Honda draws on its mini-motorcycle past to revive the ST125 Dax

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Honda’s fleet of minibikes has welcomed a third member alongside the Monkey 125 and MSX125 Grom. The 2023 Dax ST125 is a modern homage to a 1970s classic based on the Super Cub engine and named after a similar sized dog breed.

Not everyone may know what a dachshund is, but most can probably identify it by its popular name, sausage dog. With its distinctive long torso and short legs, this breed inspired Honda in 1969 to name its ST50 mini-motorcycle Dax.

Honda made sure to include a Sausage Dog, officially known as a Dachshund, in the 2023 ST125 Dax press kit

Honda

Originally designed as an export model for Europe and North America, the Dax remained in production in Japan until at least 1981, then only made a return for the Japanese market in 1995 and was disappeared from the radar in 2003. Throughout that time it was offered almost exclusively with a 50cc Super Cub engine, except for occasional special models, such as the 1972 ST90 Mighty Dax with the 89cc engine and big 14 inch wheels.

In 2018, Honda decided to update the Asian-only C125 Super Cub to European spec and breathe new life into it with a global perspective, escorted by an all-new Monkey 125 that was no longer a mini-bike, but rather a medium-sized motorcycle, similar in physical dimensions to the MSX125 Grom. The success of the Grom and Monkey duo apparently prompted Honda to dig into its coffers and resurrect another familiar model.

The 2023 Dax ST125 is not based on the same platform as the aforementioned Honda mini-bikes, as evidenced by its exclusive main feature – a new chassis made of stamped steel sheet. In keeping with Dax tradition, it is actually a T-shaped unibody design which acts as the body, incorporates the 3.8 liter (1 gal) fuel tank and also supports all other parts of motorcycle.

The Honda ST125 Dax 2023 will be available in Gray or Red color
The Honda ST125 Dax 2023 will be available in Gray or Red color

Honda

The 124cc air-cooled single comes straight from the Super Cub and is quite different from the engine in the Grom and Monkey. The lower section is a redesigned block originally taken from the Japanese C110 cub, mated to the Grom’s cylinder, so the Dax channels its 9.3bhp to the rear wheel via a four-speed semi-automatic rotary gearbox. Its top speed is specified at 90 km/h (56 mph), virtually the same as the other two Honda minibikes.

The new Dax sports a short wheelbase of just 1,020 mm (40.2 in), places the rider at a very friendly height of 775 mm (30.5 in) and weighs 107 kg (235.9 lb) fully loaded and ready for the road. It rolls on 12-inch wheels and stops with dual disc brakes, backed up by a single-channel ABS system.

The anti-lock system only applies to the front disc brake presumably because it also comes from the C125 Super Cub, which uses a drum brake in the rear, so can only support a single-channel kit.

Officially, Honda calls the 2023 Dax ST125 a mini-bike, but it has room for two on its long seat
Officially, Honda calls the 2023 Dax ST125 a mini-bike, but it has room for two on its long seat

Honda

The rest of the Dax’s equipment is made up of several parts from the Monkey, such as the round headlight, LCD instruments and inverted forks, while at the rear Honda has opted for a pair of shock absorbers with a little more Travel – (120mm/4.7in) vs Monkey’s 102mm (4in).

The 2023 Dax ST125 will be produced in Thailand by Thai Honda Manufacturing Co. Ltd., just like the C125 Super Cub, and is expected to be officially unveiled at the Osaka Motorcycle Show in Japan on March 15.

Hopefully at the Osaka show, Honda will reveal information about production times and availability. Although it was officially announced as a European model, Honda websites in the United States and Canada have yet to include the new Dax.

Product sheet: Honda ST125 Dax

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