Jun 18, 2012

48 Ride Review: Bajaj Discover 125ST - “Mass Appeal”

Ride review of the Discover 125ST..


Photo Credit: Gourab Das

The Discover series of bikes has been a runaway success for Bajaj Auto in the “Deluxe Commuter” category (the category above the entry level motorcycles). Well known as an extremely fuel efficient brand, the Discover has found favor among both the young and mature commuter crowd. Launched in 2004, Bajaj has managed to keep the Discover brand fresh with timely upgrades. These upgrades included changes in the engine platform to cosmetic/feature upgrades. But till now the silhouette has always been essentially the same as the one launched in 2004.

The Discover 125ST which represents the next generation Discover and also the flagship variant (older Discover models will be on sale alongside) is an all new model altogether. Everything about the Discover 125ST is brand new including the styling, engine, chassis and the ride experience. I take one for a test ride to “Discover” more about it.


Discover 125ST in a nutshell:

USP (Unique Selling Proposition): Discover brand name, handsome big looks for its segment, first in segment monoshock suspension

Good Bits: Surprisingly “fun” handling for a commuter, rev happy 4 valve DTS-I engine

Things that could improve: Features like a digital speedo display, LED tail lamps can be re-introduced


What does the "ST" in Discover 125ST stand for?

According to Bajaj, the “ST” in the name stands for "Sports Tourer". This is not to be confused with the Recreational Touring kind of bikes but more in terms of an Indian commuter who does long distance travel and an endeavor to make his commute less stressful.


Styling, Design, Fit and Finish: “Elevates from Deluxe Commuter to Stylish Commuter

In flesh the Discover 125ST doesn’t look like a 125 cc and can easily pass of as a 150 cc bike. The bike has handsome and muscular proportions and looks much bigger than the current Discover 125 or the Honda Shine. Resemblance to the current Discover range is there in the form of tail lights which have a similar design theme, the chrome masked headlamp and also the decals remind you of the older/current Discover models. But apart from that the rest of the bike is different.

Personally I would have preferred a simpler design for the alloys and the rear mudguard/hugger. The Discover 125ST is a Déjà vu of a couple of bikes. The headlamp for example reminds that of the Pulsar, from the sides the tank has traces of that of the Suzuki GS150R (accentuated by the scooped rider seat) and the rear panels of the bike has very Honda Unicorn type of lines (the monoshock only adds to it). Before anyone cries copycat, the Discover 125ST somehow clicks visually and after spending some time with it, even starts to appear distinctive.

The design intent of the new model is definitely sportier but at the same time it does not let go of its commuter roots. If the old/current Discover caters to the “Deluxe Commuter” category (with bikes like the Hero Splendor, Honda Shine etc.), the new Discover 125ST now addresses the “Stylish Commuter” category (which has got bikes like the Yamaha SS125, Hero Glamour, Honda CBF Stunner). The fit and finish is at par with the other offerings in this segment. It would have been good to have a digital speedometer display and LED tail lamp (this one actually mimics the design of the LED taillamp of the current Discover) though.


Ergonomics, Riding Stance: “No-nonsense, Good Boy ergonomics

The new Discover 125ST might have slight sporty intent in its design, but swinging a leg over the scooped rider’s seat will instantly make it obvious that it is basically a no-nonsense commuter. The foot pegs are placed forward and the handlebars are placed at a comfortable height. The handle bar-seat-foot peg relationship makes you feel like an obedient and responsible “good boy”.

My short legs are very sensitive to seat height and let me state that the rider’s seat on the Discover 125ST is one of the best for short guys. The scooped seat makes it possible for short legs to place both feet with confidence on the road. At the same time the tank recesses are designed in such a manner that it provides ample space for guys with long legs to get a proper and comfortable grip. The Discover 125ST might look big in size (compared to other commuter bikes), but the weight is distributed on the bike in such a manner that it has a light front end which results in an easy to maneuver, light and easy handling. The turning radius is also small, resulting in very easy and tight u-turns.

