EUROPEAN TREAT: 2014 Yamaha YZF-R125

Yamaha’s little four-stroke gets even racier, but it’s not for the US.

2014 Yamaha YZF-R125 studio 3/4 view

Yamaha has revamped its latest YZF-R125 to look and feel more like a scaled down MotoGP racer. The company, a leader in the sports 125cc market for a number of years, constantly hones its tiny zappers, but always within the power limits established by national authorities around the world.

In Europe, for example, 125cc bikes of any kind are not allowed to have more than 15 horsepower. But within this power limit, Yamaha has created a lovely little screamer that's dressed in a radically redesigned fairing inspired by that of the celebrated YZF-R6 Supersport racer. Double headlights flank the air scoop, which is now located on the nose of the fairing for maximum efficiency.

The engine has been upgraded, too. Given the power limits, the lively, liquid-cooled sohc four valver has been designed with undersquare measurements (52mm bore x 58.6mm stroke) to obtain the fattest possible torque curve at mid rpm. Additionally, the undersquare measurements allow a very clean combustion chamber design and a flat piston top, along with a compression ratio of 11.2:1. This ensures good midrange response, thanks also to the completely renewed integrated injection-ignition system, which further aids fuel efficiency.

2014 Yamaha YZF-R125 action shot

Yamaha’s YZF-R125 delivers its “legal” peak of 15 horsepower at 9,000 rpm, and torque reaches 9.2 pound-feet at 8,000. As for the revised chassis, it now sports a 41mm inverted fork, which is set at 25 degrees of rake and with 3.5 inches of trail. The front disc brake is also new, now featuring a single 292mm rotor and a radial-mount caliper. Belted cross-ply tires that measure 110/80-17 in front and 130/70-17 in back are more than adequate for serious riding. Other vitals include a 53.0-in. wheelbase, a seat height of 32.5 in., and a claimed wet weight—with all liquids in place and 3.0-gallon tank full of gasoline—of only 308.5 lb.

’Tis a pity, but it seems like fun little sport bikes such as the 2014 YZF-R125 are forbidden fruit for US customers. And let me tell you, this racy little Yamaha tastes particularly sweet.

On track action shot #1

On track action shot #2

Static rear 3/4 right-side view.

Static front 3/4 right-side view.

Front wheel

Triple clamp

Rear wheel / exhaust pipe

Studio front 3/4 left-side view.

Studio left-side view.

Studio front 3/4 right-side view.

Studio right-side view.

Front view

Rear view