Yamaha MT-125 and YZF R125 test


Mini urban and sporty pocket Terror

The tuning forks brand has found the right tone for its new MT range. Unveiled at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, the MT09 and MT07 indeed play a score of the most noticed as well in performance and overall quality as in sales figures: more than 1,446 three cylinders delivered and 1,272 parallel twins in a few months…. a revealing success ! Yamaha thus makes a start to the year with a bang and delivers, in climax, the youngest of the family, MT125 and YZF R125. The latter is the modernized opus of the famous model which appeared in 2008 and has since sold more than 45,000 copies. A success story making her a reference icon among young bikers, taunting the Honda CBR 125 R and other Aprilia RS4 125.

The little roadster is a new machine, a decadent variation of the pocket sports car and affiliated with the dynamic and recent MT range. Building on the success of the small YZF, Yamaha very opportunely offers a 125 with an assertive style, thus responding to the exuberant Austrian KTM 125 Duke.

Colors Yamaha MT-125Colors Yamaha MT-125

Our two Japanese are designed and manufactured in Europe for European customers, under the supervision of the Japanese manufacturer. Three countries share their achievement: Holland, Italy and France. If the Netherlands conceives and directs the project in Amsterdam, the exterior design and the engine realization is of course the prerogative of the transalpines, in Monza. Our hexagonal entity is responsible for the chassis manufacturing part and the assembly of all vehicles in Saint Quentin (Aisne). And for the test, our meeting takes place in Spain, in Barcelona, ​​history of mixing urban center and small Iberian roads.

Yamaha MT-125 logoYamaha MT-125 logo


Dynamic, sharp, the eighth-liter Yamaha both claim a rewarding sporting design, both in their aesthetics and their construction which it shares most. The MT undoubtedly takes up the genetic codes of the latest tuning forks roadsters and further reinforces this trait by opting for a marked urban-sport line. Aggressive, plunging, its front face is adorned with a sharp blade fire, edged with LEDs and surmounted by a cap supporting the instruments. Nicely fixed on the fork, the whole is embedded between two long scoops seeming to spring from the tank. With a capacity of 11.5 liters, its original contrasting surfaces also instill this dynamic modernity. The YZF only modernizes its fork crown, previously reminiscent of the R1. Modeled now on that of the radical R6, redesigned optics and dummy front air intake always place the 125 more in the big league. The rest of her dress remains unchanged, powerful and elegant, dressing her flanks with intricate surfaces.

Yamaha MT-125Yamaha MT-125

Quite thin in appearance, the saddles have a matte coating. Evoking a synthetic alcantara, it thus incorporates the finish of the paints, with the exception of the dynamic Race Blue varnish tone of the sports car. The decoration of the machines also varies according to their color, including a particularly attractive red. The seats offer a small storage space under the saddle, accessible by a lock positioned in the rider seat, as on a certain Aprilia RS4 125. Shortened, fully sheathed and including recesses serving as handles, the rear buckle of the MT prefers urban design. Its LED brake lights are clearly visible because they are placed in the wheel arch and dominate a minimalist license plate holder. The aluminum passenger footrest plates are also cleverly suspended from it. Structured side covers covering the sides hide the path of the steel tubes to the Deltabox frame.

Optics and headlight YZF R125Optics and headlight YZF R125

The latter contains the injected 124 cc four-stroke single cylinder, as many valves and single ACT, from the sports car of the previous vintage. Yamaha announces 70 new parts (rework of the camshaft, piston and cylinder, clutch, ECU) and its injection is refined, promising 11% more autonomy. A figure to be tempered on the YZF R125 whose tank capacity is identical to that of the roadster, but down by 2.3 liters compared to its predecessor (ie – 17%). The unit delivers 14 hp at 9,000 rpm and 1.25 daN.m of torque 1,000 revolutions lower.

Yamaha MT-125 engineYamaha MT-125 engine

Two-tone casings with neat surfaces and a water pump covered with an anti-shock protection unfortunately rub shoulders with hoses and horn, which are a little too visible. These are the only flaws, however. Because these 125 combine other quality details. A major part of the machine, we admire the imposing banana-type aluminum swing arm, openwork on the left side to allow the chain to pass. A long projection screen is attached to it, protecting the shock absorber. At the other end of the machines, it’s a 41mm Kayaba inverted fork with satin-finish sliders that impresses. Devoid of adjustment, it is completed by a rear single shock absorber adjustable in preload. Their deflections are 130 mm and 114 mm respectively, but the hydraulics differ slightly between MT and YZF. Also note the radial-mounted brake caliper on the steering gear, the molding of which elegantly dresses the elements. Four pistons bite a 292 mm disc. At the rear, a piston clamps a 230 mm wafer.