In short the ergonomics on the Discover 125ST is a commuter’s delight with no sporty intent whatsoever.


Engine Performance: “4 Valve head makes for an unstressed top end

Commuter motorcycles are usually about low and mid range performance. Most commuters hardly take their bikes above 60-70 kmph. Therefore every commuter bike out there including the old/current Discover models are tuned to perform at low-mid engine speeds. The new Discover 125ST becomes the first bike in the “commuter” category to feature a 4 valve head. This lets the engine breathe easily at higher engine revs and the light valve train ensures a stress free power delivery of 13PS from the 125 cc DTS-i (Digital Twin Spark Ignition) engine. The power/torque delivery is linear and the gearing on the bike ensures that the bike has enough poke at low speeds. One can easily potter around at speeds as low as 35 kmph in top gear (5’th) and yet pick up cleanly without any snatching.

The Discover 125ST does around 70 kmph quite cleanly. It is the performance post 70 kmph which comes as a surprise for a commuter. The engine feels unstressed and eager to rev even when the speedometer needle goes past the 90 kmph and breaches a speedo indicated 100 kmph plus speeds. The 4 valves per cylinder does its job well here. The engine and exhaust note remains quite civil and quiet till the 70 kmph mark, but as the speedo needle goes past that mark, the exhaust note makes a pronounced sporty grunt. The engine might feel unstressed doing 90-100 kmph but then at those speeds you do get to experience “sporty vibes” (pun intended). Nothing disturbing but just a mild tingling sensation at the foot pegs and handle bars.

The older Bajaj built engines had a snatchy feel to it. But of late the new generation of Bajaj built engines like the XCD 135, Pulsar 135LS and the current Discover models has got a well built and built to last feel to it. The Discover 125ST is built on the same platform of new generation engines and has got similar well built feel to it. One noteworthy feature of this new 125 cc, 4 valve engine air cooled engine is the cooling fins which have a "corrugated" design. This reportedly helps in increasing the cooling rate of the engine.


Clutch & Gearbox: “All izz well

The clutch is delightfully light for a commuter and the 5 speed (one down - four up) gearbox does its duty well. The gears ratios are spaced in such a manner that it makes for an effortless ride for a city commute.


Ride and Handling: “The ghost of Karizma

Commuter bikes are not meant to attack corners or play “Rossi” on the streets. Also barring the Pulsar 135LS, Bajaj bikes are never spoken for their handling prowess. But the handling of the Discover 125ST made my jaw drop. The Discover 125ST takes corners in a manner which is eerily reminiscent of the Hero Karizma.

Like the Discover 125ST, the Karizma has got a light front end. Around corners the Karizma feels like it’s got over steering tendency (getting into a corner too fast) which puts the heart in the mouth of the first time rider but as the bike enters into the corner, the chassis somehow keeps the bike in a straight and stable line and the corner is taken smoothly. This makes even dumb novices feel like “Wow.. I can corner too..!!

Bajaj seems to have somehow cloned the handling characteristic of the Karizma on the Discover 125ST..!! The Discover 125ST handles almost exactly like how it feels on the Karizma. i.e. enters into a corner bit too eagerly, but somehow the bike maintains its line and makes a clean exit. Leaving a “Main bhi Rossi” impression on the rider.

I hope you noticed that the Discover 125ST is the first sub 150 cc commuter bike in India to feature a monoshock suspension (its got Gas Filled “Nitrox” can as well). Even at max speed the Discover 125ST retains its composure and its very stable on the road. The ride is slightly on the sporty/firmer side but nevertheless is comfortable.


Brakes: “Decent for a commuter but can be better

The 200 mm front disc brake offers better stopping than drum brakes would but it needs a bit more effort from someone who is used to modulating the front brakes of bikes with 1 or 2 fingers. Considering most Indian commuters still apply the rear brakes more than the front brakes, I guess the current set up would do just fine with them.


Fuel Efficiency: “Typical Fuel Efficienct Discover genes

Discovers are well known for their fuel efficiency figures and the Discover 125ST is no different. The Discover 125ST should easily return a fuel efficiency figure of 60-65 Kmpl under normal riding conditions.


Colors:

1. Black with blue decals
2. Black with red decals
3. Red with red decals


Price:

The Discover 125ST is already on sale in Pune, Maharashtra and the On road price seems to be around Rs. 60,000. Which makes the Discover 125ST about Rs. 2,000 lesser than the top variant of the Honda CB Shine (Rs. 62,000 on road Pune) and about Rs. 4,000 more than the current Discover 125 (Rs. 55,913 on road Pune).


Conclusion: “Stylish looks and features but with strong commuter values. The handling zapped me..”

The Discover 125ST looks big and handsome, has got features to showoff like the first in class monoshock and 4 valve engine and got an extremely agile and sporty handling with comfortable ergonomics. Fuel efficiency has never been an issue with Discover (and Bajaj) bikes.

The Discover 125ST has the makings of a best seller. The bike might not attract the “Sporty Commuter” crowd (the market for Pulsar, Apache, FZ etc.) but at an on road price of around Rs. 60,000 it seems like a fair deal. Most importantly for Bajaj despite the sporty intent in its styling, the Discover 125ST still retains its “Mass Appeal”.



Discover 125ST Technical Specifications

ENGINE
Type: 4 Valve Twin Spark Air Cooled
Engine Displacement : 124.6cc
Max.Net Power: 13 Ps @ 9000 rpm
Max.net Torque: 10.79 Nm (1.1 kgm) @ 7000 rpm
Ignition System Digital CDI
Carburetor: CV type
Starting: Self + kick start
Transmission: 5 Speed Constant mesh

CHASSIS
Frame : Semi Double cradle
Front Suspension: Telescopic Fork with Anti-friction DU Bush
Rear Suspension: Nitrox Monoshock with gas canister
Front Brake: Petal Disc 200 mm
Rear Brake: Drum 130 mm
Front wheel / tyre: New design alloy / 2.75 X 17” 41P Tube Type
Rear wheel / tyre: New design alloy / 3.00 X 17” 50P Tube Type

DIMENSIONS
Fuel Tank: 10 L
Wheelbase: 1305 mm
Seat Height: 800 mm
Turning Circle Radius: 2100 mm
Ground Clearance: 170 mm
Kerb Weight: 124.5 kg
Max Speed: 105 kmph

ELECTRICALS
System: DC Ignition
Battery: 12V 5AH




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Disclaimer:

This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.





48 Comments:

Sajal said...

Very nice to see one of the very first review of a newly launched motorcycle coming from you :) and amazing review as always (I learn so much from your reviews every time I read them).

Question : Do, you really feel that mono shock suspension was really needed for a bike of this genre?? I'm saying this because, first, it would bump up the price a bit, and secondly, for the majority janta who would be eyeing this motorcycle, the usability of the twin shock suspension setup is gone... what say?

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@Sajal,

Thanks for liking the review bro.

About your query on the monoshock, technically a monoshock is preferred over conventional dual shocks as it centralizes the suspension. Also damping rates of the dual suspension can almost never be equal.

Also thanks to models like the Unicorn, FZ, R15.. according to me the common people are now quite aware and ready to accept monoshocks.

Sanket Kambli said...

good review.. and the bike has got everything going for it except the mish-mash looks..
as usual looks like VFM Bajaj bike..
................
how will you rate the firm ride as compared to honda twister..

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@Sanketh

I like the engine of the Twister immensly. Twister's engine is very smooth and a very good low and mid range performance.

Both bikes will appeal to different kinds of people. The Discover 125ST has a big bike (for a 125 cc) look and Twister will appeal to those who are looking for edgy looks

Sajal said...

@Payeng Dude

I was coming more from the point of view of people like sales persons, people who carry heavy back luggage in their day to day commute, people who are actually the bread and butter of the 125cc commuter segment, people who would buy a non-faired 125cc high mileage motorcycle to just do the work, carry the bulk and still give a good average on the buck. I've seen most of them using the twin shock fitment as an extra strut to tie the bulk they are carrying.

