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Yamaha’s 2015 YZF-R125 Illustrates Massive Effort on Small Displacement Models (with video)

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Yamaha has unveiled for the European market a completely redesigned YZF-R125 featuring numerous design elements previously found almost exclusively on larger displacement models.

With twin headlights, ram air, upside-down forks, radial-mount front brake calipers (that look quite rigid) and sophisticated LCD instrumentation, the 124.7 cc fuel injected, single-cylinder flyweight really looks the part.

Barely over 300 pounds with a full tank of gasoline, the YZF-R125 could be loads of fun, particularly for inexperienced riders. With 250s selling so well here in the U.S., is Yamaha ready to bring this model over? At this point, we have no idea.

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Engine

Engine type Single cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, 4-valves

Displacement 124.7cc

Bore x stroke 52.0 mm x 58.6 mm

Compression ratio 11.2 : 1

Maximum power 11.0 kW (15.0PS) @ 9,000 rpm

Maximum Torque 12.4 Nm (1.25 kg-m) @ 8,000 rpm

Lubrication system Wet sump

Carburettor Electronic Fuel Injection

Clutch Type Wet, multiple-disc coil spring

Ignition system TCI (digital)

Starter system Electric

Transmission system Constant Mesh, 6-speed

Final transmission Chain

Chassis

Frame Steel Deltabox

Front suspension system Upside-down telescopic fork, Ø 41 mm

Front travel 130 mm

Caster Angle 25º

Trail 89 mm

Rear suspension system Linked monoshock with spring preload adjustment

Rear Travel 114 mm

Front brake Hydraulic single disc, Ø 292 mm

Rear brake Hydraulic single disc, Ø 230 mm

Front tyre 100/80-17 M/C

Rear tyre 130/70-17 M/C

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Dimensions

Overall length 1,955 mm

Overall width 680 mm

Overall height 1,065 mm

Seat height 825 mm

Wheel base 1,355 mm

Minimum ground clearance 155 mm

Wet weight (including full oil and

fuel tank)

140 kg

Fuel tank capacity 11.5 litres

Oil tank capacity 1.15 litres

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69 Comments

  1. JA says:

    Looks cool. But could you at least have translated the measurements in the spec list to US units?

    Report this comment

  2. Jordan says:

    Posting from London, England here.

    I myself have a 2011 model CBR125R (the one with single headlight and digital tacho etc)
    Believe me, unless you live further out in smaller areas, riding any bike on our roads is a nightmare!

    We don’t have gigantic open stretches of wide road like you guys do!

    Report this comment

  3. Lawrence says:

    Same basic bike and tech, with a 400cc single = perfect.

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  4. Anon says:

    They had me until I noticed the bar to seat height configuration. Of course, I’m a 44yo fat arse, but seriously, that’s drool worthy spec for a 125!

    Report this comment

  5. ben says:

    If I were much,much shorter,lighter, and did most of my riding on a small go kart track or on a paved kart path at the local golf course I would possibly consider this bike. still probably too small and painfully slow for anything longer than a 2 mile round trip

    Report this comment

  6. Agent55 says:

    A much more convincing (i.e. not appearing cheap at a glance) small-displacement sportbike than I’ve seen in a while. The non-removable subframe is about the only detail that jumps out. A naked bike with these specs makes loads more sense for actual dailyriding, but that’s not what the kiddies want I suppose.

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  7. dave says:

    Great looking little motorcycle.
    it has udx forks “good deal”
    it should be a 2 stroke.

    Report this comment

  8. Provologna says:

    This package, or similar, with a single in the range of 325cc to 450cc, electric start, six-speed, call it a day. Maybe introduce the 325cc, then later the 450cc upgrade in the same exact crankcase and overall package.

    For most real world street applications, such bike would be the stuff of dreams. The 2-wheel version of the modern Lotus sports car.

    Maybe a spec-race series with every class of rider from novice to pro level competition. And heavy marketing/advertising programs aimed at the female gender, especially for the novice division. Females are the fastest growing demographic for disposable income. Women are attracted to sports previously dominated by testosterone. Maybe Yamaha or another OEM could sponsor an entirely female novice female team.

    Considerably more useful than the current 170mph 600cc 4-cylinder Supersports.

