The VSR. Or the VIZZER as I affectionately call it. Yes that’s a valid nickname! Simply because on the rear of the bike it says ViSR… Anyway this 125cc motorcycle from Kymco has all the potential to be a great learner legal naked bike with good looks – so is it any good?
To keep it simple, much like this bike does overall, the VSR 125i CBS is perhaps the perfect introduction to the naked bike market for new riders, and sets itself up as a reliable commuter. If you didn’t know, Kymco are also parts suppliers for some other brands (Kawasaki, BMW as two notable ones) so the reliability of this bike shouldn’t be in doubt!
Engine & Power
Acceleration off the line, well… 0-30 is decent. The 10.6Nm of torque, which peaks at 6000rpm, means you get instant power off the line and you can pull away nicely. The 6000rpm figure tends to be just above the cruising rev range, so if you need to quickly accelerate when entering a new road it has the power to get you going near enough straight away.
So the 4 stroke single cylinder engine does it’s best to propel you along, and as the bike only weighs 122kg (as unladen weight) it can be quite pokey. Although if I’m being honest, 122kg isn’t too far off what I weigh at 95kg! So considering this, and the fact I’m as aerodynamic as a brick at 6ft4, picking up top speed awards isn’t what this bike is about. The engine really starts to work its little heart out at the higher revs, and you can really feel that. It is noted as having the power of 10.3 horses @ 8000 rpm, but even so it does feel a little bit down on power compared to some 125s – you find yourself living high in the rev range, and changing gear when at speed means you’ll be needing to shift again quite quickly. The motor revs up to about 10k rpm at it’s peak, and the redline is something you’ll find quite easily - it’s quite ‘revvy’ for a slow motorcycle.
Low speeds are fine with that torque-happy motor though, so town/city riding can be a real treat. For me anything above 45mph did feel like I was pushing it to it’s limit, but for a rider of normal height and size it may be a different story!
What is the top speed? It does well off the line, but the 0-60 time does leaves a bit to be desired, as that’s all you’ll get out of it for “comfortable” top speed really. Maybe 65mph if you’re doing well and maybe even 70mph if everything is in your favour - but I didn’t get close to 70 myself. Pin it, tuck in, find a tall hill and you’ll find yourself picking up a little bit of speed to get yourself to that hallowed 70mph, I’m sure.
Bear in mind that the Vizzer we had on test was still being broken in, and was sitting at a cool 2 miles on arrival - so I shouldn’t really have been revving it to the redline too much if we’re talking about running the bike in ‘properly’. But that’s easier said than done with a 15 stone guy wanting to get to 60mph as quickly as possible on busy A roads. So, maybe you’ll do better with top speed if you’re not just the size of a fridge/freezer combo, like me.
Tyres and Wheels
The tyres were literally fresh on and still quite waxy, so all in all it wasn’t the ideal conditions for pushing the bike as fast as possible. The front wheel is 80/100-17 and the rear is 110/80-17, so 17 inch front and rear are good for stability & build up of speed, but still rather narrow.
The main point to take-away for the tyres is that whilst they are narrow, they allow you to throw the bike around with ease. You do have to watch out for grooves in the road though, because at times they felt very temperamental and uneven road surfaces can be a match against the bike wanting to go in one direction, and you the other. But bear in mind, slim tyres are typically par for the course on a 125cc bike, you don’t generally see bulky tyres on light commuter bikes until you work your way in to the bigger CC market. The lightweight nature of the bike, adds to this - so if the bike does anything well, it's cornering!
Overall no huge complaints - you get used to the slim profile and corners become something you look forward to conquering with the Vizzer!
Suspension & Ride Quality
Suspension is provided by telescopic forks up front, and a single rear shock. No real complaints here at all, they do the job and keep you planted on the road over bumps. Comfort was quite alright for a small bike with an accessible seat height of 780mm and a wheelbase of 1330mm. Riding this bike around was overall comfortable and would be great for commuters on short to medium commutes.
The clutch is nice, short and lightweight and allows for some pretty rapid gear changes. The gearbox is pretty snappy and once you get used to it, it’s good. 5 manual gears to go through, with what is quite a nice little “racing” styled gear-indicator nestled right in the middle of a respectable faux-carbon-fibre dash. Touches like that really are important for 125cc bikes for me.
One really good stand-out point on this bike is the brakes – no, not because they are red… but because they are so sharp! Yeah these were brand new, but the front 260mm disk is properly good and can brush off speed nice and quickly. The rear disc is good too, and does the job nicely – but my research did tell me there was a drum brake instead, so when it arrived I was a bit surprised to see a disc, but no complaints here. As the bike is Euro 4 compliant we have CBS (combined braking system) which works well and doesn’t throw any spanners in the spokes, as it were.
Speaking of striking red brakes, the aggressive styling of this bike really works to give it a bit of character. If you’re not feeling the standard exhaust, I guess you could whack on a slip-on exhaust (or even full system if you’re feeling excessive) and you’re set. But out of the box the matte blue paint is stunning, and the other current options are white and orange. The sharp angles and general profile of the bike are respectable for such a good price point, and you can tell there was time spent on how this bike will appeal to the newer CBT riders on our roads.
Parts and Switches
Parts (switches, levers, brakes) in general all felt good quality and well-made. The control gauge is stylish but it is lacking a clock – so time does (in a way) stop when you’re on this bike. For a commuter focused bike I’d have liked to see a clock make an appearance, but perhaps the Kymco Noodoe interface will be in the pipeline for future models. That would really step this bike up a couple of marks for me, and having that innovative system on this bike would be a huge plus.
Instruments are all very clear, and there’s no doubt about what is going on with a quick glance of the controls. I really appreciated the ticking gear indicator as well!
In terms of price you’re looking at £1,999, which is decent for a first bike or a commuter because it weighs so little and isn’t going to be a petrol guzzler (thanks Euro 4 regulations, and the fact 125ccs are quite frugal anyway). The 13.5L fuel tank will see you get quite far as well. In the time I’ve ridden this bike, which has been for a day or so in total, the petrol had only started going down a little bit. I think riding this bike on a commute would be fine - I’d just avoid dual carriageways or fast roads if you can, but single carriageways and 60mph are fine once you get going.
For your £1,999 you’re getting a reliable commuter bike, with good looks and economy at heart. In terms of price point compared to others on the market, this is WAY under what some of the Japanese manufacturers will charge for their equivalent models – you can expect a saving of almost £1,000 if going for the Vizzer.
So, overall if you’re looking for a cheap, reliable commuter get this one on your list! As long as you're not expecting it to blow you out of the water you'll be fine, it does the job without making a fuss – and I like that.