Test Ride: One Month With the Kawasaki Z125 Pro
The “small bike” segment is easy to love. Until this spring, only Honda was selling one of these motorcycles that look like a scaled down sport bike called the Grom. But, as of this month, the popular Grom has competition: the Kawasaki Z125 Pro.
Although it’s great for beginners, the little 125cc bike attracts attention from most motorcyclists, regardless of skill level. My girlfriend, who until recently owned the quintessential beginner’s bike — the Honda Rebel — put more miles on the Z125 Pro in a few weeks than she did on the Rebel in months. A buddy who has been riding for decades and has serious racing chops swears by his small bike because he can push it to the limit without putting himself at crazy risk. And thanks to great MPG — somewhere in the 80s and even higher if you’re not pinning it the whole time — as well as lots of aftermarket parts, these bikes are popular with both commuters as well as riders who race them on weekends.
Kawasaki did its research before releasing the Z125 Pro and found that the sub-400cc street bike market has grown 127 percent over the past five years. The No. 1 selling bike is the Kawasaki Ninja 300, and the Honda Grom was No. 2. Although the tiny streetfighter looks small, the 31.7-inch seat height is comparable to full-sized sport bikes. Most smaller riders will easily be able to put their feet flat on the ground. Taller riders will bang their knees on the bars on tighter turns. With a svelte 225-pound curb weight, it feels light, which is a bonus for new riders. Kawasaki claims the bike can accommodate a 353-pound load, something we tested cruising around Highland Park in L.A. At 6’2”, I felt like a bear on a bicycle on the Z125, and riding with a passenger, we turned some heads, but the bike did well until we got into some hills. They were slow going and included plenty of downshifting.
The 30mm inverted fork provided an adequate job in absorbing the abuse provided by the so-so L.A. roads, as did the rear shock that has four positions of preload adjustment, which can provide even a stiffer ride for larger riders who want to get it more aggressively.
At $2,999 the Z125 Pro is $300 less than the Grom, which underwent a redesign for 2017. Other differences? The Z125 Pro’s seat height is 1.7” taller, gas tank is bigger (two gallons instead of 1.45 gallons,) and the Kawasaki’s single-cylinder air-cooled engine has a slightly shorter stroke than the Honda’s, so the motor spins about 500 rpm faster at the top of the range and power comes on slightly later in the rev range. The Z125 Pro also has taller and more narrow tires that make it feel bigger than the Grom.
The Z125 Pro also features an LCD dash that includes a gear indicator, dual tripmeters, digital speedometer, and fuel gauge. All that data is great to have, and most beginning riders appreciate the inclusion of the gear indicator.
Although it’s illegal to ride on the highway, for strictly testing purposes, we hopped on a short section of Highway 2, and it did better than we thought it would — getting to the mid-60s. For fun, I also headed to Angeles Crest — a fast section of twisting turnies, which would have been okay for a new rider because speeds of about 50 mph are easy to maintain but slow for more advanced riders. However, banging around tighter serpentine roads, like those above The Rose Bowl in Pasadena was a blast, proving that you have fistfuls of fun without totally disregarding the speed limit.
The Z125 Pro is a good choice for new riders who want a small bike to get some experience under their helmets or advanced riders who want a fun bike to add to the stable that’s capable of parking-lot races and inexpensive commuting. [$2,999; kawasaki.com]
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The Kawasaki Z125 PRO is similar to the Grom's specs but it's more of a sports bike in both the look and feel when riding. The Z125 is designed for street riding, inner-city commuting but with the power to reach a higher speed of 100 mph on the straight.
In terms of fuel efficiency, the Kawasaki Z125 PRO sport bikes are equipped with Kawasaki's own smart regulator technology for their small-displacement bike models that enables charging while idling and it'll turn the charging function off when the battery's fully charged. It can make it more fuel-efficient, but it still lags behind the Grom in that department clocking between 80 mpg to 110 mpg depending on the rider's style.Specs of the Kawasaki Z125 Pro
The factory specs of the Kawi Z125 PRO has a curb weight of 224.8 pounds, a 2-gallon fuel tank, a 125cc four-stroke engine that's air-cooled and fuel injected. The bike has a higher seat height of 31.7-inches, a ground clearance of 6.1-inches. and it's one of the few PRO motorcycle models to be equipped with an electric start.
The 2020 Kawasaki Z125 Pro has an MSRP of $3,199 and is available in a few colors including: Stardust white, metallic matte mysterious gray and pearl storm gray.Find Aftermarket Parts for the z125 Kawasaki
Despite the Kawa Z125 pro being relatively new, there's already a range of aftermarket parts available. Some of the most popular aftermarket parts for the 2020 Kawasaki include: A licence plate bracket, sports windshields, tank grips, lever guards, mirrors, and various exhausts.
Find the parts you need at TBParts.com!
