For a motorcycle that has a steel frame and unadjustable basic suspension, the Yamaha YZF-R125’s ride is bloody good. The forks and shock have controlled damping which allows you to chuck the bike around back roads, but they’re not jarring on rough city streets.
It stops well too, thanks to the Brembo two-piston front brake which is more than enough for such a light machine.
The Yamaha YZF-R125’s engine has a longer stroke than other 125 motorcycles to give more torque, but it’s still no arm-ripper. Instead, the YZF-R125 gives flexibility two-stroke rivals like the original Aprilia RS125 can only dream of.
The Yamaha will crawl along at walking pace with the clutch fully engaged, and opening the throttle will give smooth drive right to the redline. It’s good for an indicated 80mph, which will satisfy most riders stepping up from a moped.
The Yamaha YZF-R125 is built in Europe, and although it doesn’t have a top-level finish, it's sturdy enough. Previous Yamaha/Minarelli engines have been strong, and this one is no different.
The Yamaha YZF-R125 is a great introduction to sportsbikes and offered cheaper and more easy-going motoring than two-stroke rivals like the Aprilia RS125 when it was released – but so did the Honda CBR125R and that was £850 cheaper.
Emissions laws essentially wiped out two-stroke engines and so the Yamaha has direct four-stroke competition from the Aprilia RS4 125 and subsequent RS125 models, not to mention the brilliant KTM RC125 and Suzuki GSX-R125.
You can find a used Yamaha YZF-R125 for sale from around £2,500.
Insurance group: 6 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.
The Yamaha YZF-R125’s digital dash, Brembo brakes, under-slung GP-style exhaust and a proper sized R6-inspired body is the stuff of wet dreams when you’re 17.
The full-size body makes it reasonably comfortable too – the footpegs aren’t too high, the handlebars are mounted on the fork tops so your wrists don’t take a pounding and the seat isn’t massively hard either. The seat is reasonably high though – shorter riders may be more comfortable on the Honda.