2017 SSR Motorsports Razkull 125
Pit bike, monkey bike and even ankle-biter has been used to describe the Razkull 125 from SSR Motorsports. I suppose arguments could be made for and against any and all of these monikers, but no matter what you call it, the Razkull is a fun little ride that is cheap, and easy to own and operate. The pit bike sector isn’t exactly what you would call overpopulated if ya know what I mean, but the bracket is fairly well defined and popular, particularly on the West Coast. What started out as an on/off-road ride whose primary function in life was Motocross track-side transit has expanded into a class all its own, and as with anything else that moves, has begun to serve as a race platform all its own. I wanted to look at this little pocket rocket, and see how well SSR does against its worthy competitors at Honda and Kawasaki.
Continue reading for my review of the SSR Motorsports Razkull 125.
2017 SSR Motorsports Razkull 125
So, it’s been kicked around ad infinitum already, but bears repeating that the Razkull looks like nothing so much as the runt of a Ducati Monster litter; not that I’m complaining. As far as I’m concerned, that’s just part of the overall charm.
A fat front tire and minimal fender leads the way, and an adorable pair of inverted front forks is enough to make a body look twice — yes, inverted forks. An over-under headlamp can mounts high- and low-beams, and also serves as a support for the instrument cluster and front turn-signal standoffs.
The Trellis frame is plainly visible at the sides moving aft from the steering head, even if the compressed scale makes it look more like a Tonka toy than a proper bike. Just to be clear, like the other pit bikes on the market, the size compression (47.7-inch wheelbase) is all along the horizontal axis; the 29.5-inch seat height and six inches of ground clearance puts it right in line with full-size bikes, and its these odd proportions that gives pit bikes their distinctive look. Technically you could consider the saddle to be a two-up seat, but it would take a brave soul indeed to try and stay on the teensy pillion, and if passenger and rider weren’t close friends at the start of the ride, they certainly will be by the end.
An upswept exhaust stays well clear of any potential terrain strikes, even though the header pipe looks a little vulnerable as the lowest point. Oh well, it still has ample clearance, and if you take it into terrain rough enough to prang that pipe, you’re doing it wrong.
Tubular steel members make up the compact Trellis skeleton, and a stressed-engine arrangement uses the plant to complete the assembly with a yoke-style, rectangular cross-section swingarm to tend to the articulation of the rear wheel. A coil-over monoshock tames the motion at the rear axle, and it comes tucked away mostly out of sight under the seat. Neither the rear shock nor the usd forks come with any kind of adjustments, but that’s hardly surprising on a bike that’s more or less a minibike on steroids, and hardly a strike against it.
The 12-inch cast wheels mount symmetrical, 120/70 hoops, and the wide tires help make up somewhat for the small diameter so contact-patch size is fairly reasonable overall. A twin-pot, piston-and-anvil caliper bites the single front disc with a uni-pot caliper in back, and the discs come with a wave-cut outer edge that aids in cooling, provides a certain amount of self-cleaning ability and just plain looks cool. What about ABS and linked brakes? Forget about it.
A relatively simple powerplant drives the Razkull with a claimed 8.04 horsepower at 8,000 rpm. The 125 cc, air-cooled thumper runs a 52.4 mm bore with a 55.5 mm stroke for a slightly undersquare ratio and a 9-to-1 compression ratio that puts you at the cheap pump. A reliable capacitor-discharge ignition manages the spark, and a PZ20 carburetor works its magic to meter the air-fuel mix. Unfortunately, the plant has a tendency to be a bit cold-blooded, so you’ll probably want to leave the kickstarter alone until the engine has been properly warmed up. (Pro tip: using the kickstarter only looks cool if the bike actually starts. Otherwise you just look desperate.)
A standard clutch ties engine power to the four-speed gearbox, and a chain final drive completes the drivetrain. Simple, easy to work on and unintimidating.
This little sled rolls for pocket change, relatively speaking, with a $1,999 sticker, and therein lies one of its greatest strengths. No need paying an arm and a leg for such a whimsical ride that’ll never see the interstate, ’cause ain’t nobody got time (or money) for that.
