Yamaha XV 125
Sure, compared to its big sisters, the Yamaha XV 125 is half a serving. In the entry-level class, however, it can shine with its exclusive V2 engine.
Mocking confidently in high gear, enjoying the landscape and, if necessary, engaging in an intermediate sprint with a casual twist of the throttle – when chopping, power from the low revs is required. With a displacement of 125 cm³, the small choppers cannot keep up, but they are still the bestsellers in the entry-level class. Above all, what matters is the appearance. And in this regard, the new Yamaha XV 125 Virago absolutely convince.
Its exclusive drive – it is the first 125cc engine ever to have an air-cooled V2 engine – forms the center of a skilfully styled chopper with a flat fork, long wheelbase, footpegs set far forward and a low saddle. Compared to its long-forked competitors in the 125cc class, the Yamaha looks very mature. This impression is no coincidence – the smallest Virago is identical to its bigger sister, the XV 250, with the exception of half its displacement. What inevitably is reflected in the weight: At 155 kilograms, the XV 125 marks the upper limit in its class.
On the other hand, the performance of the lavishly ribbed V2 is more at the lower limit: the Yamaha engineers could not or did not want to elicit more than ten hp at 8000 rpm. Correspondingly phlegmatic, the little twin drives the Virago forward, constantly demanding the highest revs. It is therefore better not to get involved in a sprint duel with other bikers. The top speed of 101 km / h is only reached after a kilometer-long run-up. In the long run, the weakness of the two-cylinder ventilated by a 26 carburettor is particularly annoying. If you have to take the throttle off for a moment, it will take an eternity for the drive to climb out of the valley of its torque curve and push forward. Only with diligent switching work and constant squeezing of the small motor can the top performance characteristics be partially played over. On narrow, winding roads, the real domain of small motorbikes, there is more hectic on the little Virago than chopper freaks would like. Fortunately, the easily and precisely switchable gear plays a role.
The XV 125 is better off on sweeping country roads that allow a steady pace. At most, the high-frequency vibrations are disturbing there. In any case, the chassis, which is designed for significantly more power, can handle the given performance without any problems. Stable straight-line stability, good handiness and easy-to-swallow spring elements – there is little reason to complain in solo operation. The fact that the footpegs touch down fairly early and the fork quickly locks into place when braking can be tolerated with a chopper. However, as soon as a passenger takes a seat on the narrow seat bun, the rear suspension struts are quickly at the end with their spring and damping latin.
In return, the stoppers delay enough even when things get tricky. The front disc brake requires a strong handshake, but in conjunction with the rear drum, it brings the Yamaha to a safe stop at any time. It’s a shame that the highlight of the XV 125, its V2, is not convincing.
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