KAWASAKI Z125 (2019 - on) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The naked Kawsaki Z125 shares the same four-stroke engine and rolling chassis as the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 125, but the dramatic naked version benefits from a taller riding position and less weight, 2kg.
The pair of new Kawasaki 125s represent a return to the A1 licence class for Kawasaki after a 25-year absence, after an 'extensive' market research program by the firm's R&D team revealed a hunger for bikes in this segment.
Related: 2021 Kawasaki Z125 colours revealed
Marking the start of a claimed stronger focus on the European market, Kawasaki promise a mixture of midrange and top end from the new four-stroke engine, and with close to 15bhp on offer, it’s certainly one of the more attractive A1 propositions.
Both bikes also feature a trellis frame, although it is more obvious on the naked Z125 than its faired Ninja counterpart. The design of both bikes apes that of larger capacity machines, meaning street-cred a plenty for new owners.
The 2019 Kawasaki Z125
The baby Zed is even more user friendly due to a more relaxed riding positon, with higher bars.
The wider mirrors are more effective, the riding position is roomier and personally I prefer looks and overall appearance of the naked bike over the pricier Ninja 125.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Reliability shouldn’t be a problem as the motor is loosely based on the old Kawasaki Ninja 250SL, as are many of the suspension and chassis parts.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, four-stroke single|
|Frame type||Tubular diamond, steel|
|Fuel capacity||11 litres|
|Front suspension||37 mm telescopic fork|
|Rear suspension||Uni-Trak, gas-charged shock with adjustable preload|
|Front brake||Single 290 mm petal disc. Caliper: Dual piston|
|Rear brake||Single 220 mm petal disc. Caliper: Dual piston|
|Front tyre size||100/80-17M/C 52S|
|Rear tyre size||130/70-17M/C 62S|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£20|
|Annual service cost||£150|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||15 bhp|
|Max torque||8.6 ft-lb|
|Top speed||72 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
Other Kawasaki Z model reviews
- Kawasaki Z1000 review (2014-on)
- Kawasaki Z1000 review (2010-2013)
- Kawasaki Z1000 review (2007-2009)
- Kawasaki Z1000 review (2004-2006)
- Kawasaki Z1000SX review (2017-on)
- Kawasaki Z1000SX review (2014-on)
- Kawasaki Z1000SX review (2010-2013)
- Kawasaki Z250SL review (2015-on)
- Kawasaki Z300 review (2015-on)
- Kawasaki Z400 review (2019-on)
- Kawasaki Z650 review (2017-on)
- Kawasaki Z750 review (2007-2012)
- Kawasaki Z750 review (2003-2006)
- Kawasaki Z750R review (2011-2012)
- Kawasaki Z800 review (2013-on)
- Kawasaki Z900 review (2017-on)
- Kawasaki Z900RS review (2017-on)
- Kawasaki Z900RS Café review (2018-on)
Owners' reviews for the KAWASAKI Z125 (2019 - on)
1 owner has reviewed their KAWASAKI Z125 (2019 - 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Annual servicing cost: £150
An excellent bike to ride . High Revving . Agile you can throw it into corners . Invites you to ride it hard . The bike is easy to ride with a comfortable riding position . The bike has stunning looks especially in the green . If your a beginner you will get to grips with this bike quickly and absolutely love it . The abs is good . Dash layout clear . Only down side is it lacks a gear indicator . You can get one of these on Kawasaki website aftermarket if you need but once your use to it No problem . Excellent build quality . I would recommend this bike all day long . A brilliant 125
Comfortable . can ride for ages without needing a break . Suspension feels good as is the stopping power . Feels tight in the corners .
High revving , responsive had 74mph down hill . Very happy at 60 65 . More than adequate for a 125 . Not much power low end but when you start getting high up the revs it comes into life .
Excellent build quality . Feels well put together and reliable .
Hasn’t got all the bells and whistles as some rivals but has most things you need. Dunlop tyres are decent . LCD screen is clear and looks cool when you fire the bike up . Lacking a gear indicator . You can buy an aftermarket one from Kawasaki site especially for the z125 . Abs is good .
Buying experience: Was up for £3000 Paid 2950 from dealer used with 108 miles on clock . first service for free