Kawasaki's Z125 Pro - An Urban Motorcycle

The North American motorcycle market continues its diversification with Kawasaki’s latest model, the Z125 Pro.

Designed for the urban rider, the 2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro is described as the ‘bike to conquer the city, regardless of your riding experience or how much gas money you have in your pocket’.

Clutch and Chrome had the opportunity to see this motorcycle at Daytona Bike Week 2016 where the Z125 PRO was revealed. The model is so new, none of the Kawasaki personnel at the event had yet ridden the urban motorcycle.

The Z125 Pro is the youngest and smallest member of the Z family. As the younger brother, it features many of the fun characteristics of the US Z lineup, which consists of the Z800 ABS and Z1000 ABS.

This latest addition was designed to be on the smaller size, and we’re not only referencing the 4-stroke, single-cylinder, 125cc air-cooled SOHC engine, but the physical size of the motorcycle itself. Its size is striking when first seen and can be realized with the specifications, the Kawasaki Z125 PRO is 224.8 lbs. with a tank full of gas, two gallons to be precise.

It fits into that perfect package for those desiring a small, pressure-free motorcycle with plenty of capabilities, low price and great gas mileage. Ideal for someone looking for a real motorcycle, but without the high pressure and costs associated with a larger bike.

The new model features a seat height of 30.7 inches.

Just to give an idea of the Z125 Pro's size; Rich, Editor of Clutch and Chrome sitting on the motorcycle at Daytona Bike Week 2016
Rich is 5'11 (or so he says)

Now we’ve established its physical size, Kawasaki states the styling is meant to be a little on the dark side. Thanks to the performance-oriented suspension, easy maneuverability and high fun level, it’s also a motorcycle the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer feels will be kept by most riders.

Its performance suspension suitable for comfortable and sporty riding and the motorcycle is capable of two up riding.

The Z125 Pro, the newest member of the Kawasaki Z family, is unique in that it was designed for two seemingly opposing targets in the motorcycling market: both beginner riders and veterans alike. The new ride is great for beginner riders who want a real motorcycle without the intimidation, high seat heights or expense. Kawasaki feels its also great for those experienced, fun-loving, thrill-seeking riders who want a second bike to ride around town or through the pits at the local racetrack.

Sporty instrumentation with a race-themed analogue tachometer and fully-featured LCD digital display that includes a fuel level gauge, clock, trip meter and gear indicator. Kawasaki describes its multi-reflective headlight as fierce and LED taillight as stylish. The multi-reflector headlamp throws a clear beam of light, facilitating night-time illumination.

The Z125 Pro is marketed as a motorcycle for riders who may not have a lot of space or need the largest bike for urban commuting. This is further seen in the under-engine muffler which allows for a more compact package.

The new model features include a stylish headlight design along with user-friendly but aggressive bodywork that adds to the dark side attitude. A sporty, single headlamp design also contributes to its slim image.


Kawasaki's 2017 Z125 Pro - Source Kawasaki

Looking closer at this small cc motorcycles powerhouse, the new Z125 Pro’s single-cylinder, 4-stroke SOHC engine displaces 125cc thanks to its oversquare bore 56.0 by 50.6mm bore and stroke. The 125cc engine is tuned for street riding with an exciting and sporty, yet easy to ride power delivery. Unlike most small-displacement engines, the Z125 Pro features digital fuel injection with a 24mm throttle body, for smooth operation and quick starts every time.

The 2.6-liter air box is positioned above and forward of the cylinder head, contributing to the sporty power feeling and helping to minimize intake noise. Cam profiles and intake port design also contribute to the smooth, quick-revving engine character, as well as stable idling.

The engine is mounted low and forward in the frame, making for the best weight distribution possible, and adding to its already nimble handling. The intake is mounted high and the stainless steel exhaust mounted low, while both are fixed in the center of the chassis, adding to the compact design and balanced weight distribution.

The Z125 Pro uses a traditional four-speed transmission with a manual clutch and traditional clutch lever. It has a very easy, light clutch-lever feel and positive engagement. Shifting comes through a link-type shifter lever very similar to that of a full size sportbike, only that the Z125 Pro’s shift lever requires little load pressure to engage, another major plus for first time riders.

Setting the feel of the ride, up front are the aggressive 30mm inverted front forks, which feature 100mm of stroke and excellent rigidity while keeping unsprung weight low for sporty riding. Up top is a lightweight aluminum upper triple clamp.

The single shock rear suspension is offset for a compact package and sporty handling. The shock’s mounting angle is optimized for the Z125 PRO to ensure superb shock action and great ride comfort. The rear shock has 4-way preload adjustability, allowing for riders to set the preload for their weight or to accommodate a passenger.

Contributing to the sporty characteristics and looks are the 12-inch cast aluminum wheels, which cut down on unsprung weight and are wrapped in 100/90 and 120/70 tires front and rear. The tires sizes and tread pattern were chosen to optimize the Z125 Pro’s light and nimble riding characteristics.

The new model is built on an all-new, high-tensile, steel backbone frame with tube diameter that ensures sufficient strength to enable two-up riding. The frame backbone measures 48.6mm in diameter and is supported by 25.4mm lateral tubes. The rear frame tubes are 22.2mm in diameter. It also features a highly rigid box-section swingarm.

The Z125 PRO will be available in Candy Lime Green and Metallic Graphite Gray.


Kawasaki's 2017 Z125 Pro - Source Kawasaki

Call us crazy, but looking at the motorcycle we pictured the Z125 Pro parked in a tightly filled garage in San Francisco. Anyone who has seen into one of these may understand why this leaps to mind.

It’s also what Kawasaki are marketing the motorcycle as. Priced with a MSRP of $2,999 it’s an affordable way for new urban riders to enter the world of riding or as mentioned earlier, an affordable second motorcycle for short, city commutes.

The Z125 Pro is notable addition to Kawasaki’s line-up in the simple fact old is new again. When motorcycles gained universal popularity in the late sixties and early seventies it was through smaller-engine bikes. The ride to larger cc’s came about when motorcycles enjoyed a resurgence in the nineties and into the last decade.

However, with the motorcycle market switching gears from strength to strength, manufacturers can again afford to expand their lines to accommodate and even encourage ridership in smaller bikes. And if there is one thing the Z125 Pro most definitely is, it’s a small motorcycle.

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