Sinnis T125 (2021) on & off-road review - adventure motorcycle for 125cc riders

Sinnis T125 2021 review

With only a few adventure bikes on the 125cc market, the Sinnis T125 claims to be capable on and off-road. Visordown tested it for a week on all-terrain!

Details
Manufacturer:
Category:
Adventure
Price:
£ 2899
Overall
Not rated

ADVENTURE BIKES in the 125cc category are few and far between. In fact, new adventure models are so few in number that the 2021 Sinnis T125 is almost in a league on its own. Visordown was sent one for a week to put the CBT friendly machine through its paces. 

Outfitted as standard with panniers and a top box, engine protector bars, plus a USB plug for charging a device as you ride, the 2021 Sinnis T125 is updated from the Terrain 125 with some style tweaks to the last model with a 6-speed gearbox and new liquid-cooled motor. Having ridden the previous model, I was intrigued to see if this meant more top-end grunt…

Given the T in T125 points towards ‘Terrain’, we also headed for some ‘difficult’ terrain - no, not pothole-ridden country lanes - green lanes & byways that your average ADV rider may partake in. Plenty of mud, enough to have a laugh but nothing too strenuous, and we were pleasantly surprised with how capable it was.

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Sinnis T125 price & availability

Off the bat, one of the positives of the T125 is the price. 

Manufactured by Jinan Qingqi in China, designed & imported by Sinnis for the UK market, the T125 is an attractive adventurer at an attractive price: £2,899 new. Colour options are Arctic White or Canyon Red (as ridden) and it’s available in dealers right now with a 24-month parts & labour warranty, and 12-month breakdown cover with roadside repair. 

Sinnis T125 top speed & power

Fitted with a new liquid-cooled single-cylinder 124cc unit, power has upped a smidge to peaks of 12.7 bhp @ 9500 rpm and 10.5 Nm @ 7500 rpm. On the road it feels capable up to around 45mph, and pulling away from the lights is positive - and crucially building a gap from cars behind you. 

Post 45mph you really begin asking difficult questions that the motor seems to only answer calmly - in part due to a balancer shaft to remove vibrations at high revs, and a 6th gear to sit in so you’re not bouncing off the red-line.

Top speed is an indicated 68~ mph on the dash (but listed as 56mph on specs), and it does take a while to get there - be prepared for full-tucked throttle-pinned-action if you find yourself on faster roads on a ride. I had to pull over a couple of times to let some eager drivers past.

Keep to riding twisty back roads and towns, and it’s a genuine breeze to throw around. Power delivery is good in the first 3 gears, but progressing from there to 65 feels like it will take 15 seconds. It’s a shame the new motor doesn’t really address previous shortcomings, but it feels geared for local commutes & country lane bashing than highway touring.

Off-road

Take the T125 off-road, and the low-end power really does surprise. With plenty of torque and pull in the first few gears, light byways and green lanes can be an incredibly satisfying place to find yourself on the 125cc adventurer - the hallmark of an adept adventure bike.

It was genuine fun, and the light-ish 162kg weight means you can manoeuvre yourself out of sticky situations, and pick the bike up if you get caught out. Plus engine bars give you that added confidence off-road, and it’s comfy standing on the bear-trap grips with removable rubber inserts.

OEM 17 inch tyres do the job well enough, you’d want a touch more grip in extremely muddy or sandy areas, but they serve well as all-rounders.

Soft suspension does the job here too, front forks with a minimum ground clearance of 158mm gets you over most of the ruts. Bottoming out will happen, and there’s no adjustable pre-load setting. But it comes into its own as an adventure bike on a bit of rough terrain.

Suspension & Brakes 

As mentioned, it’s soft suspension on the T125. Telescopic USD forks and a rear shock do the job off-road but can feel a tad bouncy on road - nothing too drastic, but certainly soft. Like riding around with marshmallows beneath you. You’ll see T125s riding around looking a bit ‘compressed’ with heavy loads, so with full luggage, a big rider wearing heavy adventure gear: you may be right on the 150kg load-weight limit. 