Most of these people generally don't use motorcycles like Unicorn or the FZ or the R15 as these are so called "performance or premium" motorcycles and do not justify that 125cc catering janta. Once I had a little discussion with the doodh waala who comes at my house, the local property dealer who is always on the go, one of my friend's brother who's a sales person, together and all of them use 100-125cc machines and believe me, none of them cared about anything about handling, braking, cornering, suspension setting, that I was trying to make them understand. All they cared about how smooth the engine was, how much less maintenance was needed and how much average was returned from the motorcycle... that's it. That's why I was thinking that giving the mono-shock, bumping up the price and still going for tubed tires, made the equation a bit confusing for me.

Anonymous said...

good job payeng bro.waiting for pulsar 200 NS reviews.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@Sajal,

I guess that's why the current Discover (with twin rear shocks) has been retained

Gunawan MS said...

There's a buyer for every product, Bajaj only has to make sure that there would be enough of them, to make sure that producing this particular motorbike is profitable.

Anonymous said...

since the bike comes at 60K what would be a better option...get this as it has monoshocks and very good handling or pay 5K more and get the p135(have seen many p135 having rust on rear shocks + a very hard seat)

both are entry level bikes so wud the performance matter too much to the rider who is graduating from a 100cc or may be a first time rider

wud one regret not going for p135 if he bought a d125st

or wud one regret not going for d125st if he bought a p135

personally love the speedlines black blue combo...but doesnt have the monoshock and petal discs

hero said...

Thanks very much. I was waiting for the review of this 125 cc bike

n3il said...

Great Review. I have a question, I am looking forward to buy my first bike. I am 23. I have shortlisted 2 bike i.e. Yamaha SZ-R and Discover 124 ST. I understand both cannot be compared as Yamaha SZ-R is 150 cc but cc is not very important for me. Following are the my requirements from an bike please suggest me which one to buy:

1. Travelling to office and at night to chill and cruse around with friends.
2. Looks is important.
3. Mileage above 45 is good enough for me.
4. Budget upto Rs.65k
5. I feel kick start is important which SZ-R does not offer.

Which bike would you recommend? You can also suggest me a bike apart from these 2.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@n3il,

Nowadays nobody makes bad bikes. Both the SZ-R and Discover 125ST are good bikes. The SZ-R now comes with kick starter as well

Choice is yours

Gunawan MS said...

LOL, Yamaha SZ-R, a 150cc bike with 12 PS max power output, but 134 Kg of kerb weight, not much of performance to be expected eh ? And fuel economy won't be impressive too i suppose (fact that the engine seems to be a derivative of FZ engine, and that bike is a gas guzzler of 150cc class). But gotta admit the design is quite lovely, perfect balance everywhere, just fit in nicely.

n3il said...

Thanks for your reply. Can you recommend me any other bikes with the budget of 70k(Max) ?

Anonymous said...

HI @Payeng Sir, Can your please post a video of the bike as I was interested to hear the exhaust note of this bike. thanks.

dany said...

wat's the type of gear i.e four down or one down four up...

Anonymous said...

Sir I need to buy a bike Honda Shine Disc break Or Bajaj Discover St 125 cc which one is best

Manoj Mahto said...

i want to buy abike having comfortable ,milage, & look kindly suggest either honda shine, bajaj discover,honda twister?

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

Bajaj Discover 125 ST and Honda CB Shine, both are really good bike.

I will tell you few points, and you can decide.

1. If you particularly need mileage and you don't care about anything, just go for Discover 125 St.
2. If you are looking for good mileage and good looking then think,
a. are you a tall person, or you weighing over 75 Kg? To my opinion Discover 125 St is for short peoples, not suitable for Tall persons like me.
b. Think about resale value, Honda bikes have better resale value than bajaj bikes.

3. And i don't think that discover 125 st monoshock will help very much

4. Bajaj enignes are not as good as honda engine... honda engine is more smooth than bajaj

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@Anonymous above

It is your preconceived notions/beliefs that is commenting here.

