How Long Do Honda CB 125Rs Last? (3 Examples)

The Honda CB125R is a naked, modern-classic homage to the classic CB125, updated with a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor that revs and accelerates well in the low and mid-range a little slugger. 

With a 6-Speed gearbox and max-power range of 10,000 RPM and a torque-peak at 8k, the CB125R is a popular choice for new riders. Its performance is efficiency and reliability-oriented, rather than a high-revving mini-stunt bike. 

In 2021 Honda gave the CB125R a total overhaul complete with an engine upgrade and re-tune, but just how long does a Honda CB125R last?

Here’s the short answer to how long a Honda CB125R lasts?

A Honda CB125R can last for over 60,000 miles under responsible owner riding, storage, and upkeep habits. The CB125R is considered a learner bike; harsh beginner etiquette leaves the used market to deem a CB125R high-mileage at 35,000 miles, though a well-kept Honda will last for 20 years.  

How Many Miles Do You Get on a Honda CB125R?

You can get over 60,000 miles on a Honda CB125R if you maintain it via preventative upkeep and routine services and inspections per the guidelines provided by Honda in the owner’s manual. Observing the break-in period can extend the bike’s life even further. 

Although the CB125R has only been teaching young bucks to bike since 2018, its design is rooted in the classic entry-level cafe racer, the CB125. 

The original CB125 was legendarily reliable and lasted for decades. There are still 80s models on the road today.

The contemporary 125R integrates what the predecessor did well with modern advances and understandings based on this antique stellar technology.

Below are a few testimonies from real-life CB125 owners:

  1. I did preventative and regular maintenance [on my CB125] and still pulls like new even after almost 50k km of hard riding. Follow your break-in procedure… and use good engine oil–I like Motul. In fact, [I] just did my every three-year engine flush and replaced it with some lovely cherry stuff from Motul. Also, don’t forget to replace your oil filters. If you do all this, it will last ten years easy.
  2. Follow the maintenance schedule that’s there in the manual. If you take good care of it, including preventative maintenance, then it’ll outlast you.
  3. If it’s been serviced and the engine isn’t showing signs of wear – it starts cold, starts hot, doesn’t puff a wisp of blue smoke at any point. Then have a look at everything else – see how well that’s been looked after. It’s not the engine in a 125 worth worrying about; they’re tiny, cheap, and quick to replace.

What Is Considered High Mileage for These Models?

A CB125R with more than 25,000 miles on it is considered high-mileage by the used market, primarily since it’s marketed as a beginner’s learning bike. Beginner bikes are typically ridden hard, lugged in high gears, high revved in low gears, stalled, dropped, and stunted, incurring damage more quickly.

That said, an essential aspect to consider when determining a Honda CB125R’s lifespan is how the prior owners rode the bike. 

All the destructive learning-curve behavior mentioned above can happen in the bike’s first 1,000 miles–500 miles after the bike’s break-in period has already ended. 

This means a CB125R with 1,000 miles on the clock and one with 15,000 miles might have incurred the same wear-and-tear.

  • The high-mile consideration is based only on the bike’s odometer reading, but a low mile reading doesn’t guarantee the engine is in like-new condition. 
  • If you’re window-shopping a used CB125R, inquire into the little dude’s history to make sure it’s worth the purchase.  
  • Anything above 25,000 miles on a bike is considered high in the used market value assessment reference tools. 
  • However, various other factors are more vital in assessing the life expectancy of the CB125R in buying a used motorcycle.

On the positive side of this equation, if you’re looking at a CB125R with 38k on the clock but it’s been broken in properly, stored, and ridden per Honda’s spec and serviced according to the recommended intervals, you could get a good deal on a bike that has 20 years of life left.

Related: 3 Most-Common Problems With Honda CB125R

How Many Years Does a Honda CB125R Typically Last?

A well-kept Honda CB125R will likely last 20+ years. While a Honda CB125R has only been on the road in its current form since 2018, the CB125 it’s based on was in production back in the 70s, and there are still vintage models on the road to this day.

Just like with mileage, the number of years your CB125R will last is subject to owner tendencies. 

  • Hondas like the CB125R have been on the road for over 30 years with regular maintenance.  
  • By the same token, a 2018 CB125R that’s used as a mini stunt bike and revved high to pop wheelies could fail within five years, particularly if the owner neglects it after all that hard riding. 

Is the Honda CB125R Reliable?

The Honda CB125R is talked about as one of the most reliable learner motorcycles on the market today.

Its liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine isn’t the hardest-pushing in the class; it’s tuned to be reliable, efficient, and to perform consistently for a long time.

Honda’s premier attempt at the perfect 125 is comfortable and easy to ride; its reputation for durability and reliability proceeds it.

The CB125R’s reputation for reliability begins with the consistent engine performance and the bike’s overall quality build–even accessories like its mirrors, switches, and foot controls are built up to Honda’s famously meticulous standards. 

A quick sweep of the Honda CB forums and online consumer reports will show rave reviews of 125R riders who celebrate their little colt’s reliability. 

