Honda Groms

Tiny Honda’s, Gigantic fun

You would have read about the exploits of FabryRock in last month’s magazine, where we were summoned at short notice to Honda Wing East Rand Mall…

Well, while we were there we happened to spy a very tidy Honda Grom tucked away next to a certain young ladies desk and started making enquiries. It turns out that Daleen Webber who owns the Grom commutes on it everyday to dodge the traffic and the rising ludicrous fuel costs., but more interesting than that is the fact that she and Dries own a fleet of Groms and have a bunch of mates with Groms as well and that they could possibly hustle up a mini mass ride on Groms.

YES!! YES!! Was the answer even before she asked if we would be interested. Finding bums to fill the saddles turned into a bit of a bun fight between our usual motley crue of renegades with everybody trying to get a seat on this ride. After much fist shaking at the stormy skies we finally managed to find a sunny friday afternoon and all met in Pretoria north and were blown away by all of the custom work done to many and just the absolute pristine condition of all of them.

The sunny day called for a lekker ride and Cullinan was the unanimously agreed destination, the ride took us out along Sefako Makghato drive, (formerly Zambezi), all the way to Cullinan. Friday afternoon traffic is always a little bit more dense here and 9 Honda Groms all riding in a pack really does attract a lot of attention from everybody…. Quite the spectacle.

Now, let’s be honest little 4-stroke 125 cc’s by no means are going to blow your hair back, but with some generous application of the throttle and the aid of a long downhill we managed to squeeze about 105kmh out of them, but somewhere between 80 kmh and 90 kmh is where they are happiest and also give their best fuel consumption, around 50 kays or so per liter…. I know. Right? For the more, shall we say…. Unskinny amongst us, uphills were interesting, those with the bodies of 12 year choir boys skipped up the hills as if they weren’t even there whilst one or two of us got the opportunity to really scrutinize the landscape in the minutest detail and dodge bumble bees trying to commit suicide on the back of our helmets, but Man oh Man once we crested the summit of those hills it was game on…. until the next one. These little bikes are an absolute hoot to ride.

Sean says:

I was convinced that I was going to wear the Grom rather than ride it. fully prepared to be cramped into some weird yoga contortionist pose for several hours, but the giggle my 2 meter chassis would give the spectators at large would be worth the sacrifice. However, Honda used a lot of science and engineering in this department and I was profoundly comfortable with a good angle on my knees from the pegs to the seat and nice wide and high handlebars. Some of the bikes had aftermarket rear sets, loud pipes and a bunch of other bits and bobs which you will read about just now. The suspension handled my 115 kg mass with ease and the little Honda was a hoot in the twisty’s and gapping it between the rush 5 pm hour traffic on the way back to their home. These little bikes are so much fun to ride that I immediately started scouring the various sales platforms in search of one, sadly, it would seem that Daleen and Dries have beaten everyone to the few that actually do come up for sale.

Garth says:

The only time I have ever seen motorbikes like this was when I was over in Thailand, they are literally everywhere. The first time I saw one I had to do a double take because they really do look just like a normal naked bike… just a lot smaller, and I never realised that they were also available in South Africa. When I was invited to join this ride I had to say yes quickly otherwise all the available seats would have been spoken for and I am very chuffed that I got to come on this ride because…. What a jol! They’re little 125 cc bikes and a lot of them have been done up as replicas of well known racers bikes with all the different colourings and bolt on accessories. It’s great, they really turn heads while you’re out riding on the roads. Yes, they are not very fast…. But what a jol, so much fun. I think I managed to make 105 kmh, which is really fast, down a mineshaft. The one thing that really stood out to me was how smooth the gearboxes are. They even have proper little clocks, you’d think they were little toys but actually they are proper “little” motorcycles and in fact if they were still available to buy in this country I would absolutely, definitely get myself one of these and I believe that a lot of people would, it would be such a craze and people would make clubs just for Groms…. Much like the awesome folks we were riding with today. 

