The first thing that strikes you about the new KR 125 is just how aggressive and good looking it is.
If it wasn’t for that tiny engine hanging from the beefy aluminium spars of the frame, most of us could be forgiven for thinking it was a much bigger bike. And this is what MCN thinks will attract younger riders to it.
This latest, the KR, at £2700 is not cheap – especially compared to Honda’s popular CBF125 at £2320 OTR – but the Kymco oozes quality: the plastics are thick with a fantastic finish, all metal parts are beautifully crafted and look like they’d survive careless owners and salt-strewn winters and the headlight could be from the Yamaha FZ8.
Despite its ike big looks, once on board, the KR’s firm seat it feels small – even for my 5’8” frame. The wide bars are low enough to seem like clip-ons, requiring locked arms to keep an upright riding position and commanding view of the road. With no wind protection here anyway, an increase on the bar taper would make a big difference for taller riders.
Thumb the starter and the heavily-muted 125 four-stroke single kicks into more mumble than song. Pull away and the KR is slow. Yes it’s a 125, but it feels slow enough for the class best seller, Yamaha’s YBR125, to seem rapid and far smoother in comparison.
Thanks to its wide bars, low weight and firm suspension, the KR is easy to hustle around town. The brakes are a strong point and something one dopey pedestrian should be thankful for when he stepped out on us during our test ride.
The Kymco KR feels like a proper bike compared to the top selling Yamaha YBR125 (£2199) and Honda CBF125 (£2320). Though more expensive, it has the edge on looks and the ability to grow confidence for new riders. There’s also a two year unlimited mileage and free insurance deals right now. If you’re in the market for a naked 125, count Kymco as a worthy contender.
Kymco KR Naked 125 £2700
Engine: 124.1cc air/oil cooled OHC 4-Stroke single
Power: 12.8 hp at 10000 rpm (claimed)
Top speed: 78mph
Seat height: 800mm