After reviewing the Honda Click 125i, I felt I had not gone far enough in my review of the Yamaha Nouvo 125 SX and the Yamaha Nouvo 135 Elegance. I still felt both bikes were excellent and that they outclassed the Honda Click in most respects. But the Honda Click had so much acceleration for a 125 that my good friend PlOne commented to me how slow his Yamaha Nouvo SX seemed in comparison. So before returning the Honda Click to the bike rental shop, I borrowed my friend’s Nouvo SX just to see how slow it felt in comparison. PlOne was correct. The Click accelerated like a sling shot at city traffic speeds whereas it would take a while to wind up the power on the Nouvo SX. But PlONe also commented that he felt the Honda Click 125 i accelerated more quickly than the Yamaha Nouvo 135’s he had rented before purchasing his Nouvo 125 SX.
Moreover, I had timed the Honda Click 125i’s acceleration from zero to 50 kph and 80 kph. which was something new that I wanted to incorporate into all future motorbike reviews. But using a cell phone to test the Click’s acceleration had proved problematic. so I wound up purchasing a Seiko stopwatch from Amazon that would be much easier to use while driving a small motorcycle on a busy motorway in Thailand.
I just had to stop watch my beloved Yamaha 135 Elegance to see if it really was slower than the Honda Click 125 i. I could find just one horsepower rating for the Honda Click 125i on the Internet–11.7. If accurate this would have meant that the Click had one half a horse more than my Elegance did, which would have helped substantiate PlOne’s claim that the Click seemed the faster of the two bikes.
I was also having reoccurring thoughts about two other characteristics of the two Yamaha Nouvos. The first one was my thinking that the new fuel injected Yamaha Nouvo SX lacked the range that I felt it needed because of its comparatively smallish 4.3 liter fuel tank. The second was the commonly held perception that the carburated 135 c.c. Yamaha Nouvo Elegance was a gas hog compared to its fuel injected competition. And yet, my Yamaha Elegance had matched the PCX 125, the PCX 150, and the Yamaha fuel injected 125 Nouvo SX in highway fuel economy with all four of the bikes turning in fuel economy figures exceeding 100 miles to the gallon. But city driving in Pattaya would be different with all the traffic jams, speed bumps and having to wait for stop lights to turn green to contend with.
But as frugal as it had been on the highway, I had every reason to believe that my Nouvo Elegance would not measure up to the Honda Click 125i and the fuel injected Yamaha Nouvo 125 SX’s fuel efficiency in city driving conditions.
For example, when he was purchasing his new Yamaha Nouvo SX, the salesman had told me that the new fuel injected bike would easily outdo the older carburated model for fuel economy in the city although he felt there wouldn’t be much difference driving in highway conditions.
The German bike rental shop owner had told me the Honda Click would get 100 kilometers from 2 liters of fuel compared to 2.5 for the Nouvo SX and 3 for the Nouvo Elegance.
In earlier gas mileage tests my Nouvo Elegance 135 had managed only 32.33 kilometers to the liter. I felt this figure to be very accurate since I had gone through several tankfuls of fuel and diligently recorded the results.
But my girlfriend had been riding behind me most of the time I had been testing my Elegance’s fuel economy thus adding close to 45 kg to the weight. Obviously a complete retest for city fuel economy was necessary.
I also had a theory, but I really didn’t have any real data to support it, and that theory was the Yamaha had stuck with its “antiquated carburated 135 Yamaha Nouvo Elegance for four years because it knew it had a real winner so why fix what was never broken. It wasn’t that Yamaha was new to fuel injection. After all, it had been selling 125 c.c. and 250 c.c. fuel injected X Max models in Europe for years not to mention 500 c.c. T Max’s in the U.S.
As for the German shop owner telling me the Nouvo Elegance could only get 3 liters per 100 kilometers to the Honda Click’s 2 liters, the man had also told me the Honda Click had only a 2.5 liter fuel tank, and when I had brought in a spreadsheet on which I had typed in the tank capacity of the Honda Click, he crossed out the 5.5 liter figure I had typed in and written above it 2.5 liters. This really surprised me because the owner runs a first class bike rental shop which provides rental bikes that are meticulously maintained (albeit comparatively expensive), which is about one would suspect from most Germans.
