Living with the Yamaha MT-125

How does it look?

The MT-125 is the baby sibling in Yamaha’s MT range. It bears a reasonable resemblance to it’s bigger brothers the MT-07 and MT-09 and to a point the absurdly quick MT-10. At a passing glance (if you ignore the big gaps where there’d be more engine on it’s kin) it looks like a big bike – especially from the front or rear – even down to the pretend air vents. This was one of the things that particularly attracted me to this bike – I’m 6’2 and thought I’d look a bit daft on a wee YBR or Honda MSX. The newer 2020 version takes the looks even further matching the MT-10’s alien ant light array.

The colour schemes again match the bigger brethren – I got mine in the grey/florescent yellow, that doesn’t seem to be available anymore. Probably not to everyone’s taste, but I like it and am a firm believer in be safe, be seen.

How does it feel?

The seat height is relatively high (slightly higher than the 07), which means you have good visibility and gives a bit of confidence in traffic. The bike is really light (140kg wet for the 2020 version), so, only weighs a wee bit more than I do, so it’s very easy to handle and to wheel about (I can even pick up the back end to get it tidily close to the wall in my garage). The seating position is reasonably upright, but, still a bit sporty. It’s reasonably comfortable to ride for a couple of hours, but, I get a bit cramped up if it’s much longer.

The controls are easy to use and the clutch is very light. The LCD display is nice and clear, you can see easily enough when you’ve stuck it in neutral by mistake…

The mirrors aren’t great for me – if you’re a bit smaller, they’re probably better, but, to see reasonably behind me I have to have a lot of my elbow in them. Someone wiser (and less lazy than me) might have found some suitable way to extend/modify them.

Being a naked bike, there’s absolutely no wind protection. I find it quite prone to buffeting side winds too. It’s not the most streamlined shape to slip through the air, so I find myself hunching right down to try and reach the heady speeds of 60 or even 62 if I can get a bit of downhill…

How does it go?

I’ll not throw in lots of quasi technical detail here about throttle response and flickability – I don’t have the knowledge or frame of reference to do that, I’ll stick to some hopefully plain English about what it feels like to a novice like me.

At slower speeds, the acceleration is enough to make me smile – I can normally beat teenagers on scooters away from the lights… (a low bar, I know). At higher speeds, it struggles a bit. If I was a 60kg teenager, this might not be so much the case. (F=Ma – so when M is bigger, a is smaller). I sometimes feel I should get a vest printed with a big warning saying ‘Big man on wee bike – may be slow uphill…’. I think this is to be expected for a 125 – the Yamaha is as powerful as you can buy that is still CBT friendly. It’s also the main reason I’m keen to progress to something more suitable to my mass. The aforementioned lack of fairing probably doesn’t help here either, as I suspect I create a lot of drag.

It feels light and responsive into corners – I’ll be honest I’ve never really ridden it too hard (my chicken strips are more like fillets), but suspect it would handle it well if you did. Yamaha certainly want you to think it can as they’ve put wee knobbly bits on the end of the footpegs.

Value for money

It is one of the more expensive 125s you can buy. If you’re buying new, you can get a bike for literally half the price. Saying that – there can be some good finance offers available (I got mine on a 0% deal) and they retain their value reasonably well.

It’s cheap to run. I’ve had it running at 144 MPG from commuting through city centre Nottingham – so only need to fill the tank every 2-3 weeks and only costing about £8 to do so (I don’t like getting too low on fuel!). Service costs aren’t horrendous.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely. I’ve ridden a few 125s over the time I’ve spend learning and this remains my favourite – I think in large part due to it’s size. It looks great, handles well and goes as fast as anything can with a tiny engine and massive rider.

Also, hopefully mine will be on the market soon, so couldn’t say anything bad about it!😂

I’ll add a video and some better pics shortly, but in the meantime, here’s a link to Yamaha’s website and the shiny new version. It looks pretty…

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