Welcome Baby Z: Kawasaki's 2017 Z125 Pro

Tom Roderick
by Tom Roderick

It’s official, the little green Z we reported on last October is coming stateside as a 2017 model. Dubbed the Z125 Pro, the mini-Z is set to steal some thunder from Honda’s Grom. Last year, we took a perfectly fine Grom, crippled it with a deluge of aftermarket equipment then went racing. The experience was a resounding failure, but a hilariously good time for the entire MO staff. Thankfully, we thoroughly documented every stage of the Grom’s downward spiral, so we don’t repeat the same mistakes with the Z125 Pro, because, obviously, there’s going to be an appropriately goofy shootout between the Kawi and the Honda. Any suggestions on how to go about it?

Top 10 Honda Grom Modifications
Building A Honda Grom Roadracer

24 Hours Of Grom
Project Honda Grom Wrap-Up

Read all about the Z125 Pro, including the bike’s specs, below the video. MSRP is $2999 – $200 less than the Grom’s 2015 retail price of $3199, and will be available in June of this year.

In Kawasaki’s Own Words:
The 2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro is the bike to conquer the city, regardless of your riding experience or how much gas money you have in your pocket. Built with an emphasis on fun, the Z125 Pro is designed to amplify the thrill of riding.

Discuss this at our Kawasaki Z125 Forum .

The Z125 Pro is a visually striking motorcycle with styling that’s a little on the dark side. It not only has edgy looks, but it’s also a blast to ride. It fits into that perfect package for those desiring a small, pressure-free motorcycle with plenty of capabilities, low price, and great gas mileage. Ideal for someone looking for a real motorcycle, but without the high pressure and costs associated with a larger bike. Thanks to the performance-oriented suspension, easy maneuverability, and high fun level, it’s also a motorcycle you won’t soon outgrow. The Z125 Pro was built for the pureness of the riding experience.

The Kawasaki Z125 Pro:

  • Compact size and light weight (224.8 lbs wet) makes for easy maneuverability
  • Large 2-gallon tank
  • Low seat height (30.7 inches)
  • Performance suspension suitable for comfortable and sporty riding
  • Capable for two-up riding

The Z125 Pro, the newest member of the Kawasaki Z family, is unique in that it was designed for two seemingly opposing targets in the motorcycling market: both beginner riders and veterans alike. The Z125 Pro is great for beginner riders who want a real motorcycle without the intimidation, high seat heights or expense. The Z125 Pro is also great for those experienced, fun-loving, thrill-seeking riders who want a second bike to ride around town or through the pits at the local racetrack. It’s the dark side of fun.

With a user-friendly seat height of 30.7 inches and a low weight of 224.8 pounds, the Z125 Pro is one of the lightest and nimblest road bikes you’ll ever own. Its light weight and low seat height also makes it easy for almost any rider to maneuver. The Z125 Pro’s chassis is designed to accommodate two-up riding and with the large 2-gallon fuel tank, it’ll keep you on the road longer between fuel stops.


  • Sporty instrumentation with a race-themed analog tachometer and fully-featured LCD digital display that includes a fuel level gauge, clock, trip meter and gear indicator
  • Fierce multi-reflective headlight
  • Under-engine muffler allows for a more compact package
  • Stylish LED taillight
  • Roomy, but aggressive ergonomic bodywork design

The Z125 Pro is the youngest and smallest member of the Z family. As the younger brother, it features many of the fun characteristics of the US Z lineup, which consists of the Z800 ABS and Z1000 ABS. Features include a stylish headlight design along with user-friendly but aggressive bodywork that make for a dark side attitude. That sporty, single headlamp design also contributes to its slim image.

The multi-reflector headlamp throws a clear beam of light, facilitating night-time illumination. Compact engine shrouds contribute to the bike’s hourglass figure as well as its overall aggressive design. The side shrouds also offer a degree of wind and road protection.

The ignition switch is located, à la Z, at the front of the tank, adding to the bikes’ sporty, image and a tidy cockpit design.


  • 4-stroke, single-cylinder, 125cc air-cooled SOHC engine
  • Digital fuel injection
  • 56mm x 50.6mm; bore x stroke
  • Tuned for responsive acceleration
  • Pulls through rev range for a fun feeling while riding

The new Z125 Pro’s single-cylinder, 4-stroke SOHC engine displaces 125cc thanks to its oversquare bore 56.0 x 50.6mm bore and stroke. The 125cc engine is tuned for street riding with an exciting and sporty, yet easy to ride power delivery. Unlike most small-displacement engines, the Z125 Pro features digital fuel injection with a 24mm throttle body, for smooth operation and quick starts every time.

