Is The ‘New’ Honda CG125 Actually New and Improved?
Atlas Honda graced the motorcycle market earlier this week with the launch of the ‘new’ 2021 Honda CG125. While the only new thing about it on the surface is the revised stickers, the company has painstakingly pointed out ’55 changes’ in the design of the new model.Advertisement
To ensure the accuracy of this figure, Atlas Honda claimed that 37 changes have been made in the components of the engine, and 18 changes have been made to the design of the motorcycle.
The following is a representation of the exact changes made for the new model:
On paper, some of the changes are a slightly redesigned head and cylinder, a marginally revised combustion chamber design, a new gear-oil pump drive, a new gear timing drive, and reinforced engine mounting points, which all imply that the reliability and performance of the new model have slight improvements.
Regardless, do all these changes imply that the CG125 is a better motorcycle now? Here is an analysis of some of the broad aspects that influence motorcycle buyers.
With the exception of minor details such as stickers, the fuel tank, and the taillights, the CG125 looks exactly like it did almost three decades ago. This is why many motorcycle buyers have opted for either a cheaper variety of Chinese 125cc motorcycles or have moved up a class altogether because the CG125 has very little to offer for its relatively high price tag.
Some might argue that the CB125F has a fresher look and more features than the CG125, but it happens to be more expensive than the original CG125. The CG125 costs Rs. 147,500 and the Special Edition comes with a self-starter and costs Rs. 177,000. These are steep price tags as they currently stand.
On the other hand, with a revised design and the addition of a front disc brake, the CB125F costs a whopping Rs. 212,000 that amounts to a massive premium of over Rs. 64,500 for what is essentially the same motorcycle with a few more plastic panels, alloy rims, and a marginally revised look.
Ergo, it is obvious that Honda Atlas needs to radically change the styling of its basic commuter motorcycle to justify the price hikes.
Mechanics (Performance and Features)
Even though Atlas Honda claims to have made several changes to the new CG125, it is still based on the same fundamental recipe from the 1990s.
The CG125 still has a slightly varied 124cc single-cylinder 4-stroke pushrod engine that makes close to 10 hp and 9.5 Nm of torque and is mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. The CB125F comes with a 5-speed manual transmission which is the same as its predecessor, the CG125 Delux.
Atlas Honda had installed the capacitor discharge ignition in place of the old contact breaker ignition system during the early 1990s. This had allowed for better and smoother fuel combustion and had resulted in better power output, fuel economy, and emissions ratings.
Honda has made minor changes to the engine’s design and carburetor for the 2011 model year, which has enhanced the fuel average and more power.
Since the beginning, the key selling point of the aforementioned powerplant has been its ‘sound’, power delivery (especially at higher RPMs), and reliability, which are still among the best in the Pakistani market.
There are also several claims that the CG125 can manage to go 45 to 50 km per liter but they should be taken with a grain of salt as some owners have also reported fuel consumption as low as 25 km per liter, with their motorcycles being completely fine as far as maintenance is concerned.
The point here is that the basic formula is the same in the latest model. While regular commuter motorcycles in the other parts of the world are being modernized with the inclusion of smoother overhead camshaft engines and shaft balancing technology, better brakes, suspension, and ergonomics, the CG125 has now become an obsolete machine and is currently overstaying its welcome in the Pakistani market.
Value for Money
The Honda CG125’s other strong suit used to be value for money but the value being offered for almost Rs. 147,500 is lacking, particularly considering that one can buy a used GS-150 or a YBR-125 motorcycle, both of which are better motorcycles in terms of value but at almost the same price or less.
Even in the new motorcycle market, all of the CG125 rivals are newer and better in most ways and can be had for marginally high prices. Considering this, potential buyers are essentially left to decide about purchasing a CG125 that offers no additional value over its competitors for an unreasonably high price.
The Honda CG125 arguably has healthy brand value, which is a plus point as far as the resale value of the motorcycle is concerned. It might be an alluring aspect for a businessman but a daily commuter in search of a reasonable daily-use vehicle is less likely to see the CG125 as an option after the progressive price hikes.
So, is the 2022 Honda CG125 really new and improved? The answer to this question might be subjective but we can agree that it is not nearly as good as people want it to be after all these years.
Atlas Honda is one of the largest automakers in Pakistan, with potentially the healthiest inventory turnover ratio and consistently profitable returns, but it continues to sell mostly decades-old motorcycles to the public at constantly elevated rates regardless.
The ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ maxim applies to the ‘Cash Grab’ 125 as it is reliable, maintains its value well, and is astonishingly still quite desirable among buyers in Pakistan.
The new generation of motorcycle buyers in the country seeks more refined and modernized motorcycles. Regardless, Atlas Honda and several other motorcycles manufacturers in Pakistan seem to be oblivious to the changing trends and improving standards and continue to sell the same old barebones motorcycles at hiked prices.
Ultimately, the GG125 is obsolete despite its popularity, which is why Atlas Honda needs to make more changes to bring in a more modern commuter motorcycle that is simple but performs better and has improved styling and ergonomics to appeal to Pakistan’s modern mainstream market without the caveat of the scaling up of prices to unrealistic levels.