2014 Honda Grom Review: Small Bike, Big Thrills

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2014 Honda Grom Review Introduction: What’s in That Lil’ Package?

2014 Honda Grom Review
The 2014 Honda Grom, in red. Photo © Honda

So, the 2015 Honda Grom is priced at only $3,199 and sports minibike styling— but is a viable motorcycle for normal sized people?

Let’s start by deconstructing the specs.

What’s a Grom? Well, in surfer-speak, the term refers to a punk surfer kid, but when it comes to the new pint-sized member of the Honda family, the tiny bike is totally approachable. Powering this ‘pup is a fuel-injected, 125cc air-cooled single with an electric starter. A four-speed manual transmission (remember those?) turns the rear wheel via chain drive, and the whole package weighs only 225 pounds.

Front suspension travel measures 3.9 inches, while the single-shock rear suspension moves 4.1 inches before quitting. Single 220mm front disc and 190mm rear disc brakes provide stopping power, and seat height measures 29.7 inches—more than you’d expect considering its wispy 225-pound curb weight and tiny 12-inch wheels.

The Grom’s surprising list of amenities includes an all-digital instrument cluster and inverted forks, but how does this pint-sized bike perform for a normal sized rider in city traffic? Click “Next” to find out.

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2014 Honda Grom: On the Road

2014 Honda Grom Review
As seen here, the Grom's ergonomics are more accommodating than you'd think. Photo © Kevin Wing

You wouldn’t expect an average sized guy to fit comfortably aboard a scaled-down bike like the Grom, but Honda’s runabout is actually rather accommodating for those of standard stature. In fact, if anything, the 229.7-inch seat height could prove somewhat tall for those who are inseam-challenged—a curious reversal of fortune, given this bike’s youth-friendly aspirations, but refreshing for bigger folks eager to swing a leg over this kid-appropriate ride. Though its saddle is firm enough to discourage long stints on the road, overall ergonomics are comfier than you might expect for such an oddly proportioned motorcycle.

The Grom’s 125cc engine fires up almost instantly, and the rider's view of the bike’s all-digital dash lends it an air of sophistication, despite its shrunken proportions. Click down to first and ease away the light clutch, and the Grom delivers scooter-like thrust off the line. If you’re accustomed to skipping gears while you accelerate on your big bike, you’ll want to think twice about that on the Grom: four relatively tall gears means there’s not much flexibility from the small motor, and for brisk buildup in speed you’ll want to get closer to its 8,250 rpm redline than you might on a smaller bike. The engine generally runs smoothly, though power drops off as you climb closer towards its 9,250 rpm redline.

As for maximum velocity, I managed to top out at 67 mph, on a city street— and believe me, those last 10 mph were hard earned, requiring a full tuck over a loooong, downhill stretch of tarmac. Kids, don’t try this at home. Brakes are responsive and capable of bringing the Grom to a stop quickly. And, as you can imagine, weaving through traffic on this lil guy is way more enjoyable than it would be on a bigger bike, thanks to its nimble footprint and tossable size.

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Bottom Line, Specifications, Who Should Buy the 2014 Honda Grom?

2014 Honda Grom Review
The 2014 Honda Grom, in black. Photo © Honda

Bottom Line

The Honda Grom is, without a doubt, one of those bikes most macho riders wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. But it’s also a back-to-basics ride that consistently delivers spontaneous grins and unexpected fun, recalling the sorts of low velocity thrills you’ll find familiar if you ever grew up on a mini bike.

While certainly not for everyone, Honda’s $3,000 Grom is welcoming to a wider range of people than you might expect thanks to its manageable ergonomics, user-friendly controls, and modern touches like fuel-injection and a digital instrument panel-- and it's so perfect for new riders, it easily earns a spot on our list of 10 Great First Motorcycles while also sporting the lowest price. The Grom may not be a practical solution for a long distance daily commute, but its focus on fun makes it a great replacement for casual urban runabouts like scooters, offering legitimate motorcycle mechanicals for a fraction of the cost of a full-sized bike.

Our only regret? The fact that the Grom’s 125cc engine prevents it from being freeway legal… but hey, Honda product planners haven’t ruled out the possibility of future spinoffs like a 150cc version, as they did with the Honda PCX. With a bigger, highway-legal engine, the Grom just could outdo itself as the ultimate— and most usable urban micromachine.

2014 Honda Grom Specifications

  • Price: $2,999
  • Engine: 125cc, single cylinder, fuel injected four-stroke
  • Transmission: 4-speed manual
  • Fuel Capacity: 1.45 gallons
  • Front Suspension: 31mm inverted fork, 3.9 inches of travel
  • Rear Suspension: Single shock, 4.1 inches of travel
  • Front Brake: Single 220mm disc, hydraulic dual-piston caliper
  • Rear Brake: Single 190mm disc, hydraulic single-piston caliper
  • Seat Height: 29.7 inches
  • Rake/Trail: 25º/3.2 inches
  • Curb Weight: 225 pounds
  • Available Colors: Red, Black

Who Should Buy the 2014 Honda Grom?

Fun-seeking, penny-pinching riders willing to skip the scooter for a modern, full-sized take on the classic minibike paradigm.