The TransWorld MX staff took delivery of its 2002 Honda CR125R test bike at Sunrise Cycle Park today, and our first impression of the new red tiddler is a big “thumbs up!”
The Sunrise MX Park track was nice and rough, and the normally sandy course was hard-packed and required riders to be on their toes. During our first afternoon on the new Honda, each and every test rider came away impressed with the changes made to the ’02 machine.
Is is faster? Yes! Is it the fastest 125 we’ve ever ridden? No! The 2002 CR125R boasts an all-new chassis that in turn, makes room for a much larger airbox. More air equals more power, and that’s exactly what the CR125R has. Compared to the mid-range-only motors that have come inside Honda’s aluminum frames for the past few years, the new powerplant is a 100 times better. There is more power and it is spread out throughout the powerband – not just in the middle. Though some of our testers longed for more low-end punch, none of them cried for more top-end overrev. A serious lack of top-end has been a problem in the past, but all the little refinements (plus the new bigger airbox) in ’02 equal a much more competitive motor. This is the first of the ’02 125s we’ve ridden thus far, so we can’t accurately speculate on how it stacks up against the competition. One thing’s for sure, though: long-time Honda CR125R pilot Michael Young was quite impressed with the bike’s powerband. “This thing stock makes better power than my supercross race bikes have for the past two years!” he said.
But what about the handling? Honda claims that the new bike is a full seven pounds lighter than the 2000, and it sure feels like it on the track. Without a doubt, this is one of the best-handling 125s we have ever ridden in stock condition. The new chassis still maintains its precise feel, but gone is the harsh ride often associated with an aluminum chassis.
Stay tuned for a full track test/race test in the next issue of TransWorld Motocross.