Bikes

2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro Review

Practical Motoring’s 2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro Review with pricing, specs, performance, handling, and verdict.

In a nutshell: The Kawasaki Z125 Pro may be limited to the urban jungle, but this nimble little green machine is heaps of fun!

Kawasaki Z125 Pro

Type: 2V single cylinder Displacement: 125cc Cooling: Air Power: 7.1kW @ 8,000rpm Torque: 9.6Nm @ 6,000rpm Exhaust: 1-into-1 steel Gearbox: 4-speed Final Drive: Chain Clutch: Wet Frame: Steel backbone-type Front Suspension: 50mm USD fork w/100mm travel Rear Suspension: Laydown monoshock, adjustable preload w/104mm travel Front/Rear Wheel: Multi-spoke cast aluminium 2.5 x 12 / 3.5 x 12 Front/Rear Tyre: 100/90 12M/C Fr / 120/70 12M/C Rr Front Brake: Single 200mm disc w/single-piston caliper Rear Brake: Single 184mm disc w/single-piston caliper L x W x H: 1700mm x 750mm x 1005mm Wheelbase: 1175mm Seat Height: 805mm Weight: 102kg wet (claimed) Fuel Capacity: 7.4 litres Price: $4,099+ORC

WHAT, EXACTLY is the Kawasaki Z125 Pro? It looks like a small bike, but isn’t. It’s styled like Kawasaki’s big ‘Z’ nakeds, but isn’t truly part of that family. It feels like the buzzy little scooters and monkey bikes of the past, but isn’t one of them, either.

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What the Z125 Pro is, at least in my opinion, is a new form of urban commuter, primarily for inner-city types who wouldn’t be seen dead on a scooter and neither need nor want a bigger bike.

The Z125 Pro may be seen as a toy by some, but after I spent time on it, I found it to be anything but.

Like its rival, the Honda Grom, the Z125 Pro is something of a “fad” bike, though. Once the initial buzz dies down, I wonder if these bikes will be an ongoing part of the Australian new bike market.

That’s a debate for another day, though. Whether or not it’s sustainable in the long term, the Z125 Pro was undeniably enjoyable in the short term!

2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro Review

First sight of a Z125 Pro and those wheels can’t escape attention. 12-inch rims like this are something you normally associate with monkey bikes or something you start the kids out on. In me, it brought back memories of blasting around on mini bikes with my brother.

Get closer and you realize those rims are really the only “small” thing on the Z125 Pro. The 805mm seat height is adult sized, so you won’t have your knees up around your ears, clown bike-style. The saddle is comfortable and supportive, too. Handlebars are quite broad and flat with an easy reach, so too the pegs. Riding position is upright, but the ergonomics are good, again defying initial impressions: I expected it to be cramped and uncomfortable, but it isn’t.

Instrumentation is clear and easy to read, with a backlit digital speedo and idiot lights bisecting the large, round analog revcounter.

Before mounting this bike, a look at the engine specs didn’t inspire confidence. With only 7.1kW from the 125cc single, I’ll admit I had some doubts about the Pro’s ability to get away from traffic lights without becoming a road block. Having ridden Ducati’s 114.7kW XDiavel only a few days before probably added to the trepidation!

Once underway, I was surprised with the turn of pace that the little air-cooled single delivered. It has enough get-up-and-go to work through traffic easily. Power is direct, but you never feel like you’re wringing its neck to get the best out of it.

That said, you do find yourself working through the gears a lot, especially in variable speed (50 – 80km/h) traffic. Maybe a fifth cog would be a worthy addition.

2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro Review

Speaking of neck-wringing, I did take this little green machine for a brief stint on a highway and almost saw its claimed 107km/h maximum speed. Of course, this is far from this machine’s natural environment and the engine feels more like it tops out at 100km/h.

Being so light and compact, the Z125 Pro is fun and effortless to ride. The more I rode the Z125 Pro, the more I enjoyed it. You can manoeuvre it just about anywhere, too. And even if you can’t, it’s light enough to manhandle into that gap or parking space.

The bike’s so light and manoeuvrable, I could even take it to my desk. Yes, my DESK!  I wheeled it through the foyer, into the elevator and to my desk – that’s got to be the ultimate in convenient parking! 

Back on the road, the stable cornering and smooth, effective braking inspires confidence. Even when pushing it harder and deeper into corners, you always feel like you’re in control: that would make the Z125 Pro good for younger and starting riders.

Short trips, popping down to the shops or that 20-25 min commute to work – especially through heavy traffic – are where the Z125 Pro shines.

It’s small, yes, but I didn’t feel less visible on this than on other motorcycles, thanks to the seat height and riding position.

It’s also got an undeniable “cool” factor. With its bright green plastics and big Z-inspired styling, everyone who saw it loved it.

So, what do we think?

As much as I enjoyed my time on the Z125 Pro, it does have its limitations. While it may be the sole set of wheels for the urban hipster crowd, this machine probably works best as a second bike; the weekday hack for commutes and short trips, while the bigger sportbike, cruiser or classic gets saved for those longer weekend rides. Don’t be surprised if folks who already have a bigger Kawasaki ‘Z’ add this to their garage, too.

Of course, whatever environment it’s in, the Z125 Pro just looks damn cool, and that’s a big part of its appeal. That alone should ensure Kawasaki sells a bunch of them before something newer and cooler comes along.


Practical Motoring

Practical Motoring