YAMAHA YZF-R125 (2008-on) Review

Published: 16 May 2008

"Combines the Honda's easy-going ride with a little bit more poke and grown up looks"

Yamaha YZF-R125 review action

"Combines the Honda's easy-going ride with a little bit more poke and grown up looks"

  • At a glance
  • 124cc  -  14.6 bhp
  • 52 mpg  -  150 miles range
  • Medium seat height (818mm)
  • Suitable for A1 licence
  • £4,349

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Since 2004, Honda has had the learner sports bike market sewn up – the CBR125R flew out of showrooms faster than its larger capacity counterparts. Yamaha’s range had a gap for a 125 sport motorcycle, and the YZF-R125 fills that gap by combining the Honda’s easy-going ride with a little bit more poke and grown up looks – it’s actually slightly bigger than the YZF-R6 that inspired its styling!

 

Watch Yamaha's YZF-R125 take on the Honda CBR125 and Aprilia's RS125

Watch the first ride of Yamaha's YZF-R125

 

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

For a motorcycle that costs a shade less than £3000, has a steel frame and unadjustable basic suspension, the Yamaha YZF-R125’s bloody good. The forks and shock have controlled damping which allows you to chuck the bike around back roads, but they’re not jarring on rough city streets.

Engine 3 out of 5

The Yamaha YZF-R125’s all-new engine has a longer stroke than other 125 motorcycles to give more torque, but it’s still no arm-ripper. Instead, the YZF-R125 gives flexibility two-stroke rivals like the Aprilia RS125 can only dream of. The Yamaha will crawl along at walking pace with the clutch fully engaged, and opening the throttle will give smooth drive right to the redline. It’s good for an indicated 80mph, which will satisfy most riders stepping up from a moped.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Yamaha YZF-R125 is built in Europe, and although it doesn’t have a top-level finish, it looks sturdy enough. Previous Yamaha/Minarelli engines have been strong, and there’s nothing to suggest this new water-cooled lump will be anything different.

Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5

The Yamaha YZF-R125’s is a great introduction to sports bikes without the drawbacks of two-stroke rivals – but so is the Honda CBR125R for £300 less – if you pay RRP, which many don’t. The Yamaha is better suited to larger riders, is more composed when you thrash it and looks better, but otherwise they offer the same thing. It’s your decision whether it’s worth the extra. Find a Yamaha R125 for sale

Insurance group: 6 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

The Yamaha YZF-R125’s digital dash, Brembo brakes, under-slung GP-style exhaust and a proper sized R6-inspired body is the stuff of wet dreams when you’re 17. The full-size body makes it reasonably comfortable too – the footpegs aren’t too high, the handlebars are mounted on the fork tops so your wrists don’t take a pounding and the seat isn’t massively hard either. The seat is reasonably high though – shorties may be more comfortable on the Honda.

Owners' Reviews

26 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA YZF-R125 (2008-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.3 out of 5
Engine 4.2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.9 out of 5
Equipment 4.1 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great first buy

20 August 2014 by Nickko18

I have had this bike for about a month now, I bought it sixth hand and it has 20,000 miles on the clock but it has been looked after well and was in great shape when I got it. I bought mine for £2500 and by god it was worth it. I would say that this... Read more bike really is the premier 125 out there. It gets a solid 14.6 bhp which is right on the limit of 15 bhp. Its acceleration is really fantastic at the low end, I personally have reached 80 mph on it. The riding position is very comfortable and I have done a 100 mile journey on it with no problems. It also handles well in the rain I have ridden in all different types of rain on it. Finally its mpg is really quite impressive I was commuting it daily and it lasted 7 days before I needed to fill it up. Overall a great bike.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

yamaha yzf r125

08 November 2013 by alexjames134

fantastic bike, have enjoyed riding it. i have taken mine up to 78mph Read more

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Not just for 17 year olds

23 August 2013 by wagend

Just spent a year with this bike while on my CBT. I'm in my mid 20s and finally free of parents and girlfriends stopping me getting a bike and the YZF R-125 has been fantastic as an induction to biking. It looks great and feels quality and non bikers... Read more get very confused about the L plates -- even a copper asked me why I have L plates on a 600). The engine is as good as you will find on a 4 stroke 125, I've had no problems in the 3,000 miles I've done on what is now a 12,500 mile machine. I rode it through winter and kept on top of the cleaning and the finish is still great -- no furry bolts. The ride and handling are good but the suspension is a little squishy sometimes when pushed hard. The frame is much better and more rigid than other 125s I've ridden, giving a much more planted and secure feeling. Overall the only gripes I have with this bike is the poor(ish)fuel economy (around 55mpg for me - not horrific but the CBF125 will do 135mpg) and the price. It's bloody expensive new and secondhand prices are still high but as long as you can afford the initial outlay it will give you the means to jump on a bigger bike without too much expense once you've passed your test.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great

12 June 2013 by jbyzf

Good bike, nice power, would like a little bit more top end but for a 125 what do you expect? only niggle is the lack of clock but this is easily remidied, lock it up well! Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Almost perfect

