Love is… building your partner their perfect motorcycle

John Milbank, BikeSocial Consumer Editor
By John Milbank
BikingMilbank BikeSocial Consumer Editor, John owns a BMW S1000XR, Honda Grom and a 1999 Kawasaki ZX-6R. He's as happy tinkering in the workshop as he is on twisty backroads, and loves every bike ever built (except one). He's bought three CBR600s, a KTM 1050 Adventure, Yamaha MT-10, two Ducati Monsters, several winter hacks, three off-roaders, a supermoto pit bike, a Honda Vision 50 and built his own custom XSR700. 



Philip and KJ are both adventurous people, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that as a wedding present, Phil bought his new wife a Honda MSX125. She’d never ridden before, but was unfazed, and has gone on to explore Scotland and various trails around the UK with Phil on his CRF250.

The MSX (or Grom as it’s known in the USA) is a surprisingly versatile bike. Despite its 125cc single-cylinder engine, 12” wheels and 65mph top speed, the fact that it only weighs around 100kg – and is so small – makes it extremely popular. And not just with new riders; there’s a huge tuning scene around the world, and many experienced bikers buy them as something different, or even as a way to explore the more remote areas of the UK. Check out a few examples here:

Snowy Scottish Highlands on an MSX125

• Project Africa Grom

US Grom racing through a school


BikeSocial meets KJ and Phil

KJ and Phil talk about their perfect adventure bike


Building the perfect bike

Phil knew that, as a new rider, KJ would want something light and manageable like the little Honda, but capable enough for the trails and byways they’d be exploring. The modifications he’s made have been purely about practicality and performance…

• Increased front suspension travel (click here for the mod) with standard 10W oil

• Maxxis M6024 knobbly tyres

• Fender extender

• Hand-made foot-peg plates

• Modified pit-bike exhaust for increased ground clearance

• Hand-made sump guard

• Rox bar risers

• Folding mirrors

• Barkbusters hand covers (for the colder months)

• Custom flush front indicator kit

• Pannier rack fitted with a modified Peli case and Zen Overland fuel bottle holder

• Sheepskin seat cover for long-distance comfort

• Modified gear lever for more accurate changes and increased ground clearance




Is the Grom the perfect trail bike?

With such small wheels the MSX is never going to have the off-road performance of Phil’s CRF, for instance. But the ground clearance is surprisingly good (the short wheelbase adds to it), it’s small, it’s light, and the power (around 9bhp) is enough for the weight. So it’s KJ’s perfect trail bike, and seeing the way it gives this couple the chance to enjoy motorcycling together, it’s an inspiration to us all…



I met KJ and Phil at the two-day Bennetts Customer Rewards Welsh Safari. You can find details of more events, discounts and experiences at


Latest News from Bike Social

Latest News

  • Guy Martin attempts famous Steve McQueen jump on TV
    Guy Martin to attempt famous Steve McQueen jump on TV
  • Japanese special marks the end for the Serow after 35 years of production
    Yamaha Serow ‘Final Edition’
  • How many motorcycles get stolen from racetracks?
    How many motorcycles get stolen from racetracks?
  • Indian FTR1200 adventure bike coming next year
    Indian FTR1200 adventure bike coming next year