One of Britain’s most popular motorcycles, the Yamaha YZF-R125, has received a comprehensive overhaul for 2019, with a new VVT engine bringing new technology to the 125cc category for the first time.
The A1 compliant R125 has been a regular feature at the top of the UK bike sales charts since being introduced in 2008. It received an update that included sharper styling and ABS brakes in 2014 but this new model is the most comprehensive revision to date.
Following in the tyre tracks of the recently announced BMW R1250GS, the headline feature of the 2019 R125 is the adoption of variable valve timing (VVT), or variable valve actuation as Yamaha dub it. The system, used for the first time on a learner class bike, switches between two camshaft profiles to give better torque at the bottom end without sacrificing top end power.
The whole top end of the engine is new, with the cylinder head not only featuring the VVT system but also new intake and exhaust valves, which are both larger and shorter. Yamaha’s engineers have also decreased the size of the combustion chamber, which is said to improve fuel consumption and tractability, while other changes to the four-valve motor include a new and wider throttle body, as well as a lighter radiator and more efficient cooling system. Yamaha also says that the new bike will sound more ‘emotional’ than the model it replaces, although in order to be eligible to be ridden by learner riders, the power output will remain at 11kw (14.75bhp),
As well as the engine, the 2019 YZF-R125 has been given a new Deltabox frame and aluminium swingarm, while a slipper clutch should make for more precise downshifts. Yamaha has also fitted a wider, 140-section, rear tyre, which is said to improve grip while looking more substantial.
But probably the main thing for many potential buyers will be the sharp new styling, which has more than a shade of R1 about it. A newly shaped 11-litre fuel tank contributes to revised ergonomics, while the LCD instrument panel looks high-end and, in the words of Yamaha, is inspired by Valentino Rossi’s YZR-M1 MotoGP machine.
There’s no word on the price or availability dates yet, but we do know that the YZF-R125 will be available in three colours: Yamaha Blue, Tech Black and Competition White.