The latest Bajaj Discover has got more than just a facelift. The 125 ST is a whole new motorcycle
Ever since its launch in 2004, Bajaj’s Discover has been a hit with the buyers. There have been several upgrades since, with Bajaj introducing a wide variety of 100, 110, 135 and even 150cc variants. The ST badge on the latest 125cc Discover stands for Sports Touring, and represents what should surely mark the biggest leap in the Discover’s voyage this far. Let’s take a closer look.
Although the latest-generation Discover 125 hasn’t given up its family resemblance, it shows off noticeably edgy styling, with more macho lines and a host of design detail tweaks that do a good job of embellishing the new bike. The wide headlight fairing — a Discover trademark — is in place, and now even wider-flared and more modern to look at. A halogen bulb is standard, as is a smartly creased, tinted visor and new, nicely formed mirrors that also proved functional during our ride.
The ST enjoys readable instruments, with a prominently displayed speedometer, an odometer, trip-counter and fuel gauge all present. While the switches and levers felt right and worked well, we’re still unhappy with the ST’s palm grips which have a more plastic feel. Rubberised control pedals are a bonus on this bike, and help it feel a bit more reassuring when using the rear brake. Plus, there are new footrests made of alloy, which is pleasantly also the lightweight material of choice for the sub-frame sections that hold the pillion pegs.
The ST comes with sporty, minimal cladding for its O-ring-sealed drive chain, and the tail-light section is far improved on the new motorcycle.
Whatever styling tidy-up resulted from doing away with the dual rear shock absorbers, however, has been undone by the visual clutter of the ST’s rear tyre-huggers, which Bajaj can surely improve on. While we’ve little against the splash protector extending backward from the swingarm, the unit covering the back of the wheel is much too bulbous, and spoils much of the motorcycle’s clean styling.
The Discover 125 ST deploys a four-stroke, air-cooled engine, displacing 124.58cc and relying on Bajaj’s proven twin-spark-plug DTS-i technology for efficiency. The single cylinder measures near-square, with a bore and stroke of 54 by 54.4mm, while there’s been an upgrade to a four-valve head above the pent-roof-design combustion chamber. Fuelling is via a CV-type carburettor, still a rare and premium feature on 125cc bikes in India, and Bajaj has incorporated a paper-element filter in the fuel cock, a smart move in a country like India where contaminated petrol remains a reality.
A big improvement on the new Discover is the engine block making a 28 per cent improvement in heat dissipation by using corrugated cooling fins instead of conventional straight fins. Clever!
Peak power developed by this new engine is 12.82bhp at 9000rpm. The maximum torque output of the ST is 1.08kgm at 6500rpm, and the silencer includes Bajaj’s ExhausTEC resonance system to aid low- and mid-range power delivery.
The Discover 125 ST uses a five-speed, one-down, four-up pattern, heel-and-toe-operated gearbox with well-spaced ratios that riders will be able to shift through precisely and smoothly, without any unwanted surprises thrown their way. Clutch feel is adequate too. This engine is punchy — a willing revver that stays delightfully smooth and refined throughout its hiccup-free powerband.
The Discover 125 ST charges from a standstill to the 60kph barrier in 6.01 seconds — a perceptible couple of tenths faster than the older Discover, with top speed a true 105kph.
This new Bajaj ranks among the fastest 125s in India, despite which we expect fuel efficiency to be good as well, as on most Bajaj bikes that use twin-spark-plug technology.
The riding position is upright, with the rider’s footrests forward-set. You can’t miss the plush, wide seat on this bike, and the ST is among the more comfortable Discovers to date. Its frame is made up of a single tube extending downwards into dual tubes that cradle the engine. Telescopic fork front suspension works together with a completely new, nitrogen-charged (Nitrox) monoshock at the rear, which works without linkage assistance.
The Discover 125 ST steers with a light feel, and handling is sure-footed and stable all the time.
The bike corners with confidence, and we were pleasantly surprised to find the TVS tyres on our test bike providing ample grip, even while pushing the bike hard and during hard braking. Speaking of which, you couldn’t hope for better brakes — a 200mm petal-type disc in front provides strong bite and good feel at the lever, with the bike holding its line even when braking on the limit.
This is practically a whole new motorcycle, and you can no longer accuse Bajaj of trying to get away with doing too little. Expect the Discover 125 ST to be priced to win, as are most Bajaj models, and to be amongst the best 125cc commuter motorcycles money can buy in India.