The Honda Grom has taken the motorcycle world by storm since its introduction in 2014, offering riders a fun, affordable, and approachable package. It’s a 125cc street bike that has become the king of modern small displacement street bikes, but it didn’t start there. The Grom’s lineage can be traced back to Honda’s rich history of producing versatile and reliable motorcycles. In this article, we explore seven key things about the original Honda Grom, delving into its origins and what made it the icon it is today.

1. The Precursor to Modern Small Displacement Bikes

While many might consider the original Monkey and smaller trail bikes as the ancestors of today’s mini motos, the true precursor to the Grom and its ilk is arguably the iconic Honda CB 125. This motorcycle represented a significant step in the evolution of small displacement street bikes, offering a true motorcycling experience in a compact and accessible package.

2. A Rich History of Diverse Motorcycles

Honda’s history in the motorcycle market is filled with a wide array of models, from the revolutionary CB750 to the humble 50cc Monkey. In the late 60s and early 70s, Honda was not only focused on creating the CB750 but also on developing a range of motorcycles across various displacements, including the smaller singles and twins that would become immensely popular worldwide due to their reliability and advanced engineering.

3. The Demand for Small Displacement Bikes

The 1960s marked a global trend towards urbanization, which increased the demand for small displacement motorcycles. Honda’s smaller bikes, like the Super Cub, played a pivotal role in the company’s growth, with the Super Cub approaching 7 million units sold. These bikes were powered by simple yet reliable four-stroke engines, which would soon evolve into the overhead cam designs that allowed for higher revs and more power.

4. Advancements in Engine Design

Honda’s commitment to innovation led them to develop new single-cylinder platforms in the 1970s. They transitioned from overhead valve to overhead cam engines, allowing for freer revving and more power while maintaining Honda’s hallmark reliability. This was exemplified by the CB, CL, and SL100 motorcycles, which featured an all-new overhead cam 99cc single paired with a five-speed gearbox, a rarity for the time.

5. The Introduction of the CB125

In 1971, Honda introduced the CB125, based on the CB100’s engine, but with increased displacement and power. This bike would become the Grom of its day, offering a beginner-friendly yet fun riding experience. It was a true motorcycle that didn’t feel like a scooter, and it became more accessible worldwide in 1973 as the CB125S, with even more power and the ability to cruise comfortably at highway speeds.

6. The CB125’s Longevity and Influence

The CB125 had a long production run and underwent various improvements, including the addition of a front disc brake. Its styling transitioned from classic Japanese to the more recognizable 70s look of Honda. The bike was marketed brilliantly, emphasizing that even small bikes could be serious machines for true motorcyclists.

7. The Cycle of Motorcycle Preferences

The history of the CB125 and the release of the Grom reflect a cycle in consumer desires, where the market alternates between favoring larger, more powerful bikes and recognizing the value of smaller, more economical ones. The Grom’s success is indicative of a current preference for fun, small bikes, highlighting a potential gap in the market for more compelling small displacement motorcycles.

The narrative of the original Honda Grom and its predecessors reveals much about the evolution of motorcycling and Honda’s role in shaping rider preferences. The Grom, with its roots in the CB125, continues to embody the spirit of accessible, enjoyable riding for both new and experienced motorcyclists alike.

Credit to the YouTube video that provided a comprehensive analysis of the origins and impact of Honda’s small displacement motorcycles: