Final: Honda Innova 125
How fast does a chain dog accelerate without a chain? Why do British motorcycle testers throw a bike off the fourth floor? Why do Asians ride motorcycles in flip-flops? And what does all of this have to do with the Honda Innova?
February 1998, somewhere in the Golden Triangle of Asia: I’m at the end of a tricky driveway with a 250cc hard enduro. Behind me lies a dirt track, furrowed by huge cracks, riddled with hip-deep holes and pail-sized stones. I’m proud as if I just won the Motocross World Championship. Sweat runs down my neck in small streams, silence weighs on the treetops. It’s noon, 33 degrees in the shade. A sound is approaching from a distance. An engine hum, stone chips on metal. Three minutes later he’s standing in front of me. He wears flip-flops, shorts, a shirt and a tattered hat. He drives a 125cc Honda with an aluminum box the size of a doghouse on the pillion seat. The sun stings. Dust clouds the air. He folds up the box and reaches into it: “Icecream,” he says, “Vanilla chocolate. Cheap, mister. “
Ice cream seller at the end of the world. On a route where distances between towns are not given in kilometers but in hours. On a route that would ennoble many a German enduro run. On a two-wheeled thing with a four-stroke engine that looks like a scooter but is basically a motorcycle. A funny vehicle that you would never offer in Germany. I thought then.
February 2008, southern France. You want to try. The little one is called Innova in Germany, and Honda simply pushed it into the van for the MOTORRAD test team. What is easily possible with her. The 125 is almost as narrow as a bicycle and weighs a ridiculous 106 kilograms. Full tank, of course. Some colleagues bend over with laughter. In addition to Fireblade and the like, the box looks like a herring in a school of sharks. Colleague Jacko, stunt driver at PS, says: »You, for sure, that’s the goat you threw from the fourth floor for a report. The rims were scrap metal, but the thing just kept bobbing. Came on TV. ”Within five decades, the Honda fought for the title“ almost indestructible ”- which the British unceremoniously checked in their own way … How this myth came about is obvious. At least for anyone who has been to Asia for a day.
When it debuted in 1958, the Honda was just 49 cubic meters and was named Cub. That stood for “cheap urban bike”. The Cub and its successors have been sold over 50 million times worldwide to date. World record! No other motor vehicle has ever reached this number. And it seems that the entire world production is rolling on the streets of Asia. Usually occupied by three to four people, often equipped with gigantic, self-made sidecars, on which up to thirty gas bottles are secured with string or a well-fed breeding boar is transported to relatives in the next town. Depending on the locksmith’s talent, these carriages are sometimes awesome, sometimes a weapon. A German TÜV officer would have a heartbeat.
That’s why they have around nine horsepower I.nnova also regulated for Germany: 170 kilograms payload, top around 100 km / h. The only difference to the Asia models: injection instead of carburetor. And of course the price. While the box in Thailand goes over the counter for the equivalent of 900 euros, Honda Germany demands 1850 euros. Are transports with container ships that expensive? No matter. She is there. I’m really happy.
The 125cc has a low step-through, which even allows my 67-year-old mother to swing onto the saddle. Kick starter, electric starter, both available. Clutch lever? Nothing. The little one has a semi-automatic four-speed transmission. All aisles down. Goes even with slippers. Because a rocker is used to switch back. So in it and gas. Aha, that electric motor feeling. You can seemingly keep turning the four-stroke engine. And turn, turn. In practice this means: 40 km / h in the first, 60 in the second, 85 in the third. Just let go of the gas and kick down the next gear. In the fourth, disappointment spreads. Somehow nothing happens. At least nothing when you compare that to what happens in the first three courses. Has Honda throttled the box? Has the ignition timing taken back, the injection quantity reduced? I should ask urgently.
50 kilometers later: the fuel gauge has six bars. The first has only now disappeared. Huh? Just 3.9 liters go into the tank. That is impossible. I should turn the gas more researcher. I have to do it shortly afterwards. Less than ten kilometers later, the little one rolls over a better beaten path to a farm…
There are things between heaven and earth that you simply have “in your left toe” (quote from a colleague). Some smell them too. Let’s call it premonition. The homestead is remote. Coincidence? Rather not. Because that’s exactly what the people who live there love. And their animals. When I see the little hut, it’s almost too late. Its resident is a chain dog without a chain. And it’s already on the approach. Fire in the neck, heart in the throat.