Then the German’s ex partner reappeared on the horizon while eating at a restaurant on Naklua Soi 33. He still had his bike rental shop there, and most of his rentals were Yamaha Nouvos, either Elegances or fuel injected SX’s. And although he had a Honda PCX or two available his personal bike of choice was a Yamaha Nouvo SX 125.
He had no use for a Honda Click or any other floorboard style motor scooter. I had always liked the man, having known him for nearly seven years, and I even knew where he lived. He’s an East German who once told me how years ago he had tried to get past the Berlin Wall when East Germany was Communist, how he had been caught, put in jail (luckily he hadn’t been shot), and that he had to be bailed out by his friends. Even though this had been an unlikely story, I half believed him, because through the years I found him to be one of these really happy go lucky Germans with a very likeable personality.
While we talked over possible bike rentals, he walked behind one of his Nouvo Rentals and said, “Two shocks. Click has one. Not strong.” Yeah, my thinking exactly. I had finally found someone who knew what I already knew.
When I asked him about the fuel economy of a Nouvo SX 125 versus the 135 Nouvo Elegances, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “Same Same.”
I decided I would rent from him and wound up renting a Yamaha Nouvo SX 125 for four days. By renting for such an extended period even though I already had my own motorbike, I figured I could really do a thorough road test while getting a real good feel for Yamaha’s newest creation so I could later on determine for myself when it was time to get a new bike, “Will a little 125 satisfy me when there are larger alternatives available such as Honda’s PCX 150, Honda’s 150 SH or even something on the order of a Honda CBR 250 or even a new CBR 500?”
Four days living with Yamaha’s 125 Nouvo SX
To put the experience into just five words, “I loved that little bike.” One week earlier I had rented still another Honda Click 125i on Koh Larn Island, this time for two days and had found that the seat did not latch properly without a great deal of coaching. This was the second out of two Honda Click rentals that had seats that failed to close properly. Moreover, the turn indicators were badly located which made the process of signaling for a left or right turn to be very unintuitive.
I was now starting to realize that Yamaha seemed to be making better bikes than Honda. I had never driven a Yamaha motorbike that had exhibited such poor attentiveness to detail. But one drives at low speeds on Koh Larn or at least I did so the Honda Click’s handling was adequate for those two days. But there is no way that I could even begin to be satisfied driving a Honda Click through the variety of driving conditions I had been putting this new Yamaha 125 SX rental through. I found the little bike to be an enornously satisfying mount no matter what I tried to do with it.
But it was not fast. On route 36 on the way to Rayong I managed to do zero to fifty kilometers per hour in 7.51 seconds whereas the Honda Click took just 6.3 seconds. The Yamaha Nouvo SX took 12.16 seconds to get from zero to eighty kilometers per hour versus 10.39 seconds for the Honda Click 125 i. I do want to mention, however, that for most of us getting good acceleration up to 50 kph is much more important than it is getting good times up to 80 kph. This is because when you really think about it, when you are driving in such cities as Pattaya when you go much faster than 50 kph you feel as if you are really flying and that it starts to get really unsafe going much faster than 30 miles per hour.
The thing is one doesn’t really feel that one is being deprived by the Yamaha Nouvo SX’s apparent lack of power. The power still seems to be there, but only when you want it. But more than enough power was there on tap. One simply reels it in by twisting the grip. In passing situations around Pattaya the bike performed splendidly, and even while I was doing the timed acceleration runs on route 36, I really couldnt’ detect any difference between the Honda Click and the Nouvo SX. Only the stopwatch showed a real difference.