That said, no bike is perfect. 

Motorcycle News had the following blurb to report:

The single-cylinder engine is well tried and tested, too, with no significant problems reported at all.

But it’s not perfect. When we first tested the CB125R on its press launch in Portugal, on a few occasions, the transmission mysteriously refused to click from neutral into first gear. At the time, we put it down to being a ‘sticky,’ low mileage, pre-production machine, and we haven’t heard of any owner complaints since, so we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Does a Honda CB125R Last Longer Than Other Motorcycles?

The Honda CB125R lasts longer than other bikes in its class thanks to the economic nature of its performance-tuned 125cc motor.

While most 125s are tuned for at high revs at full throttle, the CB125R’s motor has power in the low and mid ranges with peak torque at 8k RPMs, incurring less wear and tear than some of its competitors.

The CB125R’s engine is a single-cylinder–straightforward, inexpensive, and dependable; it’s built to last.

  • Some of the 125s on the market are more complex in design, using variously arranged twin cylinders in some cases. 
  • The secret to the longevity of the classic CB125 was its simplistic engine design, and the modern iteration CB125R only improves on the straightforward engineering with contemporary technologies and mechanical understandings.

Related: How Long Do Honda CBR150Rs Last? 3 Examples

What Typically Breaks First on a Honda CB125R?

The first thing to malfunction on a Honda CB125R is the transmission when shifting from neutral into first, primarily during the 500 mile break-in period of the motorcycle.

Breaking in a new bike is a delicate process, especially on a learner bike like the CB125R, which has a new rider.

Honda specifies the proper break-in procedure for the CB125R in its owner’s manual. Adhering to the appropriate break-in procedure gives the transmission gears and engine pistons time to acclimate, warm up, and expand to the spec size needed for the 125R to provide dependable performance for the long run. 

Note: The CB125R is a popular bike for beginners. While some of the consumer reports outlining difficulty shifting seem to indicate user error, others lead us to believe it’s just new riders adjusting to a standard break-in period bike mechanics.  

Related: How Long Do Honda CB500Fs Last? 5 Examples

4 Great Tips to Make Sure Your Honda CB125R Will Last Long

Here are four tips to help you extend the life of your Honda CB125R:

1. Keep Your CB125R Clean With Honda-Suggested Techniques

Keeping your Honda CB125R clean not only protects your stylish finish but also allows you to inspect your Honda for oil or brake fluid leaks, wear and tear, frayed clutch cables, body or engine damage, etc.

That said, improper cleaning techniques can cause more harm than good. 

  • Don’t use cleaning or detailing products intended for use on cars as they often contain additives corrosive to the chrome, metal, plastics, and paint used on motorcycles. 
  • Wash the bike while it’s cooled off, not hot after use. 
  • Avoid high-pressure water sprays as they can damage some of your CB125R’s finer components. 

2. Remove Road Salt After Riding

Salt can be as corrosive to vehicles as anything they get exposed to, especially the stuff they use during winter road-gritting–it’s intended to corrode through snow and ice.

Make sure you get that stuff off your 125R, paying mind to the following:

  • Wash with cool water only. Don’t use warm water, as it’ll interact with the salt to cause even more damage. 
  • Dry your CB125R properly, applying Honda-recommended spray-on or wax protectors to the vulnerable metal surfaces.
  • Take care not to spray water onto the bearings, as this can create humidity, which leads to rusting and other forms of corrosion. 

3. Perform Responsible Owner UpKeep

  • Perform routine services, including lubrication and inspection, per the Honda-spec intervals outlined in the maintenance schedule of the CB1255R’s owner’s manual. You can do this at home with the proper tools by following the checklist, or you can have a Honda technician perform this at the dealership. 
  • Before extended storage periods, aid the winterization process by spraying down your CB125R’s non-painted aluminum components, like motor and transmission casing, using a Honda-approved clear protective coating. 
  • Clean and reinforce any bare metal components with Honda-recommended chromium polish to purge the precious chrome of any existing rust marks with steel wool soaked in soapy water.
  • Maintain the seat, dashboard, indicators, rear light, and windscreen with a neutral soap and water mix. Avoid hitting your CB125R with any cleaners with additives, including car cleaners. 
  • Engine components that get gnarly with dead bugs, road debris, and weather corrosion can be protected by treating them with waxes and lubricants ahead of time.  

4. Ride Regularly and Responsibly

While the Honda CB125R is talked about as one of the most reliable and long-standing entry-level naked cafes in the world, it is still a beginner’s bike.

Mind the bike’s break-in period during the first 500-1,000 miles, carefully following Honda’s spec instructions.

Try to break the bike in before you attempt any technical or high-revving riding.

Master the basics, and learn to shift at appropriate RPMs before attempting aggressive rip-roaring that pushes your 125R to its limits, and you’ll enjoy a long life on this entry-level motorcycle.

When you graduate to something more advanced, you’ll have to hand a new newbie a well-known, reliable bike to learn on.


HONDA CB125R (2018 – 2020) Review |

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