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Yamaha XSR 125 first look – is this the best small motorcycle around?

Yamaha has come up with one of the coolest 125s around with the XSR 125

Digital clock on Yamaha's XSR 125 is simple yet functional

Yamaha's XSR 125 has a decent power-to-weight ratio

Paul Browne

When Cathal Coughlan of Microdisney and latterly The Fatima Mansions passed away recently, I was reminded of the band’s epic song, Only losers take the bus.

Way back in the mists of time, before we had the internet and everyone paid for everything with cash, I found myself negotiating life with my first bike, a two-stroke Kawasaki KDX125.

As I rode it down Dublin's Stillorgan dual carriageway as fast as I could get it to go, I’d holler the lyrics of this brilliant track, while rejoicing in the simple fact that I’d never again be traversing the city on the 46a bus.

A lot of penalty points and machinery damaged and written off have flowed under my personal motorcycling bridge since then. The humble 125, meanwhile, is still doing epic work at getting the willing and desperate off public transport and on to the very best life decision that buying their first bike is.

This year, the revised Yamaha XSR range has been added to with a new 125cc offering. Cleverly attuned to this market, which is predominantly made up of fashion-conscious 18- to 26-year-olds, Yamaha has designed the coolest 125 on the market. You’ll notice that I don’t refer to it as the smaller offering. That’s because, to the new rider it offers plenty of power and excitement.

Yamaha's XSR 125 has a decent power-to-weight ratio

The Euro 5-compliant, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine produces a shade under 15hp. This means that it has more than enough to get your commute done in a whole lot less time while the styling keeps you, the rider, looking pretty awesome. It’s not just getting off public transport and away from people who sit way too close, breathe through their mouths and occasionally rub against you. Indeed, there’s a lot more to the new XSR125 than that.

The new Yamaha has been developed with those of us who have never before ridden a motorcycle. It’s lightweight – just 140kg wet – so enjoys a decent power-to-weight ratio.

Being as fresh as it is, it also benefits from being specified with some very well regarded new technology. Included here are a set of LCD ‘clocks’ as well as LED lights on either end.

Digital clock on Yamaha's XSR 125 is simple yet functional

The chassis is a lot more than we’d expect from the class, with a set of 37mm upside-down forks as well as a new lightweight Deltabox frame. These make for a better handling machine that rewards the rider with a more comfortable riding experience.

Yamaha’s XSR range flies under the ’Faster Sons’ sub-brand. This also includes the learner-legal XSR 700 and the XSR 900 triple. All of these stylish bikes, including the 125, benefit from having a full collection of not just accessories, but also PPE clothing that looks appropriately casual.

“Only losers take the bus… I'm no loser… I'm not one of them,” sang the legend. Rest in peace Cathal, you’re sorely missed.

The XSR is available from Yamaha dealers across the country at only €5,199. Finance is available and exact change isn’t necessary.

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