She has everything a great !
After six years of good and loyal service, the Honda Varadero 125 has evolved aesthetically and switched to injection in 2007. Has the GT plus 125cc been able to retain the versatility and consistency that made it so successful? Test.
Appeared in 2001, the Honda Varadero 125 immediately established itself as the most road-going one-eighth of a liter motorcycle.
With its rewarding size and voluntary engine, it offers real travel skills for bikers who do not have the time, money or courage to pass the A license.
But the little Honda also shows off its ease of trailering in the streets of cities, where it feels like a fish in water! Despite an elitist price for this displacement, the Varadero therefore sold well (it is even the "exception" among the 125s, read), because it meets a real expectation of the market.
What strikes you from the first glance at the new Varadero 125 is its successful facelift. While his size remains the same, his lines are smoother and more in tune with the times.
The Honda trades its single headlight for a more aggressive double lens. It retains its integrated turn signals, but their shape is sharper and they are now colorless. It looks particularly elegant on the burgundy dress of our test machine (2007 model). The 2008 colors are metallic gray, black and beige more sober, as well as a very new yellow "Transalp".
The swingarm changes from gray to black, while the three-spoke rims change from black to gray. The rear shell has also been retouched with its light which includes the also translucent indicators.
The general line of the new Varadero is therefore smoother and more aggressive, but the fairing seems less protective. The finish remains exemplary.
Just more of the same !
The Varadero sports a new dashboard that is more rewarding than that of its predecessor, but unfortunately not richer by the information displayed !
Considering the road vocation of this machine, it is indeed regrettable that Honda did not equip it with a fuel gauge … It is all the more incomprehensible that this measure is present on the CBR 125, that the brand sells however almost twice cheaper !
There is also no call button or center stand, but the latter is still available as an option. The mirrors, previously attached to the handlebars, are now attached to the fairing. Although further from the pilot, they do not provide a better viewing angle. As for the new rack, quite monumental, it gives the machine an excellent loading capacity..
The vagaries of Euro 3
The other major development of the new Varadero 125 is its switch from carburettor fueled to PGM-FI electronic fuel injection, so dear to the winged brand..
This change was necessary to meet increasingly demanding Euro3 standards to protect the environment. With its catalytic converter combined with its HECS3 antipollution system, the little Honda is now a model of cleanliness !
In addition, the switch to injection makes cold starts less tedious: no need to search for the choke pull tab placed between the two cylinders with your gloved fingertips, idling is controlled by electronics.
Like the big ones
The Varadero 125 will suit the greatest number despite its saddle height of 800 mm, intimidating at first glance! In fact, as soon as you get into the saddle, the bike settles a bit on its suspensions, which saves an inch or two.
The "little" Honda is then completely accessible to people measuring 1.70 m. Its saddle, wide, soft and well designed, ensures good comfort for hours.
The weight, quite substantial for a 125, is still manageable, including by beginners. The balance and neutrality of the cycle part will help them a lot. The upright position is very natural. The handlebars are not too wide and the legs are not very bent, which will also be suitable for large riders.
Easy in town
Tackling town, the Varadero 125 will showcase the ease and obviousness that characterize light trails. With its thin front tire and excellent turning radius, the Honda is a real bike.
Sitting upright and high, the pilot has a good field of vision which allows him to navigate through traffic jams.
Braking is efficient and reassuring: it offers good bite without being too violent for the uninitiated. Because it is often when braking that they are surprised by blocking the front wheel in the rain, for example…
Considering the generalization of ABS, including on small engines, it is very unfortunate that Honda does not offer it on its small Varadero, even as an option !
Salvation point under 6,000 rpm
Fortunately, the clutch and the gearbox of the Varadero 125 are free from any reproach, because they are damn stressed in town !
This latest version, equipped with injection, is indeed very hollow below 6000 rpm. At this speed, the small V-twin starts to come to life nicely, but it only really starts to accelerate between 8,000 and 12,000 rpm..
In built-up areas, the Varadero 125 therefore involves knitting a lot of the gearbox to keep the engine above 6000 rpm. We are a long way from the urban efficiency of recent 125 scooters, which start like bullets on a green light … To keep up with the pace, the Varadero 125 pilot will really have to "spit in the pognes" !
The road is his domain !
