Every once in a while, a product exits the assembly line and goes on to become something great. Of course, there are various factors that contribute to this outcome, and it has to be noted that the vision of the manufacturer is one of the crucial ones. Finding the perfect balance of performance, reliability, and affordability, is also quite a task. It is essential that these criteria are met for a vehicle to be classified as a good commuter vehicle. Otherwise, what makes it different from the countless others already in the market?
This is what was running through my mind as I arrived in Pune to review the Bajaj CT 125X. The first impression I got from the briefing was the emphasis being laid on how ‘KADAK‘ the motorcycle was, and I decided that it would be fun to put it to the test. It also seemed to carry a lot of useful features, such as the raised front mudguard and the additional saree guard on the exhaust side that doubled as a saddle stay. These are very useful features in terms of customer convenience visualisation.
As I kitted-up to take it for a spin, I let my eyes wander and visually dissected the machine. It looked bold, smart, and in no way uninteresting. The many elements that hinted at its rugged capabilities, like the grill on the headlamp, the engine bash plate and the crash guard, were all easy on the eyes, too. It was repeated to us, time and again, that these were not accessories, but part and parcel of the motorcycle itself. Now, that is something that not a lot of manufacturers do nowadays.
It comes with alloy wheels, tubeless tyres, and a front disc brake, coupled with a drum on the rear. The switch gear doesn’t exactly feel premium, but it fulfils its purpose, so what more can one ask for? The mirrors are sturdy and offer good visibility, and everything else on the bike seems to be attached pretty firmly. The tail section is also very neat, and overall we see a whole lot carried over from its smaller sibling, the CT 110X. Blacked-out parts give it a nice minimalistic and rugged aesthetic.
I wasted no more time and quickly mounted the motorcycle, and as I thumbed the starter button, it sprang to life with an eager hum. It actually does have the initial temperament of a workhorse. The riding ergonomics are well-sorted and the rider is seated in a very natural upright position, at a decent height. The seat is also firm enough to be comfortable for extended periods of riding without developing a sore rear end. The build quality is quite sturdy and there are no unnecessary vibrations anywhere on the bike.
The 124cc engine does a pretty good job of sending power to the rear wheel, and the power delivery is very linear. The 5-speed gearbox on the CT 125X also feels very robust, except for a little clunkiness on rapid downshifts. The low-end torque also makes hauling cargo fairly convenient, making it a sure fit for it’s target customer. It further features an electronic carburettor for a higher fuel economy, and a side-stand engine cut-off for added safety.
The dual-pod analogue instrument console is pretty straightforward, with the speedometer and the odometer on the left dial, while the fuel gauge and other indicators are on the right. It also gets a well-placed USB charging port conveniently located right on top of the handlebar clamp in the middle. The bike also features Bajaj’s patented mechanical combi-brake system, which helps the vehicle to come to a stop with ease. This seems very effective in reducing the braking distance and induces more confidence in the rider.
With respect to comfort and confidence on bad roads, I was surprised by how well the suspension handled all of it. With a kerb weight of 131.5 kg and 170mm of ground clearance, it tackled all the rough riding I threw at it. The stock Eurogrip tyres are also very confidence-inducing, and handle corners with finesse. A quick top-speed test saw us pushing the CT 125X a little past 100kph with ease, coming to a halt with similar confidence.
After quite a bit of messing around with it to test how sturdy the build quality actually was, I was pretty satisfied with how it held up. The rectangular cross-section chassis does offer the motorcycle a decent amount of rigidity, and so does the rest of the body. The luggage rack on the tail end is also a very useful feature that adds to the overall functionality of the CT 125X in terms of load-bearing capacity.
It gets a very decent highway capability due to the road-focused tyres and with the additional fifth gear, doesn’t seem to be straining much to keep a good pace. The clutch is fairly light, making easy work of tackling traffic. The overall feel of the bike is that of a well-thought-out as well as well-built machine, worthy to carry the burdens of a workhorse while being extremely fun to ride.
Bajaj seems to have cracked the formula once again with this bike, and seeing that it is very competitively priced I feel that it is capable of going the distance. I can visualise the Venn diagram of performance, reliability and affordability, with the CT 125X right in the middle of that intersection point. It truly manages to maintain the impression of being a ‘KADAK‘ ride, and then a little more.
MOTODATABajaj CT 125X
10.7 bhp@8000 rpm
1.12 kgm@5500 rpm
Type: Square tube, semi-double cradle
F/R: 240-mm disc / 130-mm drum
F/R: 80/100 R17 / 100/90 R17
Rs 71,354-74,554 (ex-showroom)