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Yamaha MT-125 (2023) - Review

BikeSocial Web Editor. Content man - reviewer, road tester, video presenter, interviewer, commissioner, organiser. First ride was a 1979 Honda ST70 in the back garden aged 6. Not too shabby on track, loves a sportsbike, worries about helmet hair, occasionally plays golf and squash but enjoys being a father to a 6-year old the most.



2023 Yamaha MT-125 Review Details Price Spec_01
2023 Yamaha MT-125 Review Details Price Spec_15
2023 Yamaha MT-125 Review Details Price Spec_36


Price: £5102 | Power: 14.75bhp | Weight: 142kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 4/5


The big-selling Yamaha MT-125 naked roadster has received an upgrade for 2023 with a smartphone-connected 5-inch colour flat panel TFT dashboard, as well as a traction control system for the first time since the model was released in 2014.

Connectable via Yamaha’s free MyRide app, riders can monitor calls, emails, and message notifications on the screen, plus it records a range of data on every journey – ideal for challenging your mate’s knee down or record commute claims.

Entering its tenth year, the MT (‘Masters of Torque’, incidentally) range has catapulted the Japanese firm towards the sales charts summit boasting an MT-03, MT-07, MT-09, and MT-10 to accompany the learner-legal 125 version. Add an SP version to the largest two capacity machines in that list and Yamaha have swept the board with the intriguing-looking and muscular-chassis family.

The MT-125 was significantly updated in 2020 (the year we all stayed inside, remember that one?) with a new engine, frame, styling, suspension, brakes, wheels, tyres, and clocks. So, while the 2023 revisions are slight by comparison, this A1-licence friendly motorcycle is not only Euro 5 friendly but if you can ignore the outright cost, its genetics and dynamics make it THE 125 to be seen on. BikeSocial’s 43-year-old yoof, Michael Mann, heads to Barcelona to find out first hand.


  • MT range styling really suits the 125 version

  • Superb engine, aided by VVA flexibility

  • New TFT screen & connectivity are attractive additions for the target audience

  • Price tag could lead potential customers elsewhere

  • Hard seat

  • Cramped leg room

VIDEO REVIEW: Yamaha MT-125 (2023)

BikeSocial’s greying yoof, Michael Mann, rides the updated MT-125 at the press launch and offers some initial thoughts


Review – In Detail

Price & PCP
Engine & Performance
Handling & Suspension (inc. weight & brakes)
Comfort & Economy


2023 YAMAHA MT-125 Price

How much does the 2023 Yamaha MT-125 cost? The on the road price in the UK of all three colour options is £5102 OTR, and they’re trickling into dealers as I type. Those colours are known as Cyan Storm, Icon Blue, and Tech Black.

There’s no denying that a price in excess of five grand would have teens running towards a second-hand Vauxhall Corsa, especially when compared to the raft of alternative learner-legal options, but how about this for a decent deal… the PCP package means you could be riding the MT-125 on a three-year deal with an £1100 deposit for £69 per month, which I reckon is £2.27 per day, which is less than 1 x daily Starbucks cortado, as they gulp in this part of the world:


36 months

Monthly Payment


Customer Deposit


Amount of Credit


Interest Charges


Optional Final Payment


Total Amount Payable


Annual mileage


Excess mileage charge per mile


Fixed Rate of Interest p.a.


Representative APR





2023 YAMAHA MT-125 Engine & Performance

Eeking the maximum power of 11kW (14.7bhp) for this class from the single cylinder motor isn’t too tricky but avoiding the compromise of better acceleration vs. higher top speed has been masterfully overcome by the introduction of some Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) sorcery. The oversquare motor is the same as before, and the same as the model’s twin - the YZF-R125 – whereby the motor can perform in two states of tune according to what is being asked of it. Without getting too technical, below 7400rpm and therefore for lower speed acceleration, the engine uses one of the two inlet cams but when the revs rise above 7400rpm a solenoid activates a dowel that slides through the valve’s rocker arm and engages a different cam with a more aggressive profile with more lift, more overlap and longer duration so the engine can breathe harder, move more gas and burn fuel more efficiently thus improving performance. While this mechanical jiggery pokery is going on beneath you, it is impossible to tell the difference with the transition – you can’t hear or feel it, there’s no power step just a logo on the new TFT that illuminates, which is a big tick for the Yamaha engineers.