The Nouvo SX has an interesting little gadget that’s a lot of fun to play with. That is, its little onboard computer that resides in the instrument cluster that normally consists of a speedometer, odometer, and water temperature guage. Not only is Yamaha’s little onboard computer fun to play with, it also provides a lot of useful and interesting feedback on what kind of fuel economy one is getting. One can set it to measure fuel economy at any instant in time for example or one can set it to register fuel mileage for whatever current trip one is making. Obviously then one can reset the odometer for each new trip which is something you cannot do on a lot of competitive models. But the most addictive feature of this onboard computer is that one can set it to constantly record the bike’s fuel efficiency. For example, as soon as the bike starts to go up a slight incline the digital display might go from 2.0 (liters per 100 km) to 2.5. Or if I ease up slightly on the throttle the digital display might go from 1.8 to 1.2. This thing is a blast to watch and it really does help the driver smooth out his driving technique so that he can get better fuel economy. I found myself constantly trying to drive the little SX with a more constant application of the throttle than I had been doing with my Yamaha Elegance. I started to notice that the SX was averaging 2.1 liters per 100 kilometers which is a far cry from the 2.5 the first German rental shop owner had been telling me. One thing I noticed about the Nouvo SX is that it seemed to inspire its driver to drive smoothly and sedately.
The bike’s handling is top notch. It’s so enjoyable to drive and the more one gets used to it the more it feels part of the driver’s body. However, when I first got on it, I could detect a very real difference in this bike’s handling and my Nouvo 135 Elegance’s. The SX’s front wheel felt lighter, not as firmly planted and not nearly as precise. But if there was any lack of preciseness in the bike’s handling the lack went away as I started to get used to the bike and began to appreciate its charming ways. The reason for all of this was the oversized aftermarket tires I had installed on my Elegance. These were Michelin Pilots that were roughly 14 % wider than the bike’s stock tires. I also suspect they are of a softer rubber compound than the Nouvo’s stock tires therefore offering superior handling at the expense of less longevity. I would rate the SX’s handling and overall feel as excellent even with its stock tires—but I’d have to rate my modified Nouvo Elegance’s handling as superlative.
I took the Nouvo SX back on my fourth day’s rental in the middle of a pouring rainstorm that was flooding many of the city’s streets. That rain got so bad that I walked to a nearby restaurant and called my girlfriend to get me on her motorbike. After a few minutes she called me back to tell me that the street we normally took had flooded and the water had gotten so high that she decided to take a different route and meet me somewhere else which forced me to walk a kilometer away from the restaurant. My girlfriend’s bike is a Yamaha Filano and it rides on 12 inch diameter wheels and tires. Certainly my Nouvo Elegance is a far superior bike to drive through flooded streets with its much larger diameter 16 inch wheels and tires. Moreover, there’s several speed bumps I’ll ground out on if I’m driving her Filano and it doesn’t matter how slowly I drive it to cross those speed bumps. The Filano simply lacks the ground clearance to be up to any Yamaha Nouvo when it comes to crossing obstacles or getting down flooded streets. And then there’s those times that I need to drive over curbs. Those situations do not occur very often but they do occur. I’ll take a 16 inch diameter wheel and tire anytime over anything that has 12 or 14 inch wheels and tires.
This now brings us to the subject of my Yamaha Nouvo Elegance. It had performed astonishly well for fuel economy in highway driving conditions but not so well in stop and go city driving conditions. Meanwhile over the four days I had rented it I had gotten an overall average of 44.5 kilometers to the liter on the Yamaha Nouvo SX. That’s over 100 miles to the gallon in the city, which means that all those know it alls out there who claim that small automatics get miserable fuel economy have no idea of what they are talking about. The fuel injected Yamaha Nouvo 125 SX wound up registering on its onboard computer 2.1 liters per 100 kilometers. So theoretically according to the computer I was getting 47.61 kilometers to the liter which meant that the computer was 7 % too optimistic. However, unlike both the Honda Click 125 i and the Honda PCX, the Yamaha Nouvo SX 125 lacks the stop start switch that shuts the bike’s engine down while the bike is stopped at traffic lights. In my opinion much of this 7 % discrepancy is explained by the fact that the bike is idling at stoplights, therefore using fuel while there is no simultaneous registering of miles being driven since there are none. The bottom line from my roadtests–the Yamaha Nouvo SX’s onboard computer is pretty accurate. But now I would use it to see if I could improve on the 32.33 kilometers per liter I had gotten with my Nouvo Elegance in my earlier fuel economy tests for city driving.
