TWO's John Hogan reports back from the launch of Derbi's new 125s in Barcelona
I’ve just got back from the launch of two new Derbi 125’s. The first, the GPR, is a little cracker. It’s only fifteen bhp, but definitely looks the part. From twenty metres away it reminded me of a Honda CBR600F. Derbi take the 50 and 125cc sector of the market as seriously as Suzuki (for instance) view the superbike market. To the majority of the biking public in the UK this bike is of little relevance, but to the young and extremely important new bikers, this bike is as good as it gets.
I spent the day riding it at the fantastic Motorparc test facility just outside Barcelona. At just over four km’s long and with huge elevation changes I thought that the GPR would be way out of its comfort zone, but it proved to be a bit of a tool once wound up to speed. Corners that on a 600 would have you backing off, on the 125 leave you pinned and hanging off the bike like a lunatic. It was mega. The suspension looks the part but has no adjustment at all. Fortunately the set-up is based around 75kg riders and it felt good, the front end was especially trustworthy.
My time on track was cut a little short when a German journo decided to ride one off the circuit and into a wall, snapping his collar bone and reminding me that while small, this bike is capable of more than enough pace to hurt you as well as have fun on. In comparative terms, the Derbi is cheap at £2995. The Yamaha YZF R125 and Honda CBR 125 both costing at least a couple of hundred quid more, which could make all the difference when you’re a saving like crazy 17 year old.
The Derbi 125 SM was available to test on a Go Kart circuit, which was perfect. Tall enough for me not to feel ridiculous when I got on it and thankfully powerful enough to have some fun on. With the same four-stroke 125 as the GPR I was fully aware that making the most of power was going to be an issue. What I didn’t expect was a two stroke style power delivery, it revs like an old DT 125, pinging the clutch out of corners and hanging on to the throttle like your life depends on it was the order of the day, and great fun.
Like the GPR from across the car park it looks every inch like a 450 Motard, step a little closer and the truth becomes apparent. Don’t get me wrong it doesn’t look cheap, it just doesn’t get any bigger the closer you get to it. Like the GPR it sports funky radial brakes that work really well. If you live in a city and you’re looking for a daily commuter, you could do a lot worse than to have a look at one of these. I had an absolute scream riding this bike, and I’m sure you would too, regardless of how old you are.
Check out the next issue of TWO, on sale 11th of June, for a full report.
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