    Report this comment

    • GearDrivenCam says:

      I like to believe you are right – and that just by increasing the displacement and keeping the same general package – that this bike would sell. But look at the KTM RC390. People here think $6000 would be way too much for that bike. Yet – based on its performance, power, handling, light weight, and fuel economy – it’d be a steal. But in the U.S. people don’t value single cylinder bikes. They’d say something like “But you could buy a used ______ (insert any multi-cylinder bike) for the same price!?!?”. It’s like they feel you’d always be able to get MORE bike for the same money (with “MORE” really referring to simply more power) in a twin or inline four.

      It’s funny. I met a fellow last year who rides Harleys. Incredibly nice guy. I asked him if he’d be interested in going for a ride with me – and offered up my CBR125 for him. He accepted. We took off on a 150 mile ride – some of it on the highway at cruising in excess of 60 mph, and some twisty country roads. After we were done – he was remarkably shocked at how comfortable the bike was. How smooth it felt, and how remarkably easy it was to ride. And there was no numbness in his hands or tingling on his backside like he found with his Harley. He couldn’t stop talking about how much fun he’d had on it.

      Report this comment

  9. Morgan says:

    Built for the artifiicial European learner market….. But 140kg wet!! My old Yamaha RS125 single was 90kg dry so maybe 105kg wet. They spend so much time making these things look like big bikes that they lose the real advantage of little bikes.

    Report this comment

    • paul says:

      Right, compare it to an air cooled 2 smoker that doesn’t even have an oil sump, valve train, cams, radiator, water jacket, pump, whatever.

      Report this comment

    • Provologna says:

      The RS125 is a 2-stroke. I respectfully suggest anyone promoting 2-stroke motors spend a day in Mexico City or Shanghai, where air pollution is usually about five to fifteen times the US EPA limit.

      I understand your point. But please consider, when your RS was designed the earth’s population was about half what it is now, and there was no such thing as so-called “emerging markets” such as China which is now the world’s second biggest economy and will soon be first.

      Report this comment

  10. jim says:

    I want one, cash in hand. Put up or shut up Yamaha.

    Report this comment

  11. Don Fraser says:

    Yamaha again showing what they are capable of doing, but no soup for you!

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  12. todder says:

    Please Yamaha, if your going to tease and not bring this, at least reconsider introducing the MT-07 (FZ7) into the U.S.

    Report this comment

  13. scott says:

    As a lightweight and middleweight motorcycle aficionado, the American mindset that “bigger is better” has never made sense to me, so I’ve spent considerable effort over the years directing new riders onto appropriately sized machines that won’t terrify them every time they pull up to a stop sign and struggle to balance a heavyweight. Some of my students have gone onto bigger bikes, but every one thought they were better served by starting smaller.
    Besides, as the old cliche goes, “It’s more fun to go fast on a slow bike than slow on a fast bike!”

    Report this comment

  14. andy1300 says:

    Yea, they would sale here to in the states, my first yamaha was a 125 enduro we would ride those bikes 60 miles one way out to the county, it was a blast…

    Report this comment

  15. paul246 says:

    Damn, wishing I could live in the UK, access to great bikes like this and the roads to ride them to their full potential.

    In the meantime I’m seriously considering one of these little gems….
    http://www.symcanada.com/wolfClassic.html

    Report this comment

  16. motowarrior says:

    Looks like a great first bike for a kid. Waaay better than a scooter. Everyone seems to like the 125cc Grom that barely makes 10 hp, and this should be considerably faster and safer on city streets. I’m in favor of offering everything and see what sells, but then again, I’m not a bean counter at a motorcycle manufacturing company. Hope they give it a try here.

    Report this comment

  17. allworld says:

    It seems like a well laid out bike, especially for a 125cc, but I can’t imagine how it would sell in the USA.
    The basic MSF riding course uses 250′s for the most part so even new riders may elect to buy a 250-300 vs. the 125cc even if the cost is less.
    In markets like India 125′s do sell well, but with the obesity problem in the USA ……..

    Report this comment

    • todd says:

      The 250 nighthawk and rebels and such they use only have around 12hp and are heavier. This bike would be an upgrade.

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      • allworld says:

        I have read different numbers: some say the Rebel has 19HP others 17HP the lowest number I have read is 15HP. At any rate it may sell well in the USA, but I have my doubts.

