bike.
The Grom was and is still a popular choice among beginners looking to learn or scoot around town on more than a bicycle.
The Grom is a go-to for stunt riders looking for a low-risk banger bike with plenty of room for customization, but what are the common problems with the Honda Grom?
Don’t scoot away; read on and find out!
1. Fuel Pump Failure
In 2015, the growing number of Groms with fuel pump failures forced Honda to issue an official recall on models manufactured between 2013 and 2015.
Early year models often have a few kinks that reveal themselves as bikes start to break in, and Groms’ early year models are no different.
As we implied earlier, the issue was with the fuel pump, more specifically, with a resin bracket inside.
The resin bracket swells on affected motorcycles, causing the pump impeller to seize.
A Grom with a seized pump impeller, aka a failing fuel pump, will experience severe engine stalling, increasing the risk of a collision.
At the recall, Honda stated that nine known impeller failures occurred in Japan, noting that none occurred in North America.
Still, Honda recalled 17,643 units to be safe.
Recalls often extend to unaffected VINs fitted with the same faulty component as a preventative measure. Some Grom owners may have rolled their eyes and assumed their bike was fine, neglecting to take it in for the free upgrade.
So, if your Grom is experiencing failing fuel pump symptoms, and it was manufactured between 2013 and 2015, run your VIN to see if your bike is eligible for a free upgrade it never received.
Symptoms of a Failing Fuel Pump on a Honda Grom
To help you, here are some common signs of a failing fuel pump:
- The Grom’s motor will crank but not start
- The Grom’s engine will have difficulty starting
- Decrease in performance on acceleration
- The motor will surge or sputter
- Poor idling
- Overall loss of engine power
- Motor stalls out
- Whining noise from the pump
Is your Grom’s engine having a hard time starting?
Or maybe it’s refusing to start altogether.
If your Grom is having starting problems, there are three things to consider:
Fuel is your next troubleshooting target if your scoot’s spark plugs are good and your compression’s intact.
First things first, verify that there is fuel in the tank.
If there is and the engine still isn’t getting fuel, it could be the pump is going bad.
If you can get the Grom to start and notice a weak idle or lagging acceleration, this could be due to the pump underperforming.
An underperforming fuel pump on a Honda Grom could be a sign of a swelling resin bracket lagging your pump’s impeller—get the bike’s pump replaced asap before the Grom stalls out at the hands of an utterly dysfunctioning fuel pump.
As the pump wears out, it cannot keep up with the demand of the motor. The fuel flow decreases, causing stumbling, sputtering, or surging.
If the impeller fails, and the pump stops working altogether, the engine will quit running.
Some riders reported a whining noise coming from the pump. The noise could signify the recall inspiring swelling bracket causing vibration.
As the pump impeller wears out, this creates vibrations that may produce a whining noise.
At the recall, Honda notified Grom owners about the issue.
The reliability reputed Japanese brand prompted Grom owners to hit up their local dealership for a free upgraded fuel pump assembly, which uses a metal bracket internally.
This recall superseded an older recall. In fact, a few of the motorcycles that were remedied under that earlier recall campaign were affected by the second recall, too, having to get their fuel pump replaced a second time.
2. Reflectors Too Dim
Another common issue on the Honda Grom is the dim reflectors in the 2020 and 2021 models. It was such a problem that it inspired a worldwide recall, not just on the Grom but also on a slew of Honda bikes.
This is a bit more than a complaint, though; not only was the rear selector lens not reflecting brightly enough for the likes of Grom owners, the affected vehicles failed to comply with a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.
- FMVSS number 108 requires all lamps and reflectors to meet specific standards that the 2020-2021 Grom didn’t meet.
- Honda sent replacement rear reflectors to their dealerships to be slapped on any qualifying too-dim Groms to rectify this confusion.
- Honda sent out notification letters to all Grom owners, but that doesn’t mean they all took it seriously.
If you bought a used 2020 Grom, for example, and you think the rear reflectors aren’t as bright as they should be, your hunch might be on to something. Take it to Honda and run the VIN to determine if you’re eligible for an upgrade the previous owner ignored!
3. Hard to Find Neutral
One of the main issues I’ve encountered Grom owners expressing disapproval about is how hard it is for some riders to find neutral.
To be clear, I have heard from some experienced riders (who stunt their Groms hard) that the neutral on a Grom is hard to find.
