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Yamaha MT-125 first ride

By Andy Davidson -

First rides & tests

 19 June 2014 14:04

The new Yamaha MT-125 marks the third arrival in the MT family. The single-cylinder is technically a naked version of Yamaha’s refreshed-for-2014 YZF-R125 except with an upright riding position and street fighter design, taking its styling cues from its MT-09 and 07 siblings.

So we have an already great bike, peppered with upgraded components, for less money than the faired version… and naked. Who wouldn’t want that?

This is no ordinary looking 125. It does away with the conventional toy-like 125 feeling and is replaced by a proper full fat look.

The MT gets a sharp LED headlight, beefed up by (fake) air intakes either side and a slick three-section digital dash with a host of functions including a clock, petrol gauge, trip time, mpg, distance to service and average speed – all controlled by a menu button on the right switchgear.

Yamaha’s designers have done a clever job of making the naked 125 look like a big bike by including a belly protector, flicking up and shortening the tail unit and throwing in wide bars for that hunched-over look.

The MT package works perfectly riding over Barcelona’s twisty mountain roads and flicking through its inner city bustle. At 138kg it’s light enough to dodge between cars and agile enough to get away with it.

The 125 gets thick 41mm KYB USD forks and an improved rear monoshock, the springs are firm enough when pilling on the gas and whacking in and out of tight corners and soft enough to soak up cracks when taking it easy.

The 292mm disc with a radial-mounted caliper offers a strong, progressive bite, especially for a 125. The 15bhp motor packs a mini punch and begs to be screamed, Yamaha has thoughtfully included a shift light for those eager throttle hands and it’s nice touches like that which add to the MT’s bragging rights.

Get onto the motorway for a mini commute and the baby Yam sits poised and stable at 85mph. Yamaha reckon it will return 134mpg which equals 340 miles thanks to an 11% fuel efficiency increase over last year’s model.

Verdict

Yamaha has done an excellent job of producing a bike perfectly suited for today’s youth. It has all the makings of a great bike and is a potential champion in the 125 stakes.

Design is just as important as handling when it comes to modern 125s and Yamaha has got both aspects pinned. It has the big bike styling, clever design, quality components and handles and rides brilliantly.

The MT-125 is a seriously fun bike, a Yamaha spokesperson said the price is expected to be under £4000, cheaper than the new YZF-R125, if it is then Yamaha are well on their way to another sales chart topper.

Yamaha MT-125
Engine:
124.7cc, liquid cooled, fuel-injected, 4-stroke, SOHC, 4-valve, single cylinder
Claimed power: 14.79 @ 9000rpm
Torque: 9.15lbft @ 8000rpm
Front suspension: 41mm, USD telescopic fork
Rear suspension: Linked monoshock
Front brake: 292mm single disc
Rear brake: 230mm single disc
Front tyre: 100/80-17 M/C
Rear tyre: 130/70-17 M/C
Fuel capacity: 11.5l
Kerb weight: 138kg
Seat height: 810mm
Colours: Race Blu / Matt Grey / Anodized Red
Availability: August 2014
Contact: yamaha-motor.co.uk