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Review of the Honda ANF 125 Innova - By Peter Hawker

Honda ANF 125 Innova in a garage in red

Uneasy Rider

I’m an elderly touring cyclist and during my last few trips, principally in mountainous regions of France, I’ve toyed with the idea of motor propulsion, a scooter with a small engine just powerful enough to carry me and my camping gear. A small engine would ease my conscience I thought. In my long gone youth I rode a 250cc motorcycle for just a few years, so a scooter with a foot operated gearchange should come naturally to me. I thought! The Honda ANF 125cc Innova is the only example I know of that has such a control and it should carry me and my gear, which isn’t heavier than a pillion passenger. It is a development of the renowned Honda Cub, that 90cc machine that was ridden everywhere. I recall an article about a chap who rode one around the world on one carying ‘everything but the kitchen sink’. I felt for him, having to remove all that of luggage every time he filled up, far too frequently.

So it was really nostalgia that determined my choice and I was lucky to see on ebay a three year old example almost on my doorstep with only 350 miles on the clock - £1,250, delivered. Done!

Rode it around the garden and got into second gear, then ventured onto the fortunately quiet road where I wrestled with the challenge of changing down smoothly. It was a while before I realised that lifting my left heel after selecting the gear was the equivalent of releasing a clutch. I’m still trying to develop a sensative left foot.

Other reviews of the Innova have been written by motorcyclists who comment about it’s lightness and the narrow tyres. I’m a cyclist and to me the scooter is relatively heavy and the tyres are wide. I’m still trying to excercise the good slow riding control that comes naturally on my pushbike and to ride faster than 30mph without feeling so nervous. Motorists are resigned to overtaking cyclists but expect scooters to keep up with the traffic and I irritate them.

I now realise how easy it is to hang panniers on my cycle, with its front and rear racks, but the scooter required considerable ingenuity to secure them safely. I’ve accomplished my first one-night camping trip without incident, except that it rained hard coming home and I drove very cautiously, particularly around corners. I’ve fitted a screen and the improvement in comfort is significant, but it hasn’t wipers and I was peering through both the rain obscured top half and my glasses as I crawled along. I’m nervous about that very efficient front disc brake in the wet, fearful that I’ll instinctively grab it in an emergency and come off.

Disadvantages (after only about a hundred miles): The limited protection to my lower legs compared with other scooters and the stiff rear suspension. I’ve ridden a mountain bike along very rough tracks and it’s suspension was much better.

I’m looking forward to my first camping trip in France next year, in regions that I’ve explored on a bicycle. Now I’m considering clothing for cold weather riding, at considerably higher speeds that on my bike. Chillier!

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Reader's Comments

said :-
I found the Innova great for touring in France . I had lightweight camping equipment in a 50 litre rucksack strapped onto the back with bungee cables , of course had to remove every time I filled with petrol but it only took a couple of minutes . I travelled from Gloucester to Cadaques in Spain (round trip of just under 2000 miles )and back in a beeline.Took the Weymouth - St.Malo ferry.Plenty of campsites never a problem finding one in the evening , couple of times anxious about running out of fuel though ,most of the village petrol stations have closed and had to use town supermarket petrol stations mainly, I might consider taking a 1 litre flask of petrol next time . Just staying on the 'd' roads mainly is so enjoyable. I have since bought a rack but not fitted a topbox yet , I suspect the handling might not be so good with the weight too far from the centre of gravity . There are lots of accessories for the Innova available in Asia that you cant buy in the UK , I bought back a basket that fits on the front and luggage carrier that fits in the gap between seat and handlebars so will experiment with how to load it next time . I carry 2 litres of water in a platypus water carrier that fits under the seat , this is good for keeping weight in the right place . Mini trangia for a little cooking but not really necessary as great to hang out in cafes in France. I havnt got a windscreen and need to wear lots of windproof clothes to keep warm even in summer , these double as nightwear in order to carry a 700gram sleeping bag . Cant wait till next trip ! Oh the guy who travelled round the world on one had a modified larger petrol tank that filled not from under the seat so he didnt have to unload to fill up - it was modified to use by Australian Post Delivery Service. Have a good trip - the hardest part is getting to ferry port in the UK on very busy roads once in France the roads are deserted .
UTC
Peter Hawker said :-
Dear Ren,
I've only just seen the article by the chap who toured with an Innova in France. Very encouraging.
regards, Peter.
UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I reckon if ya not in a big rush and would like to actually SEE the place you're travelling through then an Innova is ideal. Cheap to run, reliable and lightweight. The fuel is the only problem, 80 mile range is useless.

