M125S road test
Mechanics November 1970
Reliability, power and comfort are rarely found
at the same time in a 125 cc motorcycle. More
often than not you find power has been built
in at the expense of flexibility,Ar that the
engine is hypersensitive to ignition timing
or carburation changes.
Most lightweights that are comfortable are
also too heavy for the engine. Or, in order
to keep weight down, comfort has been forsaken.
The latest Puch 125 manages to blend these
three important factors together without detracting
from any one of them.
The engine and machine as a whole is reliable,
and may be thrashed mercilessly without complaint.
It develops enough power and a wide enough spread
of torque to give quite a lively and useful
In fact the performance would probably be good
enough to satisfy the manufacturers of some
And lastly, the saddle and riding position
are comfortable. The styling of the upholstery
is the biggest difference at first glance from
the M125 which we tested two years ago.
The other notable difference is the change
from direct lighting to a battery supply.
Steyr Daimler Puch have obviously got a good
thing going for them and with typical thoroughness,
the Austrian factory has retained the good points
and added to the rest.
The result is better and more luxurious styling,
more efficient lighting and a different riding
position; a de-luxe version of the M125.
There wasn't a lot wrong with the riding position
on the last 125 we tested, but the tank and
handlebar arrangement has been changed
to give the classic English layout of short
flat bars with a wide tank.
This gives a good position when riding—one
grips the tank with the knees and the handlebars
make for a straight-armed, slightly leaning
forward position which encourages quick cornering.
The only flaw in this set-up is that the front
brake fever fouls the top of the fork leg. This
means that the lever has to be set too high
for comfortable use—a point which becomes
painfully noticeable after ajnile of town driving.
If the riding position inspires fairly hard
riding, the rest of the machine can certainly
cope with it. The handling is good and the suspension
gives quite an easy ride while still keeping
both wheels firmly on the floor. There is'just
one "but"—the handling can lead
the rider into a false sense of security, and
the weak point in the suspension is the tyres.
It is quite easy to make one or both wheels
break away, and quite frankly I don't feel that
the original equipment, 3.00 X 17 and 2.50 X
17 tyres, are up to the job.
I would suggest that larger sections all round
would improve the roadholding quite a bit.
Using the bike to the full clearly shows the
engine's ability. It is easy to start and only
takes a few seconds to warm up. Once underway
it is tractable and gives plenty of torque for
There is a noticeable step-up in power around
the 3000 mark; as a non-motorcycling friend
said, "It seems a bit cammy!"—
quite a description for a two-stroke!
A brief description of the performance on the
road would list a top speed of over seventy,
easy cruising in the sixties, with brisk acceleration,
considering the size of the engine.
There is a trace of tingling vibration as the
revs go up and the engine gets a little noisy.
This is possibly something to do with the extra-large
finning on the barrel and head. The exhaust
is well silenced and gives quite a pleasant
note. All the controls, apart from the front
brake lever, are well positioned and light
to use. One odd thing, almost an anomaly, is
the combined ignition and lighting switch.
This takes the form of a "jack" which
is pushed into a socket to give ignition. If
you want lighting as well, you turn the "jack"
This strikes me as being an elaborate and costly
switch, and it can be replaced by a piece of
In other words, it has no thief-proofing quality,
so why bother to fit it? The speedometer, which
is just behind the switch, is not placed prominently
enough to attract attention. When you want to
see how fast you're going, y,ou have to search
Riding in town or on the open road is straightforward
enough and the Puch handles equally well when
being chased around the countryside or when
nosing through traffic.
The gearbox ratios seem to be too wide, particularly
between first and second, but this would probably
be an advantage when fully laden and climbing
It is also possible to "beat" the
gearbox on upward.changes, resulting in the
odd crunch or missed gear. This may have been
due to the engine-speed clutch, or the design
of the gear selector.
As long as the gearchange was made deliberately
and not in a hurry, the gears could be swopped
around quite easily.
Fuel consumption 'is about what you'd expect,
driven hard around town we got 65— 70
mpg, while on a long steady run this could be
improved dramatically to give something approaching
100 mpg, under favourable conditions. Here there
is another bad point, but one which is no fault
of the manufacturers. Petroil/oil mix is an
expensive way of buying oil, and it's also becoming
more and more difficult to get the stuff.
On the most direct route between home and the
office 1 pass 12 filling stations, and can find
more by going slightly out of my way.
Only three of these actually have a device
to meter out the correct amount of two-stroke
oil and a couple more are prepared to sell the
odd half-pint of multigrade.
All in all. the Puch M125S is quite a useful
lightweight to have around. From the decor to
the engine it shows all the signs of quality
and precision which we have come to expect from
the iSteyr Puch factory.
- Engine: Single-cylinder
two-stroke with piston-controlled ports and
petroil lubrication. Bore X stroke 55 X 52
mm, giving capacity of 124 cc. Compression
ratio 10:1, claimed power output 12 bhp at
7000 rpm. Carburettor, single Bing.
- Transmission: Primary reduction
by helical gears, secondary by chain. Four-speed
gearbox driven through multiplate clutch mounted
on crankshaft. Gear ratios, 1st 23.26, 2nd
13.48, 3rd 8.98 and 4th 7.91:1.
- Electrics: Bosch 6-voltflywheel
magneto ignition, with battery
- Suspension: Front, telescopic
forks, rear, swinging arm
- Seat height; 31'"
- Price: £216 19s.,
including £2 delivery charge and UK
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