Yamaha 135LC 5-speed: Is It A Good Buy?

Yamaha 135LC Extreme Spirit at GTMax Motors

Most of underbone riders in Malaysia are excited to know that HLYM has introduced the 2011 Yamaha 135LC Extreme Spirit with 5-speed. The features fitted to it are way beyond the ‘normal’ criteria of an underbone bike for it class. The brakes are upgraded to fully disc brake setup with the front equipped with 297mm disc plate with 2-piston caliper and the rear with 190mm disc plate with 1-piston Nissin caliper. At first, I thought the rear brake caliper is the same model with the Y125Z rear brake caliper which is 2-piston equipped. In Thailand, the another version of Y135LC ES that is the X1R has been equipped with rear disc brake setup long time ago and has been followed by 135LC riders here to have their bike equipped with rear disc brake too. What the fuss actually about fitting the rear disc brake? It is about three thing;

1. It absolutely more powerful than a drum brake setup, 2. Disc brake are easy to maintain. One of my friend never changed the rear brake disc pad for almost 10 years and it still works (this depends on how you drive, my friend is absolutely not a racer, but if you never use the rear brake at all, the pad can last a lifetime) and last one, 3. It looks so damn nice on the bike! I have been waiting for a bike under 150cc with rear disc brake setup for years, but only to see Yamaha 125Z, Suzuki Shogun and now the Y135LC ES to have this configuration. Having a full disc brake setup can help a lot in terms of safety, you can absolutely brake faster and more confident when there is a need arises. Anyway, some racer of Y125Z and RX-Z, they like to have their rear brake removed and depend only on the front disc brake. Well, it is up to you. For me, I like rear disc brake setup.
Another features that is great about this Y135LC ES is the use of wider wheel from Enkei. This wheel set are made in Vietnam, but since the name carries the word Enkei, I think the factory there need to adhere to the quality and specification stated by Enkei company in Japan. The wheels are available only in black colour with red lining along the lips of the wheel. The red lining are not stickers, it is painted to the wheel so there is no risk of it being peeled off after some soaking in the rain or when it is being wash. Mind you, never send your bike to a car wash! Wash it yourself or never wash it at all. What the benefit of having wide wheels? I can think of two thing; 1. A wider wheel can withstand heavier load, so this means that having a heavy and fat pillion rider will not affect the tyre in terms of stability, 2. Cornering with this wider wheel should be more interesting and more confident (in fact, it is. I have tried it!). All of the bikes in Malaysian Cub Prix series uses a special race model wheel (which you can buy) that is in the size of 1.85 front and 2.50 rear. The added width provides better contact from the tyre to the asphalt which means added grip. Yamaha are known to always comes out with bikes with great cornering character. Wider wheels also have some added weight which deficits it fuel efficiency. I think that is a good compromise to sacrifice the fuel for better handling. This actually will make the modders happy since there is no need to upgrade for aftermarket wheel to get the wider setup after the modders already upped the performance of their Y135LC ES. The early ES circa 2006-2010 has been able to extract 19hp from its engine with medium heavy modification. The stock output is just at 12hp, so 19hp is almost double the engine performance. For comparison, Yamaha RX-Z 2-stroke output is at 21hp and 2011 Honda CBR250R is at 26hp. So, few more extreme modification can bring this bike to close the gap of power output. Wider wheel sent more power to asphalt with added grip and at the same time eliminate excessive wheel spin.
The introduction of 5-speed gearbox to this King of Moped has made it more exclusive than ever. But this doesn’t relate to higher top speed as I thought. Ghani has test drive this bike for 700km trip from KL-Kuantan-KL and found out that the top speed for the bike is only at 120km/h. I also heard a lot about this top speed issue from other Y135LC ES rider, salesmen at GTMax and also from my friend who owns this bike. What I can say about this 5-speed gearbox is that, the rider will have better control of the RPM for the wheel traction with additional one more gear at disposal. One more thing that I notice with this gearbox is that engine will be sounding very silent while you are on the top gear. The top gear are also overdrive, which means that the 5th gear is rotating much faster that the crankshaft revolution. This, in theory, can mean higher top speed and much better fuel efficiency. Again, you already know the top speed of this bike is only at 120km/h. I think, the bike must have some kind of RPM or ignition cut-off (my theory only) from its CDI that limits the power output. But, I also heard from another rider that has changed his CDI to LHK brand but still no change at top speed. Still at 120km/h. Maybe we should wait for the BRT PowerMax version(or is it already available?). I always think that a bike should achieve at least 140km/h in stock condition. In 1990-2001, this statement is true with the presence Yamaha SS/SS II, 125Z/ZR, Suzuki RG/RGV/RGX, Kawasaki K1 and Honda Hurricane. All of these bike easily reach 140km/h and beyond since they are all 2-stroke bikes! Top speed are still important when discussing about small bikes since we want to know how fast can we go with that small and limited features of the engine.
With all these important features available to the Y135LC ES, it has also become a poison for itself. This is because this bike will become a prized item for a thief! This also relate to a higher insurance for any bike which carries the Yamaha name on it. Last week, my friend tells me that he has lost his Y125ZR which he just bought few months ago. Terrible!
This writing are based on my experience with the bike and with my limited knowledge of the biking scene. You can have different opinion than me and I respect your different views about it. So, in the end, is it a good buy? I don’t know! It is up you.

Co-founder of Bikes Republic and a motoring journalist by night. He is a self described enthusiasts with a passion for speed but instead rides a Harley and a J300. A man of contradictions, he is just as passionate about time off in the quiets as he is about trail braking into turn one at Sepang Circuit on two or four wheels.

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