However, as soon as the horizon clears and the axles become smoother, the Varadero regains the advantage over all scooters and other 125cc motorcycles. It emphasizes the breath of its engine in the towers ensuring a good cruising speed of 120 km / h which can drop to 110 uphill or with wind..
During a descent, the engine can even "break" at 130 km / h in 5th gear. If these speeds allow small connections on the motorway, they mainly allow crossing on the road in complete safety, while keeping a good reserve of acceleration to overtake a truck, for example..
Injection requires, the pleasant little noise of the old model has been replaced by a fairly electric sound, all the more accentuated as you have to whip the engine high in the revs.
If it looks great, the Varadero 125 also has it on the road. The cycle part offers an excellent compromise between comfort and handling. The fork is well cushioned, but does not dive excessively under braking.
Heading is very reassuring, whether on good or bad surfaces. Only the strong side wind, encountered during our test, can affect handling. Indeed, the motorcycle is high and sufficiently streamlined to offer a fairly sensitive grip to the wind..
If it is stable and healthy, the little Honda can also be lively, easy and intuitive. She easily forgives approximation and improvisation, which is essential for a machine likely to be bought by novices !
The Varadero 125 really makes it possible to lengthen the stages and the general comfort felt on board is really above average. Only the protection of the small windshield can be improved: the problem is solved by investing in a higher adaptable screen.
The astounding autonomy makes it easy to exceed 300 km. The duo can also be considered without problem. If it will drop the cruising speed a little, it will be done in comfort and serenity at all times.
The luggage rack offers nice handles and the comfort of the passenger seat is very good. For solo travelers, the motorcycle is very easy to load and allows you to carry a large bag. The only regret for city dwellers, the space under the saddle is a bit tight to slip in anything other than the Honda U-lock with very specific dimensions.
Expensive, but fine !
The new Varadero 125 therefore takes up with dignity the torch of its predecessor. It retains the great driving skills that make this machine unique on the 125 cc motorcycle market, accessible with the car license..
We just regret that the switch to injection has made the engine a little less torquey, and the price remains elitist. Sold for 4,999 euros without ABS, without center stand and without fuel gauge, the little Honda is still expensive for a 125! But the Varadero being alone in its niche, it will for sure continue its brilliant career !
All Tests – The HRC in your garage! – Used HONDA
The HRC in your garage ! In the turmoil of hypersport production, the battle rages on. Kawasaki ZX-10R, Yamaha YZF 1000 R1, Suzuki GSX-R 1000 … In…
All Essays – Kind, serious and angry! – Used SUZUKI
Kind, serious and angry ! It was finally dead last, years after the Hornet and the Fazer, that Suzuki joined the club of sporty 600 roadsters of (around)…
All Tests – To put in all hands! – Used HONDA
To put in all hands ! With the new CBF600, Honda is particularly targeting new bikers or those returning to motorcycling. Practicalities and ease of use…
All Tests – Even Easier ?! – Used HONDA
Even easier ?! As much to prevent immediately: the CBF600 wants to be obvious to drive, practical and docile. Whether thrill-seekers go their way, this…
On the road of the worlds – Motorcycle tour in Mongolia – Stage 2: from Lucerne (Switzerland) to Istanbul (Turkey) – Used HONDA
Motorcycle tour in Mongolia – Stage 2: from Lucerne (Switzerland) to Istanbul (Turkey) Second episode of Enzo’s motorcycle trip to Mongolia to be seen on…
All Tests – New for beginners – Used HONDA
New for beginners Victim of anti-pollution standards, the CB 500 leaves the catalog after having scoured the roads, motorcycle schools and circuits for…
Trail – The Transalp continues its road … – Used HONDA
The Transalp continues its road … Twenty years after the launch of the Transalp 600, Honda returns to the Col de la Bonette to present its new trail:…
All Tests – Batman loaned us his low-rider! – Used HONDA
Batman lent us his low-rider ! When he is not called in urgently to rescue the widow and the orphan , Batman enjoys cruising the streets of Gotham City…
Road – An iron fist in a velvet four-legged – Used HONDA
An iron fist in a velvet four-legged The road version of the CB 1300 Naked, the streamlined version offers serious advantages: its finish, its ergonomics…
Roadster – The most successful vintage – Used HONDA
The most successful vintage By choosing to revamp its 600 Hornet again in 2005, Honda is working to restore the image of its sales bestseller for a…