Second Opinion

Hell Really Exists

Hell Really Exists

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The looks of the Qerbi GPR sell this machine

- and it's a good job because not much else does. That's a little unfair, because it's a decent enough machine round corners, once you get used to its own quirky way of turning in. Knee down? No problem, and not a bad thing to boast about when you're 17. The problem is that you have to get the bike up to speed to get it leant over in a corner

- and here lies the Derbi's Achilles heel. It's such a sluggish machine that you end up flogging it everywhere - this Is the life of the 125, mind. There's nothing down low, very little in the midrange and it's only as you go beyond the red lights flashing you to change up a gear that an engine actually appears to do anything that resembles combustion. It's tragic that a bike that looks this good land expensivel goes so slowly, so invest in W: anything to make it quicker - like building a hill outside your house.

) this sort of set up might work weLL on long, smooth, highspeed corners, but when you are bouncing around British B-roads, it tends towards the pain in the arse end of the spectrum.

And yet - here we go again - there are times when it feels well-nigh perfect. Can we praise the new dual beam die-cast aLuminium chassis here? It's made from two pieces joined up at the steering column and when the bike is settLed it feeLs as sure and stable as any full-sized road bike. Mention should probably be made too of the rear asymmetrical swinging arm, which Looks terrific, it's precisely on those smooth, fast, slightly downhill, stretches on winding dual, carriageway, that you can forgive it just about all of its myriad flaws.

Alas, there is nothing adjustable at all in the suspension at either front or rear - not even preload - so if you want to tweak your suspension, you could maybe change the rear spring weight on the Olle rear shock, or change the fork oil. But that's it; there are no easy changes to make.

You're not going to get a lot of joy out of the tyres either. The OE spec is Pirelli Sport Demons which are decent in the dry (especially considering some of the ghastly Indian and Chinese 'rubber' specced on similar bikesl, but again they don't inspire massive confidence at bigger lean angles and feet quite hard, even with the recommended 26psi in them.

Otherwise, the handling is as nimble as you would expect from this weight of bike in this chassis. Every time I came to a roundabout that wasn't busy I couldn't resist doing a few laps of it. I don't know if that says more about me or the pleasurable sensations invoked by the bike, but each circuit' was irresistible.

The single-cylinder four-stroke. four-valve engine is not the most powerful thing you've ever ridden, but I saw 78mph on the digital dash (our GPS-powered datalogging software revealed a more accurate 73.8mph] downhill given some time to get there and a downhill skier's tuck. Up to 8,000rpm it's alt very flat, then you have a red shift light flashing like a detonation warning signal all the way to the soft rev li miter cuts in at 11.OOOrpm and, somewhere in between, lies, ahem, the 'meat' of the power. Keep it around i.QOOrpm and you will be laughing.

The problem, as with so many smaller capacity sportsbike engines, is the time it takes to get to decent speeds that enable you to keep up with most traffic.

Alt the gear

Cleary the gearing is absurdly long and changing the final drive ratios (dropping a tooth from the front and adding two or three to the rear sprocket) would probably work wonders for it, but why the hell didn't Derbi spec more appropriate road gearing before it signed off the design and spec sheet? Why would you buy a brand new bike and then have to fork out for two aftermarket sprockets and a new (longer) chain? Are they... locoi!

So, what are we looking at here? A lovely looking bike with too-hard suspension and wildly inappropriate gearing? Ora lovely looking bike with a great chassis, ideal for hot days, high-speed corners and smooth Tarmac?

Let's get down to brass tacks here. This is a bike aesthetically designed to appeal to the same buyer who also has an eye on the Yamaha YZF R-125 (£3,6?9|. If this was a truck load cheaper that the Yamaha, then it could (should) be a serious option. As it is at the moment, given the exchange rates, it's not, there's a couple of hundred quid in it. But still, the more I rode it, the more I enjoyed it. And I'm sure I could coach this Derbi into a real winner. £7?

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