Europe gets the tasty Yamaha XSR125, and we don’t

Yamaha continues to grow the XSR series, with the new XSR125 launched in Europe today. It’s a compact take on Yamaha’s Faster Sons formula, based on Yamaha’s high-tech 124cc single.

Yamaha already uses this liquid-cooled engine in the MT-125 naked bike and R125 sportbike. Although it’s small, it makes 15 hp at 10,000 rpm and 8.5 lb-ft of torque at 8,000 rpm. That means it fits into European beginner licensing laws, and also works nicely as a commuter in congested cities. It’s less attractive in North America, with longer distances to cover and fewer low-speed routes between towns, and a general distrust of small-cc bikes (alas!). So, far as we’ve heard, the XSR125 is not coming to Canada.

That’s unfortunate, as this is a rather tidy-looking little retro, and it would certainly suit Canada’s urban centres, at least. It shows how far the small-cc market has come. The engine comes with four-valve head and variable valve timing, letting it make decent output everywhere in the rev range (relatively speaking). The bike has an aluminum swingarm, too (the main frame is steel, though). The LCD gauge (combined speedo/tach/odometer/clock/fuel gauge) is affordable, yet attractive. LED lights come standard.

An attractive machine, with decent power for a 125. Photo: Yamaha

However, since the Honda CBR125 withered away in favour of the CBR250, no major OEM has brought a 125 street machine into Canada. It’s unlikely this tiny Yamaha will show up, although the KTM 200 Duke shows some manufacturers are still willing to consider the sub-250 market in Canada.


  1. I’d be more interested in an XSR 155. 19hp with a top speed of over 130kmph. Check out the Zeus custom build of this. And as far as this articles non sequitur about range, the range of an “R1.5” (same engine as XSR 155) seems to be about 400km.

  2. I like small bikes, but no one in Canada buys 125s. Remember the CBR125? It sold a few thousand units a year really well for about 3 years – and then the market for learner bikes was saturated and they sat on the salesroom floor gathering dust.

  3. There are small bikes and then there are small bikes. If Honda’s CT 125 becomes available in Canada I’ll buy it. If Yamaha brings the XSR 125 here, I’ll buy it. Whoever is first gets my attention. I missed out on Suzuki’s Van Van but I think those balloon tires would have gotten on my nerves eventually.

  4. Unfortunately, the small bikes no longer sell- The Duke 200 just sits on the floor, and a small bike is a 600cc. Everyone wants bigger and bigger.

Join the conversation!