Easy to ride and very cheap to run, the Honda CG125 is a perennial favourite for both learner riders and commuter motorcyclists. First offered in 1976, the CG125 has gained a wholly deserved reputation for its bulletproof reliability and, being learner legal, is a popular choice for motorcycle training schools. Earliest models were produced in Japan but from 1985 onwards production moved to Honda plants in Brazil. Originally based on the CB125, the CG features an overhead valve single cylinder engine which despite its age is particularly fuel-efficient and requires little in the way of routine maintenance, apart from regular oil changes. Over the years, the basic design changed little. The electrics were uprated from 6 to 12 volt in 1985, an electronic ignition system was fitted from 1988, and 2001 models received the luxury of an electric starter. Major changes to the model came in 2004 when the bike received a much more efficient front disc brake, a slightly larger capacity fuel tank and a new more modern instrument panel incorporating a fuel gauge.
Still in production in Brazil (though with a redesigned overhead cam motor), the CG was superseded in 2009 by Honda’s new CBF125, though it remains a hugely popular choice on the used bike market with good examples always in demand. With its simple design and legendary reliability, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a good used CG125, but bear in mind that many will have had a hard life in the hands of learner riders and daily commuters. That said, parts prices (particularly consumable items such as tyres, brake pads and chains) are reasonably cheap and easily available. Look out for signs of accident damage, and though build quality is generally very good indeed, rust on exhausts and trim items is not unknown. Getting a potential purchase inspected before buying is always a good idea, but a cheap bike that needs no more than a good service can make a great buy. The venerable CG125 has spawned many cheap replicas (mostly Chinese manufactured). Although many of these look great value, tread carefully before you buy. Quality is not always the best and resale prices can be far lower than for a genuine Honda CG125.