125 GROUP TEST Kawasaki’s new J125 scoot is set to bat­tle some record-bust­ing 125cc best- The bikes

Motorcycle News (UK) - - New 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

A1-cat­e­gory mo­tor­cy­cle.

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’

Classy clocks boast fuel gauge and more It’s a twist-and-go so no need for a tacho Ana­logue clocks are ba­sic but clear Three-screen dash in­cludes a shift light Un­der­seat stor­age will take a full-face lid En­gine is straight from sporty YZF-R125 It’s a

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