This vibrant and nippy motor is gem. Narrow in its dimensions, and low in the frame but sturdy, strong and flexible with its performance range. And it lurves to be fed the revs. Galloping along the Spanish coastal roads and hillside passes was a hoot, not only were the motorway sections entertaining for the slipstream grand prix but the corners allowed me to feel what this motor is about – the 6-speed gearbox had its work cut out with revs expiring quickly under 100% acceleration, though 5th is long enough to get you up and over the legal speed limit meaning top gear is more of an overdrive, or cruising gear. The trouble is, riding it hard goes against the morals of anyone with mechanical sympathy. The extent of the bike’s performance should be an attractive proposition to any potential interested party – from bursting away from the lights (comparatively-speaking) to the c.8,000rpm peak torque figure of 8.5 ft-lbs (11.5Nm) which keeps driving nicely towards the peak power figure of 14.75bhp at 10,000rpm. For whom it is aimed at, I was impressed at its suitability. The beefy baritone ‘put-put’ audio from the low exhaust suits the laid-back-yet-stylish attitude of the bike but wind the motor up and the noise from the engine overtakes that of the can.



2023 YAMAHA MT-125 Handling & Suspension (inc. Weight & Brakes)

A big win for the MT is its rubber. Michelin’s Pilot Street tyres work really well having been a bit of a mainstay on this model. The ride quality of a 125, nay, any bike can easily become compromised by a poor rubber choice and manufacturers can save a few quid on each model by choosing a bargain tyre, but the affects can be horrendous. Anyway, thankfully for my larger-then-average frame, and for the exertive riding, Yamaha retained the Michelin option, and everyone should be happy, especially those new to riding and in need of every ounce of confidence on offer. I felt both comfortable and assured on them when asking the bike to dart in and out of city traffic across the road deformities, just as easily as striding out around the hills and leaning into corners surrounded by notoriously slippery white lines, must be something to do with the Spanish paint… or climate.

Accompanying these supple black circles are the upside-down KYB front forks which were also asked to work overtime but came up trumps with an accomplished, unnerving ride quality that belies its price point and overall weight. Stable and composed enough with a decent non-adjustable set-up that once again has the rider not concerning himself/herself/themselves with a fidgety front, saggy rear or too much rebound from either end.

A single 292mm disc on the front is partnered up with a 220mm one on the rear and are ABS-equipped. Unfortunately, the front brake lever isn’t span adjustable which wasn’t an issue for me and my long fingers, but it could be beneficial for those who like it a little closer to the ‘bar. For what they must manage, the brakes are spot-on, though the ABS and Traction got in a muddle once on the ride when I hopped over a sleeping policeman just ahead of a 90-degree corner and the ABS dug in leaving me with a near solid lever when I’d have preferred to slow at my own rate.

A wet weight of 142kg is tiny and reflects how light this bike is which in turn makes it, on paper and in real life, a doddle to move around so if you’re in the carpark, garage or driveway, the Yamaha is very easy to manoeuvre into position. Obviously the same can be said when riding at low speed in towns – the centre of gravity combined with the riding position makes the bike confidently controllable.



2023 YAMAHA MT-125 Comfort & Economy

With a seating position that encourages you to tuck your knees under the flared top section of the 10-litre capacity fuel tank – it lost 1.5-litres of volume on the last update back in 2020 but the compromise hasn’t affected range too much. Depending on how hard it’s ridden, fuel efficiency could be anywhere between 100 – 130mpg, offering a range of over 200-miles per tank full. Even if you get a bit throttle happy. Which you will.

Back to the riding position, and while your weight is pretty much central on the bike, and your nose hovers directly above the engine, the handlebars are close enough for a very direct steering input, yet the seat isn’t particularly roomy. There’s little space to move backwards and forwards on the 810mm high saddle, and after around 45-miles my legs were feeling the effects of a short peg to seat distance. I’m 6 feet (182cm) with 33” inside leg if you need dimensions to compare with.

