Lifan Buddy 125 (2011-present): Nice riding, excellent price, moderate build quality.

     Engine: The single cylinder, air cooled 125 c.c. engine fed by a carburetor, delivers 8.5 bhp/7500 rpm and 0.87 kgm/5500 rpm (6.3 lbs/5500 rpm) torque, claimed figures. The gearbox is sequential, semi-automatic. 

    Actually rider has to apply the front brake to engage the electric starter. Acceleration is good given this engine capacity, due to the short gearing. The cub will take the fourth gear from as little as 50 km/h (31 mph), while given the riderĒs excessive abuse, it may start with the fourth gear engaged! Full throttle acceleration is linear up to the top speed of 110 km/h, (68 mph), indicated figure. On slight uphill roads the top speed is decreased to 105 km/h (65 mph) and it is increased to 120 mph (74.5 mph) at the opposite direction, downhill. 
      When engine revs are kept high, e.g. third gear engaged with a speed higher than 80 km/h (50 mph) or fourth gear engaged with a speed higher than 100 km/h (62.1 mph), there are a lot of vibrations which may be felt on the saddle and the riderĒs pegs. This becomes tiring on rides which may be considered to be long given a cubĒs character. In such a case its better for the rider to moderate the riding speed e.g. at 95 km/h (59 mph) with fourth gear engaged, in order to feel more comfortably. 
      Riding position: The height of the saddle is low, 750 mm (29.52 in), which is very convenient to short riders. Rider is seated in and over the cub, riding position is ordinary for such a bike. 
    The pillion is seated a little higher than the rider, the room on the saddle is normal, the saddle is soft. The pillionĒs knees form a relatively steep angle, almost like riderĒs knees. 
      The dimensions of the Buddy are average for the standards of the category, that is small. The weight of the bike is also small, 96 kg (212 lbs) nominal dry, which is typical for an air cooled cub. 
      On the road: Suspensions are quite soft. The spring preload at the shocks is adjusted in five increments. Alloy rims are equipped, OE tires are Kingstone with dimensions 2.5-17 at the front and 2.75-17 at the rear. Concerning the handling provided they are a moderate choice, especially on low-average friction factor roads. 
      In town the Buddy is a capable cub. The vivid performance and the confidence provided to the rider make riding more interesting, in respect to what someone would expect. 

      On downtown rides, the Buddy will overcome the daunting challenges, due to specific advantages. First, it provides instant confidence due to the increased stability. This has an impact to agility which is considered to be reduced compared to the cubs of this price category, which eventually is not an issue. 
     Because the gearing is comparatively short and the engine power quite satisfying, at traffic lights the Buddy accelerates ahead of traffic, providing the vividness that a rider needs in case of commuting. 
      Steering lock is superb, this Lifan may exploit traffic gaps without requiring too much maneuvering. 
     Filtering is good, due to the small width. However the height of the handlebar and the mirrors is the same with carsĒ and SUVsĒ mirrors respectively. 
     Urban roadsĒ imperfections are absorbed relatively well. At this price category that the Buddy belongs to, rider is not excused to moan about the comfort provided! 
      On B-roads, BuddyĒs stability results to confidence to the rider. Thus, riding is quite different from the cubs of this or similar price category, which boast their agility as the key riding element. In other words, the riding provided by the Lifan despite the low tag price, does not remind that of cubs, e.g. ten years ago, which is normal at this price category. 
     This is not a very convenient  feature on downtown havoc, on B-roads  though itĒs a riding advantage compared to the competition. On roads like this the mixture of provided stability and agility is the exact portion that a rider needs, reminding of an expensive-contemporary cub. 
      At the fast pace on high friction factor roads, handling is good for the standards of the cub category. 
     On low friction factor roads, confidence to the rider remains good, feedback to the rider is diminished though, while handling becomes average. Thus on conditions like this a tire upgrade is the first thing to do. 
      Due to BuddyĒs moderate top speed, its not an adequate cub on the highway, wherever thatĒs legal of course. Additionally on fast avenues the cub feels slightly stressed, as the throttle will be twisted to the stop. 
      On dirt roads the Lifan is very good, providing great comfort due to the soft suspensions. The rear brake is superb then. 
      A disc brake is equipped at the front together with a two piston caliper and a drum brake at the rear. The feedback from the front brake is moderate, just better than wooden. The initial bite is satisfying and the power provided is quite good. Due to the tires fitted emergency braking will require some caution by the rider on slippery streets. The drum brake is very good concerning the power and feedback provided. 
      Optional equipment/reliability/build quality: A kick start, a detachable rack behind the legshield, and a safety key-lock are standard equipment, while under the seat a small shopping bag can be accommodated. The rack at the legshield makes a short rider to lift a foot higher than ordinary in order to seat on the cub. The centre stand requires more power than normal. The side stand operates better than the competitionĒs, since it is easily stabilized securing the moped, although a safety switch is also not provided. The mirrors are paint to the color of the cub. The indicatorĒs buzzer reminds of a truck Ąs reverse buzzer. The indication of the selected speed at the gearbox is very bright which is practical. 
      LifanĒs reliability is good, a 5 years warranty is provided for the mechanical parts of the Buddy. China is the manufacturing country.
      Build quality and finish are moderate. At the specific bike tested the silencer was rusted at the back, the needle indicating the fuel level was affected greatly by riding vibrations and the lights activating switch was also trembling. 
      Comments: Build quality lacks compared to the modern standards or the competition. However riding belongs to a more expensive category, which is very positive. From this point of view the Lifan was a pleasant surprise, overcoming riding issues that more expensive cubs have not managed to. 
Price: 1090 Ī 

 + Price 

 + 5 years warranty for mechanical parts 

 + Handling 

 - Build quality 

 - OE tires.


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