308 k - Rieju Moto UK

308 k - Rieju Moto UK
Varadero is a full-size
bike, while the YZF has
a big-bike feel
First, you need a provisional motorcycle
licence. A full car licence should include
provisional motorcycle entitlement. If you don’t
have a car licence, apply for a provisional
licence. Next, book onto a Compulsory Basic
Training (CBT) course: a day of classroom
training and practical exercises. A CBT pass
lasts two years, and entitles you to ride,
unaccompanied, a bike of up to 125cc with
L-plates. To lose the L plates, you’ll need to
tackle the theory test, the Module 1 off-road
test and the Module 2 road-riding test. You
have to pass the theory test before you can
book the practical tests. An A1 licence limits
you to 125cc bikes of up to 14.6 bhp.
Keeway (left) is slow
and feels poorly built;
our Derbi (right)
leaked coolant
XL125V Varadero
The Varadero feels like a much
more luxurious and bigger bike.
Even a 6ft 4in tester managed to fit on it in
reasonable comfort. The only disappointment
with the Varadero is that the V-twin engine
didn’t sound anything like a twin.
The CBR125R and Yamaha YZF-R125 also
feel like ‘real’ bikes, with everything from the
appearance of the clocks to the feel of the clutch
and brake levers impressing with their quality.
That quality is emphasised all the more as soon
as you step onto one of the cheaper Far Eastern
bikes and realise how things shouldn’t be done.
By far the worst offender was the Keeway
Speed 125, which felt like it might fall apart at
any moment. The Kymco Sport was marginally
better but still felt like it had been built in a
back street garage.
While the Daelim Roadsport 125 had a fast
fuel-injected engine that left the Varadero,
Yamaha and Kymco for dead in a dual
Honda CBR undercuts
the similar Yamaha YZF
by more than £1000
carriageway drag race, again the general build
quality felt poor, loose and shaky. And given
that it’s almost the same price as Honda’s baby
Blade you really ought to find a way to come up
with the extra £171 to buy the CBR.
While Aprilia’s RS125 is
undoubtedly the best bike in this
test, it doesn’t necessarily represent the best
value for money. At £4219 it’s also the most
expensive 125 we tested and it’s not going to be
cheap to run a thoroughbred two-stroke race
replica. At almost £1000 less, the Rieju RS3
offers a similar fun factor while leaving some
money over to pay for riding kit, insurance and
other running costs.
The build quality of the Spanish machine isn’t
quite up to the same standard as the Aprilia’s,
but the Rieju is a hoot to ride and, like the
Aprilia and to a lesser extent the Honda CBR,
had our testers fighting for the next go on it. The
RS3 provides fun by the bucket load.
While you're never going to be travelling at insane
speeds on a 125cc group test, we found it's still
possible to have fun on little learner bikes, if only
because you learn to hoard speed, minimise
braking, and time every gearchange to perfection
to jealously guard your revs.
But we kept running into this question: given a
seemingly simple engineering challenge, why can’t
all manufacturers make their single-cylinder 125cc
four-stroke engines perform more on a par with
each other? There was a huge difference in
performance between the bikes we tested here.
Cost comes into it but, as Rieju have proved, it is
feasible to buy engines from another maker (in this
case Yamaha) and build your own bikes.
Build quality is what really divided the bikes in
this test. There's only £171 between the Daelim and
the Honda but they are worlds apart in terms of
quality. So until the new batch of Far Eastern
manufacturers can produce better-built bikes that
are significantly cheaper than their Japanese,
Italian and Spanish rivals, there's really no contest.
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