2020 Yamaha MT-125 First Look: 11 Fast Facts (Urban Motorcycle)

Just as we get the Yamaha MT-03 in the United States, an updated junior partner in the Yamaha Hyper Naked Masters of Torque line appears. The 2020 Yamaha MT-125 features a high-tech single-cylinder four-stroke motor in an impressive chassis.

We likely won't be seeing it in this country in 2020. However, it could be a glimpse into the future. Yamaha doesn't have competition for the Honda Grom or the Kawasaki Z125 Pro, and an MT-125 is a way for Yamaha to go upmarket in the 125cc street bike class. Here are the fast facts on the 2020 Yamaha MT-125

  1. The big news in the motor is the Variable Valve Actuation system. Although Yamaha calls the engine a single overhead cam design, there are two intake cams. The purpose of the system is to provide both low-rpm torque and high-rpm power.
  2. With a decidedly undersquare architecture, the MT-125 will be naturally torquey. Interestingly, the peak of 14.8 horsepower comes just 1000 rpm after the 8.5 ft/lbs torque peak at 8000 rpm. The MT-125 should have plenty of power for urban use. The redline kicks in at 11,000 rpm.
  3. You wouldn’t expect a stiff clutch pull on a 125, yet Yamaha makes sure it’s light with an assist-and-slip clutch. The YZF-R3 has a light clutch pull—we can only imagine how little effort the MT-125 clutch level will require with the assist function. For aggressive (or sloppy shifting) riders, the slipper function is a nice touch.
  4. That’s a 41mm inverted fork on the MT-125—beefier than the 37mm fork on the MT-03. There are over five inches of wheel travel up front, and 4.5 inches in the rear. Don't look for much in the way of adjustment, however.
  5. The twin-spar Deltabox frame and aluminum swingarm look formidable. We would expect that you can push the 2020 Yamaha MT-125 pretty hard without the chassis complaining.
  6. Yamaha went with a 140mm rear tire and 26 degrees of rake to stabilize the handling. With a wheelbase just over 52 inches and a curb weight of 309 pounds, the MT-125 will be naturally nimble. Going with a wide tire and relaxed rake should stop the motorcycle from feeling nervous.
  7. Those are Michelin Pilot Street tires on the MT-125. They are good-performing, durable tires that should satisfy most riders. Unfortunately, the 100/80 x 17 front tire size limits upgrade paths.
  8. There’s a 292mm disc up with a radially mounted no-name caliper. That's undoubtedly promising in the braking department. The MT-03's front disc is just a few millimeters larger in diameter, and the caliper is not radially mounted.
  9. Two of the three lights in the front cowling are position lights—only the small round LED is the headlight. It certainly is a cool look.
  10. The MT-125 gets a nice LCD dash. While it’s not a TFT, it’s impressive for a 125-class motorcycle.
  11. The MSRP of the 2020 Yamaha MT-125 in the UK is £4449. While that translates to quite a bit in the US, keep in mind that the MT-125 is £650 less expensive than the MT-03. If brought into the US, the list price of an MT-125 should well short of $4000. The cost of operation should be low—it gets an estimated 110 mpg.

2020 Yamaha MT-125 Specifications
Engine: Single cylinder
Displacement: 125cc
Bore x stroke: 52.0 x 58.6mm
Maximum power: 14.8 horsepower @ 9000 rpm
Maximum torque: 8.5 ft/lbs @ 8000 rpm 
Compression ratio: 11.2:1
Valvetrain: SOHC; 4 valves
Fuel delivery: EFI
Transmission: 6-speed
Clutch: Assist-and-slip
Final drive: Chain

Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable inverted 41mm forks; 5.1 inches
Rear suspension; travel: Linkage-assisted shock; 4.5 inches of travel
Tires: Michelin Pilot Street
Front tire: 100/80 x 17
Rear tire: 140/70 x 17
Front brake: 292mm disc
Rear brake: 220mm disc

ABS: None
Wheelbase: 52.2 inches
Rake: 26 degrees
Trail: 3.7 inches
Seat height: 31.9 inches
Fuel capacity: 2.6 gallons
Estimated fuel consumption: 110 mpg
Curb weight: 309 pounds
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2020 Yamaha MT-125 Price: £4449 MSRP

2020 Yamaha MT-125 Photo Gallery