Comparison test 125 Sting / TDR
The KTM Sting and Yamaha TDR 125 fun bikes are priced at the upper limit of the 125 class. They also offer the driver the corresponding driving pleasure?
Almost 9,000 marks is a lot of wood for a 125cc. That much is certain. And 15 HP doesn’t necessarily sound like driving pleasure – you might think. But the two fun bikes KTM Sting and Yamaha TDR 125 want to refute this prejudice.
Both machines are equipped with water-cooled two-stroke engines from the Italian manufacturer Minarelli. However, anyone who suspects similar characters is wrong. There is still harmony during the starting process: one push of a button is enough and the little motors, each calmed by a balancer shaft, whisper to themselves. Also agreement when starting off: The journey begins with sensitive use of the clutch and plenty of speed. And that’s where the similarities end.
While the KTM single is hungry for revs in order to be able to prove its performance, the Yamaha engine throws itself harder at the bottom and falls asleep at the top. If you want to move forward quickly, you have to dig hard in the gearbox of both machines, but thanks to the easy and precise shifting of the six-speed gearbox, no problem. When it comes to top speed, the opponents are getting closer again: the TDR runs 112 km / h, the Sting 114. Not exactly the world – as expected. But enough to be able to swim in traffic.
And once you get to winding country roads, the jokers play their trump cards – impress with excellent handling qualities. Especially the KTM: Even drivers of more powerful machines can sometimes only be amazed at how easily the Sting can keep up with the tangled bends. The Moto Cross-like seating position, the wide handlebars and the low weight make up for some of the missing horsepower. The Austrian reacts to the smallest steering impulses with exemplary spontaneity. In this way it can always be kept on course, even though the relatively wide front tire tries again and again to go its own way on the undulating road surface.
Tightly coordinated spring elements and a chrome-molybdenum frame taken over from the 250 factory crosser ensure the necessary stability. And the Sting can brake so that the heather wobbles. At least in front. The Brembo system sets itself in the limelight with a crystal-clear pressure point and an enormous effect. In some moments of shock, maybe too snappy. The rear stopper, however, only shines because of its presence: it looks good, but it works very badly.
In contrast to the rather dainty KTM, the Yamaha almost passes through as a full-fledged motorcycle. The seat height and the width of the comfortable bench require a certain body size in order to be able to cope safely with the TDR. If you have the necessary length, you will be pampered by a touring position behind the well-protective, frame-proof half-shell.
In order to stay on the heels of the KTM, the Yamaha needs a little more courageous grip. And in full action, their comfort-oriented suspension elements do not cope with unevenness in the roadway quite so easily: the fork tends to trample, the rear sometimes bobs. However, there is never a feeling of insecurity, the stable bridge frame in the well-known Yamaha delta box style ensures that. There is real criticism for the front brake of the TDR: doughy pressure point, high hand strength. But the rear brake works perfectly.
If you don’t just want to indulge in the fun of fun bikes as a soloist, you will have to make do with the Yamaha. An adequately dimensioned bench seat and conveniently placed passenger footrests give the passenger enough leeway. The chassis can also cope with the additional load to some extent. KTM drivers, on the other hand, shouldn’t use their bikes as a relationship box. The thing does not fail because of the rear seat itself, which may be used as a backup seat, but because of the lack of freedom of movement of the rear wheel. As soon as the rear of the sting goes to its knees, the rear tire is gripped by the tool compartment (left) and the silencer (right). That’s where the fun really stops.
A.Apart from that, however, the KTM can convince as a source of fun. Likewise the Yamaha. 15 HP or not. Those who want to afford the high cost price will find a real asset in these 125s.
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