Kawasaki steps up to the plate with its own tiny thriller aimed at literally anybody who has ever ridden a motorcycle.
The Z125 Pro is a bike that Kawasaki describes as “Small in size. Big on fun. […] a nimble streetfighter that’s designed to defy what a lightweight motorcycle can be.” With its 125cc motor and 4-speed transmission, the Z125 Pro squares up to Honda’s Grom with some notable differences in the way of styling, price and a few other categories.
The Z125 Pro’s ‘Z’ designation (along with its lack of cute name) tells us Kawasaki is trying to align this newcomer with the company’s larger line of Z-brand bikes. We see this again in the styling of the bike — the headlight, lower cowling and low-slung exhaust are all design cues lifted from the Z125 Pro’s bigger siblings.
With that extra attention to detail, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Z125 Pro should come in at a slightly increased price over the Grom, but it doesn’t. At $2,999, it’s actually $200 cheaper, which equates to 50 tanks of gas for this frugal run-a-bout. Speaking of gas money, the Z125 Pro has a whopping 2-gallon gas tank. That may not seem like much, but when you compare it to the Grom’s 1.45 gallon tank, you’ll have approximately 60 more miles between fill-ups… 60 miles!
Next up are the brakes. With bikes this small, serious stopping power is usually not at the top of the manufacturers’ priorities. Both Kawasaki and Honda have seen fit to equip their creations with hearty calipers and rotors. The Grom wins this battle with a 220 mm rotor up front and a 190 mm at the rear, while the Z125 Pro features a 200 mm rotor up front coupled with a 184 mm rotor in the back. This trend continues in the tires; the Grom has a 120/70-12 up front and 130/70-12 at the rear, while the Z125 Pro scoots along with its 100/90-12 up front and 120/70-12 in the rear.
What these numbers translate to is a more confidence-inspiring and safer riding experience. Part of what makes the Grom so much fun for the masses is its ease of use and ability to do what other small bikes can’t. With larger brakes, the rider has more control over how quickly they can stop, and the wider tires allow you some real corner lean-in before losing tread. Will Kawasaki’s downsizing of these vital elements in the Z125 Pro steal some of the bike’s Grom-like magic? Possibly, but I’m hesitant to call this a pitfall for the Z125 Pro. With the shoes this bike has been given, I’m hopeful that Kawasaki has merely found the best bang for the buck when it comes to size vs. weight, but only a shootout will truly prove this notion. (Please God, let there be a shootout!!)
I can’t wait ’til these two “Davids” of the bike world are pitted against each other. I’m less interested in 0-60 times or G-force comparisons than I am in testing the claims made by the manufacturers. Things like riding two-up — is it really possible? Or hauling capacity — how much crap can I load on before it breaks? Cycle World estimates a 353 lb maximum load for the Z125 Pro. I’d be interested to know how the Grom stacks up.
What’s even more exciting than the bike is the prospect of aftermarket accessories. The Grom has seen an explosion in add-ons, including everything from carbon fiber wheels and rearsets to bolt-on stretch kits. Now that Honda has proven a market for such things exists, Kawasaki can hopefully come in and create even more opportunities for fanatic driven innovation. Here’s to hoping the Z125 Pro is as good as it looks.
Whether you need an alternate to taking the bus every day or are just looking for fun, the Kawasaki Z125 Pro is aimed at you. It will be available this June in Lime Green and Graphite Gray, priced at $2,999.
Photos & Video via: Kawasaki.com