Ample torque low in the rev range and strong power delivery right up to the top endby TJ Hinton, on LISTEN 06:28
Yamaha tweaks its Zuma 125 scooter platform ahead of MY2022 with a handful of improvements across the board. Fuel-efficient power comes from a new “Blue Core” engine sporting some pretty fancy fandanglery in the valvetrain. Rugged new bodywork and a re-imagined headlight area seal the deal to further separate this newest-generation adventure scooter from its predecessors and peers.
2022 Yamaha Zuma 125 Design
- New rugged styling
- Rugged new adjustable headlights
- USB charging port
- Locking ignition switch cover
The headlights are easily adjustable so each rider can dial in for their preference.
The engineers over at the Tuning Fork Company set out to make the Zuma 125 more rugged than ever before, and at a glance, I’d say it’s a job well done. A gnarly set of street knobbies set the tone early on with an overtly off-road tread pattern that is sure to perform well during off-road riding, particularly on soft surfaces and/or loose material.
Blackout fork sliders make a connection to the custom culture while the bellow gaiters add more yet to the off-road chops by protecting the fork seals from damage by sand/dirt/grit. A molded front fender mounts up under the tripleclamp with a decidedly more motocross vibe to its shape.
The headlights have one of the coolest new aesthetic adjustments. Gone are the rather uninspired headlight goggles in favor of an asymmetrical layout that brings with it a touch of Steampunk attitude. Plus, the headlights are easily adjustable so each rider can dial in for their preference.
The front fender and its lower components took on a significant amount of visual bulk. However, they still maintain the general gist of the established shape from the top of the lights up to the break for the handlebar and instrumentation. The instrumentation is all crammed into a dual-screen LCD that comes with its own little spotlight around front.
There’s a glove box in the inner fairing with a USB-A port so you can power/charge your mobile device whilst on the move. A dead-flush deck at the step-through leaves plenty of room for easy mounting and dismounting with a set of flip-out footpegs for your passenger. Under the seat you’ll find enough room for one full-face helmet or two smaller helmets, so you can count on room for books/groceries/whatever to make this an effective errand-running machine as well as competent commuter.
Viewed in profile, the understructure is beefier, as is the luggage rack that wraps around the pillion pad and doubles as a sturdy set of J.C. handles. At the tip of the stinger, the taillight comes with a tough-looking housing that pairs well with the hang-down mudguard that completes the rear coverage and carries the back blinkers and license-plate holder.
2022 Yamaha Zuma 125 Chassis
- Robust steel-tube frame
- Heavy-duty wheels and tires
- Beefy suspension
- Substantial unified brake system
If there's a chink in the off-road armor, its the 12-inch road doughnuts.
Yamaha built the underpinnings on the new Zuma 125 to take a beating with tubular-steel members and a steel engine mount with an elastic link to absorb some of the engine vibration to give the rider’s butt, hands, and feet a break on long rides at high speeds.
Beefy front forks run with 33 mm inner tubes to tolerate the jolts associated with actual off-road use on 3.2 inches of travel. Out back, dual coil-over shocks support the rear end and dampen the motion of the swing-mount drivetrain with 3.1 inches of travel. The fuel tank holds 1.6 gallons of fuel, so once the 101 mpg fuel efficiency rating is factored in, you can count on around 150 road miles per fill-up.
All-around disc brakes run with a double-piston front caliper that bites a wave-cut, 245 mm disc ahead of a single-bore anchor and 230 mm disc. Stock-equipped linked brakes that shares pressure between the front and back brakes for balanced braking efforts and safer operation. If there’s a chink in the off-road armor, its the 12-inch road doughnuts. A 14-inch or even 15-inch hoop would have been nice, at least up front for the terrain-tackling edge it brings to the table.
|Front Suspension/ Travel:||Telescopic upright fork/ 3.2 inches|
|Rear Suspension/ Travel:||Dual shock absorber with swingarm/ 3.1 inches|
|Front Brakes:||245 mm disc, single disc with double-piston caliper|
|Rear Brakes:||230 mm disc, single disc with single-piston caliper|
|Front Tire:||120/70-12 51L|
|Rear Tire:||130/70-12 56L|
2022 Yamaha Zuma 125 Drivetrain
- New Blue Core WA engine
- Fully-automatic V-belt transsmission
- Linear acceleration throughout the powerband
- Strong torque low in the rev range
The beating heart is a significant upgrade over the previous generation.
The new Blue Core engine on the Zuma 125 is still a single-cylinder thumper with a 125 cc displacement, but bore diameter was dropped to 52 mm from 52.4 mm while stroke was stretched to 58.7 mm from 57.9 mm. Compression was spiced up as well with 11.2-to-1 up from 10-to-1, and liquid cooling replaced forced air to deal with the extra heat.