A tall person is equally at ease on the Discover 125 ST. It's ride quality and more importantly the handling is amazing when compared to other bikes in its class (the new chassis + monoshock gets a lot of credit here).

About Honda engines being smoother: Again that is your preconceined notion/belief speaking. Both the CBF Stunnner and the Shine has got a characteristic vibrations at around 60 kmph and in top gear.

Pradeep said...

Hello,
Thanks for the review.
I'm in dilemma. After lot of research i was ready to buy Yamaha SS125, but after launch of 125ST & it's feature i'm confused. The points which are going against 125ST compared to SS125 is the build quality of Bajaj, can we say build quality are same(engine refinement as well as overall quality)? Also which is best bike in your opinion between these two?
Please suggest.

Kamlesh said...

Super Review bro

Even though the rim size is same the tyres seems to be of different sizes, are they? Any suggestions if anyone would like to upsize the stock tire sizes, which one they should go for?

Thanks for all the reviews and the information you provide, its really helpful, especially the braking info. Ohh, by the way the shivaji maharaj pose was cool.

Keep Rocking.
Kamlesh shetty

Chethan Srinivas said...

Dude please pip the R15 v2 against CBR 150 and also P220F, it would be an exciting review, 1st two are sport versions, but how would a p220F fair against them is what could be exciting even though they are from different universes. Track and on road is preferable. Because some say the CBR 150 can easily beat its cousin CBR 250, how true i would nt know until you test it.

Ritesh Desai said...

Nice review bro.

Actually I am going to buy a new bike during next festive session....

I have sort listed two bikes.

1. Bajaj 125 ST
2. Honda Unicorn

Could you please suggest, which one is best for mileage and performance. I am very much steady driver with around 40 to 50 kmph max....

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@Ritesh,

Go for the Unicorn if you need little bit more of power and go for the 125ST is you need bit of more mileage


@Pradeep,

The SS125 is a very good bike as well. But somehow it does not sell in big numbers everywhere. Maybe people can't relate simple commuters with Yamaha.

Go for one which you like most

Kundan Chaudhari said...

Respected sir,
Very good review,i liked the way you described each and every part,I wish to purchase a bike this festive season,it would be my first bike,my requirements are
a)good mileage-my daily commute is about 35kms,need mileage to be least 70kms(rising petrol prices,you know)
b)good looks- i am a college student,cant settle on somewhat lean looks.
c)bit power-wont harm me,but its desirable.
please guide me,i need a good reliable bike,thank you.

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@Kundan,

with your mileage requirements a bit high (70 kmpl), you should look at something in the 100-110 cc range.

Look at something like the CB Twister, Dream Yuga, Discover 100, Passion Pro, Splendor etc.

Amiya Kumar said...

I got all query solved. But can you please letme know what is the mileage of 125ST ?

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@Amiya,

One can safely expect around 55-60 kmpl under normal riding in normal traffic conditions

rajmoogles_rsj said...

Hi,

I have sold my old Yamaha Fazer(125cc)and i am thinking to buy a new bike in 1-2 days. i have shortlisted some of bike please suggest me which one is better for me.

Height: 5.4
Budget: 50k-71k
Fuel:weekly 100km
used :office and city ride may be 1-2 long trip on Year.

Shortlisted Bike:-
Yamaha Fz/FZs
Apache 160
Bajaj 125st/pulsar 150/180
Honda Unicorn/Shine

Please help me sir :( Very Confused.

Thanks

Diablo said...

1. Hero Ignitor
2. Bajaj Discover 125 st
3. Yamaha 125 ss
which would be perfect for me ??? I drive arround 100 km/day.
I need a good milage and a bit of stylish looks won't do any harm.
regards.

Anonymous said...

sir i wanna purchase a bike in 125cc segment with good mileage for my father.. i m preferring bajaj discover 125 st and hero glamour fi... which bike will be better in comfort, mileage, and durability...

Prashant said...

