2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro – First Look Review

The 2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro is a small bike with big dreams.
The 2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro is a small bike with big dreams.

If, when you first looked at the bike above, you asked yourself, Did Honda update the Grom?, it’s understandable. With diminutive 12-wheels shod with chunky tires, a boxy silhouette and an air-cooled 125cc single tucked behind the front wheel, this bike is very Grom-esque, but it’s not a Honda. It’s a new-for-2017 Kawasaki called the Z125 Pro.

Kawasaki says the Z125 Pro is intended for those who want a small, easy-to-ride bike that is inexpensive and gets great gas mileage. It’s an ideal bike for new riders who are intimidated by the weight, expense and expensive bodywork of larger motorcycles. But experienced riders will enjoy the Z125 Pro, too, since it should be a fun machine that will take them back to their early days of riding.

Whereas Honda’s Grom—named after the slang term for a talented young surfer—has playful, android-like styling, the Z125 Pro takes its cues from larger naked sportbikes in Kawasaki’s lineup like the Z800 ABS, with sharp angles on the tank, headlight cowl, front fender and chin spoiler and petal-type brake discs. The Wee Z also draws influence from Kawasaki’s Versys 650, with a lay-down rear shock on the right side and an underbelly exhaust with a small silencer under the swingarm.

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Kawasaki's Z125 Pro will be an accessible bike for beginners and a guilty pleasure for veterans.
Kawasaki’s Z125 Pro will be an accessible bike for beginners and a guilty pleasure for veterans.

The Z125 Pro’s air-cooled 125cc single-cylinder engine has an oversquare 56.0 x 50.6mm bore and stroke, a SOHC, two-valve head and digital fuel injection with a 24mm throttle body. Cam profiles and intake port design are said to give the bike a smooth, quick-revving character and stable idling, and the electric starter is assisted by the Kawasaki Automatic Compression Release (KACR), which uses the exhaust valve to release cylinder pressure. The engine is mounted low and forward in the high-tensile steel backbone frame, which should contribute to nimble handling. Power is sent to the rear wheel through a 4-speed transmission with a cable-actuated clutch and chain final drive.

Big-boy instruments include a sporty analog tach and an LCD with fuel level, gear indicator, clock and tripmeter.
Big-boy instruments include a sporty analog tach and an LCD with fuel level, gear indicator, clock and tripmeter.

Up front is a non-adjustable 30mm upside-down fork with 3.9 inches of travel, while the rear shock offers four-way preload adjustability and 4.1 inches of travel. Nissin calipers squeeze the 200m front and 184mm rear petal discs, and the 12-inch cast aluminum wheels roll on 100/90 front and 120/70 rear tires. With rake of 26 degrees, trail of just 2.7 inches and a stubby 43.6-inch wheelbase, handling should be child’s play. Seat height is 30.7 inches, curb weight is 225 pounds (claimed) and fuel capacity is 2 gallons, but the amount of fun you’re likely to have on this bike is beyond measure.

The Z125 Pro will be available in Candy Lime Green or Metallic Graphite Grey for $2,999. Availability is TBD. We can’t wait to ride it and have a Barrel of Monkeys Battle with the Honda Grom.

 

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