Johannesburg - Rising fuel prices and environmental concerns have changed forever the way we think about transport; the number of brightly-coloured Chinese scooters infesting our cities is ample proof of that.

Now Honda is making a bid for a slice of the commuter market with the 125cc Elite, a neatly-styled, belt-driven single-speeder with an air-cooled four-stroke engine rated for 6.25kW at 8000 revs and 9.24Nm at 6400rpm, with both electric and manual starting.

Honda claims fuel-consumption under controlled conditions of as low as 2.68 litres per 100km which, with a six-litre fuel tank under the double seat, should keep you going all week.


Also under the seat is a storage compartment big enough to hold a full-face crash helmet - or a couple of standard supermarket carriers, making it ideal for quick trip to the supermarket, or a rucksack full of schoolbooks.

There's another, smaller lockable compartment in the leg-shield for keys, eyewear, iPod, garage remote - all the gadgets that make themselves indispensible to city dwellers - and a standard rear carrier for bigger shopping trips.

But this is also a Honda, so it comes with a healthy 1235mm wheelbase and decent-sized wheels (12" in front, wearing 90/90 rubber, 10" rear with a 100/90 takkie), side and centre-stand, and linked brakes - disc in front, drum rear.

Seat height is 749mm, about average for a sixteener, but the saddle is nicely tapered towards the front so the vertically challenged among us can also put both feet flat on the ground.


The Honda 125 Elite is available in pearl white, metallic silver or Honda's signature candy apple red, at R12 990, which includes a riding course through the Honda Academy, a two-year/unlimited distance warranty, 12 months' free roadside assistance and a coupon for free labour on the first service.