I have heard a tale of a 15 litre motorcycle fuel tank being bolted into the step through area and connected up. Never seen it though...
UTC
Fraser Gray said :-
Yes,a great bike for sedate touring;I've taken mine to the Hebrides a few times. Tip- get a top box and keep a litre of fuel in it;no more worries about running out. I also strongly recommend that you put ultraseal in your tyres(I'm not advertising!)..the bike is notorious for rear punctures and this stuff is amazing.It's no fun fixing a flat in the middle of nowhere (altho' quite do-able,carry a couple of small tyre levers;they'll fit under the seat,and an ordinary bicycle punture repair kit) But prevention is better than cure. Enjoy!
UTC
said :-
Hi all, some very interesting comments/stories on here. I bought a 2006 honda innova 3 years ago in 2008, only 600 mls on the odometre! cost £1100 at the time but sadly sold it again in 2009 for £1000. Im now missing owning one & looking to purchase another one, i have noticed they are now holding their price really well, ie: 2004/2005 typically £700-£800 & more!im guessing this is down to fuel price increases & of course the reputation of the Honda name & its reliability factor. Thanks to everyone for all the tips & info, especially the one about the ultraseal, sounds great! will have to check this out.

Regards... John.
UTC
Russ said :-
I brought my 2004 innova from a lad near me for £400, bargain. Brought it to get up my no claims, but now I've ridden for a few months I love it, use it everyday for my 40 mile round trip to work, sits happily at 55mph and I'm returning over 140 mpg, was going to sell it next year and get back on a fire blade but with fuel prices, what's the point.... This bike s amazing, well done Honda. Top job
UTC
Rob. said :-
Hi im thinking of touring france on my 08 innova next year, going this year on my 400 majesty but with high insurance ect im thinking of selling her and just keeping my innova, i get just as much or more fun riding this little scoot than the majesty and 140mpg cheap tax and insurance, done the big bike speed thing, now want mpg and a chance to see the world. Rob.
UTC
Ian Campbell said :-
from Boksburg south africa I regulary ride fromJoburg fromcapetown on myanf 125 Deputy model drum brakes carburetter model of anf series this distance is1600 kms we will do any thing from 750kms to 450kms in a day. yes can feel the heat on ankle on these days my bike has43692 kms on clock no problems as yet and do not expect any change oil after all long runs irespective of dtstance.one mod I suggest is mandatory and makes anf best small bike of all change front sprocket from14teeth to15teeth. this mod is magic and changes bike for best.
UTC
Glyn Lewis said :-
Took my 2003 Innova from Northants to AArhus, Denmark via Harwich/Hook of Holland. Never missed a beat even in non-stop Dutch rain. Did the trip in two days but as others have said, fuel range is dismal so I always carry a litre and a half in an old oil bottle as a precaution. I also keep a boottle of tyre weld handy just in case. Next trip on it is Arhus to Alta in Norway!Great little machine and far more fun than my 750 Honda.
UTC
bertie b. said :-
i have been toying about buying a 125 innova for a few years now,to carry it on my campervan,do you guys have any problems with the gear system on this lovely little motor.
UTC
annon said :-
is there anyone who can give bertie b some advice on his question about the gear change on this little honda.
UTC
Steve said :-
I have none Bertie b, what sort do you mean?
UTC
Steve said :-
Just like to add I recently bought an '03 Innova and despite the lack of love by previous owners neglecting service schedules and looking after it etc its still going strong at 23,000 miles. Now I have it ive replaced the oil, new chain&sprockets, spark plug and adjusted valve clearances and many other little things, and am getting 152mpg, super little step thru. Sadly there doesn't seem to be any website dedicated to them like there are for other bikes.
UTC
Ian B said :-
I have just bought a 2009 Innova with just over 2000 miles on the clock.

It seems to ride well at about 45 miles an hour but does not have much left after that, does anyone out there know if Innovas are restricted in anyway?

Also in the hand book it talks about using Honda 10W 30 4 stroke motorcycle oil or equivalent but the only Honda 10w 30 oil that I've seen is being sold on EBAY for lawn mowers! so what oil is everybody using?

I see that one of rider carries a spare litre of petrol in a empty plastic oil container it sound a good idea but would you do you consider this to be a safe container for petrol?

I'm thinking of spraying the frame and the wheel spokes with some type of protective wax
as I think otherwise it could very soon begin to look a bit tatty!