        Report this comment

      • MGNorge says:

        Peak horsepower is just a number Todd. Says nothing of how an engine behaves and produces at lower rpm. Typically though, the more an engine is squeezed the narrower the power band and the less is produced lower down. Comparing a 250 with approx 15-20 horsepower to a 125 tuned to produce almost as much will guarantee two very different engines. Having to wring the living daylights out of an engine to get even close to max performance gets tiring for most people after awhile.

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        • todd says:

          Horsepower tells how the bike will perform. A 15hp motor will make roughly 7 or 8 horse at half throttle whether it’s a 250, 125, or a 1000.

          Some engines are designed to spin at higher RPM and are geared appropriately. why on earth would you lug them around at low RPM? Why would it be tiring? It’s not like you have to pedal the thing.

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          • MGNorge says:

            I think you’d better have a closer look at horsepower and torque curves. To say that an engine, or any engine for that matter, will have half its peak horsepower at half throttle will not apply to all engines. Think of it this way, take a hypothetical 125cc engine that produces 15 horsepower at, let’s say, 14,000 rpm. With that kind of tuning it’s quite likely that engine power is of the somewhat “peaky” sort, falling off relatively rapidly below and above that rpm figure. A 250cc engine producing that same peak power will most likely develop it at lower rpm and over a greater rpm range. It does that by virtue of developing about twice the torque of the 125cc engine and because it’s in a much more mild state of tune can develop that torque over a greater rpm range. Now, to be realistic, a 250cc bike is almost certainly going to weigh more but it’s greater torque, spread out farther may well make it much easier getting started from a dead stop without resorting to lots of rpm and clutch slipping. This is just an example but it does come into play out on the street. Can’t always run an engine to 15k around town and have to when you want full steam ahead. Reminds me of the number of two-stroke engines back in the 60′s. Their advertised horsepower could be at the top of their class’ heap but that single figure was like a snapshot along the power curve. A couple of thousand rpm lower and they might have fallen on their noses. So the term for getting maximum performance from them was keeping them “on the pipe” Some of the lesser tuned “strokers” and pretty much all four-stroke bikes did not suffer that as much which tended to make them easier to ride and thus less tiring over the long haul. Having a peaky engine can be entertaining but can also demand much more concentration from the rider and on a longer ride that can be quite tiring.

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          • todd says:

            That’s the problem, you’re thinking of those little two strokes from the sixties. A (hypothetical) 15krpm 125 will have quite a bit lower gear ratio than a slow revving 250. When the 250 is in 4th gear, running full steam at 5000 rpm the 125 will be in second gear at the same speeds and have the full benefit and pulling power of its lower gearing. Out at the rear wheel, that 125cc 15hp is going to feel just as “torquey” as a 250 or a 1000 pulling 15hp. 15hp is 15hp, regardless how much effort (torque) the engine requires to make that 15hp.

            You should try it sometime.

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          • MGNorge says:

            Todd, I have tried it sometime, I’ve been riding all sorts of bikes for almost 50 years now. I can guarantee that any 125cc bike would be past 2 gears at a given road speed as a 250 would be in 4th. There are a number of variables at work here but remember this also, horsepower is a calculated figure and is the result of torque and rpm. In comparison to the example 250 mentioned, a 125cc bike that develops 15 hp at 14,000 rpm does so because of its state of tune and elevated rpm. In comparison, a 250, with its greater torque, would not need to rev to that level and most certainly that power would be spread over a broader rpm range. I have nothing against smaller bikes at all, I rode them for years while young. But a highly tuned bike that requires extra high rpm to extract what it produces will almost always sacrifice power down low. And let’s face it, 125cc bike doesn’t have an abundance to start with.

            Report this comment

  18. Superlight says:

    This appears to be Yamaha’s response to the Ninja 300/Honda CBR 300. All they need to do is install the bigger motor for the US market. Not great looking, but better than usual for a Japanese supersport.

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    • Guylr says:

      No, that would be the YZF-R25. Google Yamaha R25 Concept. It was shown back in November.

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    • K-Kid says:

      The Yamaha 125 “midget” sportbike has been around European markets for years, when I was in England these were highly sought after by young beginner riders. Twisty back roads this thing is a capable bike, highways and straight roads it lags, at least earlier versions. The look is great as it mimics its big brothers, and its a good step to bring back smaller capacity bikes that emphasize skill versus managing a horsepower beast.

