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Honda Pantheon 125 Scooter

You longtime readers will recall that last July I bought a scooter — a Honda Lead. This was a model Honda released with the target of offering a 100cc scooter for the price of a 50cc. One year later, I’ve decided to upgrade this bike, and purchased a 125cc Honda Pantheon, pictured on the right.

Living in a densely populated, and impossible-to-park European city like Marbella, Spain, one quickly appreciates the advantages of zipping around on a scooter. Parking is no longer a problem — just drive right up, and leave it on the curb. Traffic is no longer a problem — just weave between the cars right up to the red-light. And, they’re just plain fun to ride. In short, it wasn’t long before the Lead became my primary vehicle.

It also wasn’t long before I became aware of its shortcomings. In order to sell a 100cc bike at the price of a 50, Honda obviously had to take some shortcuts. The Lead has drum brakes, instead of disk. It doesn’t have a windscreen. There’s not much storage space. It has a carburetor, instead of fuel injection. And it’s not very powerful. With my wife on the back, climbing the mountain ramp to the highway behind our house was something like a scene from the Flintstones.

So I decided to upgrade. I figured that if a 100cc wasn’t sufficient for my needs, a 125cc — the most powerful bike you can ride in Spain without having to upgrade your standard car-only drivers license — wouldn’t likely be either. Given that, I was considering the 250cc bikes, like the Honda Forza. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to paying the price of a 250cc, and certainly wasn’t looking forward to going through the process of getting the Spanish motorbike license. Uhg.

While reading through the Honda catalog, though, I noticed something very interesting. Honda really cut some corners on this Lead model, because its maximum power output is 5kW, whereas the maximum power of the top 125cc is double that, almost 11kW. I got to thinking that perhaps a 125cc might be fine after all.

After talking to some folks, and in Spain there’s no shortage of people willing to offer an opinion, I ended up buying the Honda Pantheon 125cc scooter, and so far I’m quite happy with it. It’s got a lot of nicities — disc brakes, a “combo” breaking system where both brakes activate when engaging the rear break lever, a windscreen, and a roomy under-seat storage compartment. I also sprung for the Honda-made rear storage box, big enough to hold my laptop case. The scooter is big, powerful, fun to ride, and looks great (I think).

This is Spain, so, of course, the purchase didn’t exactly go smoothly. The list price of the bike was 3,100 Euros. I asked the dealer to make me an offer, since I bought my first scooter from him. He pulled out a Custom Offer sheet, and wrote down “3,100 Euros”. Thanks buddy. He said it would take three days to have the bike, once ordered. But when I put the deposit down on Monday, and said, “See you on Wednesday!”, he replied, “Uh, well, try a week from Thursday.” And when I came to pick up the bike a week later, it didn’t have the rear box installed. “Oh, yeah, that! Sorry! Pepe — can you install a rear box for this gentleman?”. “Sure boss!” … 30 minutes later … “Sorry boss, we don’t have that in stock. I’ll have to order one.”

So about three weeks after putting my deposit down, I finally had my new scooter fully kitted out. Sigh. But just when I’d start to get upset about something like this, my nose catches a whif of some local tapas and tinto-verano. Oh well, Spain’s not so bad after all. 🙂

Published inTidbits


  1. Phil Phil

    You are crazy to ride that thing through the streets of Spain (or anywhere in Europe for that matter)

  2. Peter Martel Peter Martel

    Hi Matt,

    Just read your posting to the Llama Forum and then here re GTD. First let me say I am extremely jealous of your ability to live in Spain (I know, I should just do it).

    I’m writing to see if there has been any progress on your GTD approach. Perhaps an up date to that blog is in order.

    And do you know of Merlin (not Merlin Mann), the ProjectWizards at . They exist in your part of the world, and it seems like you folks might have some shared goals or directions. Thanks for the entertaining and sometimes useful blog.

  3. Pierre Marteau Pierre Marteau

    BTW: Your “About” and “Links” links aren’t working. Not looking good for a company that does webdesign :-).

  4. Phil Phil

    I know Merlin Olsen, if that helps any.

  5. Juan Moyua Juan Moyua

    Hi Matt,

    Even for me, Spaniard but from the north of Spain, its hard to cope with some of the timings and ways of life they have in the southern part of Spain. So I have to congratulate you.

    And about the Honda Pantheon, I just bought a second handed and it didn’t come with the manual so I ask you if you could send a digital copy of your instructions to my email address.



