First Impressions: 2014 Honda Grom

  • AUTHOR
    American Honda
  • POSTED
    Oct 29, 2013
  • POSTED IN
    Street

Honda’s new-for-2014 Grom has taken the world by storm. And to show off this little two-wheel fun machine, Honda held a press event at its Torrance, California, campus, starting with a morning street ride through the Palos Verdes hills and culminating in the afternoon in a gymkhana-style event through a cone course called the Grom Prix.

There were 45 attendees in all, including motorcycle and car media reps, plus famous motocrossers, road racers, mountain bikers, surfers, musicians and even Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, an accomplished racer who competes regularly in local motocross events and is also a past Police and Fire Motocross National Champion. Beck was on the winning team, along with the legendary Jeremy McGrath. Current Honda racers included Trey Canard, Justin Barcia and Cole Seeley. Some of the other luminaries included musicians Chris Kilmore and Jose Pasillas from the rock band Incubus, and Atom Willard of Rocket from the Crypt, The Special Goodness, The Offspring, Angels & Airwaves, Social Distortion, Danko Jones, and Against Me!. Comedian Alonzo Bodden, actor Hal Sparks and surfer Sunny Garcia were also among the notables.

It’s safe to say everyone loved the Grom, and below you can read the many positive comments some of the press made.

About.com

What’s a Grom? Well, in surfer-speak, the term refers to a punk surfer kid, but when it comes to the new pint-sized member of the Honda family, the tiny bike is totally approachable. Powering this ‘pup is a fuel-injected, 125cc air-cooled single with an electric starter. A four-speed manual transmission (remember those?) turns the rear wheel via chain drive, and the whole package weighs only 225 pounds.

You wouldn’t expect an average sized guy like myself (5 feet, 11 inches, 31-inch inseam) to fit comfortably aboard a scaled-down bike like the Grom, but Honda’s runabout is actually rather accommodating for those of standard stature.

Brakes are responsive and capable of bringing the Grom to a stop quickly. And, as you can imagine, weaving through traffic on this li’l guy is way more enjoyable than it would be on a bigger bike, thanks to its nimble footprint and tossable size.

While certainly not for everyone, Honda’s $3,000 Grom is welcoming to a wider range of people than you might expect thanks to its manageable ergonomics, user-friendly controls, and modern touches like fuel-injection and a digital instrument panel-- and it's so perfect for new riders, it easily earns a spot on our list of 10 Great First Motorcycles while also sporting the lowest price.

Cycle News

Honda introduced the new Grom to members of the motorcycling media at its Californian headquarters in Torrance and to a man/woman, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t gush superlatives after riding it.

At the heart of the Grom is its 125cc fuel-injected, single-cylinder four-stroke engine. While it won’t pull your arms out of the socket, the engine package is perfectly suited to the motorcycle it’s in. It’s by no means a scooter and you shift through the four gears with a clutch just like the real motorcycle that it is. The fuel injection translates to smooth throttle response and, combined with the lightest clutch pull imaginable, means you could teach virtually anyone to ride the Grom. You could take off from a stop while juggling chainsaws at Venice Beach on the Grom and still never stall it.

The Grom handles well and turns on a dime with its short wheelbase of 47.4 inches, but it’s also plenty stable in a straight line at speed. And what is that top speed? Right around 60 mph.

But back to the bike … it’s one that you’ll want in your garage. Or on the back of your motor home or fifth-wheeled trailer. It’s a motorcycle that you can jump on and go ride—without a lot of forethought or planning—on a cruise to the store or a flirt with the inner hooligan that resides somewhere within all of us.

Cycle World

There’s just something about this small bike that fires up the riding imagination. The biggest surprise on my first ride? How spacious the ergonomics are on this pint-sized, street-legal package. The Grom is quite roomy overall, with plenty of space for my 5-foot-11 frame. Distance between the 30.1-inch-high seat and footpegs was comfortable, while the reach to the bike’s mid-height handlebar felt natural and relaxed. Not only is the bike large enough to transport a full-sized adult, its seat is also long enough to accommodate a passenger.

Ease of use and approachability were clearly Job One on the Grom. As such, hit the electric-start button and the PGM-FI makes sure the eighth-liter mill fires right up, hot or cold. Power is delivered with seamless response across the rev range and light clutch action makes it a very easy-to-ride manual-shift motorcycle. The fitment of wide, grippy road rubber on the Grom’s 12-inch-diameter wheels complements a competent chassis and disc brakes that work and feel like those of a larger motorcycle.

