Honda SH 125i scooter test


Euro5 engine with pep, traction control, start and stop, Smartbox, keyless system, reduced consumption

Daily test over 15 days

The Honda SH has been a story since 1984, when the range was born, even if it wasn’t until the 2000s that the 125 version arrived.. And if we can think that a scooter evolves little year after year, this is not the case with the winged manufacturer who regularly evolves his scooter with large wheels, almost every two years, that is to say more frequently than his sporty Fireblade. CBR 1000 RR-R! This is a paradox at first sight.

But it must be said that the SH 125 is sold almost in 20,000 copies each year in Europe which represents the vast majority of sales, which is far more than the sports car and especially in Italy. Yes, if large-wheeled scooters are not very popular in France, they are the biggest sales in Italy and in many Asian countries. Suddenly, yes, the SH 125 is not a simple scooter but a real standard for the brand which explains the care given to it at very regular intervals. But what explains such success, year after year. And does the 2020 version bring something more apart from being Euro5 now? We took it for two weeks to use it on a daily basis. Test.

Honda SH 125i vintage 2020Honda SH 125i vintage 2020


The SH 125 therefore returns in 2019 (vintage 2020), after a significant evolution in 2017 but also in 2015, for what could be essentially a Euro5 upgrade with new injection settings and a new catalyst. But it is not. The changes go much further with a redesigned skin, increased storage, revised rear geometry.

LED lightingLED lighting

You can easily recognize an SH from other large wheel scooters. But compared to the three previous versions, we recognize it so much that it takes a trained eye to notice the differences. We thus find the same general lines, the same LED lights at the front and rear and identical dimensions (except the wheelbase) and the same overall finish, especially in terms of plastics, quality. Honda affirms that the line has been modernized and there are indeed some lines a little more tense compared to the old modern without this really revolutionizing the design. It remains consensual and above all very urban, you see my dear! But the important thing often lies in the detail and there, on the other hand, the new vintage brings its share of details, for some visible others well hidden under the fairing..

9.6 kW at 8,250 rpm9.6 kW at 8,250 rpm

And precisely, under the fairing, there is a new 124.5 cm3 eSP + (enhanced Smart Power) 4-stroke single-cylinder which now develops 12.3 horsepower, i.e. 0.4 more than in the previous vintage and obtained 250 rpm lower. The torque drops very noticeably from 11.5 to 11.4 Nm, but its maximum value is also reached 500 rpm lower. Honda claims that consumption is now 2.24 l / 100 km compared to the 2.5 l / 100 we saw in the previous test in 2017. The SH now has a limiting HSTC torque control system the losses of grip – a traction control in clear – which can be deactivated. However, in 2012, the SH already had an ESP engine and the start and stop !

Single cylinder, 4 stroke, single shaft and 4 valves, liquid cooledSingle cylinder, 4 stroke, single shaft and 4 valves, liquid cooled

Still under the fairing, the SH benefits from a new open frame made of steel tubes with the aim of increasing transport capacity. It must be said that the old model barely allowed to place a helmet. While there, we have more space, thanks to a new tank which now passes under the floor, leaving 10 liters of additional storage for a capacity of 28 liters. Suddenly, it is no longer necessary to lift the saddle to fill the tank, the latter being now accessible via a hatch opening onto the apron. Well, day to day, it’s still more practical too. On the other hand, we lost the front storage compartment !

In terms of details, we note an extended wheelbase of 13 mm and a weight significantly reduced from 400 g to 136.5 kg.

LED rear light and Smartbox top caseLED rear light and Smartbox top case

Less a detail, but the comfort has been improved thanks to a new geometry of the rear suspension which has shock absorbers adjustable on 5 levels of preload. Finally, we find the 16-inch aluminum rims now fitted with Michelin City Grip tires..

In the saddle

No change on the saddle height side, which remains at 799 mm. The driver therefore always puts just the tip of his feet on the ground. Rigs less than 1.70 will have difficulty touching the ground..

For those who were used to the old SH, he immediately sees the novelty: a new digital dashboard, modern and complete, compared to the old analog board. If we have to talk about modernity, it is really at the level of this dashboard more than at the level of the general look of the machine, which also benefits from the Smart Key contactless start which also allows to open the gas hatch. and the trunk. And as much, I found that it was a gadget in the past, year after year, I begin to get used to the daily pleasure brought by a transponder from day to day, which makes it possible not to take the key out of the jacket or the bag. (unless you need to open the top case).

