Some bikes just look and feel right; this nifty little 125cc KSR Code X is one of them and it gets a five star rating from us.
Although the Code X is ‘just’ a fairly simple air-cooled, carb fed machine and at £1799 is inexpensive this is no budget machine. It’s got a certain quality feel to it that many non-mainstream manufacturers could learn a thing or two from. It’s a classy bike, it’s relatively quick, cheap to run and is built to impress.
KSR Group are an Austrian company and until recently their bikes and scooters were branded as Generic, in the future KSR will be the brand name on the full range. The product is designed in Austria to European specifications and built in China, but it’s built properly using components that work, look good and are a bit tougher than the usual cheap and cheerful bits and pieces we find on budget bikes. Look around the Code X (which incidentally is the slightly more substantial and taller cousin to the excellent £200 cheaper Worx 125) and you’ll be pleased at the quality of the finish, the detail of the digital dash and the general detailing. Minor touches like the rim tape around the multi spoke alloys, the anodised finish on the upside down forks and the piggy back rear shocks all help to get this bike noticed. It may only be a low cost naked commuter bike but it still looks good and rides just as well as it looks. Why commute on a slow ugly looking bike when you can ride to work in style but still own a bike on a £1799 budget?
Sit on the Code X and it feels like a ‘proper’ bike, the seat is well padded and comfortable, the bars and switchgear all feel nice to the touch and the instruments feature a fuel gauge, rev counter, trip, time and easy to read gear position indicator. It’s all crystal clear and looks good too. Training schools should be using these, they’re perfect for the job and very novice friendly.
The 11.66bhp engine is based on an old Suzuki design, it’s nothing too fancy and has a manual choke but it starts easily enough and settles into a steady tickover. It takes a couple of minutes to warm up, as do most bikes at this time of year but the exhaust note is pleasing to the ear and doesn’t sound too weedy. Knock the bike into first, give it a few revs and it pulls away quite sharply, in fact I was quite surprised at just how well the Code X goes. To say it’s a carb fed, air-cooled engine it certainly wasn’t a slow 125, I actually enjoyed riding it. The bike redlines at 10,000rpm and you’ll feel the rev limiter cutting in if you let it go above that limit but if you keep it around there through the gears you’ll get the best fun from the engine. I found that fourth gear was perfect on the open road and fifth (it’s a five speed box) was more useful for dual carriageways. Fifth gear is almost an overdrive to be honest (top speed was 63mph on the GPS and the clocks are quite accurate too, they were showing 65mph) but it’ll save you some fuel if you’re watching the pennies. Talking of pennies, the 17litre tank is good for 280 miles before hitting reserve (it’s a three litre reserve), on a commute that involves some dual carriageway work we worked it out at 94mpg, which certainly isn’t bad for a 125. That large capacity tank means you’ll only have to fill it once a week unless you’re covering mega miles; stopping for fuel is a time wasting job I (and I’m sure most of you) hate, so that’s good news.
The Code X has extremely good suspension as well; the front USD forks really are quite plush. Certainly better than most other cheaper end bikes I’ve ridden. The twin rear piggyback shocks are equally as good so no complaints in that department. Brakes are another area to get some praise, the front and rear wavy disks have plenty of stopping power. The tyres are just a budget brand, one I’ve never come into contact with before ‘Cordial’ but they don’t dilute the fun because you can chuck the Code X about as much as you like. The tyres give great feedback, don’t let go easily and whilst testing the brakes out they skid controllably too, they’re also a common size so there’s plenty of choice when it’s time to change them. I must admit that I found myself enjoying this bike, some bikes you can take them or leave them, they have little or no character and especially with the cheaper end stuff you could find yourself preferring to take the bus but the Code X was a pleasant little learner legal machine. I’d quite happily ride one to Skeggy and back for a bag of chips at the weekend, just for fun. I’d also happily part with £1799 of my own money to buy one if I was in the market for a cost effective 125 with a bit of style and comfort built in for good measure. Have a look in your local Generic/KSR dealer and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Make sure you tell them that you read about it here first as well…