Note here that 16 stone is 101kg, so going two up is… potentially over the limit. Don’t say that to your girlfriend when she’s pillion, though - “sorry love, you’re too heavy to go on the back… I mean, with me on!”

Braking power is from single discs front and rear, linked with CBS (combined braking system) that will engage the front brake with a touch of the rear. This can create some unsettling front dive on the soft suspension, a strange feeling and not ideal when going into corners. Soft brake feel, good for new riders, you'll want to bring in engine braking to stop quickly.

Once aware of the soft brakes & suspension dive wombo-combo, you alter your riding a touch so it doesn't hamper normal running of the bike. Not a deal-breaker, but certainly one to watch out for.

Rider bonus bits

As standard the T125 comes with a handy top box and panniers (total of 66.5 litre carrying capacity), comfortably placing it in consideration for commuters - but you can’t get a lid in the top box.

The dash is an analogue/LCD split, nice and clear and easy to get essential information from including gear indicator and fuel gauge. Plus a USB plug as standard up front, ideal for adventure fans after a convenient place to charge their sat-nav or phone. 

With a 14 litre tank and typical 125cc fuelling, the T125 is listed at around 120mpg with 390-mile range at the most - perhaps less under real riding.

The 780mm seat height is comfortable for tall riders 6 foot and up, and accessible for shorter riders. Plus the tall non-adjustable screen deflects a good deal of bluster away.

Style

Top looks, it’s a stand out option for a 125cc rider. To be honest, I’m a big fan of a beak on a bike, and the engine bars seem to serve a purpose - although the previous tester did drop it and crack a fairing, maybe it was on a protruding tree/rock, who knows.

Despite the notes of styling updates from the previous gen Terrain 125 I don’t really notice a huge deal different here, and to me, it’s the same bike I’ve previously reviewed.

I’d genuinely consider going ham with an allen key and taking off the engine-bars, panniers, bits of plastic, to craft some kind of motard-adventurer all in the name of weight saving. That’d probably help give a touch more acceleration, maybe.

What we like and don’t like 

It’s a capable 125cc commuter bike, handles off-road riding surprisingly well, and is a nice machine to ride around sleepy villages and back roads. The price point is attractive for a 125cc rider, the warranties will certainly be a positive, and it’s a genuine adventure bike for a market that surprisingly lacks representation in the segment. 

Negatives are the drop off in power at the top-end, the combined braking setup with soft suspension, and the lack of noticeable difference from the previous model - having ridden both I can’t really pinpoint much that’s changed.

To be fair, CBS & power output are gremlins considered typical of the 125cc market, and points that bump the price up if resolved. Fortunately they are points that don’t dilute the final product at all.

Verdict

My short time atop the T125 was certainly memorable. It was great to explore a few miles of local forest roads, highlighting how enjoyable this bike is off-road (it was the same Thetford area we went to on the CB500X and X-ADV reviews).

The comfort is there for a tall rider, panniers loaded with camera gear and sandwiches for a day out on the trails. I certainly won’t forget the laughs I had at full tuck trying to get to the fabled 70mph mark downhill either - knowing I probably wouldn’t make it.

There may be 125cc motorcycles out there that peak the 15bhp limit, with top-spec ABS and variable valve actuation and snazzy displays - but they can’t go off-road like this and cost a couple grand more. The hurdle they fall at is where this T125 picks up the baton, it’s tremendous fun to ride around twisty B-roads and bumpy lanes, venturing off-road this comes into it's own.

The T125 keeps it sincerely fun. It’s a good laugh, a nice little workhorse that you can ply with luggage and potter around on - or get a bit muddy.

That’s what it’s all about on a 125cc, having a good laugh, especially for the new riders that this bike will attract. It’s not much different from the Terrain 125, but the price is right.

Find out more on the Sinnis website, and check out their release video here: