All Tests – Yamaha MT-125 Test: ride (mechanics) youth! – Success guaranteed!

Yamaha MT-125 test: ride (mechanics) youth !

All Tests - Yamaha MT-125 Test: ride (mechanics) youth! - Success guaranteed!

Lovers of light and tough roadsters? Go for the MT-09. Less experience or resources? Go for the MT-07. Apprentice bikers salivating in front of these two motorcycles? Do you pay the unprecedented MT-125, of course ! Test of the new Yamaha bestseller.

Success guaranteed !

With its inverted 41 mm fork (same diameter as on a YZF-R6!), Its perimeter "Deltabox" frame in oversized steel, its short silencer covered with brushed metal and its swing arm "King size" – openwork on the left for let the chain pass – no doubt: the new MT-125 throws it !

So much so that from near and far, differentiating it from a larger displacement motorcycle is not always within the reach of the first observer. During our first contact in Barcelona (Spain), the latest addition to the "MT" family has also turned a lot of heads, including those wearing helmets of young and old bikers….

And it is not its braking system that betrays its modest engine cubic capacity, since the equipment installed on its front axle has something to make some medium-capacity roadsters turn pale. If the 17-inch spoke rim (ditto at the rear) actually only has one disc, it measures 292 mm and is pinched by a 4-piston radial caliper. Top gear installed with care, like all its other peripherals.

In reality, only the narrow width of the tires (100 mm at the front, 130 at the rear) and the "mini" size of the engine – a 124.7cc 4-stroke single cylinder developing the regulatory 15 hp and 12.4 Nm of torque – prevent a discerning eye from doubting its displacement. Guaranteed success at the end of the course !

Attractive from afar, the MT-125 is also very pleasant to admire up close because Yamaha has taken care of every detail: Alcantara-style saddles, LED taillight and indicators, hexagonal mirrors, matte black finish of the engine and the frame…

The plastic tank with angular shapes on the side and domed on the top is also very successful, while the engine guard has the double advantage of "dressing" the bottom of the bike and protecting the expansion tank – located in front. the liquid cooled engine.

Apart from the "muddled" integration of the sheaths around the steering column, a few wandering wires behind the cylinder and the horn placed on a raw metal plate behind the left indicator, the finish does not suffer from any defect. We are far – very far! – the presentation and perceived quality typed "utilitaires-pas-beaux-pas-cher" formerly in force on a number of 125cc.

The surface treatments are also of excellent quality and the welds do justice to the skills of the workers at the MBK / Yamaha plant in Saint-Quentin (02). Because like the YZF-R125 from which it is closely derived, it is in France that the MT-125 is manufactured – and not only "Assembly", assures us Yamaha – for the European market.

YZF-R125: what changes in 2014

  • 70 new engine parts (cylinder head, piston, segments, camshaft, cams, injection body …) to improve power curve (15 hp and 12.4 Nm, as in 2013) and consumption ("+11% according to Yamaha")

  • Catalyst which goes from 200 to 300 cells

  • Reservoir capacity reduced from 13.8 to 11.5 liters

  • 4-piston radial front caliper (2-piston axial mounting in 2013)

  • New 41mm Kayaba inverted fork

  • Reduced monoshock travel from 125 to 114 mm

  • New fork and shock settings

  • New trim with dummy forced air intake, shortened license plate holder, LED light and turn signals

  • New Y-design of the rim sticks

  • New fully digital instrumentation, partially controlled from the handlebars

  • +2 kg compared to 2014 (140 kg full tank compared to 138)

From the engine to the cycle part via the instrumentation and almost all of the peripherals, everything is practically identical between the MT-125 and the last version of the sporty 125cc Yamaha,, greatly improved for 2014 (read box opposite ).

The only visible differences mainly concern the trim: in a good roadster, the MT-125 has dropped the "fairing" and in the process adopted stylistic solutions specific to the "MT" family, notably the stocky front and the pointed headlight. surrounded by scoops similar to those of and .

Beyond these aesthetic distinctions, the MT-125 also has its own roadster-style ergonomics, a transformation making it significantly less radical than the YZF-R125. The handlebars, quite wide (740 mm), are for example mounted on a trigger guard which raises it by 100 mm and brings it closer to the bust by 35 mm. It therefore falls more easily under the gloves, even if its flat hanger induces a posture slightly tilted forward.

Redesigned at the crotch in order to shorten it (-42 mm compared to YZF-R125), the tank retains a capacity of 11.5 liters thanks to its more pronounced curves. Added to the lowering of the saddle height by 10 mm (from 820 to 810 mm), this characteristic significantly improves the accessibility of this 138 kg motorcycle fully loaded. From 1.75 m, the feet are perfectly flat on each side – which is not the case on the YZF-R125.

Finally, last modification not mentioned in the press kit but visible to the naked eye and validated by the development team on site: the footrest plates – partially hollowed out on the MT, solid on the YZF-R125 – are installed slightly lower and forward on the roadster, in order to improve the "handlebar-saddle-toe-clip" triangle.

Thanks to its flattering size – because it is modeled on that of a "large": 1955 mm long against 2085 for the MT-07, for example – the MT-125 turns out to be quite "spacious". Up to 1m85, a biker will find his place without having to play contortionists since the side scoops have the good taste of leaving enough space to slide the knees in them..

The saddle, well designed, offers a nice latitude of movement but little comfort because of its narrowness on its front part and a padding that settles down quite quickly. The safe it conceals is no more satisfactory because it is impossible to slip a U-type lock inside. At best, a disc lock and a packet of kleenex will fit inside….

A "detail" which is not one for a motorcycle with an essentially urban and peri-urban vocation … In the same vein, the absence of a warning control, adjustment of lever spacing, unfolding the kickstand and the hinge on the fuel cap are annoying little flaws in everyday life.

But not enough to castigate the Yamaha developers so far, because motorcycles in this category rarely pour into over-equipment. In addition, the tempting MT-125 makes up for it in large part via its modern and practical instrumentation, composed of three easy-to-read digital windows, with the exception of the tachometer speed whose graduations go from bottom to top..

The set, which is reminiscent of the console of the Kawasaki Z800, is full of information (read the technical sheet below) and also adds the practical services of a remote control on the handlebars. With the right hand, it is thus possible to scroll through the average or instantaneous consumption, the average speed or the duration of the journey. The choice between the two trips and their reset is made on the other hand via the press studs on the dashboard..

A shift light (indicator light indicating when to change gear) even finds its place above the central dial, like on a well-stocked sports motorcycle! Everything is there, except for a gear indicator engaged…

And if some sigh while invoking "journalist nitpicking", remember that the designated rival of the MT-125, the KTM 125 Duke, also has a very well supplied instrumentation on which among other things … the gear engaged (read our).

Dynamic behavior at the top !

Dynamically, the MT-125 will rally all the votes and will rise directly among the elite of the 125cc category. Like the YZF-R125 from which it comes, the novelty has a rigorous and precise cycle part, potentially capable of containing 20 additional hp as in the good old 2-stroke! End of the nostalgia parenthesis…

Very agile and manoeuvrable thanks to its short wheelbase and its rather closed hunting angle (1355 mm and 25 °, as on the YZF-R125), the MT-125 enters a curve without resisting or falling and steers in a handkerchief . In town, it twirls without downtime, well helped by its wide handlebars which gives it a good leverage.

The grip offered by the new Michelin Street tested here (Pirelli Sport Daemon are also offered as original equipment) is simply flawless, including under the strong constraints imposed on the front axle by the radial caliper and its 4-pistons. braking.

Very (too?) Generously cut, the front device develops enormous power but its excessive bite requires weighting: a single finger is enough to stop the MT-125 dead and it is better to practice measuring your effort before planting your first braking on urban cobblestones! At this stage, the absence of an ABS (even as an option) appears to be a real shortcoming. Especially on a model intended for young people, by definition lacking experience…

The rear brake, for its part, does an excellent job, combining power and ease of dosing. The smartest will abuse it to slam finely controllable skids thanks to the reduced weight of the MT-125 and its good balance. Others will get used to using it to tighten a somewhat wide trajectory, as on a larger displacement..

In "energetic" driving, the limits of the ground clearance appear high enough not to spoil the pleasure, while the stability is practically impossible to fault. No wonder, again, considering the oversizing of the frame !

The only questionable aspect in sports use is the relative softness of the suspensions (with a driver of 67 kg), including the fork – not adjustable – which struggles to absorb the most important mass transfers. During heavy braking, the front axle plunges and then rises too quickly, which impairs directional precision. But the bike is so homogeneous that we gladly forgive it this little "cross", also a pledge of a very correct comfort on bumpy roads..

At the mechanical level, the MT-125 is a real hit given its architecture and the constraints imposed on it (15 hp max). Ultra-available, the single cylinder accepts to descend to 40 km / h in sixth at around 2000 rpm without complaining. Of course, the subsequent ramp-up is very laborious !

On higher gears, the tachometer must be kept above 6000 rpm at a minimum to obtain a clear boost. From the first to the third, even if a first cap of power is felt from 3000 rpm, it is better to wait another 1000 to 2000 rpm to shift to the next gear.

Unsurprisingly, the single-cylinder likes to be kept above 8000 rpm and gives the best of itself at high revs: 15 hp is achieved at 9000 rpm and 12.4 Nm of torque 1000 rpm lower. . However, it is not "sharp" and offers certainly linear accelerations but without downtime.

Taking it to the breaker located at 10,000 rpm in fifth gear is a formality on the flat and allows you to reach 121 km / h, while the sixth easily exceeds 130 km / h in the "dab" position. The well-regulated injection and the progressive clutch are also among the strengths of this engine, which has, to avoid spoiling anything, a nice soundtrack, quite serious and moderately slamming. A welcome asset because quite rare on a 125cc mono, often "tiller-esque" in terms of sound.

Well raised, the Yamaha block filters its vibrations quite well, even if tremors are felt in the seat at 4000 rpm before extending to the hands and feet at high speed (between 8000 and 10 000 rpm mn). Finally, if the selection seemed to us a little dry and noisy, this observation must nevertheless be tempered by the low mileage of our test models (less than 500 km).

Verdict: star announced

Scheduled for the last quarter of 2014 at a price of € 4,299 (or only € 1,400 less than an MT-07 …), the new roadster gives the 125cc Yamaha range a life-saving blow. In the short or medium term, it is even likely to participate in the hoped-for revival of the 125 market as a whole..

Because the success of the KTM 125 Duke proves it: a pretty, powerful and well-equipped 125cc is promised to success. But the MT-125 has all these assets, to which are added the strike force of the Yamaha network and the image of reliability released by the Japanese manufacturer..

At MNC, we simply regret some practical shortcomings and the absence of ABS, even as an option. A questionable technical and strategic choice insofar as the little "Duchess" Orange offers it as standard, for a slightly lower price (4090 €)…

This will undoubtedly not prevent the MT-125 from achieving its ambitious objectives: questioned by MNC, Yamaha Motor France assures that it does not have precise volumes to communicate to us … but admits to eyeing the results obtained by KTM with the 125 Duke. Either, for the record, …

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