At the top of the on-ramp, traffic was already blowing past fast enough to make me and my machine wiggle with turbulence. The little engine had more to give, but basic physics wouldn’t let the speedometer climb. I let off and quickly rolled back on the throttle with hopes of tricking Newtonian mechanics, but to no avail. I tucked in close behind the taillights in front of me, hoping the draft would get me to the posted limit — It didn’t. Patience, a slight decline in the road and a stiff tailwind finally let the digital speedometer reach highway friendly numbers. The Honda Grom might barely make it on the highway, but its true passion lies slicing through the city.
What this bike lacks in power and speed, it makes up for with nimble agility. And Honda knows this recipe well. Much like their original Monkey bike, the CZ100, and its closest relative, the Ape, the Grom is all about proportions. To whit, the wheels it rides on are smaller than a six-slice pizza from Lombardi’s, and fully fueled, the bike still easily weighs less than the guy who can down that same pie. But thanks to Honda’s reputation for reliability, you won’t worry when it dawns on you that full throttle is the only way to ride — because that’s the only way you’ll move out of your own way.
Engine: 125cc, air-cooled, single cylinder
Torque: 8 lb-ft
Weight: 229 lbs
Fuel Economy: 134 mpg
Back in the civility of dodging taxis, texters and tourists, the Grom comes into its own. Handling is lightning quick and downright telepathic. Threading needles at full throttle through Toronto’s congested chaos is an absolute riot, and thanks to the Grom’s “cute” demeanor, nobody ever gets mad. Redesigned for the first time since it debuted in 2014, the new Grom has a face that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of Chappie. The double stacked LED headlights and more angular bodywork give the bike a more aggressive appearance from afar, but as soon as a rider climbs aboard, the Grom morphs into an upscale Power Wheels — which is only part of the reason I turn into an overgrown child whenever I ride it.
And that’s exactly why you need to add one to your fleet as a second or third bike. Regardless of age, the Grom turns back the clock and reintroduces fun to commutes. Add to that its infinite approachability, and any rider, be they new or a seasoned veteran, can happily exploit all 9.7 horsepower to explore their limits. More than that, its meager size and naturally limited speed teaches you to anticipate and plan ahead. The Grom will make you a safer rider. A better rider. A happier rider. And it’ll probably keep you off of the interstate, too.