13 May 2013 by triplehelix

Firstly, It's a 125, the official MCN review irked me a bit because 3/5 engine score does NOT do this bike justice! No, it isn't an arm ripper, what 125 is? It should be compared to other 4 stroke 125's, and under this comparison, the YZF R125 comes... Read more out easily on top (I have ridden CBR125's, they are nice little runners but small and slower, much slower). Onto the main review. Only downsides are the handling and the value. The stock michellin tyres are LETHAL, change them as soon as you get the bike, and recoup the cost selling the stocks online, personally pirelli sport demons are great. The bike costs a lot, nearly £5,000 brand new this year, BUT, you get what you pay for. Equipment is perfect, it's only missing a clock, everything else is there that you would need. Quality and reliability is perfect, I ride all winter, and as a tired commuter I didn't strictly obey all anti corrosion advice 2 years in a row now and not a speck of rust or damage so far. Over the 2 years I have clocked up nearly 16,000 miles, it has never broken down or given me any issues. Gearbox is ridiculously clunky from day 1, but hey, it's a Yamaha, they're notoriously renowned for it. If you have the cash and will be happy with a 125 for years, buy it now! If like me, you accidentally pass your test first time as you had nothing better to do a couple months into owning this bike and now cannot afford a bigger bike due to the finance payments, buy a 2nd hand one, or a CBR125.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

had for 4 months

24 May 2012 by max748

i had this motorcycle for 4 months in australia before moving to germany, it isn't a common bike in AUS because you normally start out on a 250, i'm glad i didn't get a ninja 250, my friend had one and we whent on rides together, everyone was... Read more interested in mine and kept asking if it was a 600 and couldn't believe me when i said it was a 125(shows how rare they are down under) rode great, cornered hard and zero reliability issues in 10,000kms+ sold it for more than i baught it (baught it leading into winter and sold leading into summer) if i hadn't dropped it and had to pai for the repairs, i would have actually made money out of it. highly recomended!!!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

<3>

12 April 2012 by esalisbury

i have a 2011 one, bought it brand new and it had its first (600mile) service this morning, my first bike so i cant exactly compare it to anything except the CG i did my cbt on (this one's better). i get about 150 miles out of half a tank of fuel... Read more so i believe 150miles a tank is wrong. :D bike is really good - accelerates quickly for overtakes and doesn't make moped sounds when you're overtaking (which was top of my list when looking for a first bike "must not sound like moped") looses a bit (a lot) of power on hills. not very forgiving with the gears if you dont know what your doing. have had a few tantrums where it won't change up a gear until you start being really deliberate with the clutch and gearshift. this is probably me though (a) because i rarely know what i'm doing. bike looks great. taller than people expect and it doesnt "look" like a 125 from first glance, so generally get approval from other road users on bikes and jealous glares from everyone in the college parking lot. apparently doesnt weigh anything, and so far everyone that isn't me has been able to push it into akward spaces with zero difficulty. one person even managed to pick it up and move it when id left it somewhere stupid with the steering lock on. hint - you'll want an alarm or a big chain or something (y). so yeh. very nice bike.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great looking first bike

30 October 2011 by heath9144

Had a YZF for around a year and used it to commute on 5 days a week. Having covered 9000 miles its very reliable with no breakdowns, the only downside is the chain, with it being a smaller bike I needed to replace it at 7500miles along with the... Read more sprockets and I needed to adjust the chain every 500miles which was an inconvenience. The turning circle was laughable but that's too be expected on a sports bike. Compared to the competition I am glad I chose this one, and at second hand prices it was a bargain for around £2300. Great display, looks and brakes. Highly recommended bike for the newbies. With more top end power & speed it would be perfect. It was my pride and joy until a taxi decided to pull out in front of me, its not that he didn't see me, he didn't even bother to look!

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5

Amazing !!!!

05 September 2011 by ZACKYZFR

you cannot fault this bike its every teenagers dream its reliable it looks great handles like a big bike and so what the price is £4000 i was happy to pay that. alot more confident on that then a skinny cbr 125 fuel on a full tank is more like 250... Read more not 150mpg 0-60 ive had in 7 secs and top end on the tank ive done 86mph thats all standard apart from a double bubble screen by puig due to recieve the scorpion can in carbon at £350 but improves bhp by 5bhp haha and is alot lighter then standard can really mean this but il keep this bike till the day i die it really is special and even when i do get another bike 600 wise il still have fun from time to time on this =]

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Old and new rider

02 March 2011 by robhaycock72

As a 6' 16 stone 38 yr old I was surprised just how good this bike feeels to ride. Lacks bit of power after 50 mph but will make 75 even with me on it. The only trouble is you forget it is only a 125 and will soon be wanting a bigger engine. Bike... Read more size is good tho and you don't look like the proverbial swan on a ducks back. Mpg is excellent and would say more like 250 miles from a tank not 150 as stated

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 26 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2008
Year discontinued -
New price £4,349
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 6 of 17
Annual road tax £17
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 14.6 bhp
Max torque 9 ft-lb
Top speed 75 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 52 mpg
Tank range 150 miles
Specification
Engine size 124cc
Engine type 4v four-stroke liquid-cooled single, six gears
Frame type Steel beam
Fuel capacity 13.8 litres
Seat height 818mm
Bike weight 127kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload only
Front brake Brembo two-piston sliding caliper, 292mm disc
Rear brake Single-piston caliper, 230mm disc
Front tyre size 100/80-17
Rear tyre size 130/70-17

History & Versions

Model history

2008: Yamaha YZF-R125 launched.

Other versions

None.

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