It is undoubtedly this new dashboard that brings all its modernity to the 2020 vintage with a large screen and full of additional information compared to the old model. Speed ​​(but no tachometer) totalizer, partial double trip, average and instantaneous consumption, fuel gauge with five "sticks", clock, battery voltage as well as the traction control indicator, disconnectable via button B on the left stalk . On the other hand, the SH does not offer any connectivity with the smartphone with a mobile application, as a Medley can do. On the other hand, it loses in readability under the sun.

LCD dashboardLCD dashboard

The hands fall naturally on the handlebars with a pleasant position, especially since the flat floor offers plenty of room to position your feet as desired. There is also room between the saddle and the apron, which leaves plenty of room for the knees, including for the older ones. Far from being cramped, we have room, which is a real comfort on a daily basis. And we also have enough room on the saddle to step back and then have the bottom of the buttocks wedged against the slight "backrest".

The mirrors are easily adjusted, including while driving, providing good rearview.


The mono snorts in a soft and serious noise. The throttle grip is still just as sensitive, causing the scooter to start cleanly. The Start and Stop system is available almost from the first few hundred meters to switch off at a red light after four seconds. And it resumes almost instantaneously when the handle is pressed. It is undoubtedly one of the nicest systems on the market.

Natural riding position and knee roomNatural riding position and knee room

In the city

With a high saddle, the driver dominates the traffic, which makes the evolutions pleasant, especially since the handling is at the rendezvous, with an ultra-short turning radius, helped by a featherweight that gives the impression to be placed low and that one therefore does not feel, even during the evolutions at low speed. We forget the 136 kilos to zigzag or even twirl between the lines of stationary cars.

Exemplary handling in townExemplary handling in town

At a red light, the engine has a real pep that allows you to get out of the front line to get out of the flow of traffic without being caught. And we find ourselves very quickly above 50 km / h if we are not careful.

In fact, we do not feel the differences with the previous vintage, even if the power is increasing (from 8.98 to 9.2 kW). It must be said that 0.2 kW / 0.4 hp remain imperceptible but consolidate the position of the SH among the most dynamic engines in the category in terms of feeling, beyond the technical sheet, which nevertheless places it on par with other models. Like what, with two identical technical sheets in terms of horsepower and torque, the result can be completely different. The difference lies in the variator and its adjustments to the slope of the rollers and the force of the springs. But it is clear that Honda masters the subject with formidable efficiency for the category..

One of the nicest scooters in townOne of the nicest scooters in town

Arrived at the next red light, the engine is switched off with the Start and Stop and we appreciate this momentary silence. A simple push on the handle and the motor instantly restarts, with a sharper trigger than its competitor Medley. Honda actually has a Start and Stop system based on an alternator-starter and not a starter, which is both more efficient and draws less on the battery..


The SH 125 sets off dynamically on the highway, immediately reaching 100 km / h and then nibbling at 115 km / h km / h or even reaching 122 km / h once well launched on the flat. This is a good performance compared to models that suffocate well before, especially in duo or at the least odds, which is not the case with the Honda. It was already stable before at its maximum speed and this behavior has not changed, with exemplary stability at 122 km / h and this despite the top case, which often results in a shimmy, which is not the case here. . And as the protection remains good, no need to resort to a bubble, which may on the contrary cause the handlebars to float and less precision of the front axle..

A top speed of 122 km / hA top speed of 122 km / h

Even if the SH can do the highway, it will be largely overtaken and the small roads will be tranquility found. But in the meantime, compared to some 125s, at least, it can take the fast axes without being overtaken by trucks and that’s reassuring.

On small roads

Pleasant and dynamic in the city, the SH is therefore found naturally at ease on small roads, where it has enough pep to chain the virolos, without needing to be grip on the cleat. Number of 125 indeed oblige to keep the handle toc to have a few recoveries and here, one can allow oneself to let go of the throttle a little. The kilometers are swallowed up without seeing the time pass, share the driving position, overall comfort and driving pleasure. the engine is both smooth and dynamic, with real pickups and the reassuring side of bird consumption and a relatively silent aspect that allows you to appreciate the countryside.

High saddleHigh saddle


The braking offered by the single 240mm disc at the front and 240mm at the rear is up to the performance of the SH, with an excellent feeling, aided by power, controllable and without having to take the full hand brake handles. The bite is also good without being violent. The ABS is not very intrusive, including solo and you really have to take only the rear brake solo to be able to trigger it and again it is forgotten in the way to intervene. It is flawless which makes it possible to have a machine that is easy to learn and without the need for usual, including for a beginner. Efficiency is the key word here.

