WE KNEW they were coming this time last year, and we had teaser videos all over the net of late, but now Kawasaki’s learner 125 bikes are officially official.
The Ninja and Z125s give the Green outfit a plausible entry-level machine again – which for those of us brought up on AR125s, KH100s and KMX125s seems only right. The firm’s been short of a 125 for a while, which is a common complaint amongst dealers, keen to get brand loyalty established early doors. It’s fair to say that many folk stick with the brand they learned on when they pass their test and move on up to bigger machines.
Anyway, novice rider anthropology aside, the new Kawasakis definitely look the part. Snazzy coloured frames and sharp graphics ape much larger machinery, and have decent specs too. A full 11PS or 15bhp chunters out of the 125cc single-cylinder four-stroke engine, which is based on the firm's 250cc single, so should last basically forever.
The new motor has a balancer shaft for more smoothness, proper four-valve head, liquid-cooling and a six-speed box, so a fairly high spec. Kawasaki reckons the power production is aimed at sub-60mph work, so we’re hoping it will be sparky as hell round town.
The chassis is also based on the 250 bikes, so there’s a ‘big-bike’ feel promised. The one downside of that could have been excess mass, but at 148kg for the Ninja and 146kg for the Z, the firm seems to have avoided that pitfall. There’s full ABS of course, 17-inch wheels with sporty rubber, single wave discs at both ends, and preload-adjustable rear shock.
A decent spec all in then – though we’ll have to wait for prices to see how the value stands up. The main decision seems to be whether you want the supersport style of the Ninja or the supernaked form of the Z125…
We’ll hopefully be riding the new 125s soon. More when we get it!