First Ride: 2009 Derbi Terra 125 review

Punchy, easy-to-handle Terra takes confident Cat and her girly hands through the test and for country weekends

I passed my CBT a few months ago and after riding a few bikes to build up some experience I felt I was ready to do my proper test.

The shopping list was pretty straightforward: the new ride had to be easy to handle with light hand controls. I had to be able to get my feet down and do the all important test U-turn with ease. I decided on the Derbi Terra. The real clincher was seat height. At just 815mm I could get both my size fives flat on the ground. Sorry, terra.

The Terra’s got very sharp lines and if you squint a bit, looks like a praying mantis from the front. The boys in the office liked it because it looks like the BMW R1200GS. I think. But the more I look at it and ride it the more it grows on me.

The tank is wider and the handlebars higher than other 125s I’d previously ridden giving it a really solid and sturdy feel which made me feel more relaxed and confident. When you’re sat bolt upright it’s easier to look over your shoulder to do the all-important ‘life saver’ or sit up a bit to peer over the car in front for a better view of what lies ahead.

Around town, a low first gear hampers acceleration. It’s fine when you hook it into second and third but first really is ridiculously low and even pushbikes murder you when the lights change. Having dainty girlie hands I really notice hand controls and the Terra is perfect for me. The clutch is superlight so no sore hand, and the brakes are fantastic, the lever only needing a very gentle squeeze.

Steering lock is really impressive and combined with the low seat height really boosted my confidence weaving in and out of traffic. Weaving in an out of traffic pretty much sums up my daily commute, so it’s kind of important.

On weekend runs into the country there’s a good spread of power and decent acceleration from 50 to 70. And with the wide tank and low seat I can tuck my legs out of the windblast. Speaking of wind, though, the bike’s lightness is a disadvantage as it can really get blown about sometimes.

The Terra handled both Module 1 & Module 2 parts of the test with ease. At just 117kg it’s so easy to move around. The speed manoeuvres (swerve avoidance and emergency stop) didn’t pose any problems at all. Second gear got me up to the required speed without any drama and the U-turn was a cinch thanks to all that lovely steering lock. Module 2 is the road part of the test and I just relaxed and concentrated on the ride knowing the Terra wouldn’t spring any surprises.

It must have worked. I passed. The Terra is a great bike for riders who, like me, are still building up their confidence. Apparently most people fail on the U-turn. They need a Terra, they really do. I’m ready to move up a few cc now and I’ve got the Terra to thank for this newfound confidence.

Derbi Terra 125 Specs

Engine Single cylinder 4 Stroke 
Bore x stroke 58 x 47 mm
Displacement 124,2 cc
Compression ratio 12:01 
Front Suspension 150mm fork
Suspensión Mono-shock with adjustable spring pre-load
Front brake 280mm Single Disc
Rear brake 220mm Single Disc
Maximum height 1260mm
Seat height 815mm
Fuel tank 12L
Dry weight 117kg