Top 10 Best 125cc Motorcycles (2023)
Once you are done with your Compulsory basic training (CBT), you will ideally start with a learner-legal 125cc motorcycle that will help you safely perfect your handling and engine control skills during that beginner phase.
The best-selling street bikes in this category are the Honda CBF 125, the Lexmoto LXS 125, and the Zontes ZT.
In this article, we will explore why these motorbikes and other top-selling machines are selling like hotcakes among beginner and experienced bikers alike.
1. Honda CBF 125 (Honda’s Reliability and Build Quality on a Budget)
2022 Sales: 2363 bikes (-)
Since Honda introduced the budget-oriented CBF125 in 2008, it has been a major hit among commuters and training schools.
It has been so successful because it is a well-built, lightweight street bike that is easy to ride for the beginner biker.
Its high-tensile steel frame and workmanlike suspension provide the durability needed to absorb hits as you learn how to navigate potholes and bumps.
It is cheap to run too, with an impressive average fuel consumption of 145mpg.
If you need a competent and affordable street bike that comes with the assurance of the Honda badge, this is what you go for.
Honda CBF 125 Specs
|Engine:||125cc, air-cooled, 4-strokes, 2 valves, single cylinder|
|Easy to learn on||Small seat storage|
|Cheap to run||Low top speed|
|Honda's reliability and quality|
2. Lexmoto LXS 125 (Power and Speed on the Cheap)
2022 Sales: 1158 bikes
The LXS 125 is relatively affordable, but it is not the cheapest bike on this list. However, it has more power, speed, and better specs than every other budget-friendly bike in its class.
Its Euro 5 liquid-cooled engine produces 11nm of torque and a top speed of 70 mph.
The intelligently designed under-seat exhaust system stabilizes the bike to facilitate effective handling at speed and around corners.
The bike is a looker too, with clean lines and twin LED headlights that give it an aggressive presence.
All of the above explains why the bike has been such a good seller. It’s what you go for if you need a beginner's sports bike but are unwilling or unable to spend £4000-plus on big-name brands.
Lexmoto LXS 125 Specs
|Engine:||125cc, water cooled, four strokes, single cylinder|
|Looks great||No ABS|
|Value for money||Limited range|
|Good fuel economy||There are more powerful bikes in the class|
3. Zontes ZT (Style and Performance in an Affordable Package)
2022 Sales: 1147
What stands out immediately about the Zontes ZT UI 125cc are its looks. It is one of the most detailed 125cc bikes on the market with its aggressive lines, spooked wheels, and dual purpose 17" CST CM-ADD tyres.
The bike is the latest result of the Chinese company’s design evolution and its bodywork is so excellent that you would be convinced if someone simply slapped a Honda or any big-name brand badge on it.
It’s probably the best Chinese 125cc bike on the UK market today, and it's an excellent option if you need a sportbike in that class with solid top speed (70mph) and fuel economy (100mpg) without paying £1000 more for a Japanese or European bike.
Zontes ZT Specs
|Engine:||124cc, water cooled, four strokes|
|Competitive price||Lower resale value|
|Fuel efficient||There are more powerful bikes in the class|
4. KTM 125 Duke (The Thrill Seeker’s Urban Rider)
2022 Sales: 1107
For thrill seeking beginners, there is one typical question floating in their heads, just which street bike is the fastest 125cc out there?
The KTM 125 Duke may just be the answer to that question. It is one the fastest 125cc machines with a top speed of 75 mph.
It is equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox, and the sixth gear is there to help you switch from an already impressive fifth gear pace to overdrive for an adrenaline-fueled ride.
Speed, agility, safety, and fuel efficiency are the defining features of this motorbike. Qualities that make it one of the most dynamic 125cc options for young riders.
The KTM 125 Duke is a lightweight, fast, naked bike and you will need protective gear to shield yourself from the wind at high speeds. Read our article on the best motorcycle gear for beginners to get some inspiration.
KTM 125 Duke Specs
|Engine:||124.7cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, single cylinder|
|Great looks||The latest Yamaha MT 125 is faster|
5. Yamaha XSR 125 (Neo-Retro Perfection)
2022 Sales: 961
The heritage of the XSR 125 lies in Yamaha’s Faster Sons Styling movement. The bike’s design is particularly influenced by the larger XSR700 and XSR900 models.
Like both bikes, it perfectly merges retro design features and iconography with modern technology.
Its headlight and taillights are a perfect example. Their distinct round shape channels a seventies aesthetic perfectly blended with up-to-date LED technology.
The bike is very well-put-together and as a first-time rider, you can go for it if you want something that exudes youthful exuberance and stands out in a jam-packed category.
Yamaha XSR 125 Specs
|Engine:||124cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, single cylinder|
|Retro styling||No under-seat storage|
|Tech laden||Premium pricing|
6. Keeway Superlight (The Budget All-Terrain Motorbike)
2022 Sales: 874
If you are looking for a street bike that is affordable and performs just as well in city traffic and in the countryside, the Keeway Superlight is an excellent option.
The Chinese bike is equipped with a fuel-injected, air-cooled, single cylinder engine that produces 10.46HP, sufficient power for dynamic riding on city streets and country lanes.
It has a well-built chassis that ensures good road handling on all kinds of terrain. And it is outfitted with a Combined braking system (CBS).
The bike is a good option for anyone looking to spend under £3000 to buy a solid first bike.
Keeway Superlight Specs
|Engine:||124cc, air-cooled, four stroke, single cylinder|
|Reasonable price||Limited tech features|
|Good looking||It can be more powerful|
|Cheap to run|
7. Honda Monkey (The Perfect Back-of-the-Motorhome Bike)
2022 Sales: 803
The Honda Monkey has a rich heritage and it has always been a small but functional bike.