The 2.6-liter airbox is positioned above and forward of the cylinder head, contributing to the sporty power feeling and helping to minimize intake noise. Cam profiles and intake port design also contribute to the smooth, quick-revving engine character, as well as stable idling.

The Z125 Pro has easy, consistent starts thanks to its electric start, digital fuel injection and the Kawasaki Automatic Compression Release (KACR), which utilizes the exhaust valve to release cylinder pressure during starting.

The engine is mounted low and forward in the frame, making for the best weight distribution possible, and adding to its already nimble handling. The intake is mounted high and the stainless steel exhaust mounted low, while both are fixed in the center of the chassis, adding to the compact design and balanced weight distribution.

Clutch & Transmission:

The Z125 Pro uses a traditional four-speed transmission with a manual clutch and traditional clutch lever. It has a very easy, light clutch lever feel and positive engagement. Shifting comes through a link-type shifter lever very similar to that of a full-size sportbike, only that the Z125 Pro’s shift lever requires little load pressure to engage, another major plus for first-time riders.

Chassis & Suspension:

The compact chassis, along with sporty suspension and tires, enable riders to enjoy the light, nimble handling one would expect from a Kawasaki Z.

Up front are the aggressive 30mm inverted front forks, which shows you it means business. The forks feature 100mm of stroke and excellent rigidity while keeping unsprung weight low for sporty riding. Up top is a lightweight aluminum upper triple clamp.

The single shock rear suspension is offset for a compact package and sporty handling. The shock’s mounting angle is optimized for the Z125 Pro to ensure superb shock action and great ride comfort. The rear shock has 4-way preload adjustability, allowing for riders to set the preload for their weight or to accommodate a passenger.

Contributing to the sporty characteristics and looks are the 12-inch cast aluminum wheels, which cut down on unsprung weight and are wrapped in 100/90 and 120/70 tires front and rear. The tires sizes and tread pattern were chosen to optimize the Z125 Pro’s light and nimble riding characteristics.

The Z125 Pro is built on an all-new, high-tensile, steel backbone frame with tube diameter that ensures sufficient strength to enable two-up riding. The frame backbone measures 48.6mm in diameter and is supported by 25.4mm lateral tubes. The rear frame tubes are 22.2mm in diameter. The Z125 Pro also features a highly rigid box-section swingarm.

The Z125 Pro features hydraulic disc brakes front and rear with Nissin calipers. Up front is a 200mm petal-style disc and a 184mm petal-style disc on the rear wheel.

Color Availability
The Z125 Pro will be available in two colors:

  • Candy Lime Green
  • Metallic Graphite Grey

The American Kawasaki Z Family Includes:

With the introduction of the Kawasaki Z125 Pro, Kawasaki continues to provide offerings for riders of a variety of ages, budgets and experience levels. The Kawasaki Z family features a variety of great, fun and exciting to ride urban motorcycles.

2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro Specifications

Engine:4-stroke, 1 cylinder, SOHC, 2-valve, air-cooled
Bore x stroke:56.0 x 50.6mm
Compression ratio:9.8:1
Fuel system:DFI® with 24mm throttle body
Ignition:TCBI with electronic advance
Transmission:4-speed, return shift
Final drive:Sealed chain
Rake / trail:26.0 degrees / 2.7 in.
Front tire:100/90-12
Rear tire:120/70-12
Wheelbase:46.3 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel:Inverted telescopic fork/3.9 in
Rear suspension / wheel travel:Swingarm, single shock/4.1 in
Front brakes:Single 200mm petal-style disc
Rear brakes:Single 184mm petal-style disc
Overall length:66.9 in
Overall width:29.5 in.
Overall height:39.6 in.
Seat height:31.7 in.
Curb weight:224.8 lbs.
Fuel capacity:2.0 gal.
Color choices:Candy Lime Green
Metallic Graphite Grey
Limited Warranty:12 Months
Kawasaki Protection Plus:12, 24, 36 or 48 months
Tom Roderick
Tom Roderick

A former Motorcycle.com staffer who has gone on to greener pastures, Tom Roderick still can't get the motorcycle bug out of his system. And honestly, we still miss having him around. Tom is now a regular freelance writer and tester for Motorcycle.com when his schedule allows, and his experience, riding ability, writing talent, and quick wit are still a joy to have – even if we don't get to experience it as much as we used to.

More by Tom Roderick

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2 of 11 comments
  • John John on Mar 08, 2016

    This would make a great camp bike.

  • Douglas Douglas on Mar 08, 2016

    Wholly smokes! That vid was INTENSE! I'm sittin' here beside myself, tryin' to catch a breath & get my pulse to calm down. Wow! (Would I buy one? Nope, too little, but...)