Single hydraulic disc & oslash; 240 x 4 mm with 2 piston caliper, ABS anti-lockSingle hydraulic disc ш 240 x 4 mm with 2 piston caliper, ABS anti-lock

Comfort / Duo

The saddle is comfortable but the suspension is firm, offering comfort on the road, but halfway between a Medley (more comfortable) and a much drier XMax. This improves markedly as a duo, once the suspensions are already under stress. On the other hand, the passenger being higher than the driver, there is a slight swaying effect which makes driving in a duo a little more delicate than with the Medley..

Comfortable saddle for solo and duo with the Smartbox backrest as a bonusComfortable saddle for solo and duo with the Smartbox backrest as a bonus

The retractable footrests are well placed and the top case offers a useful backrest.


I have always been consumer-skeptical with regard to the manufacturer’s consumption advertised at 2 liters when many 125s actually run at 4 liters. But it must be admitted that the HS is breaking fuel consumption records, capable even of going down town on the flat at less than 1 liter per hundred and of remaining at less than 3 liters per hundred at its maximum speed on the motorway, in instantaneous consumption. , even if the consumption can climb to 4 liters in duet side and the cleat. But indeed, the first stick of the fuel gauge goes out only after 100 kilometers, then 140 km for the second stick. The conso. average indicated by the on-board computer is then 2.0 l / 100 knowing that I rolled the knuckle systematically at start-up. The start and stop should allow to gain 0.1 l / 100 is not much in consumption, being more a guarantee of comfort when the noise of the engine stops at the red light. But in the end, the consumption stabilized at 2.1 liters on this test. And with a significantly smaller tank at 7 liters (against 7.5 previously), we thus have a range of around 320 kilometers..

The gas hatch is passed through the apron and is no longer under the saddleThe gas hatch is passed through the apron and is no longer under the saddle


There is finally a little more room under the saddle with now 28 liters, which allows to put an integral but especially now a small bag or a large handbag, helped by the bag hook of the apron.

The flat floor then is a real plus (the Medley does not have a flat floor), allowing to wedge a bag, secured to the hook of the apron or to carry a pack of six water bottles, which remain low. Everything is very practical for going shopping.

The fact remains that the top-case – Smartbox at Honda – remains an essential and that is good, since Honda now offers by default in 2020 a combo with a price of HS including by default the top-case of 35 liters. , in the same color and with a unique key. And there, we finally have the capacity to compete with the 125 scooters which can accommodate two helmets under the saddle like the Piaggio Medley. And above all, this top-case now locks with the transponder and therefore no longer requires the key (very late to use otherwise) but just a press on the small button placed under the top-case. You can naturally remove it and put it back on for a walk, thanks to its handle.

Space for a full face helmet under the saddle and a bagSpace for a full face helmet under the saddle and a bag

And we have the small USB socket under the saddle. We regret on the other hand, the disappearance of the storage compartment at the front. Pity.


The first service takes place at 1,000 km, the following ones taking place every 6,000 km (only the replacement of the oil but not the filter and inspection of the spark plug, idle speed, battery) and every 12,000 km (cleaning of the strainer engine oil and spark plug replacement) and transmission belt replacement at 24,000 km.

The test of the SH 125 in video


The main novelty of this 2020 vintage SH is essentially based on its increased storage capacity under the saddle, even if the engine is now Euro5, the model benefits from traction control and that we take into account its new dashboard. . But for the rest, we find the same scooter with large wheels with its large practical flat floor and behavior that is still as consistent year after year, helped by a particularly pleasant engine with real energy and braking at the height of performance. No revolution therefore, but points which still confirm its qualities and the reasons for a practical purchase (and reason) in 2020. The SH does much better than the Medley in terms of engine but does less well in terms of storage. We just regret a price increase to now 3,699 euros but with the Top-Case (Smartbox) against 3,529 euros previously and 3,290 euros in 2012, ie 50 euros increase per year; little compared to the evolutions, but what year after year drives up the final price despite everything. On the other hand, there is only 100 euros difference with the 2019 model without top-case and euro4 which should not even make you hesitate a second to choose the 2020 vintage (excluding dealer discounts on the latest models). 2019 models).

Strong points

  • motor
  • drink
  • keyless system including top case

Weak points

  • place under the saddle
  • no empty pocket

Honda SH 125i technical sheet

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: town + small varied roads + interurban highways
  • Scooter mileage: 300 km

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