I'm an old motorcycle rider who thought I had finished with bikes but my little Innover has given me a new lease on life!
.
I look forward to any help that you Innover riders can offer a new owner like me.
Thanks Ian B


UTC
Henrik said :-
Congratulations with the Innova !!! such a nice little machine, I am lucky to own a 2005 model. I use it for small-trips only, with one night in tent, just
to explore parts of Sweden that is a little to far away for my MTB. But like
Ren said, the tank is a PITA, and exclude this little pearl from being a very
good touring bike. I have to admit on the plus-side I feel very comfortable with seat and position, (can ride it for hours,totally unlike my old GS500).

As for petrol use a dedicated petrol-tank, small one's are available for MC,
I would not take less than 2L. I would definitely try to mount a 5L somehow
on the front, if I was going for longer touring with my Innova

As for the motor-oil, don't bother to much, just use any decent oil that meet
the specs, you would have a hard time killing that engine :-)


...
UTC
Henrik said :-
:-)

Sleeping in the forrest typically
UTC
Ian B said :-
Thanks Henrik.
I think you are probably right about buying a petrol carrier but I must addmit that they do seem a bit expensive compared with the 5 Litre petrol containers!
What is the speed like on your bike , do you think that I am expecting a little to much from mine ?
Good luck with your touring and thanks for your help.
Best wishes Ian B
UTC
Ian B said :-
Please can you tell me have any of you Innova owners fitted a Universal Windshield and what do you think of them for quality (see them on EBAY fof just under £30 delivered)
Thanks Ian B
UTC
Henrik said :-
Hi again, my Innova run's 70-110, all compare, flat road and no wind 95 km/h

Yes, small dedicated carriers cost at least double compared to normal 5L types

https://www.louis.de/artikel/fuelfriend-big-kanister-2-0-liter/10002942?list=56105437

Since I have a plan to add a "vespa-style" front luggage-carrier, in my case
I would just put some normal cheap 5L car-type container on that front-carrier

(for longer trips 10 litres would even make more sense)

Also I would feel foolish, removing all my luggage from the seat, just to add
nothing more than two litres, and then one hour later, after 80 km, standing
there again with the same problem, and nothing left at all,..

If at least you could fill the tank up, (3.7L), that would give you like 150 km to go, and be more in tune with a natural rest, and stretching the legs,.

Anyway if not much other luggage, put the 5 litres behind you, needed be, I did this, even in the mountains of Romania, (how I miss that DRZ-400),...


UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Henrik, you seem to be living the adventurous lifestyle. There's a lot I'd like to know about DK because I hope to tour there one day. Drop me a line renwithnell@hotmail.com.
UTC
Henrik said :-
Hi, done, you'r welcome :-)
UTC
Fraser Gray said :-
Hi,Ian B - re your top speed of 45 mph. Check/ replace air filter,clean all grot out of crank case breather.Put the bike on its centre stand and spin the front wheel to check for binding - quite common to get a little of this if the bike's been used in all weather. - But even after all this don't expect much more than a cruising speed of 50-55 ,and that's in still air. If you've been riding into headwinds 45 is just about all you can expect really,unless you are a 6 stone sylph. There may also be a bit of grot in the carby if the bike had been standing for a while before you bought it. You can get a complete carb overhaul kit,including jets,for about 15 quid,and it's an easy carb to work on.Just be careful when you're taking all the plastic panels off the bike,that's actually the most time consuming part of the job.I recommend that you get a set of JIS cross head screwdrivers,as all the crosshead screws are JIS ( Japanese Industry Standard),as you stand a reasonable chance of knackering them if you try and remove them with a Phillips screwdriver.The screws on the carb are also JIS and they are especially liable to burring if you try and use a Phillips. Best of luck.
UTC
Wuyang said :-
Owned a carb and two injection innovas. The carb innova has more umph, it needs to be knocked down less through the gears when against a head wind, but also holds its revs and climbs through the revs more freely.
When going slowly on country lanes very little difference in engines. Once the injection innova gets it revs up it will do the same as the carb innova, it just doesn't hold onto the revs as well.

Few less rattles on injection innova, this can be sorted on carb innova by putting some silicone between headlight and plastic surrounding it. Injection starts on the button, the carb needs a bit of choke before it ticks over.

Loved all mine, but prefer the more fun engine feel of the carb innova. Injection also has halogen 35/35 bulb which is superior to the carb light. The injection bulb can be upgraded again to a Phillips 60/55 Eco bulb that draws 20% less power than a standard halogen, which allows the innova to run on it.

