Rieju Marathon MT125 SM review

Posted: 12 Feb 2013

Good to honest bargains are hard to come by nowadays but the Marathon is just such a machine. With a friendly £2,999 price tag, it is considerably cheaper than the £4,270 Yamaha WR125X – the Rieju’s main competition because it uses the same single-cylinder Minarelli-built four-stroke engine. Part of the cost-saving is from Rieju using a carburettor to supply petrol, whereas the Yamaha has fuel-injection.

No 125cc engine neutered by legal requirements will set the world on fire but at least this engine gives a wide spread of power that will make anyone smile if the throttle’s held wide open in top gear and with a bend on the horizon. Getting to the top speed of about 65mph doesn’t take much doing because the final drive gearing ratio isn’t set for ridiculously unobtainable flat out speed. This is good news because it doesn’t mean changing down a cog every time you’re hit with the backdraught of a car travelling in the opposite direction.

Helping to make headway around B&Q or burger joint car parks is a chassis that is quick steering, light and nimble. The Marathon can literally be thrown around to avoid speed bumps. It is also big enough to carry mature adults until such time their next stage of their bike licence is gained.

Front brake effect is adequate, but let down by forks that are soft and dive a good length before the full weight of the bike is pitched onto the front tyre for absolute grip. This is the only real complaint of a bike that is priced to compete.

Not that you would know it’s a budget machine at first glance. Overall the Marathon looks every inch a serious supermoto. Impressively sleek bodywork and graphics, wide wire-spoked wheels and a motocross-style seat all count in the mine’s-better-than-yours posing stakes.

Not until you get close up and personal with it do you see cost cutting points such as tacky switchgear, wiring connectors on show and a frame that is actually a pressed steel dual beam item rather than aluminium. And the seat is actually a black PVC-coated razor blade...

Not that we are complaining, not at all. When 125cc bike ownership is usually until the bike test is passed or one winter spent riding is all a person can bear, it’s good to know you can get a quality reliable bike for half decent money and not lose much at resale time. Welcome to the world of Rieju (pronounced Ree-haay-hue).

+ points – stylish and affordable. Decent performance and is big enough not to look like a 125cc.

- points – soft suspension. Certain components are definitely off the cheap shelves.

Price: £2,999
Power: 14.8bhp, n/a-ft lbs
Dry weight: 107kg
Seat height: 900mm
Colours: Black, red