      Report this comment

  19. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    I wouldn’t expect this model to come to the USA unless it was priced at something ridiculously low, to the point of it being a loss leader for Yamaha Motor Corp., USA.
    Even then, I wouldn’t expect it to be a sales success.
    That’s because most buyers in the USA will scoff at the thought of a 125cc sport bike.
    They will imagine a bike that looks like an R1 with a TTR125 engine in it, and all of their buddies on Gixxers laughing at them.
    There are nowhere enough riders who would have some kind of appreciation for a machine like this.

    Report this comment

  20. todd says:

    Not everyone rides on the highway. That said, my 1970, 90cc Yamaha twin would do 75 mph with 10hp. 50% more (15hp) would be just about right for cruising through town!

    Report this comment

    • Guylr says:

      Exactly. We had great fun on bikes with less than 10 horsepower riding all over town and learning the skills that would serve us for decades later. So you can’t get on an Interstate with it, that’s not this bike’s element. Look how well received the Honda Grom is. I have to believe that a bike with 6 more hp should be good fun too.

      Report this comment

  21. MGNorge says:

    Pretty high spec 125. Question is, can it be brought in at a competitive price? If not, it’ll push too close to larger capacity bikes that would most likely offer not only more power and cruising ability but a broader power band.

    Report this comment

  22. TimC says:

    I have to say, pay attn to what Gabe says about restriction. That can be removed and dealt with. When that is said and done, you have a terrific freakin trackbike here, a real momentum machine (former 1st-gen EX250 and 2nd-gen 944 owner here).

    Report this comment

  23. mickey says:

    That is a lot of technology and ” fancy bits” for a 15 hp single. WOW.

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  24. Hateraide says:

    Holy poop it has a real swingarm, frame, fork, and brakes. Keep everything the same, make it a 300 and bring it.

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  25. sean says:

    125cc is not a bike for me or most Americans but I love the styling. I wish the R-1 or Fz-1 had a similar look (maybe something to look forward to). I think it will sell well in it’s class, whatever that is.

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  26. Gabe says:

    Two things I want to say:

    1. This bike is RESTRICTED to 15 hp to meet learner-bike laws in various European and other countries. It’s built to compete in the 125 learner bike market–that market does not exist in the USA. And check this out–full out-the-door price for the 2013 model (not the new one) in the UK was over $7000!!! Still want one?

    2. Yamaha, you’re KILLING me. For the love of God and all that is holy, please slap the WR250X motor into this thing (it’s all homologated for the US, even California) already and sell it for 300-ninja money. It’s not rocket surgery.

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    • Hateraide says:

      WTF are you talking about $7K? You’re just doing a straight pounds to dollars conversion and even then you’re way off and that’s not how it works. Did you try it out with other bikes that are sold here as well for comparison?

      Report this comment

      • Gabe says:

        Okay, the Ninja 300 is 5100 Pounds in England ($8700). What am I missing?

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        • bmidd says:

          Maybe the fact that the 2014 Ninja 300 starts @ $4999 in the US.

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        • Provologna says:

          Gabe, you ever hear of something called “VAT” (value added tax). I often buy a certain collection of electronic parts made in The Netherlands. My cost in the USA is $1375. Buyers in EU nations must pay an additional $285 for VAT.

          Do the math. VAT is almost 20%. Your equation is grossly inaccurate. I estimate this bike would cost high-$5k in the US. Slap that WR250 motor in it and cost should not change much.

          Oh, the bliss of making a 600cc Supersport look like it’s in reverse at the apex…Yes!

          Report this comment

    • relic says:

      The wrx was a sloooow seller. They won’t want to go further down that road. There is little price difference between the wrx and a fz6 (or at least a good used one) A yzf with a wrx motor would take another 1 or 2 k from the price gap.

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      • TheSeaward says:

        Wouldn’t using the WRR/X motor in something else help ammortize the tooling cost and be a shrewd move? Maybe I’m just misunderstanding your point.

