Why buy it?
Purposeful and sturdy build
Offers on par package compared to expensive rivals
Most affordable bike in the 125cc segment
Why avoid it?
Gets a clunky gearbox
Stiff ride for a commuter bike
No stand-out factor apart from a low asking price
Bajaj launched the CT125X in India a few months back, making it the most affordable 125cc motorcycle in the market. The new CT125X is aimed at buyers looking for durability and utility while commuting long distances throughout the day. During our short stint with the CT125X, we tried to find out whether it can live up to its tagline, and does it have what it takes to be a reliable commuter, or has the quest for a low asking price affected the overall package.
The CT’s design looks quite simple, practical, and rugged. It gets a bulb headlight with an LED DRL above it and a couple of metal grills for added protection. Then, the gaitered forks and belly pan contribute to the rough look and we aren’t complaining. For added convenience, Bajaj has also provided it with a small luggage rack at the rear and its claimed capacity is about 5kg. In fact, this rack seems quite sturdy and durable, so adding an extra kilogram or so over the limit shouldn’t really be a problem.
Further, the CT125X gets blacked-out parts with green body colour that make for a good contrasting theme. The ribbed seat cover also adds to the aesthetics and practicality by providing adequate grip. Even the build quality is fairly decent. Thus, the overall paint, plastic quality, welds, and consistent panel gaps give the CT an upper hand in terms of fit and finish.
Bajaj has plonked a 124.4cc single-cylinder air-cooled motor in the CT125X. It belts out 10.75bhp and 11Nm and is mated to a five-speed gearbox. This unit sits in a square tube, semi-double-cradle frame, unlike the CT110X’s single down tube unit. Bajaj says the 125X’s frame is more rigid and has better strength too.
Now, you can buy the CT125X in two trims: drum and disc brake. The price difference between the two variants is Rs 3,200, and the disc brake model benefits from a saree guard, an extended footrest, as well as Bajaj’s patented mechanical CBS system where the rear brake controls the front. And the braking hardware here comprises a 240mm front disc/130mm front drum along with a 130mm rear drum brake. Further, both models ride on 17-inch alloys wrapped in 80/100 front and 100/90 rear tyres.
Considering its purpose and pricing, the CT 125X packs a pretty decent list of features. Apart from the LED DRL, it gets a USB charging port and an engine cut-off sensor. Even for its console, the CT gets dual analog pods with all the run-off-the-mill data like the speedometer, odometer, fuel level readout, and neutral indicator. All of this data is laid out quite well and the console is easy to read even when you are on the move.
Some of the deciding factors for a commuter bike are ergonomics and comfort. And the CT checks these boxes. First, its handlebar is inclined towards the rider and the footpegs are centre-set. This duo provides a fairly upright and comfortable rider triangle. To put things into perspective, I’m 5’10, and the seat height of 800mm did not feel too tall and allowed me to rest my foot flat and with ease. Even the seat width contributes to it and is in no way uncomfortable. Moreover, the seat is flat and spacious for both the rider and the pillion. Even for taller riders, the CT shouldn't feel cramped or uncomfortable, given its overall size and how compact it looks.
With a kerb weight of 131.5kg, the Bajaj CT125X weighs about 6-7kg more than its rivals like the Super Splendor and Honda Shine. However, it still feels quite easy to move around, be it in a tight parking spot or when getting on/off the centre stand.
Talking about the performance, the CT accelerates in a very linear fashion as the motor builds up the revs gradually. The torque spread is also quite even throughout the range, and the engine is decently tractable when you ride it in a gear higher even at low speeds. Overall, the throttle feels decently responsive to the inputs.
Now, the bike rides comfortably at city speeds of 0-40kmph in third and fourth gear. And for flowing traffic, we found that the CT was smoother to ride in the second or third gear as the first one is quite short and the bike stays on the edge with constant on and off throttle transition.
Take it on the highway and the bike feels at home at about 70-75kmph, post which the vibrations creep in from the handlebar as well as the footpegs. That said, the vibes aren’t intense and don't affect your overall riding experience.
Although Bajaj claims a top speed of about 97kmph for the CT, the speedometer only displayed between 85-90kmph during our test ride. When ridden closer towards the top speed, the engine's rugged character is even more evident.
Being a commuter means the CT’s gearbox will see constant shifts throughout the cogs. And that’s what we did during our ride. While we found the upshifts to be borderline smooth, the downshifts were a tad rough. Moreover, the second and third gears specifically are a bit tricky to engage. So you’ll need a little extra effort there.
All of this is nestled in a frame that Bajaj claims to be much more robust and an aid in overall handling. Not to mention, tipping and turning this bike into the corners was fairly easily. And even with such a light structure, the CT is quite stable on the highways too.
With an inclination towards durability and long-distance commutes, the CT is likely to encounter both good and bad roads, thus demanding a supple ride quality. However, the CT’s rear suspension feels a bit stiff when ridden over undulated patches and sends minor jolts to your back. That said, if you have a pillion or some sort of added weight at the rear, we feel the rear springs would respond a bit differently and the ride would be a tad softer.
Last but not least, the braking. Our test bike was equipped with a front disc and rear drum brake. While the front brake had an adequate bite and the lever progression was also nice, the rear drum could do better with a tad more bite.
Should You Buy It?
With the stiff rear springs and a clunky gearbox being two minuses in our books, the overall package that Bajaj is offering in the form of CT125X felt quite balanced. It gets a solid build, decent engine performance, comfortable rider triangle, spacious seat, good handling, and on-par features. So, it’s right there against its rivals like the Super Splendor and the Honda Shine which are priced around Rs 81,000 (ex-showroom Delhi) for their disc brake models. In fact, the CT 125X’s asking price is notably less at Rs 74,554 (ex-showroom Delhi).
So, if you are looking for an affordable commuter that can cover ground, and take a fair beating on the roads, the CT125X could be a viable option. To know about its mileage, day-to-day commute, and more, we recommend you watch this space for a comprehensive road test review of the Bajaj CT125X.
Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi