When Honda announced the MSX125 motorcycle some years ago, our first thought was a glum one: “Here’s another small bike that won’t come to the U.S.” Our sighs were premature, as it was revealed that we would be getting the same bike in the states, where it got a new name: Grom.
The littlest Honda streetbike was a smash hit, with dealer stock being back-ordered for months. The bikes barely had time to hit the showroom floor before they were snatched up. At around $3,000, and with an MPG rating of 134, the Grom found fans in everyone from newbies to seasoned riders who wanted a second (or third) bike for buzzing around town.
Not to be outdone, Kawasaki saw room in the market and brought its own 125cc bike to our shores. The 2017 Z125 Pro shares similar specs to the Grom, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with one last year. Our full Z125 review can be viewed here.
Motorcycles typically don’t receive updates as frequently as cars, but it’s likely that Kawasaki’s entry into the segment prompted Honda to extensively update the Grom for the 2017 model year (European and Asian territories saw the updates earlier). The new underslung exhaust lowers the center of gravity. A redesigned fuel tank and body panels give the bike more of a streetfighter appearance. Stacked LED headlights and a new upswept tail and LED taillights further set the new Grom apart.
The handlebars were moved forward, which contributed to a more aggressive riding position. The passenger seat was also raised. Even the key was updated to a flip-key style. The brake calipers were painted red, and it is in this area that the upcoming 2018 Grom has its biggest change.
The EU made anti-lock brakes mandatory on motorcycles over 125cc starting in 2016. While we don’t have such legislation stateside at this time, you will be able to opt for ABS for the 2018 Grom. Though pricing hasn’t been announced for either the standard or ABS models, we can look to the previous year to get an idea. The 2017 Grom retails for $3,299. ABS should add $300-500 to the price, as this is how much it costs to upgrade to ABS on Honda’s 300cc models. It may be less for the Grom, though with a possible increase in base price, you can expect a 2018 Honda Grom ABS to go for at least $3,500.
Aside from the available ABS (which adds 5 lbs. to the Grom’s 229-lb. curb weight), the 2018 Grom will be a carryover from the previous year. It appears that the ABS model can only be had in in two of the four colors offered for the standard Grom: Matte Gray Metallic or Pearl Red.
There hasn’t been much news for the 2018 Kawasaki Z125 Pro, but the 2017 model we tested carried a starting price of $2,999. Given the competition from Honda, it’s a safe bet that Kawasaki will offer ABS on future model year Z125s.