The pit-bike sector, niche that it is, isn’t exactly what you would call flush with competition by any means. Having said that, we do have a couple of worthy rivals from Japan in the Z125 Pro from Kawasaki, and of course the Honda Grom that started it all by bringing this phenomenon into the mainstream.
So, these three rides share a common look overall, but that’s almost inescapable given their compact nature. The Razkull alone carries an exposed Trellis frame that makes it look like a naked mini-streetfighter, while the other two conceal all that business behind stylish body panels. At a glance, fit-and-finish seems to be OK enough on the Razkull, but is found to be lacking a bit compared to the polished products from Honda and Kawi. Hardly surprising with products coming from two of the Japanese “Big Four,” but the Chinese-made ride just isn’t in the same league. Not even close.
The Razkull slings the rider’s butt the lowest with a 29.5-inch seat height versus an even 30 inches on the Grom and 31.7-inches high on the Z125. Not that it matters much with such light rides, anyone who can’t reach the ground with both feet at once should have no problem tippy-toeing or one-footing any of these rides given that not a one of ’em breaks the 230-pound mark soaking wet.
Inverted front forks are a constant across the board, as are non-adjustable suspension components all the way around, so nobody gets a leg up here. Brakes are all likewise unsophisticated with fandanglery to clutter up the works, and 12-inch hoops seem to be part of the uniform in this genre.
SSR starts to fall behind, both literally and figuratively, when we consider the powerplants. All run 125 cc engines (plus or minus a tenth of a CC), and are relatively simple, air-cooled mills, but the Grom and Z use electronic fuel injection to meter the flow while the Razkull has an old-fashioned carburetor. FI-haters rejoice, but other folks may see that as a negative. You wouldn’t think there’d be much difference with little weedeater motors like this, but in a side-by-side-by-side, the Z and Grom clearly walk the dog and leave the poor SSR eating dust. The only good news for SSR on the performance end is that it handles almost as good as the other two, but you aren’t going to be competitive on any sort of track with a Razkull— unless you’re racing other Razkulls, and I’m not saying that to be mean. It’s just reality.
The only saving grace here for SSR is the price tag. Honda comes off the proudest with a $3,299 sticker with Kawi close behind with its $2,999 MSRP, but the $1,999 price on the Razkull should be low enough to buy some business, at least from the non-competitive sector.
My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, “I wanted to like this little ride, truly I did, but unfortunately it comes off looking like exactly what it is; a cheap Chinese knockoff. Fit-and-finish reminds me of disposable UJMs from the late ’70s and early ’80s, and while that may be OK in the Asian markets, I doubt even the price difference will make that fly in the U.S. market. Cold-blooded and temperamental, this bike isn’t likely to endear itself with many riders who have access to the other two in my competitor section.”
"My husband can be a harsh critic, and while I can’t always find grounds to disagree, I do here. The Razkull is a fun little bike that won’t get you into trouble unless you go looking for it. It is very budget-minded even if "cheap" comes to mind when assessing the quality. It’s carbureted, so easy to work on for the budding shade-tree mechanics."
|Engine Type:||125cc, 4 Stroke, Single Cylinder, Air Cooled|
|Bore And Stroke:||52.4mm x 55.5mm|
|Compression Ratio:||9.0 : 1|
|Max Output:||8.04 hp @ 8000 rpm|
|Start Mode:||Electric Start / Kick Start|
|Transmission:||4 Speed Manual|
|Front Suspension:||Hydraulic, Inverted|
|Rear Suspension:||Standard Coil Spring Shock|
|Front Wheel / Tire:||Aluminum Alloy / 120/70-12|
|Rear Wheel / Tire:||Aluminum Alloy / 120/70-12|
|Swingarm:||Steel, "Straight" Type|
|Seat Height:||29.5 inches|
|Ground Clearance:||6 inches|
|Fuel Tank:||3.17 gallons|
|L x W x H:||69.7 x 29.8 x 34.8 inches|
|Colors:||Red, Black, White|
|Warranty:||12-Month Factory Limited Warranty Coverage|