The taller riding position makes the Zed easy to manage. It’s at home darting between traffic and making light work of heavy congestion.
The naked Kawasaki should prove popular with riding schools up and down the country, it’s user friendly and a doddle to ride.
The Zed’s attractive trellis chassis and basic suspension, with only pre-load adjustment on the rear is again very similar to old Ninja 250SL. It might be basic but it works.
Kawasaki don’t appear to have cut costs on the suspension, both ends are on the sporty side, but have progressive damping and aren’t simply uncontrollable springs at either end like some ‘budget’ 125 machines.
The sporty set up, same as the Ninja 125 still works around town, taking speed humps and large pot holes with relative ease and comfort.
For a naked light bike the stability is excellent, even when pushed beyond its design parameters.
Thankfully, Kawasaki haven’t economised on tyres either, decent Dunlop’s give enough grip and feel, more than enough for this type of bike on the road. Even the ABS assisted brakes aren’t bad – more than adequate.
It's powered by a water-cooled, four-stroke 14.7bhp single-cylinder engine which is loosely based on the old Ninja 250SL engine.
Peak power comes in at 10,000rpm, just 500rpm short of the redline and maximum torque of 8.7ftlb at 7,700rpm. To get the most out of the engine you have to disregard any mechanical sympathy and thrash the poor little.
Flat out, the digital display indicated 72mph; a fraction less than the Ninja 125 due to the lack of bodywork and reduced aerodynamics. However, it was more than happy to buzz along at an indicated 60mph.
There isn’t much left after 55mph, overtakes have to be planned. But below that the new Zed is more than capable of embarrassing dawdling traffic as long as you keep the revs buzzing, which does result in some vibrations.
The naked Z125 is £300 cheaper than the fully-faired all-new Ninja 125 which it’s heavily based on.
Compared to other rival Japanese manufactures it’s priced in the same ballpark, and a fraction under KTM’s Duke 125 and considerably cheaper than Aprilia’s Tuono 125, however it doesn’t have the technology of the pricier competition.
The Z125 also comes in a Metallic Flat Spark Black/Pearl Flat Stardust White. Prices for this paintjob start from £4199, £100 more than the standard Candy Lime Green / Metallic Flat Spark Black and Candy Plasma Blue / Metallic Spark Black colour options.
ABS comes as standard, as do the petal brake discs and digital clock. However, the clocks are very basic, dull and missing a gear indictor. Just like the 2019 Ninja 125, the Zed misses some of the bling and special touches of the competition, like a full colour clock or a quick-shifter.