Ride Quality & Brakes
Using 37mm diameter non-adjustable conventional telescopic forks at the front and dual shocks with remote preload reservoirs to the rear, the Rieju Strada 125 is able to cope with modest bumps and cracks in the road with relative ease, allowing it to tackle the many cobbled, uneven and tram-track-laden streets of Europe’s city roads.
However, the bike is let down when faced with larger holes in the asphalt. With the front-end crashing spectacularly and using its full suspension travel before bottoming out with an unnerving thud, deeper rutted countryside lanes are best avoided on the Strada.
The air-cooled two valve single-cylinder engine is frugal fun. Producing a delightfully throaty warble from its long, painted exhaust as you climb through the revs, extracting every inch of performance from its tiny capacity.
However, despite amazing fuel returns and the delightful soundtrack, the engine does feel seriously underpowered on faster roads, struggling to achieve a genuine 60mph in a headwind, despite the most extreme of Moto3-inspired tuck.
This can leave you feeling exposed on dual carriageways and motorways, as lorries and slower traffic creep up behind you, before passing in a drawn-out, demoralising fashion. However, it is important to note that this bike was never designed to work in such environments and would be ample if every journey was confined to sub-50mph roads.
Build Quality & Reliability
So early on in the bike's life, it is hard to tell just how reliable the Rieju Strada 125 is. However, with its air-cooled engine, spring-loaded suicide stand and linked brakes to bypass the need for ABS to comply with Euro4 regulation, there are minimal electrical components to actually go wrong.
And, should something actually fail, a two-year dealer warranty is available across the entire Rieju range to help remedy the situation.
That said, after completing our 300-mile test, the bike did struggle to start once, eventually spluttering into life after a handful of throttle and my thumb pressed firmly against the starter button for a solid five to 10 seconds.
On another occasion, the bike also decided cut out just moments after being started, however behaved perfectly normally once warmed.
Insurance, running costs & value
Priced at just £2699, the Rieju Strada is a reasonably priced start to anyone’s riding career and noticeably cheaper than its key Japanese competition, which is comprised of the £2899 Yamaha YS125 and £2829 Honda CB125F.
Saving you around £200, this money could then be spent on beginner essentials, such as riding kit, anti-theft devices or insurance. Despite costing less, the bike still feels like a quality product, with a neat dashboard laid out in front of you and a good level of finish wherever visible.
A frugal workhorse
As well as this, the Strada is also sublime on fuel, making it the ideal inner-city run around. Producing a staggering tested figure of 148.1mpg, the bike used just shy of 3.2 litres of fuel across a 103.9-mile test route – despite the tester attempting to extract every last morsel from its air-cooled single.
This then equates to a theoretical range of 586 miles from its 18-litre fuel tank, or just shy of 33 miles per litre. Currently priced at around £1.30 at the pumps, this is a damn sight cheaper than the equivalent train, taxi or bus ride – not to mention more enjoyable than the lot.
As you might expect from a budget-friendly 125, equipment on the Strada is fairly basic. Neat clocks offer a mixture of analogue and digital and display information including speed, fuel, mileage and your current gear.
Some elements though - including the indicator warning signals - are poorly lit, meaning you cannot tell if they have been cancelled when the sunlight shines directly on the dash. This can be dangerous and meant we left them running on multiple times on our test ride.
Away from the clocks, the well-placed mirrors alongside a smooth vibe-free engine allow for excellent over-the-shoulder visibility. The logically placed upright bars then compliment this by allowing shoulder checks to be made with ease.
Despite being designed for urban exploring, the seat is also well-padded, meaning less fatigue in the saddle over longer journeys. The neat plastic fly screen also offers a noticeable degree of wind protection and an easy-to-operate centre stand is ideal for maintenance work.