125 GROUP TEST Kawasaki’s new J125 scoot is set to battle some record-busting 125cc best- The bikes
Kawasaki J125, £3799
The new kid on the block blends a perky 125cc motor with executive scoot values.
Honda PCX125, £2699
With 2100 sold in 2015, the PCX is the market leader, and therefore is the one the new J125 has to beat.
Honda CB125F, £2699
With 1400 sold in 2015, it’s the replacement for the CBF125, a
bestseller since 2009.
Yamaha MT-125, £4099
With 1650 sold in 2015, the baby MT was the bestselling geared
Once moving, though, I immedi-immediately warmed to the UK’S favourite scoot. It’s incredibly smooth and easy to ride. The dash is simple and displays everything you need, and it’s also the first ever two-wheeler to feature stopstart technology, not that you should ever be stopping much on a scoot, and our mpg figures revealed an already impressive 86.92mpg, returning 153 miles from its tiny eight-litre tank. The light and agile chassis worked brilliantly through the city centre, making it fun to flick between cars and round tight bends. The only let-down was the nonexistent screen, which becomes an annoyance once you’ve broken free of the high street.
Always dancing in its mirrors is the J125, looking like a Kawasaki ZX-10R from the front with its sleek Ninjafamily styling. Not bad for a redesign job, as the J125 is really a Taiwanesemade Kymco Downtown 125 beneath the cosmetic makeover ( just like the larger J300, which is based on the Downtown 300). All Kawasaki did to make the 125 version was swap the 300 engine for a 125 – almost everything else remains the same. This means it’s a far more physically substantial machine than its competition, which in turn makes it the heaviest on test at 182kg.
The seat is huge with a lower backrest, which is like sitting in an armchair, and comes with far more under- seat space than the Honda. It also has a little cubbyhole and a shopping hook up front. The only problem for 6ft 2in Liam was leg space; the J125’s footboards won’t allow you to splay your feet forward, which means knees are always at a 90-degree angle.
But despite its size and weight, it still handles well and is engaging to ride. It’s easy-going in town and sporty on country roads, with a responsive mo- tor, adjustable levers, posh switchgear and flash dash.
Bringing up the rear was the CB125F. Despite only being updated last year, we all agreed that it was due another one already. Honda treated it to a slightly fatter fork, revised styling and a new fuel-injected motor to increase low to mid-range torque, but both peak power and torque decreased slightly over the previous motor. Even if the numbers had stayed the same, it’d still produce the lowest figures of this bunch, and would still be the last to roll into the test centre.
‘The J125 dances in the Honda’s mirrors, looking like a ZX-10R with its sleek styling’