‘Valu­able les­son for learn­ers’

Ja­panese 125s of­fer a re­li­able ride but you’ll need to rum­mage around

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

You can buy all man­ner of road­wor­thy cars for un­der £500. It’s not so easy, if you’re a learner rider to find a 125 that’s ac­tu­ally road­wor­thy for that sort of money.

Ig­nor­ing a load of ropey old scoot­ers, which aren’t much use any­way if you want to pass your test on a geared bike, you’re look­ing at Chi­nese bikes with Bri­tish-sound­ing names like Her­ald, AJS, Kee­way, or fake Ja­panese names ( Ya­masaki is my per­sonal favourite) and the rest. Avoid any­thing cheap and Chi­nese - it’s cheap for a rea­son. The Chi­nese are get­ting there with bikes, but they ain’t there yet.

For­get so-called ‘pro­ject bikes’ as well. Do you want to be rid­ing or shut in the garage try­ing to get the damn thing to work?

Peren­nial favourites like the Honda CG125 are mostly out of reach as well, be­cause ev­ery­one knows how tough they are, so ev­ery­one wants one. But you might get lucky. If you probe into the world of lesser-known Ja­panese bikes, you can strike gold.

Take the Yamaha SR125, this is a ba­sic sort of cus­tom-styled thing, but fast it isn’t: 65mph flat out is about your lot. But it’s air- cooled, ro­bust and very eco­nom­i­cal to buy and run, and it’s within our £500 ceil­ing with a valid MOT.

Or another Yamaha – the YBR125. Sure, it has deeply un­fash­ion­able styling but it’s also air- cooled and sim­ple to keep run­ning and fix, and I’m look­ing at an ad for one with a long MOT, 36,000 miles and a price tag of £485, and another with 10,000 fewer miles for £470. In fact, there are quite a few up for grabs at £500 or less.

The al­ter­na­tives are an­cient 1980s and 1970s era learner bikes, and th­ese are best left to the en­thu­si­ast. Get a Yamaha YBR125 and you won’t go wrong.

It’s no beauty but the YBR could be the ideal learner bike

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