2019 Keeway Cafe Racer 152 Review - Cheap Thrills
If you’re looking for a seriously inexpensive daily two-wheeled runabout but don’t want to risk the second-hand market, you’re largely limited to scooters. If that’s not your thing, you’re nearly out of luck. We say nearly because we’ve just had a stint with this, the Keeway 152 Cafe Racer.
It’s retailing for $1995, making it one of the cheapest motorbikes on the market and therefore any potential issues are deemed null and void, well, almost. It’s powered by a carburetted 150cc single cylinder engine making around 8.5kW and 11Nm of torque.
Not much you’re thinking? Given the whole package only weighs 107kg without fluids there isn’t much mass to shift. As a result, top speed is an eyeball-verified 125km/h. But when the wind picks up, you’ll want to keep your wits about you as it’s easy to be moved around in a lane.
The five-speed gearbox is the powertrain’s only real drawback, the engine seemingly spinning quite high at motorway speeds, although you won’t know how close you are to the redline since there’s no rev counter. Around town, the Cafe Racer goes just fine.
Braking is taken care of by a single disc up front and a drum at the rear. Our unit was brand new with less than 30km on the clock so the front brake was still in need of bedding in but the rear was surprisingly eager to slow things down. Don’t be afraid to use that footbrake!
The chassis is lightweight and flexible, compounded by cheap suspension. Keeway ships the bike with cheap rubber too so replacing that should be high on any list of mods.
Aside from the price, the best part about the 152 is the look. Keeway has done a good job with the paint, the bike appearing as if it could have come from a more mainstream factory. There’s a plastic cowling covering the rear section of the seat and round wing mirrors evoke the racier styles of the 20th century. A single dial offers an analogue speed readout with a small digital screen for the odometer.
Immediate competition comes in the form of Suzuki’s Gixxer 150, which makes more power from the same capacity (10.8kW/14Nm) but costs a grand more at $2999. Suzuki went for a more modern GSX-R style which contrasts with the Keeway’s classic looks, and it gets disc brakes at both ends, too.
Closer in price is the GN125H at $2500 plus ORC. It’s good for 9.7kW and 10Nm, so similar to the Keeway, as it is in components but is still 25 per cent more expensive and hasn’t the visual appeal of the Keeway.
At the end of the day, it really depends on your budget.
If you want a brand new LAMS-approved motorbike but can’t afford to spring for either of the Suzukis, then the Keeway Cafe 152 will sate those retro desires.