Living With The 2014 Honda Grom — Long Term Test: Month Five

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Living With The 2014 Honda Grom — Long Term Test: Month Five

The 2014 Honda Grom continues to lead an active life in our hands. When it’s not serving as my round-town transportation, it’s been busy putting a smile on RideApart contributor’s faces and, last weekend, I even used it to teach my girlfriend how to ride.

To recap, the Grom is a 3/4 –scale motorcycle built using the 125cc, four-stroke motor and four-speed gearbox from the Honda Wave — a scooter sold in Southeast Asia and one of Honda’s most high-volume models worldwide. It might only make 9 bhp, but it also weighs just 225 lbs with its 1.45 gallon tank full. That manual gearbox, the grippy tires and the decent suspension combine with the diminutive proportions and lightweight to make it a blast to ride at low speeds. It’s also cheap — just $3,199 — and we’re averaging about 85 mpg on ours, a little lower than the average reported by riders on Fuelly.

Or, if you’re new, an absolutely perfect bike to learn on. That’s because it’s utterly unintimidating — to look at, to sit on and to ride — even if you’ve never, ever ridden a motorcycle before. Unlike similarly proportioned scooters, it also has a standard motorcycle’s riding position, clutch and gearbox. With that equipment, new riders can learn the skills necessary to ride any bike.

New riders like my girlfriend Lara. Before Sunday, she’d only ever been on the back of a bike. But, after an hour or so on the Grom, she was confident enough to shrug off my guidance.

Lara on the 2014 Honda Grom in the backyard
Lara on the 2014 Honda Grom in the backyard

We started with no-speed clutch drills in the safety (and privacy) of my front yard. Lara knows how to drive a manual transmission car, but the hand clutch on a motorcycle is essentially a new skill. So, after a brief bike walk around explaining the various controls and how you use them, we parked her in a corner and had her practice finding and modulating the clutch’s friction zone. Once she was confident with that, I had her put a helmet on and try pulling away for the 50-foot length of the yard. Paddling the bike backwards to the “starting line” helped her gain experience with the bike’s balance and in maneuvering it without the help of the engine. I had her leave the motor running and find neutral — another crucial, but often overlooked skill.

She surprised me with how quickly she picked it up so, even though we didn’t plan on it, we pushed the bike to the parking lot behind a local Chick-Fil-A — closed on Sundays — perfect for some car-free practice laps.

Lara on the 2014 Honda Grom in the parkiing
Lara on the 2014 Honda Grom in the parking lot

There, we started with some 1st gear loops just so she could actually feel what it was like to ride the bike a little bit. Then, before she got the confidence to go any faster, we talked about looking where you want to go and counter steering, also touching on the separate brakes and how to use them. It’s good that we had that brake talk because, soon after, a little too sudden application of the front brake was as close as she came to toppling over all day.

Continue Reading: Living With The 2014 Honda Grom >>

  • Jesse

    It’s the laugh. That’s the sign they are hooked. Hooray Grom.

    • William Oakes

      totally.. that’s a convert right there.

  • Ayabe

    I’d consider getting one to putt around town if my subdivision was accessible by means other than two 60mph highways with semi traffic.

    Looks like a lot of fun.

    • Justin McClintock

      Yeah, I could see that putting a major damper on small bike choices.

  • Matt C

    It’s pretty awesome when you can see the grin through the helmet.

    • Jack Meoph

      Yeah I noticed that also. Good times! I’ve seen a Grom and no thanks. Way too small, underpowered, the shocks are cr@p, hence the low price point. The money spent on that could get you a really nice, used Vespa. Half way to new Kawi 300r, a decent used supersport, etc etc. I get the Grom, but I’ll never own one. It’s a toy.

      • Michele Menichini

        It’s a toy no less than any vespa or other bike, just smaller and far more joyful. And shocks absorbers couldn’t be worst than a vespa. Open your mind, you smart-ass.

        • Jack Meoph

          srsly, you’re going to start name calling over an opinion? time to grow up. when I was child, i thought as a child, and I rode childish things, like the honda trails 70′s etc. this thing is a toy, that is all it is. you’ll spend $$$ just to make it livable, and the Vespa’s have storage and wind protection and other such practical things that make riding small displacement bikes enjoyable. But by all means, ride this thing around and you to can one day be a Shriner, or a circus clown. For you, I’m actually going more with the circus clown.

          • Michele Menichini

            Pardon my slang, I didn’t want to call you boring man, but you know: this is internet! I think this is better then a Vespa for every one who has the right amount of irony.
            You can even go for a little shopping with this bike. Most people will love you, and cheer up just looking at your little ride.
            And other people will think you are a baffoon even if you ride a vespa or any other bike.
            Just cheer up the world, stop being so boring.