René says:

My eerste bike was n gomoto scooter gewees, en ek het die hele dorp plat gery met die ding, maar nou dat ek een van hierdies gery het, wens ek dat ek eerder dit gekry het as my eerste bike. Behandeling van die Groms is baie maklik gewees…. soos ‘n speelding. As n redelike nuwe biker was dit baie maklik, oorspronkelik ek het gedink dit sal sukkel met die clutch en die ratte maar dit was eintlik baie maklik, nogals makliker as my KTM 390 Duke. Ja vir iemand van my size, omtrent 50kgs, was dit baie gemaklik om op te ry, selfs die lang reguit pad wat ons gery het na Culinan toe was heel gemaklik. Mens kan nie regtig vinnig genoeg ry dat die wind ‘n probleem word nie. Maar ek sou sê dit is die lekkerste om meer deur die dorp te zoom, want dit voel vir my baie vinnig, al ry ek eintlik net omtrent 50 of 60km/h. Ek kan ook baie lekker draai, ek was glad nie bang om te lê in die draaie in nie, dit het net alles lekker gevloei, waar op ‘n groter bike is ek nog bietjie bang om te lê in die draaie. Ek was baie impressed met die lekker klein bikes en ek dink dis definitief ‘n bike om te hê net vir Sunday fun.

Stefan says:

When you consider that the bike is as big as a BMX and it’s only got one 125 cc’s you don’t expect much, but when you get on to this little thing and you start riding in a group with more of these little things, it becomes one hell of a game. When we arrived at the meeting place they told me that the Groms only do around 80 to 90 km an hour max speed, so that doesn’t really sound like a lot of fun considering that Ridefast usually takes out bikes like the Fireblade, S1000RR, GSX-S 1000 and etc. But then comes to mind that old saying of; it’s more fun to go fast on a slow bike than it is to go slow on a fast bike. The Honda Grom is probably the slowest bike I have ever been on in my entire life, but it is also close to the most fun that I have ever had on a bike in my entire life. Although I was told that my max speed would be around 80 to 90 km an hour, luckily I’m a skinny oke, only weighing around 70 kg, so I managed a top speed of 115 km an hour and swiftly sped away from the rest of the group. Even though I managed a top speed of more than most of the group, that wasn’t where the most fun was. The most fun is when you are sifting through traffic or just playing when you’re bored, swerving around on the road like a hooligan. It’s the size of a BMX and feels like a BMX when you start moving. It almost becomes weightless, and the tiny wheels you’re rolling on add to that lightweight and nimble feeling. The grom is pretty rudimentary, you don’t get traction control or abs, but that only adds to the fun. I’ve never done so many skids on a motorcycle as I did with these little Groms. What surprised me even more is the insane amount of customisation that I saw on some of these bikes. From MotoGP replicas to just all out crazy, colorful and wacky stuff, a grom really is a blank canvas for you to do whatever you want on two wheels. After this ride I realised something important: I need a Grom in my life.

And a few words from Daleen Webber – “Lady Grom” herself:

It is like a disease that has taken over our lives. I bought one about four years ago, and then I just wanted to buy more and more and more….

We have sold a few and bought more, but these are the ones we keep now, we’ve got six at the moment. We enjoy riding these more than our superbikes, they are super, super, super fun to ride. They really do attract a lot of attention wherever they go. We have also imported a lot of parts and accessories for them from Thailand as we could not find anything locally here in South Africa. The box-stock-standard bikes are our most pride & joy, “Bumblebee” & “Red”, both under 300 km. 

The custom bikes all have sticker kits on and are all fitted with fairing kits or belly pans, rear sets, bar end mirrors, blinker bolts, handle bar crossbars, crash bobbins (front and rear), levers and grips, rear spools, aftermarket exhaust pipes (Stealth, Tyga, Yoshi), engine covers and stater glass covers, tail tidies and integrated tail lights and aftermarket indicators.  If you like being the center of attention, ride one of these babies.

We’ve owned about fourteen of them so far over the years, at one stage we had nine…. But we are always looking for more, so if anyone has one they would like to sell or even old school monkey bikes they can contact me through Honda Wing East Rand Mall in Boksburg or call me on 076 516 2038.

In parting…

We all had soooo much fun on these little bikes and are really quite smitten with them, if you have anything interesting and exciting to ride hit us up on WhatsApp button.

Words: Sean Hendley, Garth Taylor, Stefan vd Riet and René
Pics: Stefan and Rene

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