Also molded, the thin multi-spoke Y-shaped rims mimic a forged construction. Finally, the selector and brake pedal are also made of aluminum, as is the cladding of the beveled truncated exhaust. An enveloping shoe covers even the lower engine, but its too angular shape could have benefited from a projection towards the front tire. These envelopes are either Pirelli Sport Daemon or new Michelin Pilot Street, 100×80 and 130×75 in 17 inches.

MT and YZF R stare at you defiantly, putting their small displacement to the mark with their top-notch build and styling. Let’s make sure they don’t have "all the jaws".

Yamaha YZF R125 testYamaha YZF R125 in town

In the saddle

825 mm for the sports car, 820 for the roadster, even the height of the saddle would suggest larger mounts. Without being models of comfort, the seats are made of quality foams. In addition, my meter eighty-four is by no means cramped on board, whatever the machine. Flexible, the suspensions compact slightly under the weight of the lighter ones, improving accessibility. From 1m65 to 1m90, the quarters of a liter are particularly roomy.

On the ergonomic side, the half-sisters show some differences. Reasonable leg flexion on MT and bust barely leaning forward. The right handlebars naturally welcome the rider’s hands. Clamped between its saddles and the pretty plate signed on the upper crown, the hanger raised and pulled back towards the rear gives a comfortable position. Especially since the tank is also shorter than that of the YZF.

On board the latter, sport is not an empty word. The footrest plates are set back by 10 mm and the strap handlebars leave the arms in marked support on the handles. Thus tilted forward, we notice a molded upper tee with three corresponding openings, according to the designer Olivier Beboux at the display of the instrument block..

Common to both machines, it is fully digital and offers a fairly graphical interface. Left window, there is an engine temperature bar graph and, via a push-button on the right-hand chest of drawers, information on consumption and average and instantaneous speed, outside temperature and distance before maintenance. In contrast, fuel gauge, odometer, two partials and clock. Finally, in the center are the pyramid tower and tachometer.

Yamaha MT-125 dashboardYamaha MT-125 dashboard

The whole is surmounted by a very useful shiflight. As such, we would have liked to find a gear indicator engaged, warnings, in town that can help, just like the ABS…. And on the sports car, the inside of the fairing leaves visible the turn signal pods, devoid of bulb cover.

Yamaha MT-125 tail lightRear light Yamaha MT-125

In the city

The small Yamaha block sounds pretty good, producing a pretty metallic sound and takes the 138 kg (MT) or 140 kg (YZF R) of the machines with gusto. The roadster is particularly agile, placing itself in the smallest space of Barcelona traffic. On the sportswoman, pressing the bracelets necessarily makes things a little less natural. In the long run, we tire more during the incessant slowdowns. Especially since the on-board equipment is proving to be formidable in terms of efficiency. The bite of the caliper is immediate and almost brutal if one is careful or on reflex braking. Delicate on wet ground or corner braking. The rear retarder is of the same ilk, easily blocking the wheel if desired. Rather fun on the MT whose sharp aesthetics go well with controlled piloting overflows. But the latter also demonstrates a sharper dive of its fork during mass transfers..

Yamaha MT-125 in townYamaha MT-125 in town

Starting "with a bang" or more civilized, the 125 are appreciated above all by their lightness in all circumstances. The good will of the mono and its relatively sensitive torque to the 6,000 turns allows serene evolutions in hyper-urbanized centers without too much knitting of the selector. Rather well staged, the gearbox correctly supports city trips. As for the maneuvers, they are only pure formalities, the turning radius of both being extremely small..

Appreciable between the walls, the small moths must also be able to come out. Commuting or more adventurous ride, let’s see their ability.

Yamaha MT in townYamaha MT in town

Motorway and expressways

Available, the single-cylinder also does not lack extension. Hidden behind the small bubble of the YZF, it’s time to hunt for the last graduations. At the bottom of 6 at the switch, we hit 138 km / h. Perceptible in town, the few vibrations of the engine are then barely noticeable and the seats provide very correct support. Comfort on long journeys is not necessarily better in sports. Flexing the legs and wrists more sensitive than on the roadster does not really give an advantage. Admittedly, the protection is less on the MT, but the limited cruising speeds hardly hamper its approval..

On these tracks, we reach the limits of these small vehicles whose ergonomics and mechanics only accept short trips at a sustained pace. Their secondary playground and that of the roads of the same name. It’s arousal time.

