A grand plan

A used XT125 is cheap and it will make you cheer­ful

Motorcycle News (UK) - - THIS WEEK - By Jon Urry MCN GUEST TESTER

What we said then

“The XT125X is a scaled-down ver­sion of the XT660X and has the same su­per­moto styling such as a large front disc brake, ag­gres­sive plas­tics and 17in wheels with wide tyres. Although learn­ers are al­lowed to ride a 14.6bhp bike by law, the air-cooled XT only makes 10bhp, which is a shame.” MCN launch re­port, 2005

But what is it like now?

There is some­thing pleas­ing about re­turn­ing to your two-wheeled roots and, if I’m hon­est, be­cause I’m tight I also love the fact 125s cost little to buy and run. In this con­text a £1000 used Yamaha XT125X is right up my street!

In the flesh the XT is just what I ex­pected from a 125 in this price bracket. Vis­ually it’s a bit tired and there is a fair amount of rust on ar­eas such as the ex­haust as well as a few bat­tle scars. But it isn’t a bad-look­ing bike at all and the known Ja­panese name on its tank means a lot. As does the fact it starts first prod of the starter but­ton.

A few years ago I made the mis­take of buy­ing my wife a 100cc bike with only a kick­start when she was learn­ing to ride. This put her off us­ing it as it was a bit of a pain to start and any stalls soon re­sulted in a flap to get it go­ing again rather than a sim­ple push of a but­ton. Bikes with an elec­tric start (and ide­ally a kick­start backup) are a far bet­ter in­vest­ment for new rid­ers. And the XT’S style also ap­peals.

While a lot of 125 own­ers want a race rep, if you are taller a su­per­moto or trailie style such as the XT range are a bet­ter op­tion. I’m six-foot two inches tall and while I felt a bit like a go­rilla on a mon­key bike, the XT wasn’t that un­com­fort­able. I wouldn’t want to go big dis­tances, but that’s not what 125s are for.

On the go the 125cc en­gine does ex­actly what you would ex­pect. It’s smooth, doesn’t vi­brate and will (even­tu­ally) make its way up to 70mph. In town the clutch is nice and light, the gear­box slick and the bike’s over­all lack of weight makes it very easy to ma­noeu­vre - although the sus­pen­sion is sog­gier than a wet week­end in Wales. The lack of fuel gauge is an an­noy­ance, but with its 10-litre tank I’d ex­pect to see at least 140 miles be­tween fill-ups and on a 125 you are sel­dom that far from a petrol sta­tion so just hav­ing a fuel warn­ing light isn’t a huge is­sue.

Over­all, it’s a cool-look­ing 125 that starts, stops (no ABS, which isn’t a sur­prise on an older 125) and is cheap to buy and run. Happy days.

Any ob­vi­ous faults

This ex­am­ple has 11,116 miles on its clocks and while it looks tatty un­der its clean plas­tics, it runs per­fectly well. The ex­haust is rusty but doesn’t have any holes and the bars are straight. All the electrics func­tion as they should and the mo­tor, gear­box and clutch all feel fresh. Cos­met­i­cally it’s not great, and scratches on the brake lever in­di­cate it has been down the road, but as a win­ter hack or for a 17-year-old to learn to ride on it starts, stops and has 12-months MOT.

Or worth­while ex­tras

The only non-stan­dard part on this XT is the rust, which isn’t un­com­mon on a used 125 as they are built to a bud­get. Some bikes come with af­ter­mar­ket pipes, which add a bit of noise, but this is still on its orig­i­nal system, hence the rust. The plas­tics look sus­pi­ciously new, but again, they are of­ten re­placed.

Ver­dict

As cheap trans­port, a 125cc bike is worth con­sid­er­ing. The XT will do 70mph, has an elec­tric start, de­liv­ers over 70mpg and costs very little to in­sure. As a £1000 win­ter hack you could do a lot worse and it should give a 17-year-old their first taste of (reli­able) two-wheeled freedom.

For un­der £1k, the XT is a lot of bike

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