- Lexmoto
November 30 2016
GT125P £2899
This bike is made in
China. It’s the only bike
on test with twin shocks
and a drum rear
brake – but it is fuel
The Korean Hyosung is
the most expensive bike
here, powered by an air/
oil-cooled 125cc V-twin.
It also has the
tallest seat.
ZSX-F125 £1699
‘The ride is
comfortable, the
turning circle
tight and the
brakes ample’
Chinese-built and the
cheapest here. It has a
single rear shock, rear
disc brake and is a
carbed four-stroke
Honda CB125F
Old-school smiles
Bargain hunt
Are the latest crop of
The riders
Adam Child
Age 40 Height 5ft 6in
CV 15 years’ road
testing experience on
all kinds of bikes.
Justin Hayzelden
Age 44 Height 5ft 11in
CV Global adventure
rider and former
London courier.
Liam Marsden
Age 26 Height 6ft 1in
CV MCN web producer has a vast amount
of experience for
someone so young.
By Adam Child
ou can buy a brand new 125cc
naked bike with a 24-month
warranty and dealer backup for less than £2000. You
could run around on one of
these for two trouble-free
years then at the end of that period of
fun commuting either trade it in for
a new model or sell it for £500. You’ll
still be quids in.
Think about it: would you rather be
on the tube, sweating hot, with your
face buried in a stranger’s armpit – or
actually enjoying the world above the
surface? I know where I’d rather be.
But am I painting an unrealistic
picture? How good can a budget 125cc
really be? In a wintry November would I
still choose two wheels, and if so where
does the smart money go?
sub-£3000 naked 125s worth it – or are you being taken for a ride?
Hyosung GT125P
It’s not rubbish... it’s worse
I can’t remember riding another new
bike as bad as this. Some bikes get off
to a bad start, but then you start to
appreciate their character – or make
concessions because of their budget
price. But the Hyosung has no character, few redeeming features, and is the
most expensive bike on test. Justin, our
guest rider, owns a 1953 Enfield that he
feels is more refined than the Hyosung.
So, where do I start? Who thought
putting an air/oil-cooled 125 V-twin
in what appears to be a 650 chassis was
a good idea? The breathless motor has
the pulling power of a one-eyed troll.
A headwind or slight gradient forces
you to knock back a gear to maintain
any speed. There’s no torque, nothing below 6000rpm, and you have to
There are few things to recommend the GT125 V-twin as a town bike. But it is solidly built...
be brutal with the revs to keep up
with traffic. Above 8000rpm it can
just about stay with the other bikes
here, but you really need to cling to
the redline. That means beasting it
at close to 10,500rpm all the time.
A lack of torque makes it a nightmare in town as you are always
revving the nuts out of the comically slow engine. Everyone turns
around to stare as they hear a bike
screaming at 10,000rpm – but only
doing 20mph. And it’s heavy, too. At
167kg it weighs more than a BSB bike!
It’s also physically big, clunky, and has
virtually no steering lock. Oh, and the
brakes are shocking.
It looks like my two-year-old son
made the rear disc at nursery and the
exhaust looks like it’s been taken from
a 1990s Suzuki Bandit. The engine,
carbs and airbox are a mess.
The positives? It looks and feels solid,
On face value the Honda didn’t get
off to the best start. It’s the only bike
with twin rear shocks and a drum
brake on the rear, and it’s near the
top of our price range at £2699. The
rear brake pedal assembly appears
to have been taken from a Honda
C90, and it’s hard to decide if the
all-analogue clocks are cool because
they’re retro, or just old fashioned.
I couldn’t help but smile as I wound
the mechanical trip back to zero.
The switchgear is actually modern, and not dissimilar to Honda’s
larger models, apeing the VFR800’s
annoying trait of having the horn
button above the indicator switch.
There’s an illuminated gear position
indicator and on-board the styling
isn’t bad. There’s also a centrestand,
as there is on the Lexmoto.
Styling-wise the Honda scores
well, and despite the twin shocks
Something charming about analogue clocks
and drum brake, it has an air of quality.
With all the logos and badges removed,
we all agreed we’d still pick the Honda
out as the highest quality bike on test.
The four-stroke Honda is the only
fuel-injected bike on test, absolving us
of any need to play around with a choke
lever when cold. The fuelling is nearfaultless, and even low down there’s
enough torque to make good progress.
