The Bajaj CT 125X is the manufacturer’s new competitor in the 125cc commuter space and is the new, bigger sibling of the existing CT 110X motorcycle. The Pune-based manufacturer has stayed away from the 125cc segment for a while, and now, the bike has its work cut out with established rivals including the Honda Shine and Hero Glamour to contend with. Let us see what it is like.
In line with its utilitarian nature, Bajaj has done well to give the CT 125X a rugged and tough appearance. Elements such as the fork gaiters, the beefy metal belly pan, engine guard and the luggage rack not only look nice, but are functional as well, and this is something that will be appreciated by its target audience. The small headlight grille, black alloys, engine casing and body panels also help to make it stand out from other commuters.
Build quality is also acceptable for this price point. The material does feel a bit built to a cost, but feel solid, which helps exude that sense of toughness that Bajaj is going for. The switchgear too looks basic, but is nice to operate and Bajaj has also given it a pass switch.
The CT 125X is rather basic when it comes to features, with a few nice touches for the price. The larger CT sibling makes do with a simple halogen headlamp and analogue instrumentation, but it does get an LED DRL, a conveniently-placed USB charging port and tubeless tyres (unlike the CT 110), which buyers will like.
The 124cc engine found in the CT is new to India, but Bajaj has been using it in export models for a while. This unit puts out 10.9hp and 11Nm, which is 2.3hp and around 1.2Nm more than the CT 110X. Much like Bajaj’s other commuters, it uses an e-carburettor, which is something unique to Bajaj products in the Indian commuter segment. The company says that it has worked on creating a flat torque curve, so much so that 90% of peak torque is available from 3,500rpm all the way up to 8,000rpm. And this is something you actually feel once you get going.
The CT 125X feels tractable and builds speed in a linear manner, with no real flat spots in the powerband. You can even potter around in fifth gear as low as 40kph and the CT will accelerate without much complaint. Bajaj claims the CT 125X will deliver between 55 and 60kpl in the real world. However, refinement is an area where this motor falls short of the 125cc segment benchmark. It is smooth enough at normal speeds, but feels gruff at high revs, which also bring in some buzz in the handlebars and foot pegs.
The gearbox is a 5-speed unit with an all-down shift pattern, which will take some getting used to if you are coming from the now conventional one-down four-up format.
The 125X, like the 110X, uses a double cradle frame, but instead of being constructed from round tubes, Bajaj has gone for a square cross-section, claiming that it increases rigidity. Suspension duties are handled by a telescopic fork and twin shock absorbers, with the latter being adjustable for preload. With my lightweight frame onboard, the set-up did feel a bit firm at low speeds, but it is worth keeping in mind that this bike is designed to carry a pillion and/or other heavy loads too, and should not become an issue for most buyers.
In terms of the wheel size, Bajaj has opted for 17-inchers, unlike the 18-inchers you see on most of its rivals. The bike rides well, without any feeling of flighty-ness or instability, so it is not really an issue. The company has also opted to use tubeless, road-biased tyres as opposed to the semi-knobby, tubed tyres on the smaller CT, as the 125 is expected to have some highway capability.
As for the ergonomics, you are seated on the CT in an upright and comfortable manner. The 810mm seat height is a bit taller than its competitors though, but most people should still be able to get both feet down with reasonable ease. Overall, riding the CT125X is an easy affair thanks to its light controls and slender dimensions. The only let down is the seat cushioning, which feels too firm.
Where the CT really scores is in the pricing. With a starting price of ₹71,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi), the CT 125X is priced on par with the lower-capacity Hero Splendor. Meanwhile, the higher-spec Disc variant of the CT 125X costs ₹74,554 and with the likes of the Honda Shine and Hero Glamour starting at around ₹78,000 and going up to around ₹82,000, Bajaj has a significant price advantage over its rivals.
Sure, it feels built to a cost and does not have some features that you find in a Honda Shine, such as the silent start and a kill switch, but the CT 125X’s appeal is in its rugged and tough nature. While it may not appeal to many buyers in Tier-1 cities, buyers in rural areas who just want a dependable, tough and utilitarian workhorse of a motorcycle will see the value in the CT 125X. To top it all, buying the Bajaj will also save you around ₹7,000 to ₹8,000 over its competitors, and that is bound to seal the deal for many.