Honda SP 125: Old vs New

How does the new SP 125 compare to the bike that it replaces?


Honda recently rolled out its first BS6-compliant motorcycle in the form of the new SP 125. The new bike effectively replaces the CB Shine SP, Honda’s previous premium 125cc commuter. So how does the new SP stack up against its predecessor? We've ridden the new bike, so we can give you a lowdown:


The existence of the SP 125 has been necessitated by upcoming BS6 emission norms. This means an all-new motor for the SP, one that shares its bore and stroke with Honda’s other BS6 product, the new Activa 125. It produces 10.9PS and 10.9Nm, which is actually 0.6PS and 0.6Nm more than the Shine’s output. This is quite heartening to see since with nearly every single BS6 update so far, the engine output has taken a hit or in the best case, remained the same.

What further sweetens the pot is the claimed 16 per cent higher fuel-efficiency returned by the SP 125. Another area where a forward step has been taken by Honda is engine refinement - the motor on the SP feels butter smooth and is completely devoid of vibrations throughout nearly the entire rev range. What further adds to the premium quotient is the ACG silent starter that Honda has thrown in. So in the engine department, the new bike is a big improvement over its predecessor.


The CB Shine SP featured a somewhat plain-Jane commuter design, so Honda has attempted to make the SP 125 appear a little more sporty and youthful. The sharp tank extensions and vibrant graphics help inject some flair into the design, and the LED headlight and neat tail section make this a handsome looking motorcycle overall.

It’s not quite as sporty as something like the Bajaj Pulsar 125 Neon, but it is still a decent step up from the old bike. The only area where we prefer the CB Shine SP is in terms of the wheels - the old bike’s split-spoke design looks more attractive to our eyes than the SP 125’s.


This is an area where Honda chose not to mess around too much. The SP 125 continues to be held together by a diamond-type frame suspended on a conventional fork and twin shocks, just like the CB Shine SP. The setup has been tweaked, though. The Shine featured a setup tending towards the soft side, which ironed out most bumps but could make the bike feel unsettled at times.

The suspension has been suitably stiffened on the SP 125 but ride quality is still quite comfortable with just a lightweight solo rider onboard. With a heavier rider or a pillion onboard though, sharp edges do filter through. Both bikes are light on their feet and feel agile and maneuverable in urban conditions. A front disc brake continues to be offered as an option and offers good stopping power, just like before.


This is a domain where the SP comes out head and shoulders above the CB Shine. The BS6 update has brought with it an LED headlight, fully-digital instrumentation, an ACG starter, engine kill switch and integrated high-beam/pass switch. None of these are present on the CB Shine SP, or on most of the SP 125’s competitors, for that matter. So kudos to Honda.

The SP 125 also outclasses its competition when it comes to build quality - fit and finish levels on the bike are excellent, switchgear quality is premium and the SP feels very well put together.


Of course, such a comprehensive update does come at a cost. The SP 125 is Rs 7,140 more expensive than the CB Shine SP, variant-for-variant. For this premium, you get a better built, better-equipped motorcycle that is more refined, more fuel efficient and more powerful than its predecessor. Hence, we feel that it is well worth the extra cash that it commands.

Honda CB Shine SP (Disc CBS)

Honda SP 125 (Disc CBS)

Rs 69,960

Rs 77,100

*all prices ex-showroom Delhi

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