Big lit­tle bike New YS125 tested

No-frills com­muter gets a facelift and a new name

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Contents - By Jon Urry MCN CONTRIBUTOR @MCNNEWS mo­tor­cy­cle­news

While it could hardly be de­scribed as sexy, Yamaha’s YBR125 has al­ways ful­filled an im­por­tant role. Con­sis­tently a best­seller with more than 150,000 tak­ing to Europe’s streets, it of­fers ba­sic rid­ing with a recog­nised brand name to bud­get-con­scious rid­ers. Now, for 2018, Yamaha have de­cided to treat the YBR to a re­fresh to not only make it Euro4-com­pli­ant, but also give it a sportier look. It even gets a new name.

Be­neath the YS125’S sharper styling, which con­sists of a new light and body­work, lurks what is ef­fec­tively a tweaked YBR125. The en­gine is es­sen­tially the same SOHC two-valve air-cooled four-stroke, just with a new cylin­der run­ning a longer stroke and smaller bore with a re­designed head on top. The chas­sis and sus­pen­sion are largely un­al­tered. Pleas­ingly for com­muters, Yamaha have in­creased the tank’s ca­pac­ity by a litre, im­proved com­fort lev­els through a more re­laxed rid­ing po­si­tion with a taller 795mm seat height and added a new brak­ing sys­tem.

Euro4 regs re­quire 125s to either have ABS or a linked brake sys­tem and, like most other bud­get bikes, Yamaha have opted for the lat­ter. Called Uni­fied Brak­ing Sys­tem (UBS), a cable con­nected to the rear brake’s foot pedal pulls on the front mas­ter cylin­der, ac­ti­vat­ing both brakes when you put pres­sure on the rear, while the front lever re­mains in­de­pen­dent. Is it bet­ter than ABS? Cer­tainly not, and to use it is a bit odd at first as you can feel the front brake lever’s pres­sure change when you ap­ply the rear, but the sin­glepis­ton front caliper and drum rear are un­likely to lock the wheels any­way, so in prac­tice its per­for­mance is fine.

In town it is easy to see why the YBR125 was such a hit. At just 129kg the YS125 is light, ag­ile and sur­pris­ingly good when it comes to fly­ing around round­abouts. Its skinny tyres and big

18in wheels grip well enough and, although soft and ba­sic, the sus­pen­sion is also ac­cept­able for city work. But get out of a 40-limit and the YS’S ba­sic na­ture starts to show.

On a dual car­riage­way the YS125 feels slow. You are ba­si­cally limited to 60mph and, un­less you get a tow from a pass­ing lorry, 70mph is the stuff of dreams as the five-speed mo­tor is a slug. That said, Yamaha claim the YS will do 100mpg (up from the YBR’S 90mpg), so what you sac­ri­fice in speed you gain in econ­omy. It also has an Eco light to help you in­crease its fru­gal­ity (over 140mpg is ru­moured), but the en­gine is so slow I only man­aged to light this up at walk­ing pace.

At £2872 the YS125 is only £200 more than the YBR125 it re­places. Like its bud­get ri­vals it is also built in China, but the fact it has Yamaha on its tank not only helps re­sale val­ues, but also adds a de­gree of trust as you know the spares and war­ranty back-up make it feel less of a dis­pos­able prod­uct. At the end of the day the YS125 is what the YBR125 al­ways was – a ba­sic, no-frills, com­muter that will run and run come rain or shine.

UBS brakes aren’t ex­actly high-tech

New dash has an Eco light (if you go v slow)

Don’t ex­pect a boom­ing ex­haust note

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