My more immediate concern was to see how fast my Yamaha Nouvo Elegance could get up to 50 kph, and then 80 kph. So once again I headed out to route 36 on the way to Rayong. This time there was less traffic than I had enountered while testing the Honda Click 125 i’s acceleration. With the Click it had been a one shot deal due to all that heavy traffic I encountered and also the fact that I was using my cell phone for a stop watch and which had given me at least one false reading.
The Seiko stopwatch was so much easier to use than the cell phone which had almost fallen out of my hand as I tried to dodge traffic testing the Honda Click. For one thing it had a lanyard that I wrapped around my wrist. Its start-stop button was large enough for me to be able to feel it while concentrating on the road ahead of me.
On the zero to eightly kilometer runs I recorded times of 12.56, 11.79, 10.54, and 11.72 seconds for an average time of 11.65 seconds which about splits the difference between the Honda Click and the Nouvo SX. However, on my two runs up to 50 kph I got 5.75 seconds and 5.41 seconds out of my Nouvo Elegance, both times being superior to the 6.3 seconds the Honda Click 125i had managed.
I ended up doing close to 100 kilometers on my Yamaha Elegance over several days of testing at the end of which I put in 2.17 liters of fuel. So I had used less than half of my tank to run around what felt like a considerable distance, considering that aside from my acceleration runs and getting to and from where I could do them, I had to negotiate around a lot of city traffic and that I actually had to try hard to keep driving so that I could run off all those kilometers. I wound up getting 41.9 kilometers to the liter with the Nouvo Elegance’s larger 135 c.c. engine and stone age carburator.
That’s a far cry from the 32.33 kilometers per liter I had gotten before. I can attribute this huge discrepancy to two reasons. Number one—I didn’t have my girlfriend riding with me so the Yamaha’s engine was contending with roughly 45 kilograms less weight. Number two—I was trying to drive the Nouvo Elegance in the same type of driving conditions I had encountered with the Nouvo 125 SX and I was trying to drive the Elegance the same way I had been driving the Nouvo SX 125. For example…I was not trying to accelerate unnecessarily with either bike and that this habit of not trying to give the bike any more throttle than I had to had been induced by the little onboard computer I had so much fun playing with on the Nouvo SX.
The Honda Click 125i and Yamaha Nouvo Elegance 135 are both slingshots when it comes to acceleration at lower speeds, say up to 30 miles per hour or so. The Yamaha Nouvo 125 SX isn’t. The power just doesn’t seem to be on tap as it is on the other two bikes, yet it is there, ready to be reeled in when needed. But the Nouvo Elegance in particular seems to be always on the boil while driving in the city, with its torque right there providing instantaneous acceleration. And it is constantly inviting its driver to hit the throttle by being willing to respond with an immediacy that makes the engine seem even larger and more powerful than it already is.
From the specifications I’ve compiled from a variety of web sites, it appears that the torque of the Yamaha Elegance 135 exceeds the fuel injected 125’s by just 1.2 %. However, both the seat of the pants feel and stop watch measurements, especially from 0-50 kph would seem to put the Elegance much father ahead than that. My opinion is that Yamaha deliberately tuned the 135 Elegance to deliver superior torque and acceleration at the lower speeds that are common to city driving. 0-80 equates to about 50 miles an hour. You just never make use of it in cities such as Pattaya when driving 30 miles an hour already seems a bit too fast. So when Yamaha engineered the 135 Elegance it engineered it exactly right for the kind of driving most of us do in such city conditions.
