-sellers – should they be wor­ried? Con­tin­ued over The mis­sion The rid­ers

Motorcycle News (UK) - - New Bikes - By Andy David­son MCN STAFF WRITER Andy David­son

You’re look­ing at the UK’S most im­por­tant ma­chines – the best sellers. And they’re record break­ers for a rea­son be­cause they’re the new– and ur­ban – rid­ers’ bikes of choice. Th­ese are the ma­chines ev­ery learner weighs up be­fore step­ping into a show­room for the first time, their tick­ets into the two-wheeled world be­fore step­pin­gup to big­ger ca­pac­ity bikes.

And now Kawasaki want a slice of the pie with their new J125. But to be a best seller it must match the cur­rent 125cc cham­pi­ons on value for money, style, ease of use, practicality and ac­ces­sories – the es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ents for any learner-friendly champ. So, to find out if it’s got what it takes, we go back to school to put it though its paces.

School play­ground

There were some ner­vous smiles that morn­ing. I could see the rem­i­nis­cent fear of 17-year-old new­bie rid­ers in the faces of th­ese men who have long since passed their mo­tor­cy­cle tests. “What sort of tests? I’ve passed mine al­ready!”, shouted James.

“Don’t worry, we’re test­ing the bikes, not the rid­ers,” I said, try­ing to avert an early mutiny. As the fight to grab the Yamaha MT-125 keys kicked-off, James shoved Justin for the MT, Liam dived onto the Kwak and I was left with the lit­tle Honda PCX125. I can see why any learner would be well chuffed with the Yam; it looks noth­ing like the rest of the bikes here. It’s big, tall and im­pos­ing with ag­gres­sive styling, sharp an­gu­lar lines and wide bars for a haunched look. It’s by far the coolest bike on test. Yamaha have done an ex­cel­lent job of mak­ing it look like a mid­dleweight with a swish, com­pre­hen­sive three­sec­tion dash, 41mm in­verted Kayaba fork, fake air in­takes, a belly pan and a stubby tail unit.

Lum­bered with the PCX, all I could do to re­gain some sem­blance of su­pe­ri­or­ity was to point out that the Yamaha was the only bike to lack a cen­tre­stand, and show off the PCX’S un­der­seat stor­age space, which is just about big enough to swal­low a hel­met. But no­body seemed to care. Kawasaki’s J125 scooter launches the firm into the com­pet­i­tive 125cc mar­ket. We pit it against the bighit­ters at a bike train­ing cen­tre to find out if the J125 has the skills to

be a learner-friendly best-seller.

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