I love the Grom, there I said it. Honda’s crazy little machine just makes me smile every time I look at one. Does it make sense? Nope. Is it fast? In the corners, it can be. Do I need my motorcycle license to ride one? Yes, you sure do.
Is it a good bike to learn on? Now that is a challenging question. I am writing this article and others, to share my honest thoughts from over 30 years of riding on what sorts of bikes are wise purchases for new riders. The Grom is a bike you buy because it is just fun. It is an easy bike to ride around and have a blast with but only some of the skills you develop truly crossover to large displacement bikes.
Indulge me, and I will do my best to explain all that is the Honda Grom.
Our Take: Why You Should Buy a Honda Grom
Introduced by Honda in 2014, the Grom seemed to be Honda’s way of saying, it’s still okay to be a kid at heart. Buyers responded, finding a Grom on the showroom floor was tough, and finding one for MSRP even harder. Luckily, it’s still a part of the current Honda lineup.
Making just 10 hp, it is clear that the Grom is not a rocket, but it gets away smartly from traffic lights being just 229 lbs. Where the strength of the Grom really shows up is the cornering abilities. The front is a 31mm telescopic inverted fork with nearly 4” of travel, and the rear mono-shock provides just a bit over 4” of travel, together they dig the 12-inch tires through corners like you are in the MotoGP. The term “tossable” was invented to describe the Grom, it transitions side to side with just a thought.
The Grom may be small but it has ergonomics meant for adults. Straddling the 125cc fuel-injected single-cylinder engine riders discover bars that sit you nicely upright, and with pegs that only begin to feel crowded to the over 6’ crowd. Not that you will look down much but Honda provides an LCD digital dash that includes a speedometer, odometer, clock, and fuel gauge.
Speaking of a fuel gauge, I keep wondering if you even need one with the Grom. The 125cc mill is a total fuel sipper, even when you are wringing it hard. The Grom deliveries 134 mpg! This translates to about a 200-mile range from the 1.5-gallon tank, and about $5 bucks for a fill.
Back to my initial question, is the Grom a good bike to learn on? Yes, it is a great bike to get the basics down. Improving clutch control, gain cornering skills, learning to modulate the brakes, the Grom is a great platform for these skills. Should you buy one? If it’s going to be the only bike you own, I would say no, the limitations outweigh the fun factor. As a second bike? Heck yes, sign me up.
Bottom line: The Grom is an absolute blast to ride. The ergonomics suit a wide range of adults, making the bike very approachable. The 125cc engine gets the job done, but the handling, braking, and fuel economy will keep you smiling. As a new rider, I would have a great time improving my skills on a Grom but it doesn’t make much sense as a primary bike. Buy a Honda Grom as a second bike, and you will have more fun than should be legal.
Reasons to buy the Trail 125:
It is fun on wheels.
134 mpg, enough said.
Great cornering abilities.
Not intimidating at all.
4 gears and a clutch, perfect for learning.
Reasons not to buy the Trail 125:
Not safe for the freeway, top speed is 55mph.
Not ideal if it is your only motorcycle.
Production Run & Notable Model-Year Changes
Production Run & Model Generations
First Generation (2014-2020) Grom – MSX125
The backbone of the Honda Mini-Moto bikes (which also includes the Trail CT125, the legendary Monkey, and the Super Cub) the 125cc fuel-injected single-cylinder engine Grom is good for 10 hp and matches well to the slick 4-speed manual gearbox.
Weighing just 229lb, with ergonomics for a wide range of riders, the Honda Grom delivered an outstanding 134 mpg. The 29.9 seat height sits above 12” wheels and comes to a halt via a single 220mm front disc with a dual-piston caliper and a 190mm rear disc with a single-piston caliper. ABS braking is optional.
Pricing was $2,999 USD
Second Generation (2022-) Grom – MSX125
Revised for 2022, the Honda Grom receives a longer-stroke motor with a 50mm bore and 63.1mm stroke (from 52.4 by 57.9 mm) and a 10:1 compression ratio (from 9.3:1). The transmission gets a fifth gear so it can fully utilize the new 38-tooth rear sprocket and have a broader spread of power.
Increased fuel capacity of 1.59 gal, and a new LCD display which adds a tachometer and gear position indicator.
Owner Reviews of the Honda Grom
Press & Magazines
2014 Honda Grom MSX 125 | First Ride Review
“The Grom has no aspirations of freeway riding, but it is lively in town and, with a wheelbase just short of four feet, it can flick like probably nothing you’ve ever ridden. Yet even with this abbreviated wheelbase, the Grom was stable all the way to its top speed and the 12” wheels worked well with the whole setup of the bike. The only learning curve on the Grom is how fast it will turn, especially at slow speeds and riders seem to become accustomed to it within the first mile or so.”
“With android-like styling and chubby tires on 12-inch wheels, the Grom looks downright playful. A friendly, unintimidating appearance is important for many new riders who are already scared witless trying to coordinate throttling, shifting, braking and leaning. I spent a few hours on a Grom, and even though I’m 6-foot, 2-inches, and 200 pounds, it didn’t feel like I was riding a minibike.”
“The Grom reaches 50 miles an hour pretty quickly on level ground. If you’re on your own, the next few mph come slowly. I saw 65 on the speedo when drafting, at which point the shift light was on in top gear. The red line is about 8,250 rpm, but after 7,500, torque’s definitely falling off.”
Reliability – It’s a Honda, what else can I say? They just never seem to break.
Fuel efficiency & range – getting up to 134 mpg
Corning has you feeling like a MotoGP rider
The price, under $3,000
What Owners Complain About
You have no preload adjustability on the suspension.
People asking if you are riding a kids bike
The Bottom Line
The Honda Grom is a lot of fun. No really, a lot of fun. Thanks to a proper clutch and 4-speed gearbox, it is a good bike for new riders to figure out the basics, but so are a host of other bikes. If you are wanting to purchase just one bike and expect to ride longer trips and possibly with a passenger, then the Groms 125cc’s and 12’ wheels will limit those abilities.
The Grom is a bike you buy to round out the fun factor of your current garage. In that role, it’s hard to beat this fantastic little Honda.