The four-valve head and single over-head cam remain the same, but this year, the top-end comes with the Variable Valve Actuation feature that rotates the cam independent of the drive to deepen the effective powerband without sacrificing top end performance. That’s a fairly rare level of technology on such a humble platform, much to Yammie’s credit I must say.
A forged-aluminum piston rides in a bore lined with a DiASil coating for its extended service life and lightweight alternative to the old heavy steel inserts. As you’d expect, a centrifugal clutch couples engine power to the continuously-variable transmission, so the Zuma delivers that twist-and-go operation that scooter riders demand.
The factory is keeping the power figures close to the vest, but the outgoing mill put out 8 horsepower and the new system will turn in a top speed around 60 mph, so no matter what, it’s marginally suitable for highway work, but you can forget about doing interstate speeds.
|Engine:||125 cc liquid-cooled, 4-stroke SOHC single; 4 valves|
|Bore x Stroke:||52.0 mm × 58.7 mm|
|Fuel Delivery:||Fuel Injection|
|Ignition:||TCI (Transitor Controlled Ignition)|
2022 Yamaha Zuma 125 Price
<quote|title=Base MSRP is $3.7k no matter which color package you choose.
Starting in July 2021, get the Zuma 125 in a stealthy Matte Black over black, or with Team Yamaha Blue swaths. Base MSRP is listed at $3,699 no matter which color package you choose.
|Instrument Panel:||Digital LCD|
|Charging:||USB-A front charging device|
|Color:||Team Yamaha Blue, Matte Black|
2022 Yamaha Zuma 125 Competitors
Adventure-tastic scooters are somewhat niche, it’s true, but I think Honda has a worthy entry of its own in the aptly-named, ADV150.
It looks like the Honda’s designers were more about street performance than off-road capabilities in spite of the fact that it’s billed as an adventure scooter. The departure is abrupt. The ADV150 leads the way with a fork slider-mount fender and sportbike-like scoop in the cowl.
A stock windshield comes vented for rider comfort on the Honda, something the Zuma lacks, but there’s a comfort trade off as the Honda’s step-through is all but completely closed off by a tall tunnel in the bodywork, so it isn’t nearly as easy to climb aboard.
The Red Riders break even in storage and mobile device-charging features, but if you’re looking for bulky bodywork and a mature, modern design, the Honda has it in spades. Honda brings the pain in the engine department with its 14.4-horsepower lump and 73 mph top speed that leaves Yamaha in the dust, and can theoretically operate on the superslab. You’ll pay for that ability though; Honda asks for $4,299 MSRP for its entry, six Benjamins more than its domestic rival.
Read our full review of the Honda ADV150.
“Gotta’ give credit where it’s due, the Yamaha team has redeemed the Zuma family line, something I thought impossible after the release of the anemic MY2020 version. Beefier bodywork, built-in luggage rack, and substantial headlight rework all combine to seal the deal for this newest generation Zuma. It may not be very good on the interstate, but I bet it’s superb at the beach or down at the river.”
My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The Zuma has roots going back to 1989 as a dual-purpose-style scooter and finally a new gen brings us back full circle. The new engine and a lot of big-bike technology make this new Zuma a real contender in the scooter world for all those riders that don’t want cute. Now a long-stroke engine, the torque is ample low in the rev range and power delivery is strong right up to the top end.”
2022 Yamaha Zuma 125 Specifications
Engine & Drivetrain: Engine: 125 cc liquid-cooled, 4-stroke SOHC single; 4 valves Bore x Stroke: 52.0 mm × 58.7 mm Compression Ratio: 11.2:1 Fuel Delivery: Fuel Injection Ignition: TCI (Transitor Controlled Ignition) Transmission: V-Belt automatic Chassis: Front Suspension/ Travel: Telescopic upright fork/ 3.2 inches Rear Suspension/ Travel: Dual shock absorber with swingarm/ 3.1 inches Front Brakes: 245 mm disc, single disc with double-piston caliper Rear Brakes: 230 mm disc, single disc with single-piston caliper Front Tire: 120/70-12 51L Rear Tire: 130/70-12 56L Dimensions & Capacities: Length: 75.6 inches Width: 29.9 inches Height: 45.3 inches Seat height: 30.9 inches Wheelbase: 52.8 inches Fuel tank capacity: 1.6 gallons Fuel Economy: 101 mpg Wet Weight: 282 lb Details: Instrument Panel: Digital LCD Charging: USB-A front charging device Color: Team Yamaha Blue, Matte Black Price: $3,699
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