A few natural single-cylinder vibes can be felt through the pegs, handlebars, and seat but they aren’t anything to worry about and your Insta-smile won’t be affected. If you’re looking to take a pillion, there looks to be enough room. The length of the passenger saddle is ok, and the grab handles are cleverly integrated within the tail unit, but you’d have to turn down Eddie Hall if he asked for a lift.



2023 YAMAHA MT-125 Equipment

Traction control on 125cc motorbikes has never been heard of before, so a handy system that can be relied upon in situations where is needs to be, is an excellent addition. It can be turned off in via the TFT screen if you really need.

The new screen is large enough, clear and has everything you’d need including rev counter, gear selection indicator, time, fuel gauge, and even those notification icons for VVA but also if you’ve connected your smartphone.

Naturally, Yamaha has a range of official accessories to fit the MT-125, ranging from valve caps and rim stickers to an Öhlins rear shock or a full Akrapovic titanium system. Though heated grips and a fly screen would be where I’d be spending my money.



2023 YAMAHA MT-125 Rivals

If a mainstream manufacturer didn’t make a bike suitable for the learner class their priorities lie elsewhere (BMW, Harley, Ducati… and Triumph, for now), and while every Chinese brand offers a plethora of options, the main players are the other three Japanese firms and KTM. And not forgetting the influx of electric bikes that can cope with the commutes admirably.


Honda CB125R | Price: £4,599

Power: 14.75bhp | Seat height: 816mm | Weight: 130kg


KTM 125 Duke | Price: £4,799

Power: 14.75bhp | Seat height: 830mm | Weight: 139kg (dry)


Kawasaki Z125 | Price: £4,299

Power: 14.75bhp | Seat height: 815mm | Weight: 147kg


Lexmoto RSS125 | Price: £2,900

Power: 14.1bhp | Seat height: 810mm | Weight: 163kg



2023 YAMAHA MT-125 Verdict

Premium styling, a peppy, free-revving, versatile engine, and high-quality suspension and tyres are an ideal combo for a super starter machine. Yamaha’s already-brilliant MT range has been given a prospective sales boost with the 2023 MT-125 and its slight-but-important updates. The new TFT screen and connectivity will resonate with the target audience, while the additional traction control adds another safety measure for the less experienced.

Frugal enough, the Yamaha can cut it with the competition in terms of mpg while the quality of the components and their look and feel go some way to justifying that +£5k price tag.

KTM and Honda provide real competition and only back-to-back test rides will offer a more definitive opinion on which suits the rider’s size, style, and requirements rather than the spec sheet where price and weight may skew judgement.



2023 YAMAHA MT-125 - Technical Specification

New price

From £5,102



Bore x Stroke

52.0 x 58.7mm

Engine layout

Single cylinder

Engine details

4-stroke, Liquid-cooled, SOHC, VVA (Variable Valve Actuation)


14.75bhp (11 KW) @ 10,000rpm


8.5lb-ft (11.5Nm) @ 8,000rpm


Constant Mesh, 6-speed

Average fuel consumption

134.5mpg claimed, 99mpg tested

Tank size

10 litres

Max range to empty

265 miles

Rider aids

Traction control



Front suspension

Upside down, telescopic fork, 41mm diameter, 130mm travel

Front suspension adjustment


Rear suspension

Swingarm (link type suspension), 110mm travel

Rear suspension adjustment


Front brake

292mm single disc

Rear brake

220mm single disc

Front wheel / tyre

100/80-17M 52S Tubeless, Michelin Pilot Street

Rear wheel / tyre

140/70-17M/C 66S Tubeless, Michelin Pilot Street

Dimensions (LxWxH)

1960mm x 800mm x 1065mm



Seat height



142kg (wet)


2 years / unlimited miles



MCIA Secured Rating



*Please excuse the lack of image range – don’t blame the messenger.


Looking for motorcycle insurance? Get a quote for this motorbike with Bennetts bike insurance



What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars (three stars for bikes of 125cc or less), based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard

  • An ignition immobiliser system

  • A vehicle marking system

  • An alarm system

  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.