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Put it this way, I learnt to ride AND passed my test on a seven year old Yamaha SR 125.
Now I have moved on to a bike which suits me better (Kawasaki er-5 if you must know!) but I still look back on the SR as a faithful companion.
To give an impartial review of this bike I would say that the following things detract from it's overall status:
1. height - I am average height and even I found it a wee bit small (however, if you are a learner or a little nervous this is no bad thing!),
2. rattles & squeaks - the two bike I rode both made more noise than the London Symphony Orchestra ..however.. they were both learning school bikes which had hard lives and still performed day in and day out!
3. Image - is it a cruiser, a learner or a budget bike? well it doesn't really matter if all you want is simple transport!
So there it is; if you want a simple A to B ride then you can certainly do a lot worse! But, to be honest, the first time you get on a bike which is a little more refined and up to date you will certainly notice the difference.
The Yamaha SR125 is quite often the first bike people ride. Instructors love it for its ease of use and low saddle. The bike is aimed primarily at short distance commuters and is currently a favourite with London city folk.
The bike is styled to look like a cruiser, however, it still has a really good upright position making you feel very stable. The bike has a very old world look about it and when I owned one, I would often get people asking how old it was, expecting to hear something like 1955. They would often jump when I said 2000! The classic look means this is not a bike for sport lovers, but somebody who wants to be noticed for looks rather than speed.
Its low centre of gravety makes it ideal for comfort and overall, this is a great bike for women. It is nice and low to the ground and doesnt take much strength to steer. The seat is also very comfortable too, however, it doesnt life to give boot space. A top box is recommended.
I had very few mechanical problems with mine and had it for five years. The chain needs regular lube and a service twice a year is a good idea. With a smooth 4-stroke engine, you will probably get 60 out of it okay and it pulls away fairly swiftly too. Does work hard on the up-hills though!
Price wise it is also very good and you can pick up a second hand one quite cheaply. They also run on fresh air! Tax is of course low and insurance is not too bad either.
Wish I hadn't let mine go.
Passed my test on the Yamaha SR125, so have very fond memories of it. The SR125 is pitched squarely at the learner, given its 125cc engine, but also finds favour with some short-distance commuters thanks to its comfort and practicality. The styling is dated, in a semi-custom cruiser mould - it's evident that this bike has been around for a long time, but compared to some of its modern competitors, it's almost stylish in a certain light. This isn't a hooligan's bike for screaming round housing estates on, and isn't covered in garish paint and decals. Everything about this bike hints at relaxed, friendly, laid-back riding, and will put you instantly at ease. The ancient design also means that the mechanicals have been well proven over time, and this makes it a solid and reliable bike which should give few mechanical problems. The seat is extremely comfortable, and at 740mm is low enough for short riders. The combination of a low seat and low center of gravity makes this a very easy machine to control at low speed - I had absolutely no difficulties with the U-turn and low speed control exercises on this bike, which I found much more difficult on other "trailie" style learner machines. The exposed metal on show makes it really obvious that this is a weedy 125 at heart, so this isn't going to set the world on fire, but offers 4-stroke smoothness and good "poke" compared to a scooter. It has reasonable torque in low gear, but the engine obviously will need to work hard to drag the rider up hills. Performance is adequate for a learner - it will reach 60mph without too much difficulty, but as a 125cc machine does need work through the gears to get there. Cruising for distance at speed is not really comfortable, due to the lack of a fairing, but it does handle very well at speed, moving well with the body. Learners will quickly develop confidence to lean with the bike. The foot positioning is slightly feet-forward, and I found it took a few minutes to get used to the position of the right leg - gave me slight cramp until I relaxed a little. If I was much taller, I think my knees may have become involved with the handlebars, but if you're less than 6 feet tall, it should be comfortable enough. The handlebars are comparatively narrow, and slightly swept back in "chopper" style - this gives a very relaxed riding position, with the feeling of sitting back into the seat rather than being balanced over the handlebars, which helps comfort and observation for the learner. Dials and controls are reasonably well-designed - although the speedo is quite large and low down and features a custom look to it which can make it slightly difficult to read without dipping the head slightly. The electric start is a blessing for learners who are prone to stalling. Overall, it's a fairly cheap and cheerful bike that will get you through your test thanks to its easy handling, great balance and low-speed manoeverability. It's comfortable to ride, which would make it a good short-distance commuter. Against the Honda CG125, which has dropped in price to £1599 recently, it looks pricey, but its styling gives it a cosmetic advantage. If you're looking for a learner, it's definitely worth considering, but check out other learners in the range, too. I'd recommend it for its easy, relaxed handling and control as well as its comfort.