125cc’s are possibly the most important category of motorcycling as for many this is where the passion for riding starts, but what’s even more important is knowing what’s on the market so you can choose your perfect riding partner.

So what’s out there? In this new list, we’re taking a look at 10 of the best naked 125cc motorcycles available. But before we get started, I’ll just say that for this new list we’re keeping it diversified and kept it to one entry per manufacturer.

10. Benelli TNT

I think the most appropriate word that can be used to describe Benelli’s TNT is fun! From its bold graphics to its super-agile nature, this mini bike is lightweight and small enough to nip through morning congestion whilst also being cheap to buy and run (thanks to that £2k price tag).

As it’s a 125cc, the TNT features an array of learner-friendly rider aids including a 5-speed gearbox, LCD dash, LED headlights, and indicators. One stickler though is that it is lacking ABS but, like many of its rivals, it is Chinese built so would you expect much more for this price?

My final thoughts? It’s hitting just over 11 bhp so, again, it’s pretty average for a bike of this type but, I think it’s the perfect choice for anyone looking for something fun to ride without breaking the bank.

Engine 125cc, 11.1 bhp, air-cooled
Fuel tank 7.2L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 780mm
Weight 124kg
Price (starting from) £2,099 (+OTR)

9. Keeway RKF 125

Up next we have Keeway’s RKF 125 and the sleek, edgy styling gives this naked motorcycle an eye-catching appearance.

This stunner reaches 12 hp, and as I’ve already said is pretty average, but that doesn’t mean that it's lacking any ‘get up and go’ because the new liquid-cooled multi-spark engine is said to achieve more power and higher fuel efficiency. Standout features include a digital dash, sports exhaust, and LED lights which give it a modern personality with decent spec at the rider’s disposal.

If you’re looking for an L-plate legal bike that’s kitted out to the max but cheap as chips to run and buy? We think we’ve found it.

Engine 124.8cc, 12 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 10L
Brakes Front and rear disc (CBS)
Seat height 770mm
Weight 137kg
Price (starting from) £2,399 (+OTR)

8. Zontes ZT125-U

Clothed in a classy yet sporty exterior, the super tasty design of the Zontes ZT125-U is enough to get any learner’s pulse racing. Team this with the street tyres, slipper clutch, and BOSCH ABS and you’ve got a CBT-friendly recipe for success! And with LED lights, keyless security, and a USB charging point this daily commuter provides you with all the convenient techy bits that will make your ride to work effortless.

With a liquid-cooled engine, reaching 14.9 hp, it’s the fastest of our Chinese-built bikes, and with a low price of £2,899.99 as an added bonus, it could even rival some of our more premium-priced entries. Could this be the best of the Chinese-built bikes featured? I’ll leave that for you to discuss amongst yourselves.

Engine 125cc,14.9 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 12.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc (ABS)
Seat height 790mm
Weight 128kg
Price (starting from) £2,899.99

7. Aprilia Tuono 125

Aprilia are sports bike specialists with a need for speed so, it’s no surprise their Tuono 125 is one of the fastest on our list – maxing out at 15 hp!

This street fighter is a scaled-down version of its big brother, the Tuono V4 1100, and has been designed to target those fresh to the motorcycling scene so, get ready for big bold graphics, a lightweight frame, and a liquid-cooled engine, all to draw in the crowd.

In addition to this, expect to see a race-ready riding position, ABS, onboard diagnostic indicator light, new analogue rev counter, digital display, and smartphone connectivity.

I thought I’d just point out as well that, for its size, the Tuono 125 has the biggest fuel tank on our list so you’ll be spending less time filling up at the petrol station and more time razzing round town.

What are we thinking then? I’m getting some serious big bike feels and definitely think the Tuono 125 lives up to Aprilia’s racing reputation. It’s a pretty good choice for anyone with a higher budget looking for an all-round good performer.  

Engine 124.2cc, 15 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 14.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 810mm
Weight 129kg
Price (starting from) £4,399

6. Kawasaki Z125

Taking the #6 spot on our list is Kawasaki’s 125cc naked offering the Z125.

The modern, sleek and, slightly, angry-looking styling gives it an attitude some bikes can only strive to achieve. Don’t be put off by its aggressive looks though, as, underneath all that, Kawasaki’s Z125 is a pussycat at heart that’s waiting for new riders to jump on board and hear it purr. And friendly features such as a relaxed riding position, higher handlebars, wide mirrors, and ABS only back that up further.

With a liquid-cooled engine, reaching 14.5 hp, make this a very attractive addition to our list and, to add to that, the standard version (Candy Lime Green) is priced at only £3,799 (the cheapest in the top 6) which, for a Japanese brand with a reputation like Kawasaki’s, is very appealing indeed!

The Z125 has everything you need to get you from A to B stylishly, comfortably, and reliably but (if I’m being picking) it’s just missing a couple of the 'bells and whistles’ some of the other contenders have for not much more £.

Engine 125cc, 14.5 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 11L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 815mm
Weight 146kg
Price (starting from) £3,799 (Candy Lime Green & £3,899 (both Spark Black options)

5. Suzuki GSX-S125

Smack bang in the middle, we’ve got yet another member of the big four who are swooping in to try and battle for the top spot.

The GSX-S’s nimble and lightweight nature, with the addition of upright bars, makes this a true street bike that’s perfect for nipping through traffic. And with the modern, bright, and exotic graphics you’ll definitely be noticed!