In town you don’t have to dance up
and down the smooth gearbox, and
it’ll happily pull away in second gear.
Away from the city commute it’s
no quicker than the rest; 55mph is
about it sat bolt upright, while you
might see 60mph if conditions are
perfect. With a favourable tailwind,
tucked in tight, I nearly saw 70mph.
The ride is comfortable, the suspension isn’t bad, and despite the
odd-sized wheels the handling isn’t
bad, either. You don’t get thrown
out of the seat over road imperfections, and cobbles won’t rattle your
fillings. The turning circle is tight,
it’s light and – despite their ancient
design – the brakes are more than
up to the job, although there’s no
ABS. It’s a doddle to ride; no wonder riding schools up and down the
land use them.
On the down side the Honda is
physically small – the smallest of
the bunch, in fact – and the standard
Chinese tyres aren’t great, especially
in the wet. But as Justin said after he
stepped off the Honda: “I’d happily
courier around London on one all
day – and it does 100mpg.”
1. Shark SK Easy
Keep it pinned at the 10,500rpm redline
and has road presence. The big dimensions will favour larger riders, but big,
heavy riders will only exacerbate the
gutless delivery. The dash is the most
modern of the bunch, but that’s as good
as it gets. Hyosung do make some good
bikes, but this isn’t one of them.
Continued over: Verdict, stats, accessories
and typical finance deals
2. MT Revenge
Replica GP £64.99
Has a dual-layered
lining, quick-release
anti-scratch visor
and matt black finish,
and is available in
two shell sizes. www.
Double D-ring fastening,
quick-release visor
with Pinlock insert,
lining and a choice of
two shell sizes.
3.Spada Intrepid
Beam £89.99
4. Caberg Duke
Polycarbonate shell is
packed with a dropdown internal sun visor,
cheekpads, and quickrelease fastening. www.
Dual-certified as a fullor open-face lid, with a
drop-down sun visor,
micrometric buckle
fastener and Pinlock
anti-mist insert. www.
Cheap and very cheerful
Over 36 months
With a deposit
of £359
Primitive digital tech, but useful fuel gauge
you are there. Like the Honda there
is some useable torque, you can nip
through traffic with ease, and headdown it will match the Honda on top
speed. But the motor isn’t as smooth
as the CB’s, and the gearbox is a little
The suspension and set-up can be
described in the same way. It all works,
but there isn’t a huge amount of damping. You get jolted out of the seat on
rough roads and despite having conventional 17in wheels it didn’t feel as
secure or natural as the Honda. But
around town it ran rings around
the heavy Hyosung. The budget
Lexmoto certainly exceeded our
‘Useable torque
lets you nip
through traffic
with ease’
HONDA CB125F £2699
Engine Power Suspension Brakes Seat height Tyres 124.7cc air cooled single
10.5bhp @ 7750rpm
31mm forks, no adjustment. Twin rear shocks, adjustable for preload only
240mm front disc with twin-
piston caliper, 130mm rear
drum brake
90/100 x 18 front, 90/90 x 18 rear
Kerb weight
19.5% finance
LEXMOTO ZSX-F125 £1699
Engine Power Suspension Brakes Seat height Tyres 124.65cc air-cooled single
10.9bhp @ 8500 rpm
Conventional forks, no
adjustment. Single rear shock,
adjustable for preload only
240mm front disc with twin-piston caliper, 220mm rear disc with twin-piston caliper
90/90 x 17 front, 110/80 x 17 rear
£ 55
Over 36 months
With a deposit
of £170
Kerb weight
You want to
celebrate with us?
We get it.
That’s why we are offering you £777 cashback on a select
range of models to celebrate Suzuki’s win at this year’s British
MotoGP and the 2016 World Endurance Championship. Join
team Suzuki when you ride away on a bike developed with
our race winning technology.