Yamaha MT-125 on highwayYamaha MT-125 on highway


Everything is in the beautiful piloting, as a certain Edouard Bracam would say. This is true when we pilot a small displacement. Do not cut off the throttle and travel fully to maintain speed. Straddling the YZF R125, the road quickly becomes a special circuit. Lightness and balance work wonders, but on board the MT, we benefit from a greater leverage to throw the machine on the angle. Twirling and buzzing, our two curvy foragers make their honey from small tortured corners. The descents of passes are sporty and manhandle the flexible suspensions of the machines. The powerful brakes would accommodate a firmer hydraulic which would also improve the rigor of the whole when passing over degraded surfaces..

Not enough to harm, overall, the pleasure of driving, fork and shock absorbing, in fact, the defects of the asphalt. On acceptable asphalt, the 125s do not move from their trajectory on the angle and are piloted by eye, easily accepting changes in trajectory..

Yamaha YZF R125 on nationalYamaha YZF R125 on national

Sometimes a little reluctant in dynamic use, the box asks to break down the movements. Be careful also when entering reports. We move fairly regularly at the limits of the switch, at 10,000 revs and downshifting too close to this limit causes jerks that could destabilize the crew. Because mono can be tasted, sportingly speaking, between 7,000 and the red zone, including the shiftlight warned of the proximity a few hundred laps before reaching it. Once the instructions for use are assimilated, the two mischievous flyweights are really fun to take and can endure quite long journeys..

Yamaha YZF R125 on departmentalYamaha YZF R125 on departmental

Cycle part

Deltabox steel frame and superb oversized aluminum swingarm, large diameter inverted fork…. our 125 are very efficient. If the suspension adjustment gives way to comfort, the whole remains effective and relatively homogeneous.

Yamaha YZF R125 on the track

Yamaha YZF R125 on trackYamaha YZF R125 on track


Powerful, their bite can be tricky to manage for both novices and the most seasoned. The rear clamp is also very effective and will replace the front element advantageously to refine an overly optimistic curve passage..

Yamaha MT-125 and YZF R125 brakesYamaha MT-125 and YZF R125 brakes

Comfort / Duo

Not really the purpose of these machines, they can however fulfill the occasional duo. The solo comfort is very decent despite the compact saddles. Damping conforms to conventional equipment, despite a tempting fork.
In the accessories department: saddle cover, chain and radiator protection, 39-liter top case and its support and tank bag. You are now ready for the daily adventure.


With an average of 2.4 liters / 100 km, the 11.5 liters in their tank should not be consumed until after 480 km…. In short, if you drive 15 km per day, you will refuel every month ….

Yamaha MT-125 tankYamaha MT-125 tank


Attractive, remarkably equipped and well finished, the Yamaha MT 125 and YZF 125 R always set the quality bar higher with their eighth liters. Buoyed by the public’s enthusiasm for its elders, the MT 125, with its sharp look, should hardly have any difficulty in grouping its place, at the risk of encroaching on the land of its decked-out half-sister. The latter retains the advantage of an advantageous plastic, being able to even deceive its world on the reality of its cubic capacity…. Daily comfort remains the prerogative of TM, which can be an essential point. Difficult to separate the sisters as much as to make a choice. Even their tariff barely allows it. Thus, the MT 125 claims 4,299 € when the YZF 125 R requires 500 more, fairing requires.

On the other hand, the competition will be able to oppose them a much lower price. Otherwise more basic, the Honda CBF125 only asks for € 2,059 and the sporty CBR 125 R only costs € 3,599. Another reference, the Aprilia RS4 125 costs € 3,999 and the Replica SBK version, € 4,199. As for the KTM 125 Duke and its ABS, for € 4,090, it will be yours. Lighter (130 kg) and barely less efficient, the Austrian still finds in the new Japanese a proven challenger..

Positioned at the top of the range and partly justifying this price, the Yamaha could, at this price, carry a very useful ABS given the quality of their equipment. Holders of A license will still be eyeing the MT 07, at only € 5,399…. For others, these 125s remain a pleasure and seduction choice to bring everyday life in tune with their passion..

Strong points

  • Innovative styling
  • Evidence of handling
  • Voluntary motor
  • Agility and precision of the cycle part
  • Ergonomics
  • Braking

Weak points

  • A bit high price
  • Suspensions a little too soft
  • ABS unavailable

The technical sheet of the Yamaha YZF R125


MT 125

  • Blu Race
  • Anodized red
  • Matt Gray

YZF 125 R

  • Blu Race
  • Anodized red
  • Matt Gray

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