Bajaj is looking at strengthening its entry-level motorcycle portfolio as it guns for a higher overall market share in two wheelers. And its latest salvo is the Discover 125M. Here's our review
The Discover is Bajaj’s mass market brand. And with the launch of the new Discover 125M, it has overhauled every single motorcycle under the Discover umbrella. But, before we talk about the bike itself, let’s look at how Bajaj operates in this segment. In Bajaj’s words, it is using two platforms – the M and the T/ST. The motorcycles based on these platforms might look similar but they supposedly use different steering geometries, different swingarm lengths, and in fact, different seating ergonomics as well. It also currently uses two engines for both platforms – 102cc, single cylinder, 4-valve unit with two spark plugs and a 124.6cc single, again with 4-valves and two spark plugs.
The 100T, the 125T and the 125ST use the same chassis, the same body panels and the same seating ergonomics, and are focused more towards the mildly enthusiastic commuter. The 100M and now the 125M are more for fuel economy (or M for Mileage). The 125M shares its engine with the 125T and the 125ST, but uses cycle parts – suspension, brakes, swingarm and the chassis - from the 100M. Now, to the 125M in more detail. The first thing that strikes you as odd about the Discover 125M is its ergonomics. It’s a little too cramped.
The footpegs are a tad too high, the handlebar is positioned too close to the rider and the handlebar is a little too narrow for our liking as well. The footpeg also tends to foul with the rider’s shins when crawling in bumper to bumper traffic with the foot on the ground. The seating position apart, the 125M impresses. It is a fun motorcycle. It is light and reasonably nimble which makes easy work of negotiating through traffic. It also has a very good low speed ride quality. Not once did we feel the need to stand up and ride on the Discover 125M, and not once did its front end bottom out, even though we did go through some really massive potholes. The ride isn’t as exceptional at higher speeds or with a pillion on board, though.
The engine, as we mentioned earlier, is the 124.6cc, 4-valve unit that also powers the 125T and 125ST Discovers. It is a rev happy engine and feels at its potent best just shy of its top end. Rev it all the way to the redline and the vibration and noise from the engine gets a bit too much. Shift early and the drive isn’t going to take your breath away. But, hit the sweet spot in the rpm range (which thanks to the gearing, comes easy), and the Discover 125M will surprise you with its peppy nature. It might not be very fast, but it can be a lot of fun.
The gearbox is a four-speed unit and it has a positive click to its shifts. Why not a five-speed unit given that the 102cc Discover 100T gets it as well as the same-engined Discover 125ST? Well, because the 125M is on the M platform which is to sport four gears only. The power rating is lower too on the 125M; it makes 11.5PS at 8,000rpm compared to 12.5PS and 13PS put out by the 125T and 125ST, respectively. Both, the latter bikes make their max power at a higher 9,000rpm as well. What has been carried over – and for the better we say – is the front brake setup. The 200mm petal disc works really well. It has good bite and seamless progression. The feel at the lever is wholesome too. The disc brake, of course, only comes in the most expensive version of the Discover 125M.
The entry-level variant makes do with a 130mm drum upfront and a 110mm drum brake at the rear. As for the tyres, the 2.75 and 3.00 section Eurogrips (front and back), both on 17 inch wheels, work well for most part. It’s only under severe load – be it under braking or hard cornering – do they feel lacking at times. The Discover 125M is priced at Rs 48,028 for the drum version and Rs 50,499 for the disc variant. Both models get alloy wheels and electric start as standard. This in typical Bajaj fashion is great pricing, especially when you consider it is one of the most affordable 125s and at par with some 110cc bikes as well. Bajaj also claims 76kmpl for the 125M in test conditions, which in the real world, might drop to about 65kmpl, and that isn’t a bad figure either. In fact, the Discover 125M, overall, makes a convincing case for itself.