First Ride: Yamaha YZF-R125 from a female perspective

After passing my CBT, I chose Yamaha's YZF-R125 as my first foray into biking, but did it prove too tall and too sporty for town riding?

Click to read: Yamaha YZF-R125 owners reviews, Yamaha YZF-R125 specs and to see the Yamaha YZF-R125 image gallery.

I recently passed my CBT and hadn’t really put any thought into what bike I would suit me. So there I was, holding my CBT certificate, with a whole range of bikes to choose from, but no idea where to start.

The guys here at Visordown said I’d be better off getting onto a 125 to rack up some experience before moving onto a bigger bike once I’d passed my test. I wanted a bike for my daily commute and also the occasional Sunday run, so pretty much every 125 out there was up for consideration.

Like most of us girls, the main factor when looking at a bike is: Can I get my feet on the ground? So bikes like Yamaha’s WR125X, with its 920mm seat height were off the list, unless I fitted 6-inch platforms to my Alpinestars boots. I’d set my eyes on Yamaha’s YZF-R125 and thankfully, with its 818mm seat height, it was within reach.

I was drawn to the YZF-R125 because I think it is one of best looking 125s on the road at the moment. I’m sure I could have had a more all-round 125, but I want to eventually move up to a sports bike when I get my licence. So, the guys here thought that Yamaha’s baby-sportsbike was the best way to test if this styles of bike suits my daily commute into the city.

The first thing you notice about the YZF-R125 is how compact it is. It looks like a half-scale R6, with clean sharp lines, it’s really sexy. When sat on the bike, my 5’5” frame (a perfect girl’s height I’ll have you know!) feels about the right size, my feet touch the ground, not flat-footed but enough to get purchase and feel confident. The reach to the bars doesn’t leave me feeling stretched, so the bike feels manageable and light.

Around town, the engine feels smooth and quite torquey, from the lights and in lower gears it feels responsive, nippy and it’s quick enough off the mark to mean that cars can’t bother you. The clutch was slightly stiffer than I would have liked which left my left-hand feeling sore after the first few days riding, but you soon get used to it. The gear box is definitely one of the stronger points of this bike. It’s good in town, slick and precise and when filtering I can leave it in 1st of 2nd and the engine doesn’t labour, allowing me to concentrate on what’s ahead and not what gear I’m in.

On open roads, there’s a good spread of power but on dual carriage ways it seems to run out of puff fairly quickly. It’s comfortable cruising at 55mph, but feels slightly strained at 70mph. It could do with a bit more power to help with overtakes. Aldo, on the dual carriageways, the wind noise really picks up and you get quite a bit of buffering. It’s definitely not a bike I’d want to do a full tank stint on, but 30 miles is more than manageable.

I had plenty of confidence in the front-end, especially in the wet, where I thought I’d be a nervous wreck but it hardly affected my riding. The brakes, tyres and suspension gel well together and I can feel what’s going on. Although quite stiff and sharp at slow speeds, you soon get used to that and most of my speed checking when filtering was done with the rear brake, which is well positioned and powerful enough to scrub off a few mph when needed.

It’s a really beautiful bike and it made me smile every morning when I open up by garage to take it out. For me, wanting to ride a bike is a big factor in me actually getting out there and getting the miles in.

I’m not surprised the YZF-R125 is such a popular bike but I think Yamaha could further improve it by offering a lower seat-height option, slightly wider bars to make it more manageable, and a better steering lock to make those U-turns that bit easier.

With its great looks, smooth nippy engine and cheap running costs it combines all the looks of a sportsbike, without compromising my daily commute. I just wonder whether an R6 can live up to the benchmark set by this superb little YZF-R125!