            • Jack Meoph

              I don’t care if you think I’m boring. I’m old, I probably am boring to you. But to advocate this toy as a good beginners bike is insane. This thing isn’t even half a motorcycle (remember, I’ve seen it) and it is completely underpowered (unless you weigh 70 lbs) so the only place you could ride it is in an urban setting. All well and good if you live in Thailand or Vietnam, or some European town that is use to seeing two wheeled vehicles. But I’m talking U S of fricking A here, where even the best riders on REAL motorcycles get killed on a daily basis by drivers who “just didn’t see them”. So let’s put someone whose never been on a motorcycle, on a tiny, underpowered motorcycle and throw them out into an urban setting that consists of SUV’s, brodozers, and lipstick applying, startbuck swilling, txting, cellphone yapping yahoos, and call up a bookie. I don’t think the odds are going to be very good though. This bike takes away one of the few things that a real motorcycle has that can keep you alive in a critical situation, and that is power to weight ratio. When in doubt, gas it out, or in the case of a Grom, limp it to your demise. Small tires, small profile, small power, small experience, and what do you get? That sh|t eating grin you had on your face is going to be ripped off the first time reality decides to bite and you’re on this clown bike. I get the Grom, yeah it could be fun in a parking lot or on a camping trip, or stomping around the hood, just like the old little bikes I use to ride were, but in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, not some newb, thus they are a toy.

              • Kevin Broce

                This guy is just trying to get everyone else to lose interest so dealers finally have one in stock when he saves enough pennies for his own.

              • Michele Menichini

                Bikers get killed however. You’ve seen it, I rode it: it isn’t a proper interstate eater machine but it’s a serial-killer of traffic environment.

                Dynamically is better than a scooter by far, being worse only in carrying stuff with you and wind protection. And maybe is more uncomfortable because of knee angle but is safer because you are in control.

                Read this



      • Piglet2010

        For the real world, out the door price, I would get a Honda PCX150 instead.

        • Doug Erickson

          yeah, i’ve ridden a grom a fair bit, and the wife rocks a pcx150. if you can live without milling through the four gears, the pcx is more nimble, faster (15 hp vs. 9), and has bigger wheels. it does weigh 50 lbs more, though!

          • Piglet2010

            The only thing stopping me from getting a PCX150 is that I have an Elite 110.

      • Stewart

        Comparing a new bike to a used bike? Come on. New for new, the $3199 for a Grom won’t even get you a 2013 Vespa LX 50 scooter ($3399 MSRP).. I’ve service managed several motorcycle dealerships, and I’ll take a small Honda over a comparable Vespa any day of the week. Parts pricing and availability, reliability, build quality, value for the money, all that is far better on the Honda.

    • Jen Degtjarewsky

      I liked that too. Thought the video was super cute.

  • Kr Tong
    • PattonStrength

      Pretty awesome. Is that you riding?

      • Kr Tong

        That’s Wes’ girlfriend in a few months. Because racebike.

    • runnermatt

      I’m assuming this was recorded on your phone. If so I would like to suggest that you turn it the other way so that it is wide screen rather than tall screen. For one it would make tracking the bikes motion easier since the frame is wider.

      Otherwise, cool video. Looks like fun.

    • Gonfern

      LOL! Awesome!! but….it isnt that impressive. You can drag knee on that thing without even having to lean it.

  • Rameses the 2nd

    It looks so much fun. At 125 CC it should be classified as motor-driven cycle and not motorcycle, so you can ride it without a class M license. I would take Grom over a scooter any day.

    • cbolling

      Just depends on the state. In South Carolina anything over 50cc is considered a motorcycle.

      • Rameses the 2nd

        TIL. Thanks.

      • Justin McClintock

        Indeed, anything over 50cc still requires a motorcycle license in any of the states I’ve lived in. Maybe different somewhere else. Although I believe anything UNDER 150cc is prohibited from using the interstate. Kinda puts it in a weird spot, but I can’t imagine wanting to take that on the interstate anyway.

        • cbolling

          Yea, I had a 2009 Yamaha Zuma 125. Over 50cc so it required a motorcycle license and insurance but it was not interstate legal.

          Loads of fun though!

        • Stuki

          During rush hour, this thing would crush the freeway. Of course, so does a bicycle; but riding on of those on the freeway, you are much more obviously violating laws.

          • Justin McClintock

            Perhaps, but around here (Atlanta) it’ll go from not moving to 60-70 mph pretty quickly. And lane splitting isn’t legal here either. So it would still be a really bad idea.

  • stever

    “HEY GUYS I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND!!!!!” – Wes Siler

    • Wes Siler

      I just high-fived myself.

    • imprezive

      I’m just surprised his dog isn’t in the background of all the pics too.

      • Kr Tong

        The grom doesnt have a sidecar yet.

        • imprezive

          Maybe that’s for the next long term update!

  • Clint Keener

    The only thing that sucks is that dealers are out of stock, and the ones that do have them, mark em up to $5k.

