To Each His Own – Discover 125

Bajaj Auto has filled the void in its Discover family of bikes by launching the Discover 125 DTS-i again. It has a different character from the earlier one and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then too. So how does the new one fare against the bunch of 125s out there? Piyush Sonsale answers

Photography: Sanjay Raikar

Bajaj Auto has filled the void in its Discover family of bikes by launching the Discover 125 DTS-i again. It has a different character from the earlier one and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then too. So how does the new one fare against the bunch of 125s out there? Piyush Sonsale answers

Photography: Sanjay Raikar

Half a decade ago, Bajaj Auto launched the Discover 125 DTS-i feature packed commuter motorcycle in India. Later on, they ventured out to create a family of two bikes under the brand with 110cc and 135cc versions in order to offer something different and  the 125 was discontinued. In the last couple of years, most of the other motorcycle manufacturers in the country had launched their small bikes with 100cc, 125cc and 150cc engine capacities. This created very pronounced segments in the market, where the two Discovers had something a bit less here, and a tad more there. Nevertheless, Bajaj’s effort to innovate with their offering must be appreciated, but it was necessary for them to re-structure in the conventional mould to remain profitable. So began the re-Discovery with the launch of the Discover 100 DTS-Si and the Discover 150 DTS-i to  great effect and the phasing out of the earlier two. The final piece of this restructuring puzzle, was between these two; here is where the new Discover 125 DTS-i now fits. But how?

The new Discover 125 DTS-i is a clear attempt at finding a mean between the Discover 100 and 150 bikes. It shares its chassis, body and the basic engine design with its bigger sibling, the Discover 150 DTS-i. The difference in the engine capacities of the two bikes is only a result of the varying bore x stroke geometries of their cylinder blocks while their performance differs due to the state of engine tuning, gearing, kerb weight and the rear tyre. The exact engine capacity of the D125 is 124.6cc and it boasts of the second-best power and torque figures of 11PS@ 8,000 rpm and 10.8Nm@ 5,500 rpm respectively in its class. The transmission takes five taps of the gear shifter from above.

The monopoly in the use of black colour (sparing the livery) gives this otherwise ordinary looking but well proportioned bike a sporty appearance. Every design ornament looks functional and compact. The front bikini fairing has a roundish design containing two pilot lamps and a multi-reflector headlamp. The console has two analogue dials, one each for the speedometer and the fuel gauge, and is quite bland in appearance. The console  also features analogue odo and tripmeters. The rear view mirrors are satisfying as regards size and utility; a feature to  be mentioned in this segment of bikes. The switch-gear is a bit low on quality of the plastic but is well placed. The ride-control switch, seen on Bajaj’s commuter bikes doesn’t really do wonders to help save fuel. The same space could  have been used for the engine kill switch which offers convenience, especially in urban conditions. The bike comes with a self-starter as a standard feature, backed up by the mechanical kick starter mounted on the engine.The auto choke operates the carburettor rich on fuel at cold starts to avoid engine stalling. The tank shell has a simple design without any fancy plastic bits, but has a peaky bulge exactly at the point where the rider’s knees rest on to it. The fuel-filler cap is hinged to the tank shell for convenience and has a chrome finish. The single-piece seat comes with a softer cushioning than seen on previous Bajaj bikes and also has the right width, providing a comfortable seating experience for the rider as well as the pillion who gets a handy tail grab rail to hold on to. The tail lamp has an LED cluster while the front and rear turn signal indicators have clear plastic and flexible mountings to account for tight parking spaces. The exhaust system is equipped with Bajaj’s patented ExahusTEC technology for improving low-end torque and has a black matte finish (also seen on the standard five spoke alloy wheels) with a chrome heat shield. Bajaj is running all the three Discovers on 2.75 x 17” tube tyres up front but the rear tyre on the D125 is 3.00 x 17”. Belonging to the middle order of the Discover team, the D125 offers braking systems from both its siblings. Drum brakes are standard on the rear wheel but there is an option between a disc or a drum brake for the front one, with added cost for the disc one of course. The disc brake comes with a plastic, bill-like cover which neither looks fancy nor protects the disc rotor from any harm, as is intended.

Being a commuter bike by nature, the footpegs of the D125 are front biased. The handlebar is well shaped, with bar end weights to reduce handlebar vibrations. The front suspension has the standard telescopic fork layout while the rear one has gas-charged (Nitrox) hydraulic shocks with adjustable coil springs. The relaxed riding posture, well-set gear ratios and hardly any body vibrations impart a very comfortable ride, in stop-go taffic as well as for long rides, justifying the tripmeter well. The rear suspension is on the harder side as standard, to improve handling, but relaxing the springs by a step helps improve the ride quality over bumpy roads.

Bajaj always emphasises on the performance of their machines without compromising on fuel efficiency and the D125 is no exception. With a kerb weight of just 118.5 kg, it has a power to weight ratio of 92.8PS/ton. It accelerates from 0-60kmph in just 6.25 seconds,  and it achieved a true top speed of 103.70 kmph during testing. What matters most in real-world conditions however, is the acceleration from 30-70kmph in third gear, which the D125 takes 7.64 seconds to accomplish. These are outstanding figures in its class and what strikes us the most is that inspite of good performance figures, the bike even returned us an overall fuel efficiency of 68.25kmpl!

Being the last one to launch a 125cc, Bajaj has a clear advantage (vantage point) in the segment and has developed
the product accordingly. The Discover 125 DTS-i, with disc brakes is priced at Rs 48,000 (ex-Delhi), which is quite competitive taking into  consideration what it offers. The one with drum brakes in the front is slightly cheaper. By going conventional though, Bajaj has entered a very competitive arena, but have a potent gladiator for the same.

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