Sporty – Test Yamaha YZF-R125: mini sporty with big Rs – YZF-R125: young and – very – pretty

Yamaha YZF-R125 test: mini sports car with big Rs

Sporty - Test Yamaha YZF-R125: mini sporty with big Rs - YZF-R125: young and - very - pretty

Launched in 2008, the Yamaha YZF-R125 has sold over 45,000 copies in Europe. Deeply revised in 2014 to stay on the path to success, the Yamaha 125cc sports motorcycle is even more attractive… and still so radical! Test.

YZF-R125: young and – very – pretty

"Designed and built in Europe (in the French factory of Saint-Quentin, editor’s note), for European customers": this is how Renzo Moscow, marketing manager at Yamaha, introduced the 2014 vintage of the YZF-R125, the sculptural 125cc sports car launched six years ago by the Iwata crest (read in particular our and our).

On the menu of this first overhaul, multiple technical improvements aimed at improving general performance (see box below). But above all a new presentation, even more racing and "polished". In order to reinforce the mimicry with its "big sister" R6, the YZF-R125 inherits for example a dummy forced air inlet – in the shape of "Y" – between its two stretched optics.

The rear part, sharp as a dart, is even more compact and receives a tiny – but yet very visible light, even in direct sunlight – with LED. The silencer is also redesigned and its brushed metal coating contributes to the high quality impression given by this motorcycle with lines cut with the billhook..

Already very satisfactory in 2013 in terms of finish, the YZF-R125 2014 is right up against the exceptional for the category in its new livery: alcantara-style saddle, carbon imitation front fender, footrest, brake pedal and selector in (real!) aluminum, perforated upper triple clamp like on MotoGP YZF-R1 and YZR-M1, arrowhead-shaped LED indicators, small wheel washer … Everything is perfectly in its place and of good bill !

YZF-R125: what changes in 2014

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

  • The catalyst 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)

  • 292mm front floating disc (fixed in 2013)

  • New 41mm Kayaba inverted fork

  • Openwork upper triple clamp

  • Reduced monoshock travel from 125 to 114 mm

  • Modified shock absorber links

  • 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)

The welds of the steel Deltabox perimeter frame and the openwork swingarm on the left to allow the chain to pass (unchanged from 2013) are perfectly executed, the surface treatments are flattering and the integration of the electrical network shines with its discretion. In this area, few 125cc currently arrive at the rim – whose poles adopt a new "Y" profile..

To strengthen its visual impact, Yamaha has grafted a list of equipment to make a lot of larger-displacement sports cars jealous. The front axle, in particular, is spectacular for a 125cc with its enormous inverted (non-adjustable) 41mm fork – the same diameter as on an R6! – and its radial 4-piston caliper responsible for pinching a 292 mm floating disc.

At the rear, the suspension remains faithful to a mono-shock absorber only adjustable in preload, but its kinematics are completely revised by means of new rods responsible for providing better progressiveness. According to Yamaha, this modification combined with new settings would allow the 2014 YZF-R125 to have a comfort equivalent – or even better – to the 2013 vintage, despite the reduction of the spring travel from 125 mm to 114 mm…

Thin blade !

A little skeptical at first as to the credit to be given to this statement, MNC quickly discovers that Yamaha engineers are not trying to pass us off bladders for lanterns: the YZF-R125 is still so accommodating on irregularities, thanks to its rear suspension flexible enough at the start of sinking which absorbs shock remarkably well for a sports car.

Even more interesting: the correctly calibrated hydraulics prevent the mono-shock absorber from "slouching" to the stop and guarantees it an interesting reactivity on successions of bumps. And as the swingarm is oversized with regard to the weight ratio (140 kg, two more than in 2013) / engine performance (unchanged: 15 hp and 12.4 Nm of torque), the shock absorber is naturally never defaulted by the arrival of power.

The result: the 130 mm rear tire drives perfectly, which makes it possible to take advantage of a completely transparent injection to manage re-acceleration with finesse. "Still happy", sigh those nostalgic for the era of 125cc 2-stroke, lighter from 10 to 20 kg and which easily produced double the power. !

At the front, the inverted fork returns excellent information and allows precise and safe guidance of the 17-inch front wheel. Handy and very well balanced, the new Yamaha YZF-R125 turns on the angle naturally and progressively, without engaging or resisting the instructions given.

And since the turning radius is rather short, the bike pulls out of the city test relatively easily. The only constraints in the traffic jams: mirrors too large to slip through easily (but perfect for giving a good overview of the situation at the rear), a selection a bit rough (to be tempered because our bike was barely broken in) and the absence of a warning command.

