When Honda launched its Grom a couple of years ago, few could anticipate its success in the U.S. market. Dealers could not keep them on the floor and some customers even had to put their names down on waiting lists. This undoubtedly influenced Kawasaki’s decision to introduce the Z125 stateside. With its 125cc motor and $3,000 price tag, Team Green’s 2017 Z125 PRO targets new riders and anyone looking for a fun little ride. Note that both the Grom and Z125 are available abroad, particularly in Asian markets, under different model names.
The Z125 offers a low seat height of 30.7 inches (the Grom sits an inch lower) and weighs under 225 pounds wet. Its two-gallon gas tank is half a gallon larger than the Grom’s and if we’re to expect similar mpg from the Z125, expect a range of over 200 miles in real-world conditions.
The suspension is geared towards performance with 30mm inverted front forks and a lightweight aluminum upper triple clamp. The single offset rear shock has four-way preload adjustability, allowing you to set it up for yourself and an additional passenger, though you should expect a noticeable drop in performance when even the smallest pair of riders could outweigh the bike. Hydraulic disc brakes (200mm up front and 184mm out back) with Nissin calipers provide stopping power. 12-inch aluminum wheels are wrapped in 100/90 tires up front and 120/70 in the rear.
A traditional four-speed manual transmission features a link-type shifter similar to what is found on larger sportbikes. The Z125’s shift lever requires little pressure to engage, making it easier for new riders to get through the gears. An LCD digital display includes fuel level, clock, trip meter, and, missing from the Grom, a gear indicator. The LED taillight should look familiar to riders of Kawasaki’s larger bikes.
The four-stroke, single-cylinder, 125cc air-cooled SOHC engine is tuned for responsive acceleration on the street. Digital fuel injection is a welcome feature, as it wasn’t that long ago that Kawasaki was still using carbs on 250s sold in the U.S. The under-engine muffler contributes to a compact package.
The Z125 PRO is the youngest and smallest member of the stateside Z lineup, which includes the Z800 ABS and the Z1000 ABS. It will be available in Kawasaki’s familiar Candy Lime Green as well as Metallic Graphite Gray. A release date hasn’t been announced, but dealers will likely be taking orders in the next couple of months.