So with Kawasaki bringing a mini-machine to the market that was once all Honda’s, things have been up in a frenzy. Companies rushing to get in on the aftermarket scene, manufacturers leaking “spy shots” of other small CC bikes, and more importantly all the comparisons between the two. Let’s face it, both the Grom and Z125 are bikes anyone would be happy to own. Both bikes have their flaws, and both are very similar and different from each other in their own respective ways. A lot of first ride reviews are tough to read for many reasons. Like a car salesmen selling the newest car on the lot, it seems very much like a “brochure”. What type of brake fluid is used, type of ignition used, what the engine and oil pan are made from, and other useless information. In the end you are still left trying to figure out which bike suits you outside of a parking lot with cones.
A little bit of information about each bike we used can be found below
|Bike Spec||Honda Grom||Kawasaki Z125|
|Exhaust||Stock exhaust with airbox mod||Completely stock system|
|Gearing||-1 in front sprocket||Stock|
|Tires||Mitas Soft Compound Sizes 120/80/12(Rear) and 100/90/12(Front)||Dunlop TT93 Sizes 120/80/12(Rear) and 100/90/12(Front)|
|Braking||Stock pads and calipers. Core Moto Brake Lines||Stock pads, calipers, and lines.|
|Seat Height||29.7 in||31.7 in|
To begin, you cannot go wrong with either bike. We had a blast and often found ourselves switching bikes to keep it fresh and exciting. But as Bryan was quoted saying, “There were definitely some areas that I found each bike was stronger in.” Right off of the bat when you’re looking at both bikes, the Z seems to be a bit taller and a bit more narrow. The Grom looks inviting and fun, the Z on the other hand looks like it’s ready to go shred some tires up. The Grom has low positioned rearsets that allow taller riders to have no issues at all. The Z sports rearsets that are about 2-3 inches higher and make riding this bike a little tougher if you are taller than 6′. Once you start riding, the two bikes couldn’t feel anymore different from each other with the exception of power (or lack of). Both bikes shift smoothly, are very peppy for 125CC machines, and can be dropped and will be ready to get back up and go. With both bikes weighing in just under 230 lbs, they are extremely easy to flick around and never feel like you’re not in control. An extended rider seat with room on the back for a passenger or small cargo, makes for quite the entertainment seeing some 2-up on one of these bikes. As Bryan said, “The brakes of each bike performed excellently throughout the day with very little fade from either. The Z’s brakes take a second to bite but once they do, the brakes felt very strong.I did notice I was able to get the Grom stopped quicker which may be due to the Core Moto Brake Lines installed”
One of the biggest differences in the bikes that both Bryan and myself noticed was suspension. The Groms stock suspension is border line horrible – and that’s being polite. The front forks tend to bottom out from time to time and rear shock is a complete pogo stick in any riding condition. The Z125 felt much more planted and in tune with the road leaving you wanting to go faster and smoother. Bryan wrapped up the day with the following.
“One last complaint, and probably my biggest issue with either of the bikes came down to vibrations. I could not run the Grom for more than 20-25 minutes without my hands going completely numb from the vibrations of the engine and this would be the deciding factor for me if I were to have to choose between the two. The vibrations were so intense that there was even a session going up against the Z that I had to retire from because I was worried I wouldn’t know how hard I was braking and I could potentially hit my coworker on his new beautiful Z. Overall I felt I was able to go slightly quicker on the Grom since I was able to hold my momentum just a tiny bit better. With that being said, with a slight change of foot position and handle bars, I think I would have been much faster on the Z just due to the fact that it felt that much more planted and stable with its stiffer suspension.”
We were able to get some private track time and ended up “racing” both of these guys against each other. The Z was slower off the line but ended up over-taking and coming in first in both races. We swapped bikes so it was fair and played quite the game of cat and mouse with both. (Video is at the bottom of the post)
When all was said and done we had a great time on both bikes. They’re both extremely inviting and I think it’s safe to say both will be around for a long time. It’s nice to see manufacturers not only producing these bikes but finally bringing them stateside. Hopefully that means the motorcycle industry as a whole will reap the benefits and us consumers at the bottom, get to have all the fun. When it comes to daily riding or any type of “commuting” these mini-machines are built to max out MPG with a couple dollars worth of gas but still be able to travel 60+MPH. Be sure to stop by your local dealer as soon as possible and check these bikes out in person. At a price point under your brand new 300CC bikes the Grom and Z125 are sure to be a huge hit on the street but not on your wallet. Be sure to check out the video below and some awesome shots we got courtesy of our buddy Gavin Bacon!Be sure to check out his page and give him a follow!