2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro – FIRST LOOK REVIEW

Fun motorcycles come in small packages, too.

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Need another ticket to urban fun? The Z125 Pro might be right up your alley.Courtesy of Kawasaki

Kawasaki has long been a player in the sub-250cc motorcycle market. Its Ninja 250 stood the test of time, before getting bumped up to 300cc in 2013. But with that move, it left the door open for a truly entry-level streetbike. We were recently invited to Kawasaki's Irvine, California, headquarters to see the very first of the company's 2017 model offerings, the brand-new-for-the-U.S.-market Z125 Pro.

It was initially designed for Southeast Asian markets (on sale there since last fall), but when Kawasaki U.S.’s planning department was given the opportunity to import the bike, it jumped at the chance; how could they not sell a bike that looks so fun, is ultra affordable, and fills a hole at the bottom of its lineup.

2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro studio front 3/4 view (Candy Lime Green).

Don’t be afraid to take a friend, the Z125’s load capacity is rated at more than 350 pounds.

Kawasaki’s goal was to build a bike that was at home in urban settings, gets great fuel mileage (rumor has it recording 80-plus mpg in unofficial testing), is inexpensive to own and operate, but most importantly is fun to ride for beginners and experienced riders alike.

There is no denying that Kawi's line of Z bikes–including the Z1000 and Z800–are some of the most entertaining models the company has ever built, so slotting this bike into that clan doesn't seem like too much of stretch. Like Honda's Grom, the Z125 Pro isn't quite a full-sized machine, but isn't exactly a mini like Yamaha's much loved YSR50 of the late 80s to early 90s.

But with its compact size, low 30.7-inch seat height, and manageable 225-pound curb weight promise, is that beginners will easily be able to handle it. But one thing that Kawasaki wanted to ensure, is that the bike was capable of competently carrying a passenger, so suspension was specified that is more than up to the task with a four position rear preload adjustment, and a 601 lb. GVWR; netting a 353-pound load capacity.

2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro engine close-up

The Z125 Pro’s 125cc four-stroke features digital fuel injection.

The 125cc, air-cooled sohc, two-valve four-stroke engine has digital fuel injection with a 24mm throttle body. Tuning has been optimized for around-town-street riding. Bore and stroke measure 56.0 x 50.6mm. If you wondered, like we did, what the “Pro” in the name is all about, the answer is that in other markets there is an automatic clutch version, which isn’t so “Pro,” whereas the only model offered here has a manual clutch and a four-speed gearbox.

2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro front brake close-up

A 200mm petal-style disc and single-pot caliper handle braking duty up front.

The chassis is anchored by a steel frame supporting a 30mm inverted fork (clamped by an aluminum top triple clamp) with 3.9 in. of travel, and a monoshock out back with 4.1 in. of boing. Cast aluminum wheels front and rear measure 12 inches in diameter and are shod with a 100/90-12 tire up front and a 120/70-12 on the rear. Another cool feature is that hydraulic disc brakes are spec’ed front and rear with a 200mm front and 184mm rear petal-style rotors.


LED taillights light up in a Zee!

We can’t guess what your first reaction to the Z125 is, but we know for a fact that everyone in our office will be chomping at the bit to throw a leg over it for some parking-lot supermoto, wheelie practice, and urban-lunch-run antics. The Z125 Pro will be available this June in two colors: Candy Lime Green, and Metallic Graphite Grey. List price will be only $2,999, so buy two, because with that many you instantly have a race.

SPECIFICATIONS 2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro
ENGINE 4-stroke, 1 cylinder, SOHC, 2-valve, air-cooled
BORE x STROKE 56.0 x 50.6mm
FUEL SYSTEM DFI® with 24mm throttle body
IGNITION TCBI with electronic advance
TRANSMISSION 4-speed, return shift
FINAL DRIVE Sealed chain
RAKE / TRAIL 26.0º / 2.7 in.
FRONT TIRE 100/90-12
REAR TIRE 120/70-12
WHEELBASE 46.3 in.
FRONT SUSPENSION / WHEEL TRAVEL Inverted telescopic fork / 3.9 in.
REAR SUSPENSION / WHEEL TRAVEL Swingarm, single shock / 4.1 in.
FRONT BRAKES Single 200mm petal-style disc
REAR BRAKES Single 184mm petal-style disc
SEAT HEIGHT 31.7 in.
CURB WEIGHT 224.8 lb.
COLOR CHOICES Candy Lime Green, Metallic Graphite Grey
MSRP $2,999
KAWASAKI PROTECTION PLUS 12, 24, 36 or 48 months
WHOLESALE DISTRIBUTOR Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. P.O. Box 25252 Santa Ana, CA 92799-5252 949-770-0400 www.kawasaki.com

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Need another ticket to urban fun? The Z125 Pro might be right up your alley.Courtesy of Kawasaki

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2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro studio front 3/4 view (Candy Lime Green).Courtesy of Kawasaki

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2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro studio right-side view (Metallic Graphite Grey).Courtesy of Kawasaki

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The Z family now includes three members, the Z125 Pro, Z800, and Z1000.Courtesy of Kawasaki

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Stylish reflector headlamp.Courtesy of Kawasaki

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12 inch cast-aluminum wheels reside front and rear.Courtesy of Kawasaki

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A 200mm petal-style disc and single-pot caliper handle braking duty up front.Courtesy of Kawasaki

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A full-function dash looks slick and informative.Courtesy of Kawasaki

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The Z125 Pro?s 125cc four-stroke features digital fuel injection.Courtesy of Kawasaki

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A petal-style disc and single-piston caliper handle rear brake duty.Courtesy of Kawasaki

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Shock features a ramped preload adjuster with four settings.Courtesy of Kawasaki

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Under-engine exhaust features a stainless steel tip.Courtesy of Kawasaki

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Don?t be afraid to take a friend, the Z125?s load capacity is rated at more than 350 pounds.Courtesy of Kawasaki

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LED taillights light up in a Zee!Courtesy of Kawasaki