Rear brake, drum, 110 millimeters. Step in full, turn 180 degrees. Full throttle! Damn it, the third one in there. Shift down, oh, oh, oh, wrong shift scheme. Wait a minute, the dog doesn‘t bark. A proof of love? Look over the shoulder: No! He bares his teeth. First course, finally reeled in. Turn out, second gear. I don’t dare look back, hear the dog gasp. Wait, where exactly was that treacherous bump? Too late. At 60 km / h I rush in, take off, and land an estimated six meters further in the green. Suspension travel: 116 millimeters at the front, 90 at the rear. It pops. I lurch, the rear wheel almost overtakes me. But it’s going well. And continue as quickly as possible. Tight turn, very tight. Anchor in. Bad headline: Two-piston caliper attacks 220 mm disc. How fast does a chainless chain dog accelerate, when does it give up? The path becomes straight, good asphalt, fourth gear. Danger over. Phew! First breathe out. We are still in France for three days. That should be enough to run the tank empty.
Four days later in the editorial office. I chased through almost the entire 3.9 liters. Full throttle around 80 percent. In this driving condition the Innova consumes 1.9 liters per 100 kilometers. But the test is not over yet. »Four people in Asia? The boss wants to know. So down to the underground car park. Five percent incline, three women, one driver. No problem. My report on curve radii, as small as manhole covers, thousands of overtaken inside and the transport practices practiced in Asia earned skepticism everywhere. And Honda knows nothing of a throttle.
By the way: In major German cities and on motorways there are different dangers lurking than on the meandering routes in southern France or in the Burmese jungle. After work: The Innova shoots between the metal boxes like an arrow to pole position. Okay, forbidden. But I just want to try it out … Now the Micker design is taking revenge. Every driver feels offended and suddenly suffers from a twitching accelerator when it turns red. To cut a long story short: If you are crouching between two Porsche Cayenne S or similar cars with 150 hp or more, it is best to pretend you can’t get into gear. Everything else will be embarrassing. For most cars, however, the nine point two horses are completely sufficient. Ratz, fatz, the first three gears are turned out, you are the winner. If, however, they take the winning photo of you in this situation, you will shell out 100 euros and get three points in Flensburg.
The Stuttgarter Weinsteige (an estimated eight percent gradient) takes the 125 cc leisurely, if not sporty. Then the surprise: In the Mohringer valley (around one percent gradient) the speedometer quickly struggles up to 110 km / h. Crouch slightly, let stand, wait. After a two-kilometer run-up, the speedometer shows a heroic 130 km / h. The box doesn’t even swing. madness!
Madness, says my four-year-old son Paul. Finally a motorcycle that he would like to ride right away. Following the Asian model. After that my weekend goes by. The vehicle that mobilizes the Third World, the dream of freedom and independence of billions of people, is slowly creeping onto my wish list. You can easily transport a crate of water between the paneling and the seat, the seating comfort is suitable for world travel, the handling is better than some cheap mountain bikes, and ultimately the Innova shines with the “optimal son-in-law bonus”. No matter where she appears, she is welcomed warmly. And you too.
It’s no different here than in Asia, where you can rent the little Honda on every corner for around three euros a day and you can be sure to get spare parts for it even at the end of the most remote jungle track. By the way: Why do Asians usually only drive one-handed and make phone calls on the side? Because they can.
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Data Honda Innova 125
Single-cylinder four-stroke engine, displacement 125 cm³, bore 52.4 mm, stroke 57.8 mm, two valves, injection, centrifugal clutch, four-speed gearbox.
Steel tubular frame, 26 mm telescopic fork, steel swing arm with spring struts, front disc brake, Ø 220 mm, rear drum brake, Ø 110 mm, tires f / h 70 / 100-17, 80 / 90-17.
Mass and weight:
Wheelbase 1240 mm, steering head angle 64 degrees, seat height 770 mm, weight 106 kg.
Price: 1850 euros without additional costs
The first model, the Super Cub (49 cm³, four hp) from 1958, was equipped with a four-stroke engine. His grandchildren are currently manufactured in 13 countries and are available in 160 countries. In 2006 one owner drove 146 kilometers on one liter of fuel? As record-breaking as the number of units sold: over 50 million
Used Honda Innova 125 in Germany
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Used Honda Innova 125 near you.
Even if the Honda Innova 125 is not an exotic super sports car, it can be described as a real rarity on our roads. The same goes for the used market, where you will rarely find a Honda Innova for sale. Here you can see whether a copy is for sale in your area: used Honda Innova 125 in Germany.
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