It is small and light enough to get you through anything. Whether it is to navigate your way through gaps in city traffic or to pack it away safely behind your camper van.
The bike is a joy to ride too, and an extra fifth gear has been added to give you an overdrive option. Underneath is a new fuel-efficient, Euro5-complaint 124cc engine that it shares with the Honda Grom.
If you are in the market for a small bike with lots of heritage behind it, you can’t go wrong with the Honda Monkey.
Honda Monkey Specs
|Engine:||124cc, air-cooled, 2 valves, four stroke, SOHC single-cylinder|
|Classic design and rich heritage||No storage capacity|
|Fuel efficient engine||Premium pricing|
|Excellent ride quality|
8. Benelli BN 125 (Italian Flair and Chinese Affordability)
2022 Sales: 768 bikes
Dreamed up by Italian designers and built for cheap in China, the BN 125 is a stylish and capable street bike priced at just £2,199.
The bike doesn’t have any class-leading tech features or impressive engine power, but it will get you competently from point A to B, and it is easy to maintain.
It looks great, is agile enough to let you wriggle your way through traffic, and is fuel efficient.
You won’t get top-of-the-line features, but you will get a solid, reliable bike at an almost irresistible price tag.
Benelli BN 125 Specs
|Engine:||125cc, four-stroke, single cylinder|
|Ideal beginner bike||Limited power|
|Cheap to run||Questionable resale value|
9. Benelli Tornado 125 (Small Bike, Big Fun)
2022 Sales: 689
The Tornado 125 mini street bike is all about fun. The bike isn’t as fast or powerful as the other top-rated options in its class, but you wouldn’t be thinking about that when you are riding it.
It cuts through corners nicely, and switching through gears 1 to 5 is a seamless process. It is also equipped with Benelli’s Combined braking system (CBS) so you can confidently bring it to a stop when you need to.
Just like the Benelli BN 125, it is designed in Italy and built in China (the Benneli brand is owned by the Chinese giant Qianjiang). So, it is a lot more reasonably priced when compared to more reputable alternatives like the Honda MSX Grom.
The small wheeled Tornado 125 is excellent value for money, and you can buy it if you are looking for a fun but more affordable mini bike.
Benelli Tornado 125 Specs
|Engine:||125cc, air-cooled, 4 valves, single cylinder|
|Affordable price tag||Limited tech features|
Average power and speed
|Learner friendly seating position|
10. Honda MSX Grom (The Mini Street Bike With an Attitude)
2022 Sales: 594
If you are searching the market for a reputable mini street bike that will get you comfortable around town while hitting top speeds of 67 mph when you want to have some fun, look no further than the Honda MSX Grom.
The bike packs quite the attitude. Its new PGM-FI fuel injected engine is lively and sounds great. An extra fifth gear makes long rides a lot easier and it accelerates really well.
Honda also paid lots of attention towards making the bike learner-friendly. It has a low 761mm seat height that makes it easy to ride and its small size ensures you can get through traffic confidently.
The MSX Grom’s dynamic nature means it is the perfect bike for both beginner riders and experienced bikers that are looking for a different, fun bike.
Honda MSX Grom Specs
|Engine:||124.9cc, air-cooled, 2 valves, single cylinder|
|Great looks||There are cheaper alternatives|
|Fun to ride||Limited tank range|
11. Yamaha MT 125 (A Perfect Blend of Speed and All-round Excellence)
2022 Sales: 462 bikes
The MT 125 is one of the strongest performers in the 125cc category.
Yamaha’s Variable valve actuation (VVA) system is built into the engine and it lets you seamlessly switch between top-end power and low-end power.
Its engine pumps out 14.8hp for a top speed of 80mph. Fuel economy is very good at about 134 mpg.
Also, unlike most naked sportbikes that tend to compromise on looks, the MT 125 is sleek with an athletic bodywork.
Its got all you need in a sportbike and more. It should be at the top of your list if you are evaluating reputable, speedy 125cc bikes on the market.
Yamaha MT 125 Specs
|Engine:||124cc, liquid cooled, 4 valves. SOHC single cylinder|
|Excellent handling||No under-seat storage|
12. Yamaha R 125 (The 125cc Bike With a Racing DNA)
2022 Sales: 458 bikes
The new R125 takes most of its cues from the Yamaha R7.
The genetic code of the more powerful 689cc R7 is visible in the design, technical features and speed of the R125.
The bike is full-sized with a deltabox frame that provides stability at top speeds. It is equipped with traction control to keep you nimble. And its hearty engine outputs 15hp for a top speed of 75mph.
Just like the MT 125, it utilizes Yamaha’s VVA system for more efficient performance. Also, with a fuel economy of 134.5mpg, you get a tank range of roughly 300 miles.
Yamaha R 125 Specs
|Engine:||125cc, liquid cooled, 4 stroke, DOHC single cylinder|
|Great looks||There are cheaper, capable alternatives|
The Bottom Line
This article has shown you the most sought-after 125cc motorbikes on the market and why people are so interested in each of them.
If you are more interested in purchasing a 125cc scooter, check out our article on the 10 best selling 125cc scooters in the UK.
One other thing you must prioritize as a beginner rider is motorcycle security. At least 9000 machines are stolen in London each year and much more in other British cities.
You need to invest in quality anti-theft systems to protect your bike. In that case, EasyBlock could be a possible option for you to secure your motorcycle when parking it on the street.
Visit Our Website to Learn More about How EasyBlock Can Protect Your Motorcycle.