Jonathan – Motorcycle Sales Manager
8.9% finance
Over 48 months
With a deposit
of £99
HYOSUNG GT125P £2899
Engine 124cc oil/air-cooled V-twin
Power 14.6bhp at 10,500rpm
Suspension Upside-down forks, no adjustment. Single rear shock, adjustable for preload
Brakes 300mm front discs with twin-piston calipers, 230mm rear disc with twin-piston caliper
Seat height 830mm
Tyres 110/70 x 17 front,
150/70 x 17 rear
Terms and Conditions – This offer applies to the following 2016 Suzuki models: Hayabusa/Z, GSX-R1000/A, GSX-R600, GSR750A/MotoGP, V-Strom 1000A, V-Strom 650A, Burgman 650 Executive, Intruder M1800RBZ. Retail customers
can use this cashback as a deposit contribution if they are purchasing an applicable model on finance. Alternatively, retail customers can use the cashback to reduce the balance owed to their Authorised Suzuki Dealer if they
are making a cash purchase. Offer applies to models which are privately registered between 1st October 2016 to 12th December 2016. This promotion may be extended or withdrawn at any time. Please visit suzuki-gb.co.uk/
celebrate-with-us for the full list of applicable models. All new Suzuki On-Road motorcycles officially imported into the United Kingdom by Suzuki GB PLC and first registered in the UK between 01-01-2016 and 31-12-2016 will
benefit from an additional one year extension to the normal Two-Year Suzuki Warranty.
‘Honda quality
is the greatest’
Despite looking a little dated with
its twin shocks and a drum rear
brake, the Honda CB125F is the
best bike here. It feels well put
together, has a greater quality feel
than the others, is smooth, easy
to ride, has nice suspension and is
very user-friendly.
Pushing the Honda close is the
Lexmoto. For £1700 we didn’t have
high hopes for the Chinese 125,
but it’s actually rather good. If you
don’t care about branding and just
want a great-value bike then look
no further, it’s incredible value for
money. The headlights are more
attractive than the Honda’s, the
clocks are digital, there’s a rear
luggage rack and useable storage
under the seat. There is a reason
they’re regularly getting into the
top three of the best-sellers list.
The Hyosung brings up the rear
by some distance. I’ve chatted
with some owners who love
the size, and I can see why they
say that – but the engine has no
torque, it’s too big, too heavy
and too cumbersome for a 125cc
commuter. It’s horrendous around
town, the build quality doesn’t
inspire confidence, and it’s the
most expensive on test. I’d rather
have the Lexmoto every time.
Kerb weight
Visit suzuki-gb.co.uk for more information.
0% finance
Lexmoto has the
sportiest appearance,
and decent carbed
Lexmoto ZSX-F125
I remember when a packet of crisps
was 20p, chips were 50p and cigarettes
£1.72 for 20, but a pound isn’t worth
what it used to be, and I didn’t have
great hopes for Lexmoto’s £1699 ZX-F.
How can they possibly produce a good
bike for so little cash?
The four-stroke motor runs a conventional carb, which means you have a
manual choke and even a fuel tap – just
like the Hyosung. In its favour over the
newer, considerably more expensive
Honda, you have disc brakes all-round,
a single rear shock with preload adjustment, and they’ve even tried to make it
sporty looking with a small headlight
cowl, bellypan and red rim tape on the
wheels. There’s a huge luggage rack on
the rear, a centrestand, and the pillion
seat flips up to reveal a storage area big
enough to swallow some waterproofs
or spare gloves. The headlight is LED,
too. Just don’t look too close, as the pegs
are bendy rubber-mounted items and
the front wheel spindle looks like it’s
come from Ikea.
The fuelling might not be as perfect
as the fuel injected Honda, but there is
a pleasing bark from the single exhaust
pipe. This is fine out of town but in the
city you sound like an annoying teenage takeaway delivery rider running a
scooter with no exhaust. But the immature child inside me enjoyed the odd
backfire, and it lets other traffic know
November 30 2016
ROUTE Upminster to Holborn, EC1
DISTANCE 25 miles (by road)
DURATION 65 minutes by bike, 70
minutes on public transport
LEXMOTO ZSX-F £1699 + £82
Upminster is on the eastern edge
of London’s commuter belt, while
Holborn is in the heart of the city. It’s
a distance of 25 miles, with a journey
time of just over an hour. Unexpected
delays aside, the difference in travel
time between motorcycle and public
transport is negligible.
An annual season rail ticket is
£2364, while the Lexmoto costs
under £1800 on the road (including
insurance). That leaves over £500
in the kitty for fuel, tax and running
costs. In year two you’d have to pay
the £2364 again, but the Lexmoto
would already be paid for. Plus, at
the end of two year, the bike will be
worth a few hundred pounds, while
your travel card will just be a receipt
for the punishment you’ve endured
on public transport.
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