An all-new GSX-S liquid-cooled engine provides stronger torque, more power, and that Suzuki performance we all know and love. With this also comes an all-new lightweight and compact chassis which gives the rider more control and only helps to make the ride more responsive.

On top of all this, we’ve also got advanced rider tech including a shutter key-locking and easy start system, as well as LED lights, LCD dash, BOSCH ABS and 10, spoke aluminium wheels.

Suzuki’s GSX-S is slightly cheaper than a few of the other higher-scoring contenders on our list, so if you have fallen in love with this model then the savings you’ve made could be put toward the street accessory pack that’ll kit you and your ride out even more! 

Engine 124.4cc, 14.7hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 11L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 785mm
Weight 133kg
Price (starting from) £4,199

4. Husqvarna Svartpilen 125

Following on from the 401 and 701, for 2021, Husqvarna has released an all-new 125 version of their much-loved model the Svartpilen and we just had to include it – and that’s not just because it shares a few features with a certain Austrian model also on our list (more on that in a moment though).   

I have two words for this bike, and they are: premium quality. From its rugged, retro, yet futuristic, design upright riding position to that 15 hp performance of the liquid-cooled engine, this 125 is giving you what you pay for and then some!

And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also packed full of features that help to instill confidence in the rider and allow its true agile, versatile and robust nature to blast through – 17” wheels, off-road style handlebars, LED lights, WP suspension, comfortable padded seat, luggage rack with clip-on points, BOSCH ABS and a lightweight steel trellis frame at the heart of it all.

As I already mentioned, it shares a few things with KTM’s Duke 125, including the frame and EU5 engine, and the similarities don’t end there either. Both models are competitively priced, with the Svartpilen being slightly more expensive at £4,499 compared to the Duke’s £4,299 price tag. The fuel tanks, weight, and seat heights are also very close in numbers, but all are swaying in favour of the Duke 125 today, and that’s why, on this occasion, it’s beating Husqvarna’s Svartpilen 125 for a place in the top 3. 

Engine 125cc, 15 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 9.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 835mm
Weight 146kg
Price (starting from) £4,499

3. KTM Duke 125

From the compact liquid-cooled engine, that packs a pretty good 15hp punch, to the 17” confidence-inspiring, cast-alloy racing wheels, KTM’s Duke 125 is an entry-level bike oozing with personality and quality.

With funky, bold styling, this is one naked motorcycle that we don’t mind seeing dressed and it certainly has the looks to make any 17-year-old feel the man (or woman of course) about town. To make it even more down with the kids, KTM has included Bluetooth connectivity so you’ll be able to listen to music or take calls as you cruise around (safely of course).

Adding to this, expect to see ABS, TFT dash, new exhaust system, and LED lights all as standard! And with its liquid-cooled engine reaching, as I’ve already mentioned, a mighty 15 hp do you even need to question why it’s one of the leaders in its class?

Engine 124.7cc, 15 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank  11L
Brakes  Front and rear disc (ABS)
Seat height  818mm
Weight  141.4kg
Price (starting from)   £4,299

2. Honda CB125R

New for 2021, and just missing out on the crown, Honda’s CB125R is the smaller sibling to the awesome CB1000R and therefore a member of the Neo Sports Cafe family but let’s put that aside for a minute – however, if you do want to read more about our top 10 125cc cafe racer choices make sure you read our blog next! 

Any rider would make a stylish statement on one of these, but just imagine how it would feel having this as your first bike – but as it has a £4,299 price tag it might not be realistic for all but still, we can dream can’t we!

To impress you further, it puts a big emphasis on fun and, through the upgraded liquid-cooled engine, The CB125R lets out 14.7 hp (which does make it slower compared to some of the others) but as it’s a Honda it still will offer you just as exciting a ride!

With 2-channel ABS, retro looks, 6-speed gearbox, LED lights, and LCD dash Honda has created a perfectly balanced bike with a raw attitude and plenty of cafe-racer-inspired character.

As I’ve already mentioned, it might not be quite as fast as the other flagship models but, Honda’s CB125R is a bike that certainly meets the 125cc naked motorcycle brief and, therefore, is absolutely perfect for anyone looking to make an introduction to this world!

Engine 124.9cc, 14.7 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 10.L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 816mm
Weight 130kg
Price (starting from) £4,299

1. Yamaha MT-125

But, driving away with the top spot today is Yamaha’s MT-125.

The MT-125 is full of rider-friendly features including a EU5 liquid-cooled engine, with Variable Valve Actuation (VVA), that delivers a powerful and strong performance, without being too intimidating. 41mm upside-down front forks provide the bike with smooth suspension so riding will be comfortable and front and rear braking discs offer better control.

The modern, aggressive design, with athletic bodywork, gives the look and feel of a larger capacity model – you’ll look and feel the part riding this beast.  To add, LED lights, LCD screen, and assist and slipper clutch are also included as standard.

It’s one of the quickest on our list, and for all that power there will be a price to pay, and for this model, that price will be a hefty £4,649. But if you do have the cash to splash then Yamaha’s MT-125 is a well-executed machine that reflects its premium price.

Engine 124cc, 15 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 11L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 810mm
Weight 142kg (wet)
Price (starting from) £4,649

One last stop

These bikes are definitely giving new riders something to smile about but we want to know what you think of our new list. Do you agree? Disagree? Have a complete list of your own? Let us know in the comments now!

If you are thinking of treating yourself to a brand-new motorcycle, then don’t forget to get the correct insurance. Lexham’s specialist insurance scheme offers great rates on new motorcycles and scooters – and don’t forget to go direct to get the best deal!