That Yamaha motorcycles command a loyal following in Malaysia is no accident, as it has a reputation for making small displacement motorcycles that perform, the latest example being the 2019 Yamaha YZF-R125. Targetted at the young rider with a fresh license, the YZF-R125 ticks all the right boxes for a small, sporty bike.

Yamaha claims the liquid-cooled, SOHC, four-valve 125 cc single-cylinder power in the R125 is the most advanced it has developed, with Variable Valve Actuation (VVA). With larger intake and exhaust valves, the mill is good for 15 PS at 10,000 rpm and 11.5 Nm of torque at 8,000.

A larger diameter EFI throttle body helps with the numbers, says Yamaha, combined with the larger exhaust that helps keep the R125 Euro 4 compliant. Power gets to the rear wheel via a six-speed gearbox and chain drive, with assist and slipper clutch lightening clutch effort and reducing rear wheel hop.

Frame geometry for the steel Deltabox has been revised for the 2019 R125, with the aluminium swingarm shortened, to give smooth and lighter handling. Suspension is done with 41 mm diameter upside-down forks and a monoshock with 114 mm travel at the back.

Braking uses a 292 mm diameter disc in front and a 220 mm disc on the rear wheel, clamped by a two-piston and single-piston calliper, front and rear, respectively. Inside the cockpit, a monochrome LCD panel displays all the necessary riding information, including gear position and shift light.

LED lighting is found throughout the R125 with head lamp styling closely following the Yamaha YZF-R25/R3. A wider 140-section rear tyre comes standard on the R125, to improve stability and handling.

Fuel for the YZF-R125 is carried in an 11-litre tank and wet weight is claimed to be 142 kg. Seat height is set at 820 mm and 2019 YZF-R125 rolls on 100/80-17 and 140/70-17 tyres, front and rear.