Few streetbikes are as accessible to the beginner while simultaneously tickling an advanced rider’s funny bone. I know I’m sort of an old dude because when the Grom speaks to me it sounds like Jeff Spicoli, the laid-back surf dude in the ’80s classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High: “Hey, Bud, let’s party!”

But no matter your age, the Grom is ready for fun.

Motorcycle.com

The Grom is clearly a diminutive little motorcycle, but that doesn’t take away from its fun quotient, as we discovered during its press intro in surfer-laden Southern California. It’s perfect for new riders looking for a great learning tool, or the experienced pilot looking for a good time.

The Grom’s toy-like feel and around-town practicality was appreciated by the less-experienced riders in attendance—it’s a motorcycle that isn’t the least bit intimidating. More aggressive journos, myself included, enjoyed the grin factor brought about by man-handling the affordable little bike.

Wherever we went, admirers and onlookers alike couldn’t stop pointing in amusement. We weren’t sure if they were laughing with us or at us, but either way, smiling is a natural reaction whenever you see one. It’s a similar reaction from the saddle.

Motorcycle USA

This 125cc street bike offers big bike-like controls in a fun and easy-to-exploit package with a price tag under three grand.

Powered by a simple, effective and virtually maintenance-free 125cc four-stroke Single, this little air-cooled engine employs fuel injection and electric start making it simple to get moving hot or cold, day or night.

Despite its outwardly small dimensions including a 47.4-inch wheelbase and ultra-low 30.1-inch seat height, when seated at the controls the Grom actually feels like a real motorcycle…It offers a well proportioned rider's triangle that doesn’t put undue stress on an adult rider’s knees or wrists, even for me at six-foot tall. It also comes outfitted with passenger footpegs so a friend can tag along, too. Just remember that maximum rated payload is 300 pounds.

The Grom rolls on a pair of black aluminum 12-inch wheels shod with a wide set of 70-series road tires (120 front, 130 rear). The set-up offers a surefooted contact patch against pavement with no recognizable road noise even at speeds in excess of 50 mph. Each wheel gets its own cross-drilled disc that is clamped hydraulically via a conventional right-hand-side hand and foot levers. Both brakes aren’t sensitive when touched yet still deliver adequate stopping performance when needed. Although it’s missing ABS, considering the price tag and how effective the sum of its manual braking components are, we’d never miss it.

If you’ve been eyeing an affordable two-wheeler to jet around town that’s as simple to park as it is to keep running, then the Grom is for you. It offers the build-quality and everyday reliability you’d expect from a big company like Honda while being fun and encouraging new generations of motorcycle riders for years to come.

Motorcyclist

Honda’s new 2014 Grom 125 is the reincarnation, in one way or another, of every kid’s dream bike.

With just enough acceleration to get you out ahead of apathetic sedan drivers, the Grom will cruise at 50-55 mph happily.

The engine’s dynamic is evocative of Honda’s recent CB500 trio or the NC700, in that it’s exceptionally docile and approachable. A heavy flywheel means revs climb slowly, but fueling is ultra-predicable. It’s the ultimate “eco-Honda,” and there’s almost nothing you can do to fluster the Grom’s steadfast spirit.

According to Honda, the Grom was designed to “carry a bit of attitude while promising fun times.” Pessimists will say that $3,000 is too much for a flashy new version of a bike that is propelled by essentially the same SOHC, two-valve motor that Honda has made nearly a million of (yes, more than 900,000) over the years. Make your own decision about what it’s worth. The truth is that the Grom is utterly competent and massively entertaining; you need a heart of stone to not have fun on one.

Orange County Register

With a starting price of $2,999, fuel economy that’s expected to exceed 100 mpg and a riding character that’s playful rather than overpowered, the Grom just might be the right product at the right time. …

Designed as a bridge product for newbies and scooterists to step up to a motorcycle with a machine that is utterly unintimidating, the Grom isn’t quite as easy to ride as a twist-the-grip-and-go automatic-transmission scooter, but its four-speed gearbox is smooth. And its light weight and stubby profile make it so agile and easy to throw around, the Grom feels like a toy.

