A refreshing take on the humdrum world of 125cc executive motorcycles. Is it enough to take the crown though?
The 125cc motorcycle segment has always been positioned towards the young executive but there is a sub-segment that remains untapped. The segment of the blue-collared common man wanting a rugged workhorse. Bajaj Auto plans to tap this market with its CT 125X. Is the practical design enough to sway blue-collared customers into the Bajaj fold? We swing a leg over the new 125cc motorcycle to find out. Let's talk about the design first.
Design and features:
The CT 125X shares its styling with the smaller CT 110X which itself seems inspired by the Boxer X150 which Bajaj exports overseas. The CT 125X feels refreshing in a sea of 125cc executive commuter motorcycles. It looks cool despite the design opting for functionality over form. The all-black theme helps while the decals can be opted in red, green or blue colours.
The round headlamp gets metal guards and a plastic crest. For comfort, it gets a wide 700mm long padded seat and rubber knee grips on the fuel tank. The chunky grab rail goes around the seat while the extra stepped saree guard on the right should help tie down and carry stuff on the motorcycle. Protection comes in the form of a substantial leg guard and a metal bash plate for the engine. All these are standard fitment on the CT 125X.
The only design element that seems out of place is the skinny tyres. A more aggressive tread profile would have looked better with the raised front mudguard and more in sync with the motorcycle's rugged appearance. Also, we were disappointed with the switchgear quality and weld finishes and those are areas that need improvements.
The CT 125X's features list is at par with its entry-level 125cc competitors. It gets a simple analogue instrument console with a speedometer and fuel gauge. It also gets a handy USB port below the handlebar, an LED DRL above the headlamp as well as an engine side-stand cutoff, all of which are useful features.
The CT 125X's 124.4cc air-cooled motor delivers 10.9PS and 11Nm. These numbers make it one of the most powerful motorcycles in the 125cc segment. However, the CT 125X is also one of the heaviest motorcycles in the segment which take a toll on performance. It feels dulled down compared to the competition. However, Bajaj says the motor has been tuned for tractability with 90 percent of the torque available from 3,800rpm to 8,000rpm. The bikemaker also claims that the 5-speed gearbox offers five to 10 percent better tractability than the competition in the top three gears.
This does allow you to ride the CT 125X at low speeds in higher gears but it does take time to pick up speeds. The five-speed gearbox too disappoints with its vague, imprecise shifts. The CT 125X delivers an ARAI-backed fuel efficiency of 62kmpl which is on par with the competition. Also, the refinement levels, though not in the league of its Japanese competitors, are acceptable.
Ride and handling:
The CT 125X's ruggedness is not just skin deep. Its semi-double-cradle frame uses square tubing which offers better stiffness than circular tubes used by most motorcycles. The suspension setup includes conventional forks and Bajaj's patented spring-in-spring shock absorbers. The ride quality is firm and seems tuned to accommodate the extra loads its target audience will ply the motorcycle with. It does get more pliant with a pillion. The pillion will also appreciate the 700mm seat length.
Despite the added weight, the CT 125X is a nimble handler and is easy to ride and manoeuvre in tight spaces thanks to its small turning radius. The skinny 80-section front and 100-section rear tyres offer adequate traction while the front disc, and rear drum brakes on the higher variant offer a decent bite.
Pricing and verdict:
Prices for the Bajaj CT 125X start at ₹71,354 onwards ex-showroom while the disc brake-equipped variant we are riding retails at ₹74,554. Its pricing undercuts the competition by more than ₹5,000, a significant sum. Pricing remains a key factor in this segment and Bajaj has done well in this regard though it can do better in terms of performance and fit and finish levels.
The CT 125X's ruggedness should appeal to its core audience though its needs refinement in certain key areas. If Bajaj sorts these niggles, it could have a winner.