The Honda innova and the Honda sh300 are my favourite bikes by a long way.
30/04/2016 07:59:09 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Thanks Wuyang, some great information there. I would have thought the injection model would have been more powerful, I guess the catb runs a tad richer. Did you find any difference in the fuel consumption?

Ive never ever heard of the Phillips eco bulb either. That could be a great modification for my own 125.

I've never ridden the SH300. What makes that such a great bike? They certainly look smart.
02/05/2016 06:25:16 UTC
Mac said :-
Thinking of buying one of these famous bikes. I'm 6'2". Am I too tall?
Thanks.
Mac
22/06/2016 15:44:58 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Mac. Too tall is for you to decide. You should physically fit onto the Innova as it is a full size bike. However you may find it cramped. The best way to find out is to go and sit on one!
23/06/2016 04:24:12 UTC
Henrik said :-
Mac: I am 183 cm, and find it ok, also for longer trips, much better than feks a standard GS500 suzuki, you cant just compare seathight only, becourse the hole sit-position is diffrent, more upright, and comfortable, but 3,7 l fuel is a PITA, and the engine is to the weak side compared to other 125's, my is also not so good on fuel-consumption as the hype says, would try the new address 110 insteadt today
23/06/2016 04:39:21 UTC
David said :-
Bought my 2010 injection model in terrible state from a pizza company, but it was cheap. Spent a couple of weeks securing and painting mixed bodywork panels and gave it a thorough service. I am now happy with it. It goes very well, 55mph cruising speed even with 88000 miles on the clock. Really cheap transport that I will use as a London hack.
06/03/2017 08:11:09 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
88,000 miles! That's some good going there. I reckon the Innova will be perfectly suited to the London street and I guess the Pizza delivery company did too. Don't let that stop you taking it out of London to explore the rest of the UK though.
06/03/2017 09:20:51 UTC
Norm said :-
I'm 6.2 and find my Innova very comfortable. 2006 carb model cruises at 55 and will do 60/65 if you wring it's neck. Love riding it
20/08/2017 23:04:54 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Thanks Norm. Recently a friend got an Innova for his campervan. He's more used to ZZR1400 and other such hyper-motorcycles but he and his wife still had a hoot on the Innova.

Just looking on the Honda site is seems the Wave 110 (nearest relation to the Innova) is no longer listed. Shame, quite like the Wave too.
21/08/2017 13:30:49 UTC
said :-

04/10/2017 08:32:40 UTC
Rob said :-
Hey guys, where's the coolant tank on these little bikes?
22/10/2017 11:46:08 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
They are air cooled Rob.
22/10/2017 16:17:20 UTC
Simon said :-
Hi, I'm thinking of riding my little honda from here in ireland down to our house in southern france.Its a 400 mile trip and I was thinking,does anyone know how many miles a day I could realistically travel. I'm 68 so rest breaks would be quite frequent. Thought it might be a fun trip.
06/05/2018 18:26:12 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
It all depends Simon! In my opinion 100 miles a day is a good place to start but that would make a 4 day trip.

200 miles is perfectly manageable if your experienced even on a 125. However I wouldn't recommend it for your first time.

I'd suggest 3 days. I'd also suggest a couple of days before racking up a few miles at home to see how you get on.
06/05/2018 20:45:16 UTC
Rod said :-
Hi Simon,
Ireland to Southern France. Which way are you planning to go to Southern France which is only a 400 mile ride?. Should the 400 be a 4000 mile round trip?
The mileage you can cover in one day has many factors.
Are you camping : You need to be at your campsite earlier than if you are staying in a hotel.
What time of year are you travelling : Hours of daylight are shorter in the winter, and the standard lights on many bikes are only adequate.
How comfortable is the bike and what is its average speed : This will have a big impact on the mileage you can cover (or want to cover).
How many miles do you normally cover in a day : The more you ride, the more comfortable you will be on the bike.

By far the biggest factor is the mileage which each individual is happy to cover in a day.

Age 68. I was talking to a guy at the ferry last year, he had just covered a 600 mile ride to the ferry, and he was in his 70's. He was riding a BMW1200RT though, not a 125 Honda.
10/05/2018 07:26:48 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Rod. There's a lot more to it than meets the eye in such a simple question.
10/05/2018 15:37:15 UTC
said :-

18/05/2018 14:48:24 UTC
 

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