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  • Sarah Merrell

Battle of the Small Bores

Updated: Mar 2, 2019

The Kawasaki Z125 vs The Benelli TNT 135 vs The Honda Grom 125

I have my personal preference in the battle of the small-bore bikes, but when it comes down to it, all three are fun and it's all about finding the right fit for your body and needs.

When the annual Smoky Mountain Crawl came to Townsend, Tennessee in June, I was psyched. Ever since a friend of mine let me take his Grom for a spin a time or two (well, more like a time or 10), I've been hooked. As a pit bike racer, I've found small bore bikes are big in the fun department. The Grom felt like my pit bike, just larger and a higher top speed. I was used to riding the Grom solo, so the thought of having thousands of other small bore bikes to play with was exciting.

I contacted by buddy PJ Pijanka with Sportbikes 4 Hire, and low and behold, he had a Z125 I could ride for the Smoky Mountain Crawl. I dropped it off with me a few days before, which gave me the change to catch up with Darryl "Killboy" Cannon and make some laps on The Dragon since he had just purchased a Benelli 135.

The Z125 on The Dragon was a blast! I was really set on wanting a Grom, but after riding the Z, I changed my mind. And here's why: The Z was bone stock and the power it had felt similar to the tricked-out Grom I had been riding. Plus, the foot pegs on the Z are higher than on the Grom so I wasn't scrapping foot pegs going through corners. Also, the design of the tank on the Z fits my legs perfectly and makes it more comfortable to hang off the bike.

Darryl and I switched bikes and I had the chance to ride his Benelli. The Benelli is a 135 and you can tell--it did have more power and top speed. Plus, it has an additional gear that the Grom and Z don't have. So when I thought I was out of gears I was pleasantly surprised I had one more. I didn't like the foot pegs on the Benelli since they were low like the Grom and I was scrapping pegs, but I'm sure there are rear sets available.

Overall, it's tough to say which bike is better. I don't think one is necessarily a better option of the others. Personally, I felt most comfortable and fastest on the Kawasaki Z125. In fact, it was so fun that I'm now in the market for one! Whichever bike you go for, I highly recommend adding a small-bore bike to your fleet.

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