Beginner Bikes: Yamaha MT-125
As a novice rider buying a bike for the first time was an overwhelming, amazing experience. Having been a motorist for several years the roads are familiar and friendly but, when approaching on two wheels with an engine, the process becomes a whole new learning curve. For those looking to join the two-wheeled club, but are put off by reviews or advice from disconnected reviewers, I'll be regularly reviewing bikes for CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) and above.
To kick off the series is a review of the Yamaha MT-125, the bike that ultimately took my money and bike virginity. First things first; how does it look?
Very pretty, especially in person. The bike looks larger than what is typically associated with 125's, making you feel like you're riding a real bike, instead of a glorified moped. The design gives the illusion of muscle in a tidy, well-proportioned street-fighter style without being threatening to swing your leg over and ride. The ferocious form hides a friendly function, with pegs spaced at the right height to ensure your feet are always flat when in the saddle. The positioning on the bike is so friendly, that even when trying to wring it of every last mph, you'll still feel like the local village bobby going about a morning "patrol".
At around £4299, the bike certainly isn't cheap and while PCP deals (Manufacturer finance with a large optional balloon payment at the end of the contract) can help minimize monthly expenditure, that can certainly be a scary prospect for something you might drop. But for the money, aside from modern hardware piece-of-mind, you get a good selection of features. You get large, progressive brakes with ABS to get you out of trouble, pliant suspension and a high tech LCD cockpit to view the frankly incredible MPG the bike gets. With information such as average mpg, current journey, time to service and average speed it's almost enough to distract you from the large rev limit indicator a the top of the screen.
While I have had the bike do 82mph - on private land of course officer - the rate of acceleration is hardly arm tearing. For a 125cc machine, this is to be expected.The engine makes up for this with a strong soundtrack for such as a small engine with a much bassier than expected not being emitted from the oversized exhaust sleeve. Overtaking is a carefully considered manoeuvre which suits the bikes novice status. Fortunately, the chassis and suspension allow you to carry that hard-earnt speed into the corners with you and out the other side with Michelin brand tyres holding well even in the rain.
So it's a good-looking, safe-as-it-can-be option with service costs of around £99 every year or so. It forms a strong contender and an excellent way to introduce motorcycling. The only question that remains is one of value, as despite how wonderous it is, it can only ever be a small 125cc bike, which invites cheaper rivals in the used sector. As will be the case I'll add any major updates with regards to the long-term running of the bike. If you're interested in the MT-125, or want to see an alternative bike reviewed, comment below.