With new European emission norms coming into force this year, Yamaha's successful YBR125 commuter had to be either updated or replaced. Juggling a bit of both, the YS125 is built around the same running gear, with sportier styling and a redesigned engine for lower fuel consumption and longer range.
Catering for the holders of the European entry-level A1 motorcycle license has fueled a vast market of 125 cc models – many of which, conveniently, had been initially developed for Asian markets. Among these, the YBR125 built a success story with more than 150,000 motorcycles sold across Europe since its introduction in 2005.
Although its 10-hp power output never approached the A1 class limit (15 hp), and despite the fact that its competition includes a variety of often more powerful scooters, the YBR proved to be very popular choice for those looking for a pure motorcycle experience. With its legendary reliability providing the backbone of its commercial success, the YBR appealed not only to novice riders, but also to seasoned commuters who appreciated lightweight practicality, low maintenance costs and fuel efficiency.
Retaining the YBR as the base for the new model, Yamaha designed a new EU4-compliant engine for the YS125, but didn't veer from the proven recipe. The five-speed motor is still a four-stroke air-cooled single with one overhead camshaft commanding two valves, but Yamaha introduced a cylinder with shorter bore and longer stroke. Although the output does not change in absolute numbers, the maximum power of 10.5 hp (7.8 kW) is achieved considerably lower at 7,500 rpm – compared to the YBR's 10,000 rpm limit.
The YS125 uses essentially the same frame, suspension and brake package as the YBR, as the wet weight remains low at 129 kg (284 lb). Yamaha redesigned key elements of its styling for a sportier, more aggressive result, and added another useful update in the shape of a bigger fuel tank. It now accommodates a total of 14 liters which, according to Yamaha, is enough for a 300-km (186-mi) range.
Expected to hit European showrooms in mid-March, the YS125 will be available in red, white and black variants, with a retail price around the €2,700 (US$2,850) mark.
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