  6. dan newitt dan newitt

    i have just got a brand new pantheon 125,2005 make.i am really looking forward to picking it up on tuesday night 16/8/05 in milton keynes.

    at the moment i have a honda x8rs 49cc 1999 make been very good but far to slow for me now as it only does 45 at a push.

    honda in my eyes is the best you can buy!

    they go on for ever.

    daniel newitt,

    milton keynes.

  7. Matt Henderson Matt Henderson

    Peter: Yes, our company uses Merlin. It’s great! I’ll try to update something about GTD as soon as possible.

    Pierre: This is a personal weblog, and is not affiliated with Makalumedia. That said, you’re right, I really should get around to completing this site with an About and Links section. (That task isn’t up there in the GTD priority list!) BTW, technically, the links do work; they just point back to the home page. 🙂

  8. Neil Neil

    Hi All.

    Iv just moved to spain, been here about 3 weeks and i want to get a bike.

    My main goal is to one day own a custom chopper 🙂 im 21 and i dont have any license of any kind so could you perhaps tell me how to go about getting a bike license in spain or if it would be better to get a uk one and ride on that.



    P.S. nice blog!

  9. Matt Henderson Matt Henderson

    Neil, with a normal driver’s license (i.e. a license valid for driving a car), you can own and operate a motorbike with engine up to 125cc, and with a maximum power output of just under 11kW. Above that, you’ll need to go through a driving school in order to get the Class A motorbike license.

  10. marian marian

    hello, came across this page on my browser, as i see you live here in spain also, you mentioned the spanish motorbike licence… what do you need to do here in spain just to ride a scooter? i stupidly, now think changed my british licence for a spanish one, do i have to go for a test or a school? my husband still holds an old british one that says he can ride a scooter, but my bike bit isnt ticked on this one!


  11. A gu on a small bike A gu on a small bike

    Hi Neil
    Now that you’ve had the Pantheon for a over a year – can you recommend it to someone who is in the position you were a year a go (owns a honda loead, looking to upgrade ?)

  12. Español Español

    And why are you living in Marbella and having fun with a scooter if you don’t like our country?

  13. Administrator Administrator

    Who said I don’t like your country?

    I love the weather. I love the food. I love the wine. I love the mountains nearby. I love the sea. I have some very good friends here.

    What I don’t love (and this is probably more relevant to Andalucia than the rest of Spain):

    + This Summer there was a mountain (literally) of trash in front of my house. The reason? 14 of 18. Did you read that? FOURTEEN OF EIGHTEEN city trash trucks were out of service, and the Ayuntamiento de Marbella didn’t have the money to fix them. In the meantime, half the officials in the Ayuntamiento are in prison in Alhaurin for the corruption scandal. (One had 800,000 Euros in her house. She said it was wedding gifts.)

    Can you believe that? In a supposedly modern country, 14 of 18 city trucks don’t work.

    + A culture of lying, cheating and corruption. I could write 10 pages (or more!) of examples where people and companies have cheated us, or tried to cheat us.

  14. Cornel Roman Cornel Roman

    I need a workshop manual for Honda Pantheon 125. Can somebodyes help me? Thank you.

  15. tashi tashi

    hi there..i am holding a spanish driving license but this didn’t let me drive motor bike of 125 cc till i complete 2 years of my license.But i have motor bike license from my country which is non eu country,so my question is will it help me to do something??


    Hi there !
    I’ve got a 2nd hand Panthéon 125cc, because I know who was selling it to me and ’cause Honda is famous about his long-life engines.
    I’ve examined my bike and I’ve cleared some conclussions:

    1 > TAKE CARE when driving in CURVY wet roads over 75 km/h or this scooter will be really dangerous for you ’cause it’s too long and unstable in curves. Keep in good elastic-shape your pneumatics !
    Perfect in straight ways or under 70km/h.

    2 > If you need to do more than 40 kilometers per day, this model is not enough: go for the 250 series.
    But if you drive under 100km/h then it´s a good option. His electronic fuel injection works well up to 90 km/h. It is NOT a powerful bike, but enough to use in short highways tracks ( one way max 25 kms of distance ) as I do 5 days per week.

    3 > It needs around 20 € of fuel per week if you use to go to work and little more.

    4 > Assurance: in Spain costed around 170€/year
    ( Allianz ), and includes road assistance and juridic support if unfair penalties comes to you.

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