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Kawasaki Z125 Pro Facts and Comparisons
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The Z125 is Kawasaki’s answer to the Honda Grom. And for the new year, the Z is looking pretty impressive, honestly. A descendant of Kawasaki’s long line of Z-series motorcycles, it was introduced in 2016 with a single overhead cam 125cc engine and four speed transmission similar (at least in size) to that of the Honda Grom. In fact, the two share many similarities. The point of this post is to educate you on the Kawasaki Z125 and answer common questions, but we’ll often compare it to the Honda Grom, since that’s what many of us are most familiar with.
First things first: What’s a Z125 Pro? Is there a non Pro version?
For those of us in the United States, this has become a very common question. Throwing the term ‘Pro’ at the end of anything immediately makes it cooler. It sounds more, well…professional – as if we’re designating this a version suitable for more advanced riders. But what does it mean in this case? Manual transmission. That’s it. No additional cubic inches or more aggressive gearing. In other countries, Kawasaki offers the Z125 in both automatic and manual configurations. The term ‘Pro’ simply implies the 4-speed manual transmission.
Best mods for the Kawasaki Z125
Fender Eliminator: When it comes to accessories for your Z125, you want to ditch that factory rear fender setup ASAP! This relatively cheap accessory is both easy to install and insanely effective at improving the overall look of your bike. A quality fender eliminator will get rid of all that unnecessary bulk from the rear of the motorcycle and still maintain full functionality of your rear brake light and turn signals. Here are a few of our favorite:
Aftermarket Exhaust: Let’s face it – your factory exhaust is too quiet, discreet, and barely noticeable really. Throwing a nice aftermarket exhaust on your Kawasaki Z125 is one of the quickest ways to make a big change to the bike. It looks the world directly in the eyes screams (some of them literally) I don’t care much for the sleepy sameness the OEM engineers had in store for me. Step up and get noticed with one of our favorite exhaust systems for your Z:
When it comes to a discussion about Z125 Pro vs Z125 Pro SE vs Z125 Pro KRT, you need to remember just one thing: cosmetics. Starting in 2018, Kawasaki gave the US market a little more visual variety from the factory by introducing both a Special Edition (SE) and a Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) version of the Z125 Pro. While the base model was offered only in Metallic Courage Gray, the Z125 Pro SE came dressed in a combination of Candy Plasma Blue and Metallic Spark Black. The Z125 Pro KRT version was blessed with an aggressive design combining the lime green and ebony fascia seen on Kawasaki’s international race team bikes.
Kawasaki Z125 vs. the Honda Grom
Since there are so many similarities between the two, I think it would be easier to discuss the major differences between the Honda Grom and the Kawasaki Z125 Pro. The first major difference you probably noted in the table above is in the engine configuration. While they both have 125cc’s to work with, Kawasaki’s engineers chose to utilize it a little differently. With a bigger cylinder bore and a significantly shorter piston stroke, the Z125 is able to rev about 500 rpm higher than the Grom. So naturally, the Z125 hits peak power later in the RPM range with this setup. This is why you’ll often hear people say that the Z125 has noticeably less acceleration than the Grom.
Another detail that sets the two apart is the difference in tire sizes. When compared to the Grom, the Z125 has a taller, more narrow tire on the front and a slightly more narrow tire out back. This setup makes the Z125 feel bigger than the Grom. And, the narrower tires make it a little more agile in the handling department. Neither factory tire is worth writing home about. For some real fun, consider swapping the stock units out for a good set of knobby tires. The rearsets on the Kawasaki Z125 are positioned about 2-3 inches higher than the Grom’s, making it a little harder to ride if you’re 6′ or taller.
Pro parts z125 kawasaki aftermarket
T-Slash Undertail Full Exhaust - Kawasaki z125 (17-21)
- Constructed of Chemically Certified 6061-T6 & 6063 Aircraft Grade Aluminum
- 304 Stainless Steel Spiral Welded Perforated Baffle Assemblies w/ISW Packing
- Precision CNC Mandrel Bent Stainless Steel Header Assembly
- Toce's Signature GP Styled T-Slash Muffler Assembly Handcrafted in the USA
PLEASE - Watch the brief 7 minute install video below before purchasing!
Install requires drilling with a hole saw through the 1/8 inch metal dust plate on the swingarm. Some bikes require notching of the shock mount. And trimming or grinding. These are custom setups, not bolt and go. People wanted to do something different, and here you have it. We do not recommend this kit for people that are not mechanically inclined. It may not work perfectly with other bolt-on parts, but looks and sounds great! Cut Measurements are 1 Inch from the bottom weld, and 1 3/16 from the left weld on dust shield as shown in the video, and notching of the rear splash guard
- Install Walk Through
Delivery confirmation and a Direct Signature is required on anything valued over $100.
Absolutely no questions asked.
Carriers will not leave packages in your garage, back steps, or anywhere without a signature! Toce pay's an additional charge for this to keep you and your money safe! Missing/Stolen Package investigations can take up to 6 weeks. If you're unable to sign for the package, most carriers will deliver it to a location closest to your shipping address for you to collect at your convenience. Or you can schedule a drop off time.
Available and applicable for the Kawasaki Z125 Pro - 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
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