As you know, I'm more of a scooter expert around here. However, I gladly accepted my editor's offer to try out and review the 2014 Honda Grom, which is primarily a small motorcycle designed for beginners and teenagers. Reliable, user-friendly and easy to ride, it also turns heads with its miniature Buell styling.
is very accessible thanks to a low, flat seat that allows you to quickly find a good riding position. The controls are within easy reach and a breeze to master, although the angle of the rear brake pedal is awkward. Meanwhile, the minimalist instrument panel suits this machine quite well. The mirrors required some getting used to, but I did manage to set them in a way that eliminated blind spots (how about some larger mirrors, Honda?).
At 102kg, the super-lightweight Grom is effortless to manoeuvre, park, and store. Too bad there's no centre stand in addition to the side stand.
Forget about storage room under the seat; you'll have to carry a backpack anytime you plan to run errands or stay over at a friend's (that's why I much prefer scooters!). On the flip side, the Grom offers convenient access to the mechanical parts.
Torque to the rescue
The tiny 124.9cc single-cylinder engine that powers the 2014 Honda Grom is a decent performer overall. It likes to be revved up, but its biggest strength lies at lower revs: The generous torque ensures lively takeoffs around town.
The 4-speed gearbox is managed via a manual clutch. A fifth gear would make a huge difference here, because you must constantly shift gears to achieve what you want to do. Fortunately, the generous torque I was just talking about helps a lot when you come to a near-halt and start accelerating again. By the way, I didn't find the engine to be noisy, even at higher revs; it's pretty quiet, actually.
In the braking department, the Honda Grom uses a powerful 220mm disc/dual-piston calliper combo up front and a 190mm disc with single-piston calliper in the rear. Combining the two is tricky, however, since the rear brake is hard to modulate and definitely not as effective as the front one (I got tired of having to twist my ankle every time).
Safe and stable
|The tiny 124.9cc single-cylinder engine that powers the 2014 Honda Grom is a decent performer overall. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)
The 2014 Honda Grom feels at ease on the open road as much as in the city. Riding on 12” wheels, it does a nice job of soaking up bumps, cracks and potholes, while remaining stable at all times, even when you follow another vehicle. Although the Grom can reach a top speed of nearly 120 km/h, it prefers to stay in the 105-110km/hr range, which is fast enough to ride on byroads safely. Personally, I wouldn't venture onto busy highways.
The Grom is easy to start and get underway, but you still need to shift smoothly to merge with traffic and maintain your momentum, because the transmission doesn't like to be rushed. So, sit back, play it cool, and enjoy the show.
Like I said earlier, the size and shape of the rider's seat are perfect to find a good riding position and adjust your body depending on the conditions. However, my butt quickly went numb due to the firm padding. The passenger has it worse, though, with nothing but a teeny-weeny stretch of seat to rest on.
|Riding on 12” wheels, it does a nice job of soaking up bumps, cracks and potholes, while remaining stable at all times, even when you follow another vehicle. (Photo: Philippe Champoux)
I liked the 2014 Honda Grom's styling and handling, not to mention the ability to play with a manual clutch once again. Compact dimensions make it easy to thread through downtown traffic, while the chassis proves stable at high speeds. Still, considering the price, I'd opt for a CBR125R
($3,499) instead of the Grom ($3,199).
- Riding position
- Firm seat
- No storage
- Four-speed transmission