We Test Honda’s New Grom Minibike—Including in Our Office

Honda Grom

The fast sweeper in our lobby/psychedelics-testing area allows the rider to let all of the Grom’s 12 horses loose.

Motorcyclists signal their two-wheel approval by dropping left hands while passing. But when you’re riding a Honda Grom powered by a 125-cc engine and the rider of a 1340-cc Suzuki Hayabusa making around 190 horsepower gives you the low sign, it’s hard not to laugh. That’s like a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat’s driver soliciting kinship with a guy in a Smart Fortwo.

Honda Grom Specifications

Its name is derived from “grommet,” a slang term for a young surfer. But the Grom is an old soul—part pit bike, part sport bike, and all fun. The only thing novice about it is how easy it is for new riders to approach. It’s no scooter, though. It’s a legitimate motorcycle with a four-speed gearbox, and it requires a motorcycle endorsement on the rider’s driver’s license. If you happen to need a two-wheel permit, the Grom is ideal for taking the riding test; its 47.4-inch wheelbase, low seat height, and 229-pound weight practically constitute cheating.

We dared not tackle a 70-mph interstate on the Grom. However, the bike does zip down 55-mph back roads with the composure of a bigger machine. We completed a lap of our 10Best loop without so much as breathing the throttle. It’s wide open almost everywhere, with a cruising speed varying between 52 and 58 mph, dependent on the slope of the road and the ­rider’s attitude. Get into a tuck and the digital speedo climbs. Rise up and your body acts as an air brake, roughly doubling frontal area.

Honda Grom

Technical director Don Sherman was sure that the street-legal Grom was too big to maneuver through our 90-degree cube farm. Proving him wrong—a rare treat—we idled between office couches and dividers and down the narrow corridors that make up our Ann Arbor HQ, putting a foot down but once over half a dozen laps.

At $3349, the Honda Grom is far from a toy, but it is a very affordable way to get into motorcycling. It’s extremely efficient—we averaged 92 mpg over 200 miles—and as much fun as anything you can drive to the water cooler. Just don’t forget to wave back to fellow bikers.

Riding gear, including carpet-burn-preventing Kevlar jeans, courtesy of Dainese.

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