Over the last few years, the American market has seen a growing interest in lower displacement bikes, including the Honda Grom that got things truly rolling. But now there’s a new player as Kawasaki has extended the very popular Z family to accommodate those smaller cc needs.Enter the 2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro – the bike with a short stature and a whole lot of charm. The Z125 Pro is inspired by its bigger brothers of the Z line, the Z1000 and Z800. The Z125 Pro reflects the aggressive, sharp design qualities that we’re all familiar with in the Z800 and Z1000, but has been scaled down into something for beginners and veterans alike.
The Z125 might be familiar to some of you readers out there and your gut feelings would be correct – it is available in other markets. Manufactured in Kawasaki’s Thailand facilities, the Z125 Pro has been making waves overseas for a few months now.Kawasaki’s new mini street bike is quite affordable; available for an msrp of $2,999.99, the Z125 Pro will cater to the needs of someone trying to take care of their local commute or just have some fun on something light and pressure-free. A Z125 Pro owner will also be circumventing the costs of owning a larger motorcycle between maintenance and insurance rates, which none of us can escape. Light, maneuverable and fun. That’s what the Z125 Pro is all about.
The Kawasaki Z125 Pro Highlights:
Compact size and light weight (224.8 lbs wet) makes for easy maneuverability
Large 2-gallon tank
Low seat height (30.7 inches)
Performance suspension suitable for comfortable and sporty riding
Capable for two-up riding
The Z125 Pro plans to hit two generally disparate groups: Beginning riders and veterans. That does seem like a lofty goal, especially to the US market that has traditionally favored larger displacement engines but let’s take a minute to consider what the Z125 Pro actually does.To the uninitiated, it’s a comfortable, manageable machine with a relaxed riding position that strips away a lot of unneeded stress when first getting out onto the streets. For the veteran crowd, I’d imagine it’ll be hitting on some of the same points; a low investment in terms of energy but high return on enjoyment. Don’t feel like taking the big bike out to the canyons? Having a little romp around the neighborhood or in the pits at the track could easily satiate even the most jaded rider.The bike has been built for ease of use, regardless of who is behind the controls. At a petite 224.8 pounds wet (claimed), it’s poised to be quite the nimble little number. To aid in that aspect, the Z125 has been blessed with a 30.7-inch seat height and that means that it’ll be suitable for a large number of riders, in many different shapes and sizes. Here is one of the highlights for me personally – the Z125 Pro chassis was designed with two up riding in mind and also features a 2-gallon fuel tank. Not a lot of fuel for sure but according to Kawasaki representatives, initial tests were pushing into the 80 mpg range.
Kawasaki Z125 Pro Design:
Sporty instrumentation with a race-themed analogue tachometer and fully-featured LCD digital display that includes a fuel level gauge, clock, trip meter and gear indicator
Fierce multi-reflective headlight
Under-engine muffler allows for a more compact package
Stylish LED taillight
Roomy, but aggressive ergonomic bodywork design
Once look and it’s obvious that the Z125 Pro is a true part of the Z family. Borrowing the most brazen and aggressive profiles from the Z800 ABS and Z1000ABS, the Z125 Pro carries a very pronounced expression.A single multi-reflector headlamp is very reminiscent of the naked sport bikes we all know and love. But it’s the slim and compact design that I can appreciate – mainly because of lane splitting purposes.The instrumentation is something you’d find on any of the larger machines. It’s loaded down with some “big bike” amenities such as a tachometer, LCD display, fuel gauge, clock, trip meter and my personal favorite, a gear indicator and for the beginning rider; those are find additions to any bike.
Pulls through rev range for a fun feeling while riding
The new Z125 Pro makes use of a single cylinder, 4-stroke SOHC 125cc power plant, featuring an over-square bore 56.0 x 50.6mm bore and stroke. Kawasaki has tuned it for street riding with a sporty edge, making power delivery smooth and predictable. Aside from that, it also makes use of modern fuel injection systems with a 24mm throttle body, which isn’t exactly common in the lower displacement world, as well as an electric start, thanks to the Kawasaki Automatic Compression Release (KACR), which uses the exhaust valve to release cylinder pressure when starting.A 2.6-liter air box rests just above and forward of the cylinder, aiding in the sporty nature while simultaneously minimizing intake noise. Due to the cam profiles chosen by Kawasaki, the little 125cc engine is quick-revving while maintaining a stable idle.Weight distribution was key for the little Z125 Pro. The power plant has been mounted lower and forward, making it both stable and quick on its feet. Lastly, the exhaust is mounted low, not only for performance reasons but to help keep that perfect weight distribution.
Kawasaki Z125 Pro Clutch & Transmission
A lot of small displacement machines use centrifugal clutches but the Z125 Pro will be offering the full motorcycle experience in a tiny package. With a four speed transmission and link-type shifting that you’d find on any full sized sport bike, the Z125 Pro lets someone get the feel of riding without such an investment. Not to mention that the clutch feel is feather light.
Kawasaki Z125 Pro Chassis & Suspension
A compact chassis is what greets the rider but at with me standing at around 5’10 or so, it felt like it had more than an ample amount of room when sitting on it. Sport suspension and tires suggested that it can put it down a little bit as well, although we didn’t get a chance to ride it during the reveal.Up front the Z arrives with 30mm non-adjustable inverted front forks, featuring 100mm of stroke all held together with an aluminum upper triple claim. In the rear, a single offset shock with four preload adjustments means that riders will be able to dial in their preferred settings a little bit more but let’s be honest, we’ll all probably be having too much fun on it to really worry about that.The Z125’s 12-inch cast wheels help keep its numbers on the low end of the scale and make us of 100/90 and 120/70 tires, front and rear.The Z125 Pro features a high-tensile steel backbone frame with tube diameter that ensures plenty of strength for solo and two-up rides. The frame backbone measure 48.6mm in diameter and is supported by 25.4mm lateral tubes. The rear frame tubes are 22.2mm in diameter and also makes use of a rigid box style swingarm
Kawasaki Z125 Pro Brakes
The Z125 Pro features hydraulic disc brakes front and rear with Nissin calipers. Up front is a 200mm petal-style disc and a 184mm petal-style disc on the rear wheel. Does
2016 Kawasaki Z125 Pro Colors:
Candy Lime Green
Metallic Graphite Grey
The American Kawasaki Z Family
The introduction of the Kawasaki Z125 Pro is an offering to the ever changing American market – something for everyone, regardless of skill level or budgets. The Kawasaki Z family has been good for Kawasaki and now with this addition, riders will have another very competent choice when looking for something fun or practical.For more, visit Kawasaki.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!