With good features, styling and excellent pricing, Bajaj Discover 125ST is a worthy successor to its popular predecessors, writes Rishad Cooper
The Discover has played an important role in the success story of Bajaj in the high volume sub-125cc segment. It has been well received since its launch in 2004 and since then has got several upgrades with a 100cc, 110, 135 and Discover 150 taking to our roads. The Discover 125ST (Sports Touring) marks the biggest step forward to date, with significant changes across the board. It looks different, comes powered by a new engine and rides atop upgraded suspension.
The Discover 125ST looks exactly as it should, modern, edgy and smart, all the while unmistakably still a Discover at heart. The family resemblance can’t be missed, but it’s now a little bit more macho, with several detailed improvements visible all over the bike. You can’t help but admire the ST’s multi-spoke alloy wheels, and its smart front disc brake with a meticulously designed, drilled rotor carrier.
There’s a lot of black on the lower half of this new bike, and the headlight is bright and well-focused, making night riding a well lit affair. The motorcycle comes with a petite, tinted visor, and new age mirrors that work to provide a wide field of distortion-free rear vision. Among the nicest bits on the ST is its broad, superbly turned-out instrument counter, with a massive, easy-to-read speedometer, odometer, trip-counter and fuel gauge in attendance. Bajaj standard switches are provided, these working as crisply and smoothly as the best. The clutch and front brake levers feel solid and work well too. What the new Discover could however do with are better palm grips, for these impart a more plasticky, less rubbery feel than desired.
We’ve no such complaints against the rubberised foot brake pedal that provides nice feel when braking, more so when enhancing low grip levels in wet conditions. And if that wasn’t a good enough bonus, there are exotic alloy footrests for the rider and pillion. The ST’s exposed O’ring-sealed chain requires more care and maintenance than an enclosed chain, but does help the bike look so much more sporty.
A neat tail-light section sits housed in a tastefully turned-out tail-fairing unit. All in all, the Discover 125ST ticks all the right styling boxes, until you spot its overly imposing rear tyre huggers. Having tested this bike in the thick of the monsoons, we can vouch for their working well when protecting us from road muck, but there’s surely much room for aesthetic improvement.
Excellent paint luster, good fit-finish and overall quality are part of the new Discover.
The 125 ST is the first Discover to use a four-valve head. It’s a 124.58cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine with near-square bore and stroke measures, 54mm x 54.4mm, and uses Bajaj’s winning twin spark plug (DTS-i) technology. Another positive on the new bike is its upgrading to a CV-type carburettor, while the ST also comes with a paper filter built into the fuel cock, a clever addition in India where contaminated petrol remains a harsh, everyday reality. Bajaj’s R&D department are renowned for routinely churning out intelligent motorcycle innovations, and one to be found on the new Discover is its engine block using corrugated design cooling-fins, the company claiming this helps the air-cooled engine to achieve 28 per cent better heat dissipation.
Peak power exploding from within the ST’s pent roof combustion chamber is 12.82bhp at 9000rpm, while maximum torque from this engine is 1.08kgm at 6500rpm. Bajaj’s ExhausTEC is deployed, which is a resonance chamber to boost low-end power delivery.
The new Discover uses a slick, heel-and-toe shifted five-speed gearbox that operates in a one-down, four-up pattern. Clutch feel is, likewise, nice on the 125ST and all five gear ratios feel well matched to the engine’s power output.
The engine is, quite simply, an all-round good performer, effortlessly piling on the revs when hustled, always staying smooth throughout a wide powerband.
It’s also a quick enough motorcycle for its segment, faster than the previous Discover, it completed the 0-60kph dash in 6.01 seconds and goes on to achieve an adequate, true top speed of 105kph.
The Discover 125ST is a comfortable motorcycle that fits its role of a daily commuter bike well. The riding position is upright, and seat plush and wide, helping to make this the most relaxed Discover we’ve tested to date. Its single downtube steel frame bifurcates into dual tubes that cradle the engine, meeting a sturdy, rectangle section swingarm supported on needle roller bearings.
Telescopic front suspension works to smoothen the rough in front, while the ST is the first Discover to deploy an adjustable, nitrogen charged (Nitrox) monoshock at the rear.
The handlebar and footrests are comfortably set and this bike steers with a light, neutral feel. Ride quality is nice too, the suspension consistently doing a good job in our demanding Indian road conditions. Handling is likewise sure-footed, and stable, the ST going round corners with adequate confidence for its segment. Apart from which we found the TVS tyres on our test bike providing us adequate traction.
The 125ST comes with a 200mm front disc brake, which provides decent bite and feel at the lever. The new Discover stopped in 18.68 metres from 60kph during brake testing with us. The Discover 125ST, while not the most fuel efficient motorcycle on the block, does well for a 125 with fair performance, returning us 47.3kpl in the city. It further improved on this to deliver 51.5kpl when cruising on the highway.
Bajaj has another winner on its hands, with the Discover offering good features, styling and a killer pricing. It has improved in almost all areas over its predecessors, which is why we’re convinced the ST is ready for tomorrow, and looking good to make a worthy successor following in the footsteps of its popular predecessors.