Ride Apart

The idea here is a fun, stylish motorcycle that’s accessible for new, young riders looking for something to carry them around a city or college campus, or experienced riders looking for a pit bike, play bike or just something silly to scoot around town on.

Surprisingly, the Grom doesn’t feel that tiny out on the road around cars. The upright riding position, spacious ergonomics, 29.7-inch seat and stable chassis make you forget you’re riding something with a proportions of a scooter.

The same clocks and controls as Honda’s 500 range deliver a robust amount of information—speed, revs, fuel economy, fuel level etc.—clearly, and the Grom is fitted with the same indicator switches and other controls as those larger bikes too.

Steering is as fast as you’d expect it to be from such a small bike and, with so little weight carried so low, you can really use your body weight to make it even faster.

The Verdict


You’ll know it if you want one and, if you do, the Grom rewards you by exceeding your expectations. It’s silly good fun.

Rider

With android-like styling and chubby tires on 12-inch wheels, the Grom looks downright playful. A friendly, unintimidating appearance is important for many new riders who are already scared witless trying to coordinate throttling, shifting, braking and leaning. I spent a few hours on a Grom, and even though I’m 6-foot, 2-inches and 200 pounds, it didn’t feel like I was riding a minibike (Honda Trail 70, anyone?). The 30.1-inch seat height exceeds that of many cruisers by several inches, and the seat-bars-pegs triangle is spacious enough to accommodate a wide variety of riders.

The single 220mm front disc with 2-piston caliper and single 190mm rear disc with 1-piston caliper provide remarkably good stopping power. Locking up either end isn’t particularly easy to do, but that’s a good thing for less experienced riders who tend to grab/stomp the brakes in dicey situations.

With a stubby 47.4-inch wheelbase, small wheels with grippy tires and a claimed curb weight of just 225 pounds, the Grom is easy to toss around.

The all-new 2014 Honda Grom 125 is a fun little machine. Its steel backbone frame and box-section steel swingarm are rock-solid, and it’s absolutely effortless to ride. No doubt, like the cultish Ruckus, customizers will soon take the Grom in all sorts of unexpected directions, but for now you’re likely to see them plastered with stickers for Sex Wax, Billabong and Quicksilver. Cowabunga, dudes!

Road & Track

That’s the charm of the Honda Grom. Two thousand miles away, at Road & Track's Ann Arbor HQ, there’s an office-wide itch to ride this new 125-cc playbike. In terms of generating workplace buzz, the Grom ranks between Countach and Corvette. Even from a distance, motorheads know a good toy when they see one.

Some things were learned about the little Honda along the way, and that’s what we were there for after all. The only real question was ergonomic: I wanted to know if my gawky 5 foot 11 inch frame could get comfortable on 47.4-inches of wheelbase. The answer is yes, very much so. A long, broad seat gives the leggy plenty of seating options, even if a tallish man on a smallish bike looks exactly as silly as you’d imagine.

A couple hours of flailing and railing on the little 125 only instilled more want….It’s the kind of motorcycle that probably made you enjoy riding in the first place.

Invariably, it’ll make you enjoy riding again.

SickLines

Overall it was a great day onboard Honda’s all new Grom. There could easily be space for one of these in our garage as it was quite the bucket of fun. The Grom out of the box was easy to ride and maneuver. Its small size makes it easy to ride and its overall power makes it a much more fun option than a moped.

Ultimate Motorcycling

The Grom has no aspirations of freeway riding, but it is lively in town and, with a wheelbase just short of 4 feet, it can flick like probably nothing you’ve ever ridden. Yet even with this abbreviated wheelbase the Grom was stable all the way to its top speed and the 12-inch wheels worked well with the whole setup of the bike. The only learning curve on the Grom is how fast it will turn, especially at slow speeds and riders seem to become accustomed to it within the first mile or so.

To its credit, handling is decent and it ate up the tight curves down the hill in Palos Verdes. The Grom is happy to lean all the way to its pegs, as was proved in our races, and can be easily flicked with only handlebar input and little body movement.

The Grom is a minimalist and inexpensive mode of transportation, and fun for those with a scooter budget who are willing to forego such amenities as storage, wind protection and a more relaxed riding position. In return for these sacrifices, buyers will be rewarded with a real sports bike.

Honda Powersports
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