  • hairpinz

    I have a Grom and love it, but it does suck that it’s difficult to get out of the city on it. So I never really go on group rides. However, for the city it’s awesome. It’s lighter than my old scooter, easier to maneuver. And I LOVE that I can back it up – push it in reverse – going uphill. Can’t do that with any other bike or my old scooter. Awesome for crowded city streets – and getting out of mistakes or bad judgement in traffic management.

    • Jonathan Berndt

      really? ive been riding bikes for years and have no problems ‘backing’ any of them up. a lot of the time its easier to just get off, put one hand on the seat, the other on a grip and look where you want to go and just push it backwards.

      • Piglet2010

        My Honda Deauville is a pain to back up due to the combination of a relatively high and wide seat and mid-mount foot pegs, and a bit hairy to push around – lean it a bit to far and it is going over.

        • Jonathan Berndt

          Just have to have confidence, it’s part of owning a motorcycle, practice in your driveway.

          • Piglet2010

            My driveway has about a 10% grade.

            And I have no issues with the Bonnie, which has a 3-inch lower seat and weighs 80 pounds less than the Dullsville.

      • hairpinz

        OK… To clarify… I can push it while I’m on it backwards up a San Francisco hill in Chinatown. That’s kind of nice. I could not do that with my other bikes.

        • PattonStrength

          Do a U-turn on Green St. Double dare you.

          • Stuki

            Down to up, try dragging knee while doing it, without leaning…..

            Come to think of it; done the other way on a bike as low as the Grom, you may be able to drag the outside knee…. Even Marquez don’t do that!

    • Khali

      Look for 125cc clubs/groups/forums. In Europe they are very common (convalidated riders). Or go out with cruiser riders.

      • Stuki

        it would be quite cool to see someone on a Grom leading a pack of Hells Angels pretenders on a group ride…..

  • imprezive

    I’m trying to get my parents to buy a Grom as a second vehicle. My dad is all about it but my mom says a normal scooter is more practical.

  • skeelo221

    Cool! What is long-term about this test?

  • Mark D

    Man those things look fun. If (when?) Honda (or an enterprising shop) comes out with a 150cc+ big-bore kit, these would make such a cool custom platform. Plus, highway-legal!

  • Larry

    Hey girl…you so fine, ima get you your own roadcrafter. And some riding boots.

  • Travis King

    That dog looks like a calico coyote. More pictures please.

    • Wes Siler

      There’s more than you could ever want on my Instagram. Follow the embed in the story. Wiley’s the best dog ever.

  • Guest

    I’ve been getting 125mpg on my Grom (MXS-125) pretty consistently in Thailand, and m not exactly babying it- you must really be beating on yours to hit only 85mpg.;)

  • Brian

    I’ve been getting 125mpg on my Grom (MSX-125) over in Thailand, and I haven’t exactly been babying it- you must be beating the heck out of yours to see only 85mpg;)

    • Wes Siler

      The throttle is an on/off switch, right?

    • Stuki

      125 Imperial or US?

      • Brian

        US gallons- I was pretty surprised myself- my 3-year-old Honda Wave (which has the same 125cc engine) only gets about 110mpg. The last fill-up I went 172km (107 miles) on 3.2 liters (0.845 US gallons)- this is in line with the two other times I’ve filled the tank (it’s still pretty new).

  • Mr.Paynter

    Dying to see one of these in the metal!
    Honda South Africa is still humming and hawing. We still haven’t even seen the 500s!

  • 200 Fathoms

    Love the video of driving in loops through the drive-through. I picture some 17-year-old on the other end: “Can I take your order? Can I take your order? Can I take your order?”

  • Tiberiuswise

    I just turned my 15 year old son loose on a Puch Maxi-Luxe. I’d feel better if he was allowed to ride a bike like the Grom at least.

  • Slacker

    As far as a training bike goes, I’ll stick to my TW200… it’ll struggle to get up hills, but not nearly as much as something with 9 horsepower. I’m just not real big on a four-stroke 125 with bad suspension. I also live in Colorado though so when travelling in the city there is no option, go 55 or stay home. The city is so spread out and has so much traffic that it’s impossible to get anywhere on a machine like this.

  • Abe Norfleet

    Grom vs. MadAss comparison article, please.

  • KC

    Great idea putting your girlfriend who has never ridden a motorcycle on a bike wearing half sleeves, no gloves, no helmet, sneakers on grass.

    Be responsible and leave training to people who know what they are doing.

    • Chris McKendry

      Yea because an MSF course is the ONLY WAY SOMEONE CAN LEARN TO RIDE A MOTORCYCLE. Boy, I would hate to fall on the super hard grass and have that behemoth of a bike pin me down. OH, THE HORROR!!! Come on man…

    • Wes Siler

      At 0mph while she’s playing with the clutch? RTFA.

  • Julian Peter

    It reminds me a bit of my old Suzuki RV50

  • artist_formally_known_as_cWj

    1) Lara on a Groom plush toy? Yes, please.

    2) One can only imagine how much three person on headset at CFA loved you two that day.