ST125 surprise. It is one of those odd coincidences. In our new issue, #358, that has just been mailed we wrote a story about the Honda CT70 after seeing one mounted to the front of a Ford F250. It was an image that brought back memories as a very similar scene would have played out for many Canadians as their first taste of the joy that is motorcycling as the CT70 was often a first ride. The CT70 was light, simple, portable and rugged. Easy to ride and timeless. It briefly returned but left again in the 1990s.
Well, it is coming back as a 2023 model, the ST125, but as is often the case, we don’t know if it will be coming to Canada.
If we had to make a prediction it would be that the US will bring in the bike to further fill out their expanding Mini Moto line that has burgeoned to five models and, after a year or two, it might come to Canada. For now the bike ,ST125 Dax as it is called in the the UK, will arrive this year in Europe as a 2023 model. Dax is the name the bike went by in Japan in its original 1960’s form as it looked like a Dachshund or as we in Canada called it, a weiner dog.
The new bike might be dubbed the ST125 here as the old nomenclature is now taken by other machines in the Honda USA line-up. While keeping the appearance of the original, the new bike is a very updated machine. There is the large 124cc motor, disc brakes, upside down fork, 12inch wheels, centrifugal clutch and a digital display. Fuel economy is said to be about 1.5l/100km with a range of 240km and a top speed approaching 90kmh while riding with a passenger.
No price has been announced for the bike in Europe but by looking at the specs and the bike, the ST125 would most likely fall at or near the price of the Monkey which in Canada is $5299. As it won’t be coming this year and there will be price increases, why don’t we take an educated guess at a price of about $5799 if it does turn up in Canada as a 2023 or 2024 model.
Here is what Honda has to say about their new offering, the ST125 :
The styling really is the frame; everything is attached to, or held within it, giving the Dax its unmistakeable retro look. As do all the other parts; the thick dual seat – seat height is just 775mm – chrome high-set handlebars and the 1970’s dirt bike-inspired upswept muffler with drilled, slotted and chromed heat shield. The frame’s mid-section wears a black stripe with ‘Dax’ picked out in quirky font, right next to the classic Honda Wing logo that marks its special heritage. A unique finishing touch comes in the form of a cartoon image of a Dachshund.
A chromed mudguard leads and sits below the evocative, circular headlight. To add extra charm to the light, signature round LEDs are used and the front indicators/position lights sit snugly in between low and high beams. The compact instrument display is a round, negative LCD while the rear taillight and indicators take their cues from the headlight and are also LED.
There’s a neat chrome grabrail for the passenger to hold while a cover seals the drive chain away from weather and loose clothing. A rear carrier and heated grips are available as optional extras.
The iconic T-shaped frame design houses the fuel tank, is authentic in aesthetic detail and constructed in pressed-steel with modern engineering know-how. Rake and trail are set at 24.9°/84mm with wheelbase of 1020mm. Wet weight is just 107kg.
31mm USD forks provide supple suspension response and, combined with the wide upswept handlebar, easy steering. Twin rear shocks are tuned for smooth compliance, even with a pillion. Blacked-out 12-inch rims (from the super-cool MSX125 Grom) wear fat, balloon-like tyres; a 120mm wide front and 130mm rear. They add sure-footed grip allied to nimble agility.
Single-channel ABS manages braking force. Hydraulic front and rear calipers grip 220/190mm diameter discs respectively.
Drawn from the new Super Cub C125 – so flexible, efficient and durable – the Dax’s 124cc air-cooled engine features a SOHC two-valve cylinder head, with relatively long stroke and high compression; bore is set at 50mm, stroke at 63.1mm with compression ratio of 10.0:1. Peak power of 6.9kW arrives @ 7,000rpm, with peak torque of 10.8Nm @ 5,000rpm.
The engine’s strong performance means that even two-up a 90km/h cruising speed is achievable, with smart acceleration from low speed – just what’s needed for lively around-town amusement.
On the left-hand side of the bike the distinctive oval air box, filter and connecting tube ensure smooth, efficient airflow through the clean side, delivering crisp throttle response and driveability. The upswept muffler and heat shield is evocative of that golden motorcycling era of the ‘70s. A single catalyser is all that’s necessary; thanks to precise ECU settings and the engine’s combustion efficiency, EURO5 compliance is achieved.
In keeping with the laid-back, easy to ride feel the gearbox is a 4-speed unit (with neutral at the bottom) operated via centrifugal clutch, without the need for a clutch lever. At standstill the rider simply selects the gear required with the left-hand foot lever and, as the throttle is opened, the clutch operates automatically and does so through each ratio change, up or down.
Various low-friction technologies, like an offset cylinder and roller-rocker arms in the head, ensure impressive fuel economy of 63.7km/l (WMTC mode). This gives the Dax a range of approx. 240km from the 3.8L fuel tank