SINNIS TERRAIN 125 (2021 - on) Review
- Big and comfy for a 125
- Cheap to buy and run
- Lockable hard luggage included
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The 2021 Sinnis Terrain 125 (or T125) is just the sort of small-capacity Chinese motorbike to trigger a game of bike journalist cliché bingo. You can shout ‘house!’ once I’ve said that Chinese bikes have ‘turned a corner’ and ‘come of age’ and that China is the ‘workshop of the world’ and that ‘everything else we use is made there’.
- Related: Sinnis Terrain 380 review
And it’s easy to see why this happens as I explore the new T125 in the MCN carpark. It feels far sturdier and more substantial than you expect, the finish is good and at first glance it looks like a proper adventure bike.
But the truth is, no one is going to get a Sinnis because it is the best bike money can buy. There isn’t a Chinese bike on the market yet that riders are happy to pay a little (or a lot) extra for in the same way they are for a Honda or BMW. And that’s fine, because what Sinnis and the like offer is a machine that feels like a lot of bike… for the money.
It looks pretty good, the tank decals are a big improvement on the rather plain previous generation, you get hard panniers included in the price and it has that big bike feel that small-capacity bikes need these days.
Unfortunately, any illusion of size dissipates quickly as you set off and what you are left with is a heavy and slightly underpowered motorcycle that should be taken no further off road than a gravel driveway.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The suspension is far firmer than I expected from an adventure style bike and is better suited to the tarmac than the dirt. Under heavy braking the forks resist diving and so the Terrain feels composed as you tip in.
The CST tyres were sufficient in the warm and dry conditions of the test but even here didn’t give much feel mid corner so some aftermarket rubber probably wouldn’t go amiss.
Despite being a 125, the Terrain is quite a large bike and even at 6ft I didn’t feel cramped. The non-adjustable screen is big enough to deflect most of the wind, too and so I still felt fresh after a whole day in the saddle.
Things start to get uncomfortable quite quickly if you head off road though, as I discovered on even a short section of bumpy byway. The suspension simply couldn’t keep pace with the potholes and rocks and as a result the whole bike clatters and bounces over very rough ground (or terrain, I suppose) and I wouldn’t want to tackle more than a smooth, graded gravel track.
The linked braking system copes with the weight of the bike under normal conditions but I found struggled to get enough power from the front lever alone if I wanted to stop in a hurry.
Disconcertingly, despite sporting a pillion seat and pegs (and even a back rest on the top box) there is a sticker on the fuel tank advising against carrying a passenger.
EngineNext up: Reliability
There’s nothing wrong with the 124.2cc single used in the bike, it revs freely and feels surprisingly smooth up to around 60mph. If you persevere and get to the indicated 71mph top speed then things start to get very buzzy and the mirrors become a blur, but that is to be expected.
The main problem, though, is that the bike weighs 162kg and so 12.7bhp is enough to get around but not quite enough to have fun. You won’t be winning any traffic light GPs away from the line, not least because the ratio in first gear is so low that eventually I opted to use second with some extra revs to pull away.
Since the Terrain ironically isn’t much cop off road, I’d be tempted to junk some of the ample crash protection to cut down the weight and unlock some more performance.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The biggest hurdle brands like Sinnis have to overcome is the public perception of quality. It’s impossible to say what the long-term reliability of the new Terrain will be but there are some negative reports about other Sinnis models online if you look for them.
The build quality and finish seem better than you may expect though and the bike doesn’t feel as cheap as the pricetag suggests.
The switchgear is flimsy but it is on the 125s of more established brands, too, as they are all built to a price. But there are a few tell-tale signs that the build price of the Sinnis is very low indeed.
It feels incredibly old-fashioned for the whole fuel cap to come out when you turn the key instead of operating on a hinge, for example, and you can lose or gain two whole segments of the fuel gauge depending on whether the bike is on the side stand or held upright.
What it is possible to say is that the bike comes with a two year warranty and a year’s breakdown cover.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Ace in the hole for Sinnis is that the Terrain is a thrifty way of getting yourself on two wheels. There’s nothing else at this price point that comes already fitted with luggage (the panniers are included, the 48-litre top box is an £85 extra).
If you’re planning to ride on a CBT or A1 licence and you’re sold on the adventure bike looks you could also opt for the Zontes ZT125-U1 but that doesn’t come with any luggage.
If you’ve got an A2 licence or more, the Royal Enfield Himalayan would be worth considering. It’s more powerful than the Sinnis, has genuine off road chops and these days the build quality is impressive too.
If you are considering the Sinnis as a way to get across town to work and you’re not fussed about the looks, a Honda CB125F will do a very similar job (although you’ll have to add your own luggage).
Although you get the panniers included with the T125, that’s pretty much your lot. The LCD dash does the job but it’s basic and not particularly attractive.
The luggage itself is fairly low-end plastic kit with a simple latch system that opens with the ignition key. While it offers more security than soft luggage, I’m not sure it would resist an attack from a screwdriver for very long.
You do get a USB port and unlike so many others, Sinnis have opted to put it in a useful place instead of under the seat so you can run your sat nav from it easily.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled single-cylinder 15° tilted, 4-valve with balance shaft|
|Frame type||Tubular steel|
|Fuel capacity||14 litres|
|Front suspension||Telescopic forks – non-adjustable|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock – manual preload adjustment|
|Front brake||Single disc brake – non ABS, linked braking system|
|Rear brake||Single disc brake – non ABS, linked braking system|
|Front tyre size||120/80 - 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/80 - 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||101.5 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£21|
|Annual service cost||-|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||13 bhp|
|Max torque||7.7 ft-lb|
|Top speed||71 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||312 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2018 - Sinnis Terrain 125 launched.
- 2021 - Bike updated for Euro5 plus a new paintjob and bigger tyres.
Sinnis Terrain 380 is a bigger version with a 7in colour dash and 36bhp.
Owners' reviews for the SINNIS TERRAIN 125 (2021 - on)
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