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        • relic says:

          Having owned a wrx I can tell you it is gutless in stock form. Sure once you get all the flappers off, it is not bad. There is a 290 kit. But my point is why do things the hard way? The wrx suspension is crap (see wrx forums) Making upgrades adds to the sticker price. An fz6 has the power and handling out of the box. The price gap is maybe one thousand.

          Report this comment

      • Harry R says:

        Just speaking for myself, for that price range I’d rather see the YZ250F engine and if they had gone with aluminum for the frame my GSF1200S would get little use as a daily commuter. Heck bring it here as a 250 and that may happen regardless.

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  27. Norm G. says:

    re: “With 250s selling so well here in the U.S.”

    GPS coordinates please.

    Report this comment

  28. Cage free says:

    Back when I was in high school(as the earth was still cooling)lots of my friends rode to school on 125′s and 175′s and the guys with the CB350′s or RD 350′s were on top of the heap. Only because of ego or peer pressure would small bikes not make any sense here today. Im sure they are way better and faster then the old smoking two stroke crap we rode and loved at the time. We need bikes like this and the Grom to light a fire under the kids of today that are so obsessed with all the electronic crap and get them riding.

    Report this comment

    • TomH says:

      Great comment Cage free. My best friend and I both rode Yamaha 175′s to school during the week and weekends on the trails. While I was at college he got a RD350. These newer bikes will certainly handle better than the old RD which was a bit scary at times.

      By the way, our weather got into the 50′s this week and the kids are far outnumbering the Harley riders.

      Report this comment

  29. ABQ says:

    For the rider that wants something that looks more aggressive than a scooter.

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  30. Matric says:

    Well, it’s a beautiful bike. But bring it over here with at least 40 hp. 15 hp is too underpowered on our north american roads.

    Report this comment

  31. Joe Bogusheimer says:

    I’d have to say I sort of fail to see the point of throwing such relatively high-end hardware at a bike with 15 HP. I mean, who rides 125s, even in Europe? Frugal commuters, who would likely choose to go with something cheaper and more practical, and learners who will undoubted soon move up to something that can keep up with big highway speeds. Although, at least in most of Europe, with their tiered licensing systems, there would at least probably be a ready resale market for this bike – even beginners like to ride something that looks the business (even if it isn’t really).

    Don’t get me wrong – I think it looks awesome, and would probably be fun to ride. I just wouldn’t want to ride it on the major highways around here (or anywhere, for that matter). Now 250s and 400s (or 390s), OTOH, there is apparently a market for here. Mostly everyone wants a bike that can do highway speeds comfortably, but not everyone wants or needs much more than that.

    Report this comment

    • Azi says:

      Agreed – if I ride a 125cc on a public road it’s not going fast no matter how highly tuned it is, so I might as well ride comfortably with the shape of a scooter or standard naked style bike. But I am a middle aged old fart. The mini supersport is definitely going for the learner licence teenage boy market – which I’m sure is not insignifcant.

      I do think that the 125 sports offerinngs have gone backwards in desirability since the 2-strokes died (RS125, Mito).

      Report this comment

    • Gabe says:

      Joe, it’s for countries with tiered license structures. Most countries–first world and developing countries alike–require new riders start out on motorcycles with restricted power-to-weight ratios. In England, for instance, you can ride a 125 with a permit, but if you want anything bigger you have to take compulsory training AND show a government employee you can ride without injuring yourself.

      https://www.gov.uk/rules-motorcyclists-83-to-88/motorcycle-licence-requirements

      Report this comment

    • Dave says:

      “Yamaha has unveiled for the European market…”

      It’s clearly stated in the 1st sentence of the article. Not for the US.

      I’ve spent a lot of time in Europe. Kids over there ride 50-80cc 2-stroke faux sportbikes and supermotos. This is just a 4-stroke version of the bikes they’ve been riding for years.

      Report this comment

      • Dave says:

        And, ” With 250s selling so well here in the U.S., is Yamaha ready to bring this model over? At this point, we have no idea…”

        No, they likely won’t bring this. I don’t think bikes below 150cc are legal on US highways. This is far too expensive to compete for the small scooter market.

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    • Clasqm says:

      In october 2013, in 3 of the eight sales categories, 125′s were the best selling models in the UK: http://www.visordown.com/motorcycle-news-industry/uks-top-selling-motorcycles-in-october-2013/23994.html

      The rest of Europe is pretty much the same, perhaps even more so.

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