Recently, in my opinion, Yamaha decided that it was starting to lose sales to other manufacturers such as Honda. It had a terrific little bike, knew it, and stayed with its carburated Elegance line for four years. But out of total ignorance and the inability to think for themselves, many potential customers started to back off from Yamaha in the mistaken belief that fuel injection automatically provided superior fuel economy and horsepower to carburators. And in the case of the Elegance, it might have seemed that way, since the 135’s superior torque and low speed acceleration was constantly inviting drivers to tap into all that power. After all, it’s really a lot of fun twisting that throttle of the 135 and feeling the bike surge like a much more powerful machine than what it really is. That’s part of why I think I was able to get just 32.33 kilometers per liter in my previous tests. But this time I kept resisting the urge to accelerate convincingly around slower moving vehicles. charge up hills, or just accelerate with authority simply because it felt good.
The Yamaha Nouvo Elegance 135 will get excellent fuel economy provided that the driver does his part. It’s just that it’s a lot easier for the driver to get outstanding fuel economy with the 125 Nouvo SX than it is with its carburated sibliing. But I doubt if the carburator had anything to do with it. Yamaha always had a great engine in the 135. I don’t know how much better fuel economy it can get over its predecessor the air cooled 115 c.c. Yamaha Nouvo MX, but I had one, and drove it 13,000 kilometers before replacing it with the 135 Elegance. Although I never measured the fuel economy of the Nouvo MX, I knew that the Elegance delivered far superior fuel economy while delivering over 25 % more power.
One thing I did find disturbing about the Nouvo 125 SX is Yamaha downsized the fuel tank from the Nouvo Elegance’s 4.8 liters to a 4.3 liter tank which I viewed as a step in the wrong direction. The truth is, when we are comparing one motorbike that already gets over 100 miles to the gallon to another bike that might offer a tad more fuel economy, the dollars saved we are talking about is really meaningless. What is more important is range. And when it comes to highway driving where the 125 Yamaha SX and the 135 Yamaha Nouvo Elegance turned in identical fuel economy numbers at a figure of 50 km/liter, the Elegance will get 25 kilometers farther down the road than the Nouvo SX. And a Honda 150 PCX with its even larger 5.9 liter fuel tank will have 80 kilometers more range than the Yamaha SX provided both bikes are getting 50 kilometers per liter, which is easily obtainable for all the bikes I have mentioned, whether it’s the Honda Click 125 i, the Yamaha Nouvo Elegance, the Yamaha Nouvo SX 125, or either the 125 or 150 PCX .
Probably the greatest virtue of the Honda Click 125 i is that it has a 5.5 liter fuel tank which will probably give it the same range as the larger Honda PCX 150. Its second greatest virtue is its speed. If what I am reading is true, Honda stuffed the Honda PCX 125’s engine into the smaller and lighter Click which must make it one of the fastest 125’s around. Keep in mind the 125 PCX is already a good highway bike even if it is eclipsed by the 150 PCX, and with a weight of around 280 pounds compared to a Honda Click’s 246 pounds the Honda Click 125i will be noticeably faster.
The main disadvantage of the Yamaha Nouvo Elegance 135 is its carburator but not for the reasons that you might suspect. It’s got one helluva carburator setup, one that offers great fuel economy and excellent power and driveability. The problem is if you let the Elegance sit around for anything longer than 3 days it starts to get harder and harder to start due to gasoline settling in the carburator. If you go back to your home country for several weeks and return to Thailand, you will find that it’s going to take a lot of cranking of your bike’s starter to get your bike moving again and your battery might just wear down before you get done doing it. So far, knock on wood, I could always restart my Elegance on the bike’s battery without having to resort to the bike’s kickstarter. But if worse comes to worse, I’ll always get it started one way or the other.
Getting back to that issue I have made about range, most of us aren’t going to be doing a lot of highway driving. I could do a lot of city driving with the Yamaha Nouvo SX without using more than half a tank of fuel so the problem is not nearly as severe as I suspected. Nevertheless, I think Yamaha should have increased the Nouvo’s gasoline tank’s capacity instead of decreasing it, and if there was any improvements I’d wish Yamaha would make on succeeding models I would prefer that it would offer increased tank capacity over any horsepower increases it might make.
