WHAT WE LIKE
That they’re trying to bring sportier and more fun entries into the lower rungs of the motorcycle food chain. Hey, just because it’s economical doesn’t mean it has to be completely yawn-inducing to ride, does it? With a segment-first mono shock setup at the back, a 12.8 bhp, four-valve, twin-spark mill and fresh styling all around, the Discover 125 ST promises a lot. Truth be told, the ST badging – ‘Sports Tourer’ apparently – is just unnecessary. This thing excels at being completely comforting in the city and provides adequate pace for the odd highway jaunt as well.
The wide torque spread is something you’d instantly notice when you’re riding it, as much as the effortless flickability it displays. It feels light, nimble and non-taxing – just the thing for the city, then. Ergonomics are upright and comfortable, so another point there.
The motor, for its size, chugs along well, with a fairly wide torque spread and likeable refinement at lower rpm. It’s no fire-breather, but you can wrangle decent city speeds out of it. The 200 mm disc up front and a drum at the back, lend adequate braking prowess to the Discover for the kind of speeds it will do, although a little more feedback wouldn’t hurt.
At 125 kg (kerb weight), it’s light and nimble to turn in and provides enough confidence to the rider when tipped over. Also, with Mumbai’s roads closely resembling Land Rover Experience tracks, the softer suspension setup proved to be a boon. It’s comfy, but not exactly plush.
And finally, the looks. It does look quite sporty for its segment and every third motorcyclist passing by on our shoot location keenly analysed various bits of the bike. Such interest is always a good thing. The build quality, too, is consistently good and I didn’t find anything to complain about.
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE
The gearshift isn’t exactly slick and a little more traction from the Eurogrip tyres, especially in the wet, would add to the otherwise good handling. Also, the seat could be a bit more comfortable. Importantly, the motor isn’t at its smoothest in the upper reaches of the powerband, making it less enjoyable to ride fast. Pronounced vibes through the seat and the bars don’t help matters either. Oh, and the ST badge – lets stop kidding ourselves, shall we?
SO, IS IT GOOD VALUE, THEN?
Good? I’d say excellent! At Rs 55,619 (ex-showroom, Mumbai), it undercuts the Honda Stunner and the Hero MotoCorp Ignitor by nearly Rs 4,000, packs in more tech and makes more power.
BUT IS IT BETTER THAN THE COMPETITION?
Despite the Discover’s sporty intentions, it’s not as sorted a package as its primary threat, the Stunner/Ignitor. The Honda (...and the Hero) has a more fun motor, and it responds better when ridden hard. In the twisties, too, the Honda is more confidence-inspiring and is just as effortless in congested urban areas. That said, only a full-blown comparison will tell the whole story, so wait for it.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT?
If you really are keen on a sporty commuter package, the Bajaj Pulsar 135LS should be your pick – after all, it’s just a little more expensive than the Discover 125 ST. Or you can have the Honda Stunner for reasons I have mentioned above. However, if your focus is more on stress-free commuting, considerable amounts of highway mileage, good economy and affordable maintenance, the newest 125 to come out of Chakan should be right up your alley. Blending highway and city performance at this price point, with looks to boot is a tough act to pull off, but, with the new Disco, Bajaj seems to have done just fine.