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Derbi GPR 125 first ride review

Two strokes are dead, live with it. We try on the new 125 four-banger from bijou biking kings Derbi

Click to read: Derbi GPR 125 owners reviews, Derbi GPR 125 specs and to see the Derbi GPR 125 image gallery.

Spread over the tank like a sleepy cat on a warm shed roof, I’m doing my best to make myself as small a shape as possible. I feel like I’m doing a reasonable impression of what I might have looked like had I been allowed a ride on this bike 13 years ago, when I was 16 and 125s were all that mattered. How wrong was I.

Apparently from the pit wall I looked as stupid as all the other lardy old pretenders. Banging down two gears and peeling in for the first turn at Barcelona’s Motorparc circuit, the GPR was doing anything but pretend. Knee deep in tarmac with every single one of the fifteen frothing horses available being strangled to within an inch of their lives, I couldn’t help but let out a giggle. This bike is fun.

The 125cc market is to Derbi what the World Superbike title is to Ducati. The two couldn’t exist without each other. That said, having lost 79% of their buyers in the last year, Derbi are currently treading an extremely fine line between existence and the scrapheap. The important Spanish grown up did his best to explain the dire straights in which Derbi find themselves, but I got bored and spent the available time wisely letching at the GPR through the window.

It’s a purdy-looking thing; the swingarm, forks, radial brakes and peg position all giving the impression of something that houses more than a Vespa 125 scooter engine. Derbi should be commended for going the extra mile in their bid to offer the 16 to 20 year-old target audience everything that a bigger sportsbike should have.

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I found it fairly hard to take the bike seriously until I’d ridden a few laps – the rear tyre had 130 written on it! How hard could this be? I honestly rode out with all intention of behaving like a knob, but just ten minutes later it was all too apparent that a German journo had beaten me to it, snapping his collarbone when things got a little out of hand in a downhill, flat-out third gear corner. I decided the GPR warranted more than a fleeting glimpse of respect, and it deserved it.

Flat-out on the back straight the most I saw was 74mph. Most teenagers would go quicker in a Citroën Saxo, but that’s not the point though. The (unadjustable) suspension is set up for 75kg riders with performance on their mind. I had no trouble at all placing a whole heap of faith in the fancy looking front end, and rightly so. Derbi know a thing or two about making the most of a bike’s set-up to compensate for a lack of power – 19 GP world titles are testament to that.

You’re never going to feel like a big man pulling into the pub car park with an engine displacing the equivalent of three pints of beer, but if you’re looking to truly connect to your riding experience, you could do a whole lot worse than to toss a trainer over this Spanish cutie.

Specifications

Price: £2995
Top speed: 100mph (est)
Engine: 124.5cc, 4-valve single
Power: 15bhp @ 9250rpm
Torque: 9.6lb.ft @ 6400rpm
Front suspension: 41mm upside-down forks
Adjustment: none
Rear suspension: Monoshock
Adjustment: Preload
Front brake: 300mm disc, four-piston caliper
Rear brake: 282mm disc, two-piston caliper
Wet weight: 135kg
Seat height: 810mm
Fuel capacity: 13 litres
Colours: Black or White/Black

Visordown rating: 4/5