2019 Yamaha YZF-R125 First Ride

John might not be the target demographic for this bike but he's going to do his best to throw a leg over the new Yamaha R125.

The Yamaha YZF-R125 is like catnip to teenage bike fans. When it was launched in 2008 the kids came flocking. The 14bhp race replica sat at the top table in sales chart terms for years. 

Simple running gear, lively performance and big brother looks have always been key to the appeal, this new 2019 model aims to do more of exactly the same, which spells trouble for the competition. 

There’s been a sizeable technical update in the form of a variable valve system (VVA). At 7400 revs, the motor shifts to a higher lift cam and the motor continues to deliver acceleration. If you’ stepping down to the 125 from a larger bike, you might think it feels slow. If you’re stepping up to this bike with a new licence in your hand, you’ll think it’s a rocket ship. Either way, it was fast enough to stay ahead of the traffic on our Valencia test ride. It was also great fun on the fast and flowing test track we rode it on.

The biggest difference you’ll see is the look of the thing. Not only does it clearly sit in the R family along with its bigger brothers (300, 600 and 1000cc), but we think it also looks cool on its own. It is by far the coolest looking 125 in the sector and when you’re a teenager, that really matters. 

We liked the fact that the 125 looks like a sports bike but retains a comfortable riding position, the bars are slightly wider than they used to be and the seat has been reworked for more comfort. 

The old model is a tough act to follow and the pressure to perform is sizeable for this learner friendly machine. Thankfully we’re happy to report that the new model isn’t just a little bit better than the old one, it’s miles better. Who wouldn’t want to be 17 with one of these in the garage? 

The 2019 Yamaha YZF-R 125 is £4299.