Whether you’re a brand new rider who’s just completed their CBT or you’re after an economical and reliable commuter motorbike, the 125cc motorcycle market is huge and the array of choice can be overwhelming. Zenith Motorcycles specialises in 125cc bikes and our review of the top 9 bikes out there will help you choose the perfect ride for you!
9. Honda CBF125
An excellent all rounder with Honda’s famous reliability. The Honda CBF125 isn’t going to beat any speed records and the suspension is pretty soft, but it’s affordable and has fantastic fuel economy. If you’re after something basic and durable, for a first bike it’s great.
8. Cagiva Mito 125
Something of an outlier on this list, the Cagiva Mito 125 looks like a beautiful sports bike and de restricted can reach up to 100mph on the track. The two stroke engine does take some looking after though and whilst this bike might be great for showing off, day to day commuting could take its toll eventually. Awesome but maybe not all that practical?
7. Honda SH125
The SH125 is Honda’s best selling scooter in Europe, especially popular in Southern European countries. It might look somewhat different with larger wheels and a higher seat than many of its peers, but its excellent fuel economy (a claimed 85mpg) and smooth power delivery and handling make it a great and cost effective choice for commuting.
6. Suzuki RV125 VanVan
A whole bunch of words spring to mind to describe the VanVan: “fun”, “quirky”, “idiosyncratic”. With retro beach bike looks, apparently this is Richard Hammond’s favourite ride! The upright sitting position places the rider relatively high and the Suzuki brand name means the VanVan holds its value well, making it a fairly safe first purchase. It’s a great conversation piece too!
5. Piaggio Vespa PX
A timeless design classic, this scooter has been around in one form or another since the late 1970s. A very popular Italian machine, the Vespa PX is good not just for commuting but for living out the café lifestyle. As time has progressed, so has the technology, and these days you get great fuel economy and good reliability. The iconic brand means they hold their value well too.
4. Yamaha YZF R125
Yamaha have done a lot of work to make this 125cc motorbike look and sound like its bigger siblings the R1 and R6, and they’ve certainly done a great job. Quick, well built and great looking, it’s perfect at combining the sleek sports bike style with the practicalities of a 125cc city bike, and hugely popular with it.
3. KTM Duke 125
An awesome all rounder the KTM Duke 125 combines aggressive naked styling, great power and advanced Austrian technology. Respectable and reliable, a nicely kept one of these bikes will turn heads wherever it goes and always gets good reviews. A new one is not cheap but you can often find a good deal on a secondhand one.
2. Yamaha YBR125
There are several iterations of the ultra reliable workhorse that is the YBR125. There is the naked city bike version, the more cruiser styled YBR Custom, as well as a sportier faired version. The chassis in all three cases is the same but the front of each model is different enough to suit several styles. A great winter bike, the YBR125 is as comfortable on little country lanes as it is weaving in and out of city traffic. Now that the amazing and indestructible Honda CG125 is no longer manufactured, the Yamaha YBR is the next best thing.
1. Honda Shadow VT125
The big momma of 125cc motorcycles, the Honda Shadow VT125 combines big cruiser looks with a bulletproof engine which makes 15bhp, the most power a motorcycle can legally produce with L plates. With a top speed well above the national speed limit, exceptionally comfortable riding position and with massively cool cruiser style, the Shadow is truly deserving of the number 1 spot on this list. Although production stopped in 2011, there are plenty of excellent second hand examples on the market, although they don’t come cheap. Shop around for a good deal, and if you have to travel some distance to get one, do so, it’ll be worth it!
Zenith Motorcycles is a 125cc motorbike specialist. We often have some of these great bikes in stock (lovingly serviced by us before they go on sale), because we want to offer the very best to our customers. Take a look at what’s on sale at our friendly North London shop right now, or come to visit and browse. If you spot one you love, you may need to move fast, they tend to get snapped up quickly!