The only limits of the front axle occur when the piloting becomes "engaged", as during our escapade on a karting circuit during this first contact. The fork’s springs – calibrated too flexible – and its hydraulics not sufficiently braked then cause excessive diving and poorly controlled mass transfer.

The phenomenon is all the more sensitive that the plate is radically tilted on the front and that the 4-pistons of the radial caliper bite sharply and powerfully the disc. A "lichette" on the right lever is enough to pound clean! Too generous pressure … and the rear wheel lifts: in the absence of ABS (even as an option), reflex braking in town can therefore generate a good breath of hot air. !

With a little practice, this (hyper) reactivity tames and channels if necessary by using the rear brake, perfectly dosable and powerful enough to effectively slow down the bike..

Firmly planted on its supports thanks to its rigid frame with dimensions identical to those of 2013 (25 ° of caster angle and 1355 mm of wheelbase, in particular), the YZF-R125 2014 enjoys irreproachable stability, including at "high speed" … Thanks to a slight – but long – descent, MNC was able to hang 138 km / h in sixth on the switch (121 in 5th). Not bad at all for a 124.7 cc 4-stroke single cylinder !

A torquey engine … for a 125cc 4-stroke !

The opportunity to see that the regulation intervenes in a fairly gentle way and that it can even be easily anticipated thanks to the integration of a shift light, in the form of white bulbs that light up at high speed on the new instrumentation composed of three digital windows.

The on-board console is complete and legible. Several functions – instantaneous and average consumption, duration and speed of the journey – can be scrolled from the right stalk (complete list of information displayed on the next page).

This small fluff also allows you to appreciate the beautiful operating range of the engine: able to resume in sixth at 2000 rpm without any hiccups (but without any vigor either, don’t dream!), It offers between 3000 and 4000 rpm / min accelerations sharp enough to circulate in agglomerations. A small power peak then appears at 6000 rpm, at the same time brightening up a very linear increase in speed.

In "arsouille" mode, it is between 8000 and 10 000 rpm that it happens, just to get the last little horse perched high enough (the regulatory 15 hp are reached at 9000 rpm). Note that high in the towers, the slight vibrations felt from 4000 rpm become more invasive in the hands and under the buttocks.

Even if its performance remains measured in absolute terms, the single-cylinder made was of a flattering performance which it is possible to take advantage of thanks to a well-staged gearbox. Exceedances "on the torque" are therefore perfectly possible.

Naturally, the notion of "torque" is here to put into perspective the displacement and the engine architecture. Concretely, this means that it is not necessary to keep it at the limits of the switch to overtake a car without a license. !

Verdict: with an R, for Radicale

More beautiful and desirable than ever, the new Yamaha YZF-R125 2014 is the perfect illustration of the efforts made by manufacturers to comply with the limits of the 125 (A1) license or its equivalent with the B license (with, if necessary, a 7 hour training).

Due to lack of room for maneuver on the mechanical level, Yamaha capitalizes on the aesthetics of its star model and plays the card of the outbidding at the level of the equipment, now worthy of a motorcycle of higher displacement.

The other side of the coin: the price of the YZF-R125 follows this increasing trend since it goes from € 4399 in 2013 to € 4599 in 2014. Incidentally, the novelty also takes 2 kg (a frame and peripherals Supersport format, it weighs!) despite the reduction in the volume of its tank from 13.8 to 11.5 liters.

Fortunately, the in-depth work carried out on the mechanics had to compose this reduction since the average consumption indicator of our YZF-R125 tests never exceeded 2.5l / 100 km (including on the circuit), with even low peaks at 2.1 l / 100 km at legal and stabilized pace. Data to be checked at the pump of course, but already very promising.

Finally, the last "detail" to know before buying: the radical ergonomics of the YZF-R25. The saddle is high perched (825 mm), too much for bikers under 1.75 m. To make matters worse, it is not very comfortable (the padding, thin, settles quickly) and conceals a chest of modest volume, insufficient to slip a U-lock.

The legs are also bent excessively because the footrests are high and set back (with the positive consequence of a ground clearance worthy of Lorenzo and Rossi’s M1!) And the wrists ask for mercy after a few tens of kilometers in city.

If young bikers will no doubt be ready to sacrifice comfort on the altar of looks – and who will blame them, the YZF-R125 is so attractive? -, the "more experienced" will moderately appreciate these requirements … Hence the very timely arrival of the MT-125 roadster, technically identical to the sport, except in terms of ergonomics (read our) !

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