Sir,
I'm tall person near about 6 feet & weight is 75 kgs
please suggest me good bike & req. is,
1. stylish look, 2. good milege, 3.low maintainance, 4. best resale but less imp.
my selection is in 125cc bike is 1. Bajaj Discover 125 ST 2. Hero Ignitor.
my selection is in 150cc bike is 1. Bajaj Pulser. 2.Hero Hunk 3. TVS apache. 4. Honda Unicorn.
Please suggest me both category bikes one from 125cc & one from 150cc on my email-prashant.bhavsar688@gmail.com

Software Project Creators said...

UNICORN, the one good in all aspects.

Prem said...

Hi,

I am Prem from Chennai. Let me come straight to the point. I am 6'2 and weigh 100 Kgs. I also have a bad back and spinal issues. To make my life even worse, the chennai roads are horrible. I can't afford a car so it has to be a bike to commute to work and back. My work place is about 10 kms from home. I dont travel long distances. Can you please recommend a bike to handle really bad roads and to a certain extent reduce my back pain. I would be really grateful. My budget is less than less than 70 thousand. Thanks

sumit nandan said...

Hi .. I want to buy a bike of 125 CC and chosen the two bikes honda shine and discover 12St.I am looking for the following :

Good Avg(Bet 60 to 65 Kmpl)
Low Maintenance
Comfort Riding
Good Pick up

Anonymous said...

please tell me which is good in between hero motocorp and bajaj bikes for the re-sell and engine maintainace and duration of using the bikes

Unknown said...

I am confused among Hero Glamour and Bajaj 125ST.
Please suggest me..

Heard that Hero Glamour is also good...

what to opt for?

abhishek said...

no my discover gives only the average of 35km/l and i am bought this on last friday, so what can i do

j ravichandran said...

I am 6ft 3 in tall with a weight of 85kg andI took a test ride. A seat height of 800 mm it is not bad.Tall people anyway cannot ask for too much in india.Since the seat and the tank are wide there is enough space between my knees and handlebar.

Anonymous said...

Hi Biker next door..am a crazzy follower of ur blog..am awaiting your valuable review on Bajaj Discover 100T which has been released recently..Plssss post it sooon...

Anonymous said...

R u there?

ARUN KUMAR said...

I want to buy a bike of 125 CC bikes honda shine and discover 125 ST.I am confused among Honda CB Shine and Bajaj 125 ST.
Good Avg.
Low Maintenance
Comfort Riding
Good Pick up

ARUN KUMAR said...

@Payeng
plz help me, I want to buy a bike of 125 CC bikes honda shine,Bajaj discover 125 ST and S Z R . I am confused among Yamaha SZR, Honda CB Shine and Bajaj 125 ST.Yamaha why does not sell in big numbers. I want best bike.
Good Avg.
Low Maintenance
Comfort Riding
Good Pick up
more Smooth engine

reply fast PLZ i have no more time.

amit singh rana said...

Can any one suggest me. i want to buy 125 cc bike because i want mileage and good performance bike. i am confused between honda shine and discover st. some one say that bajaj engine is not good latter it will give problem.which one should i buy.

ARUN KUMAR said...

Amit bhai aap quality bike,Smooth engine,lena chahte ho to YAMAHA SZR,and only mileage DISCOVER 125 ST. maine to 10 din pahale 125ST liya hai but aap YAMAHA BIKE choose kro mileage thoda kam milega but lifetime khush rahoge.Shine no good bike.

Anonymous said...

i booked tvs apache rtr 160 older version,,which is grey in coloure some of my friends told me that grey coloure bike look like old bike,,and they also suggest me to make some grafhics on petrole tank with white coloure ,,,,since white coloure is not available for 160cc so suggest me some ideas about grafhics

suresh ananth said...

This is suresh .compare mono suspension system of honda unicorn and bajaj 125ST .which is good for long and city riding condition and free of back pain.My mail id is dananth.82@gmail.com Please send your valuable sugessions to my mail id.
Thanks,
Suresh.

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