Bajaj CT 125X first ride review | City King?

Bajaj’s CT 125X is the latest commuter bike in town. Can it add some zest to its somewhat mundane ‘commuter’ motorcycle tag?
The Bajaj CT 125X adds some pizazz to the Bajaj commuter range
The Bajaj CT 125X adds some pizazz to the Bajaj commuter rangeShot by Avdhoot A Khole

Small capacity commuter bikes form the backbone of the Indian two-wheeler market. They are purpose engineered to ferry people, equipment, be your daily milkman, plumber and so much more. For a commuter bike to make it ‘big’, it has to above all be affordable, then also be supremely frugal and of course, be built as reliable a tank. Did I say affordable? In the interests of frugality, commuter bikes usually confine engine capacity between 100cc to 125cc. Bajaj’s CT 125X ranks amongst the most affordable 125cc bikes in India. It undercuts most rivals by nearly Rs 3,000-5,000, but price isn’t the only thing the new Bajaj claims to have going for itself. So does the CT 125X have what it takes to stand apart in this crowded segment? Read on.

Bajaj CT 125X design

The Bajaj CT 125X is a handsome looking commuter bike, styled similar to its 110cc sibling. Barring its more sophisticated colour scheme and some bits here and there, it’s difficult to tell the two bikes apart. Upon closer inspection, the changes are more apparent.

The 125 apart from donning a ‘125X’ badge deploys a blacked out finish on its engine. It does away with ultra slim semi-knobby tyres, making way for slightly meatier, road-biased tyres. The 80/100-17 inch front and 100/90-17 inch rear tyres are both tubeless, making for better longevity and easier repairs. At the front, you see a round headlight with small bikini fairing. There’s a pair of skimpy bars running across the headlight, adding to the rugged stance of the CT 125X. The ‘X’ theme of these bikes stands for rugged, and to that end you also get an engine bash plate, fork pipe gaiters, tank grips, a saddle stay at rear and saree-guards on both sides. The Bajaj CT 125X is sold in three tone colours, black being the base with a choice of green, red or blue decals. The CT 125X is a nice looking commuter bike that stands out in a crowd of what are today often bland looking rivals.

Bajaj CT 125X engine

The Bajaj CT 125X is powered by a four-stroke, 124.4cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine that’s good for 10.7bhp at 8000pm and 11Nm or torque at 5500rpm. This is an all-new powerplant for India, although Bajaj has used it in its export bike for two years now.

Thumb the starter and you are greeted by a surprisingly loud, even thrummy exhaust note. Get going and if you haven’t ridden commuter bikes of the past, you may find yourself surprised by the new Bajaj’s five-down gearshift pattern. First gear feels too short for its own good, calling for a shift to second almost immediately, from whereon it’s all good. The engine has a slightly gruff, almost vibey nature that didn’t win us over, but Bajaj claims this is purposely dialed in, because overwhelming customer feedback suggested riders want some vibration. Call it character if you will then. The engine after second feels fairly tractable and you can almost carry a gear higher than you otherwise would. This makes for a relaxed riding experience especially in our choc-o-block city traffic. Clutch feel is light and precise, just what the doctor ordered for commuting, and gears shift with a tactile, precise feel.

Bajaj CT 125X ride and handling

The CT 125X is essentially the Bajaj CT 110X with a bigger engine and tubeless wheels.

Bajaj makes use of a square tube, split cradle frame. The square tube adds structural rigidity to the frame, something that’s a plus given the amount of abuse these bikes endure through their life cycles.

The frame hangs off telescopic front forks and twin rear shock absorbers. Braking for the top end variant we rode was via a 240mm disc in front and 130mm drum at rear.

The chassis setup comes together well, lending the new Bajaj a ‘conquer anything’ character. Ride quality feels pretty plush and the CT 125X soaks up almost everything without unsettling riders much. The riding position is upright, commuter friendly and comfortable and accommodates tall riders rather well. Your feet are ever so slightly forward-set.

The front brake offers sharp bite, and combined with the rear does a good job of shedding speed with a confidence inspiring feel at the levers. The CT 125X is understandably not the sportiest bike out there, but its 17-inch wheels do ensure you can have a good time in the bendy stuff as well.

Overall, the new Bajaj is fun to ride with lightweight handling making it fun to thrash around. The overriding thought I had throughout while riding the CT 125X, was how much fun this bike would be on some beginner grade off-road trails. The saree guards on both ends and the saddle-stay are sturdy, and allow riders to mount stuff on them with confidence.

Bajaj CT 125X verdict

The Bajaj CT 125X comes together as a perfectly blended package, when looked at through the commuter lens. And yes, it also ticks the right boxes in terms of being really affordable, light and solidly built with a robustness that allows it to handle ample abuse. Then you get that tractor like motor, which chugs you along effortlessly everywhere, with just the right amount of features including crash-bars and luggage mounts.

Heck, it even gets a USB charger. At Rs 74,554 for the top-end disc brake equipped variant, the CT 125X undercuts its rivals by a hefty enough margin. The best part for me however, was that despite this being a commuter bike, it doesn’t look all that plain Jane, in fact offering a dash of style and youthfulness that makes it a lot of fun to hoon around on.

I can definitely see the CT 125X appeal to younger riders just getting their first bikes. And with its claimed 62kmpl mileage, the new Bajaj is sure to be just as frugal as expected, and easy to run. Yes, it does have its flaws, not being the most refined performing bike in its class, and that really short first gear. But, these can be overlooked, when you take a step back from the CT 125X and look at everything it brings to the table.

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