That said, the Grom is a popular choice for new riders and riders who are first learning to ride.
Since more than a few of these claims seem to be related to the rider’s experience level, we thought we’d go into a quick review about how to shift on a Honda Grom properly.
Instructions on finding neutral on a Grom might be redundant for more experienced riders.
But skimming through this guide can save some new riders time and help them be sure it’s not a user error before spending time or even money tweaking their clutch cable.
- Like most bikes these days, the neutral is found on a Grom by shifting down to the first gear.
- Then, with a slight up-shift back up, you’ll hit neutral about halfway between first and second gear.
- Like most modern bikes, the Honda Grom has a 1-N-2-3-4-5 gear pattern with downshifting lowering the gears, and up-shifting raising through the gear positions.
- To hit the neutral gear on your Honda Grom, take her all the way down through the gears first, regardless of what gear you’re in.
- Some of the complaints about shifting seem to imply that the rider was having trouble shifting down into neutral from second gear.
- Try passing neutral and putting your Grom into first gear, then shifting up into Neutral, as this is the proper way to shift on most modern bikes.
- Remember, new riders, it’s a half shift—just a slight tap upwards on your shifter is all it should take to put her in neutral.
- If you kick up hard from the first gear, you’ll pass neutral and go straight into the second gear.
- Finally, every bike is different; even if the Grom isn’t your first bike, there’s no shame in practicing in the driveway to get used to finding neutral on the Grom’s unique miniature gearbox.
Ok, now that the new riders are caught up, there is, in fact, a consensus from Grom riders of all experience levels: the Honda Grom is objectively more challenging to find neutral on than on some of the other bikes in its class.
If the issue persists and any attempts at shifting to neutral fail, there are a few culprits you’ll have to investigate.
The main reason it’s challenging to find Neutral on a Honda Grom is because the clutch cable does not have enough slack.
The Honda Grom is engineered to operate on a particular clutch cable tension. Whether the little scoot’s clutch cable is too loose or too tight, there’s a problem; the cable needs to be adjusted to Honda’s spec, outlined in your Grom’s owner’s manual.
One of the first issues that an over-tightened clutch will cause on a Honda Grom is difficulty changing gears, especially finding neutral.
Inspecting and adjusting your clutch cable is part of the routine maintenance outlined in the service schedule Honda provides in the same owner’s manual mentioned above.
Inspect your clutch cable, or have a Honda-literate mechanic check it for you, and adjust as needed, either loosening or tightening the cable to expand or reduce its slack as needed.
There might be a time where you don’t have the manual handy, and your Grom’s clutch cable is to the point of not being able to shift at all.
If that’s the situation, adjust the cable 2mm at a time, trial-and-error style,
Another way is the trial-and-error method until you can shift and find neutral with ease.
Another popular culprit for poor shifting and hard neutral-setting on a Grom is when its oil is at low-level, needing to be topped off, or the oil is contaminated or corrupted and needs to be changed.
Keeping up with the whole, thorough routine service inspections per the owner’s manual’s schedule will keep your Grom’s oil new and its clutch cable slacked to spec, making it easy to find neutral.
Pros and Cons for Honda Grom
Here are the pros and cons of the Honda Grom:
- Fun to ride
- Fuel efficient
- Straightforward to learn on
- Ease of maneuverability
- Fuel Pump Failure
- Reflectors Too Dim
- Hard to Find Neutral
What Do the Reviews Say?
When assaulting the narrow alleys and one-way streets of Venice Beach, the Grom proved to be the perfect tool for the job. It’s lightweight, it’s nimble, and its size has more to offer than easy handling. Navigating through and around traffic, even hopping the occasional curb if the situation calls for it, the Grom’s playful nature shaves the edges off of things that might seem reckless on a larger motorcycle. There’s a reason so many people learn to stunt on these wicked little machines.
And so the Grom continues to improve, staying at the top of its class despite competitive offerings from others… It’s more fun for less money than just about any other major production motorcycle, and it’s been improved in all the right ways. Approachable pricing remains, ergonomics are improved, changes in sprocket sizing and gearbox spacing help with acceleration and fuel economy, and home customization is now easier than ever. Honda has once again demonstrated its ability to recognize and meet customer needs without losing sight of what’s made us love the Grom since its inception.https://www.cycleworld.com/story/motorcycle-reviews/2022-honda-grom/
What’s the Resale Value of a Honda Grom?