Yamaha’s press conference at the Tokyo Motor Show today was a genuine sign of the times. Four brand new world premiers were shown. The largest internal combustion engine amongst them was a 250cc model with fat tires designed to go anywhere – the SUV of motorcycles was the claim.
There was also a three-wheeled electric commuter, a fold-up electric pedal-assist bicycle and, wait for it, a 188 U.S. miles/gallon retro 125cc commuter that’s somewhere between a bicycle and motorcycle – it weighs just 80 kg and it is beautiful…
Modeled on Yamaha’s first motorcycle, the YA-1, the Yamaha Y125 is a modern interpretation of that motorcycle. Though the YA-1 was itself a copy of the German DKW RT125 and was powered by a two-stroke engine, I am certain readers will agree the Yamaha concept has faithfully updated the YA-1.
The YA-1 weighed around 140 kilograms and produced 5.6 bhp @ 5000 rpm for what was at the time, a highly competitive motorcycle not just on the road, but on the racetrack.
The big difference with the Y125 is in the fuel consumption. Yamaha claims the bike uses its “world” 125cc four-stroke motor, though the engine certainly seems to have been lightened and polished and beautified, and heaven knows what they’ve done with the internals.
The Y125 uses what is by today’s standards, close to a bicycle frame with sophisticated lightweight suspension and similarly, the brakes are also featherweight. The end result is a bike that tips the scales at 80 kg – just a tad more than half the original YA-1’s total…
The “world” motor Yamaha claims is used in the bike produces double the horsepower of the original YA-1, so the Y125 will never be embarrassed for acceleration or top speed on urban roads. The 80kg weight will ensure it is far quicker than your average scooter to ride, and the fuel consumption…is testimony to what can be done when you really want to achieve economy in a two-wheeler.
I’d be willing to risk these old bones on a critter as attractive and economical as this for errands to town – or wandering back roads for opportunistic photography sessions. Heavier rear springs to aid attaching a dual bag carrier would be nice for a grocery catch-up trip that loses control.
It surely is a pretty little bike.