Just in its second year of production, the 2018 Kawasaki Z125 PRO is one of a growing number of small sport bikes, a great option for riders growing out of their 49-cc scooters but not quite ready for 500-plus-cc road bikes. Still, experienced riders shouldn’t ignore how much fun Kawasaki has managed to squeeze into such a small package. Not quite a mini-bike or scooter, but definitely not a full-size sport bike or street fighter, the latest trend in 125-cc runabouts offers nimble handling, great for weaving in city traffic, and just enough power to keep things interesting, though most States prohibit highway access.
Like the rest of the Kawasaki Z family, the Z800 ABS and Z1000 ABS, the 2018 Kawasaki Z125 PRO features an aggressive design, compact befitting its small size, yet inoffensive as you zip between cars – safely, of course – a teddy bear appearance with grizzly bear attitude. The combination analogue tachometer and digital LCD instrument panel feature large easy-to-read information, including odometer, trip meters, clock, turn signals, check engine light, and a gear indicator, a plus for new riders.
Aggressive styling aside, Kawasaki has pulled together several innovations to pack it all into the compact 2018 Kawasaki Z125 PRO. The engine sits low in the chassis, for a low center-of-gravity and stability, with the intake high and forward and the exhaust slung low, below the swing-arm. The lay-down rear shock features four preload settings, for a compact suspension, but enough capacity for two riders. Front and rear suspension feature 3.9-in and 4.0 in of travel. The seat is big enough for two, but doesn’t feature any steps, so a solo rider can adjust seating position for best comfort. The foot pegs are a little higher than other bikes in the class, so tall riders might find it a little too compact, but aggressive riders will note it takes much more to scrape pegs in tight corners, and yes, the diminutive Z125 PRO can be thrashed nearly as well as bigger and stronger bikes, and is just as responsive in knee-down cornering.
The 2018 Kawasaki Z125 PRO is powered by a single-cylinder four-stroke 125-cc air-cooled engine. Kawasaki DFI (digital fuel injection) comes in just after the 24-mm throttle body. Easy starting is provided by an electric starter and KACR (Kawasaki automatic compression release), which uses the exhaust valve to limit compression during starting. Engine output maxes out around 7,700 RPM, at 8.0 hp. Fed through a traditional four-speed transmission, top speed limited electronically to 67 mph. Speed limiting is probably a good idea, because while the tiny 12-in wheels make it nimble, the bike lacks the stability a bigger 17-in or 20-in wheel might offer. Stopping power is provided by 200-mm and 184-mm hydraulic disc brakes, front and rear. The bike is available in three color schemes, Metallic Courage Gray, Candy Persimmon Red, and Metallic Flat Spark Black/Pearl Mystic Gray/Metallic Spark Black and retails for $3,199.