In my opinion the new Yamaha Nouvo 125 SX is the finest all around bike out there for the real world of driving most of us are going to be doing here in Thailand. It really offers everything a person realistically might need, and if he thinks he needs something bigger, I think he’s dreaming. Okay…the PCX 150 is definitely bigger, and it’s certainly got more power, and it is going to be a better motorbike out on the highway trying to keep up with car traffic. But the Yamaha Nouvo 125 SX is big enough and competent enough to be driven all over Thailand. But I suggest you don’t. Just one example should I think suffice to explain why.
Although I didn’t have any problems doing my zero to fifty and zero to eighty kph runs with my Nouvo Elegance I was almost killed afterwards. On the way home on the motorway, I found I had a choice between veering off the road to the left which would have taken me further South into Pattaya or traveling straight which would have taken me to Sukamvit at the Pattaya Nua intersection which would take me directly into Naklua. So I went straight, accelerating to about fifty miles an hour because I didn’t want to hold up traffic behind me as there was no shoulder to get onto and I was already in the slow lane. But someone wanted to pass me who simply couldn’t wait. He wanted to turn left so he zoomed ahead of me and then he cut to the left directly ahead of me so that he could veer off onto the road that would take him away from Naklua. So he pulled right out in front of me almost colliding with me as he suddenly swerved to the left ahead of my bike. It was a very close call, and it was almost certainly caused by a Thai driver who had no respect for human life, or driving carefully, or with consideration. I will also mention now that three times Thai drivers have passed me on the shoulder of the road while I was driving my Honda Civic in the right lane at over 65 miles an hour and that each time I was forced way off to the left to avoid the accident the other driver was about to cause. This is what I call driving with homicical intent. It goes beyond driving stupidly or neligently. It goes into the realm of actually trying to kill someone or oneself or at least not caring about taking human life.
It is because far too many Thai drivers drive with homicidal intent and too many unqualified drivers to start with that now causes me to not even consider buying a highway cruiser that’s capable of running with the big dogs. I have my Honda Civic for the highway. At least some of the drivers who might not care if they kill me or not might be somewhat worried about dying themselves. And certainly a car is much safer in a crash than any motorcycle which has virtually no chance against a car. Also one must consider all these tour busses that are proliferating on Thailand’s highways and streets. When it comes to homicical intent, I think the tour bus drivers take the cake for being homicidal maniacs. Check them out at night. Very seldom will you ever see Western faces in those tour busses. And most of them are Chinese. Consider that this year compared to last year the number of Chinese tourists nearly doubled, and god knows what increases we are going to see over the next year or the year after that. There will be a huge proliferation of tour busses that is already at an unacceptable level, and that is going to mean that Thailand’s highways and streets are going to become deadlier than ever. Nope–forget having a large bike. You are going to be far happier with a bike that’s between 125 and 150 cc’s and that weighs less than 300 pounds, and you are going to probably live a lot longer if you do.
Specifications Click here to get more easily read specifications
Honda Click Yamaha Nouvo SX Yamaha Nouvo Elegance 135
displacement c.c. 125 125 135
price 46800-52500 baht 57000 baht N.A.
Horsepower 11.7@8500 rprm 10.4 11.2
Torque 14/7500 Nm/RPM 10.47 Nm @ 6000 rpm 10.6N-Nm @ 6,500rpm
Weight (Kg) 246 lbs 244 lbs 244 lbs
Tire Size Front +80/90/14 +70/90/16 +80/90/16
Tire Size rear +90/90/14 +80/90/16 +90/90/16
Fuel Economy test loop 59.8 km to the liter 53 km to the liter 53 km to the liter
Fuel Economy City N.A. 44.5 km to the liter 41.9 km to the liter
0-50 kph 6.3 seconds 7.51 seconds 5.58 seconds
0-80 kph 10.39 seconds 12.16 seconds 11.65 seconds
Handling (judging) Ok Very good Rock stolid
storage beneath seat good good good
fuel tank capacity 5.5 liters 4.3 liters 4.8 liters
Cooling water cooled water cooled water cooled
Fuel System fuel injected fuel injected carburator