Bajaj is taking the motorcycle market seriously, and the newly unveiled Discover 125 ST is testament to that fact. Why I say this is that the company is determined to inject enthusiasm into even the most staid of segments - that of the executive commuter - and give these bikes features that only were once only seen on more premium motorcycles.
A quick walk around the Discover 125 ST (an acronym for 'Sports Tourer') will reveal that the rear end now features a monoshock while close inspection of the motor will let you know that this 12.8 bhp engine now breathes through 4 valves and 2 spark plugs get the party going. That's a lot of tech for what is otherwise a commuter, but on the road, it all pays off with high dividends.
The motor on idle seems nice and refined. Plug the gearbox into first by tapping the shifter down, and you're good to go. Thankfully, Bajaj has finally put the all down gear shifting pattern into the bin, as it seems, because the Discover 125 has a one down four up gearbox. Slotting through the gears takes minimal effort and a mere nudge is all that is required.
Acceleration is fairly brisk keeping the segment in mind, but it's the 1.1 kgm of torque that matters with regard to the 125. There's heaps of it at almost every instant. So much so that you can plonk it into the top gear (fifth) at 25 kph and the motor won't let out a peep, let alone knock. Increasing pace though, will take its time without dropping a gear or two.
As the speed increases, and consequently, the engine revs rise, the motor begins to get vibey. If you don't upshift, or if you're pushing hard in top gear, the motor begins to send the tingles through the foot pegs and later, through the seat as well. The top end potential of the ST is relatively higher than its current peers, but the engine feels clashy when you're up there.
When it comes to the ride quality, the Discover is on the softer side of things. It's designed to tackle potholes and ruts instead of scorching race tracks, and that is exactly what it merrily does.
A disc brake at the front end stops progress at a moment's notice, much more effective than a drum brake, but could do with some more feel.
All in this is a brilliant step up in the right direction for the Discover brand. The ST brings just the right amount of sportiness into the equation, yet, wonderfully balances all the traits required for a good commuter. It's effortless, this motorcycle, but doesn't take the joy out of motorcycling. Although the prices haven't been announced yet, I reckon it could be placed in the Rs. 50,000 - 55,000 region. Not bad, eh?