Honda Grom Motorcycle


 In 2014 Honda introduced and marketed what has possibly become the world's most successful small bore (smaller engine) motorcycle. It was targeted to younger riders because of its small size, but it has a large adult fanbase and massive community. It is the size of a scooter, but it handles like zippy albeit low-powered streetbike. Last week, a South African colleague and I were discussing scooters and motorcycles, and he mentioned that the name of my Honda Grom referred to "young person" in Durban slang. Go figure! In the Asian market it has been bestowed a less exciting moniker: MSX125. 

I was never much of a motorcycle gearhead growing up.  Only some basic work done out of necessity to keep my cars going in my teenage years. Those few times I got my car running again were truly glorious. I remember being stuck in a random town, in a random junkyard when the closing bell ran out on a hot Summer day. Tool-less, hunched over the open hood of a long dead car that I had barely located after a grunt-and-point from the junk yard foreman, I tackled some injector bolts with my bare and greaseless 18-year old hands desperately trying to wrench off this part I needed. I bore down with my thumb and forefinger and one turned loose! I quickly jumped to the other fearing my superhuman powers would fade quickly. Needless to say I had the biggest grin as I swagger back past the main office of junkyard, smelling like gasoline. And that injector, it saved my sad little car, and gave it a few more years. It was a little Zen and the Art of Ford Escort maintenance that day.

In Saudi, many folks ride scooters, and I decided I'd like to join the club. I was fortunate enough to find one of (3) Honda Groms that were for sale in Saudi Arabia and over the years have enjoyed transforming it into something...else! 

We have a "AAA" garage in Dhahran and I was able to use many tools and support from mechanics for various mistakes I made along the way. I modified the engine from 125cc to 142cc, added a fuel controller that connects to a laptop, extended the swingarm (making the wheel base wider to improve handling), and as you can see made many aesthetic changes along the way.

It's been a great project overall with so many parallels to troubleshooting computers or design projects. With so many aftermarket parts available, quite often I would encounter compatibility issues because parts are being combined in tandem and cause a fitment issue. Or, I would just break something along the way. It's been eye-opening to experience how much creativity was necessary to make things work when on paper it should have plug-and-play.