The Piaggio Liberty 125 has been a mainstay of the Piaggio brand now since its inception way back in 1997 and it is fair to say Piaggio are one to stick to a winning formula.
The Liberty is designed to be a slick city scooter, thanks to its larger wheels and slim profile and that really hasn’t changed vastly over the years. Now freshened up to meet Euro 5 emissions standards the popular Liberty is back once more with the aim to be the perfect urban commuter.
Piaggio Liberty styling
As with the Liberty and its larger sibling the Medley, Piaggio sticks to the already mentioned design of large wheels and relatively narrow shape and for me, it is a quintessential European city scooter.
The Liberty 125 itself is quite a smart and sensible scooter by design and wouldn’t be amiss with a professional suited and booted navigating the Liberty through congested city streets to their place of work.
I think it is fair enough to say the Liberty is an extremely popular scooter in Europe, and though still popular in the UK – hasn’t quite got to the heights as on the continent.
Though the Liberty has some LED lighting with the daytime running lights unfortunately it isn’t fully LED lit.
With a firm yet comfy long seat that should take a pillion (if licence and insurance allow), the Liberty is set up to carry a second person with large grab handles to the rear. The seat itself is at the very accessible height of 790mm, so even those vertically challenged, should not have much of an issue.
A look over the Liberty and the quality looks spot on. The paintwork, plastics and metalwork all seemed above board.
Hitting the unlock button on the switchgear pops the seat to reveal a decent amount of under-seat storage space. Though Piaggio reckons this should fit a full-face helmet, sadly my HJC i70 full-face did not fit whatever position or angle I tried! Still, I think most open-face helmets should fit – and who knows maybe some full-face might be compatible. As always though, make sure to check to see if your motorcycle helmet will fit if you are interested in buying a Liberty and want that storage option.
Navigating our way to the back of the leg shield we have the glove box. A press of the key further into the ignition will unlock this glove box, which will be enough space for a few small items such as wallet, phone, keys, etc. If more storage space is required, you always have the option of a top box on a rear rack.
Dash & Controls
The Liberty is home to a split dash. At the top, we have the dominant and significantly larger analogue speedometer and underneath we have the smaller LCD panel.
Starting off with that speedometer, and it is big and clear – though simple does the job. Kilometres an hour is the main speed measurement which appears larger and at the top of the speedometer, with good old miles per hour being the smaller measurement underneath – something you come to expect with most Piaggio analogue speedometers.
The LCD display isn’t huge, but the information is displayed nicely and is clear to read with information such as fuel gauge, odometer, and clock being visible.
The switchgear is typical of what you expect from Piaggio, it is simple, fits in well with the aesthetics, and feels good quality. There is the addition of a menu button on the switchgear which lets you change options on the LCD display.
Let’s start off at the front, where we have a 240mm disc brake and heading towards the rear, where we have a 140mm drum brake.
For me, I am slightly disappointed to have a new scooter for 2021 still sporting a drum brake, but the Liberty is Piaggio’s entry-level 125cc scooter, so for them, I dare say it is a compromise in order to keep the Liberty at its price point.
Piaggio, however, has bypassed having a combined braking system in favour of having single-channel ABS on the front wheel which is a nice option to have.
In road use, the front brake is everything you’d need for the Liberty, and the addition of ABS does provide that little bit more confidence when slamming on the front brake especially in tricky conditions. The rear drum does do the job, but you do have to really pull it in to get a decent reduction in speed.
With Telescopic hydraulic forks with 76mm of travel at the front and a single hydraulic shock absorber with 5 pre-load adjustment on the rear, the Liberty is quite typical for a mid-range 125cc scooter.
Around town, on average UK roads, it copes well. Take it to the more beaten and scarred roads and you’ll likely be in for a bumpy ride, but again this is typical for scooters in this market. The Liberty is designed primarily for urban use after all.
Piaggio’s 124cc air-cooled I-GET motor is fresh off being confirmed Euro 5 compliant. Now producing just shy of 11hp, the Liberty puts itself smack bang in the mid-range 125cc scooter market, and towards top output for an air-cooled model.
Most of Piaggio’s modern motors wear the I-GET badge, which stands for Italian Green Experience Technology. Piaggio prides themselves on making these engines versatile and while putting out a respectable 11hp, Piaggio also claims the motor in the Liberty should achieve a somewhat economical 110mpg.
The Piaggio Liberty 125 ABS in all its Euro 5 glory can be yours from £2,700, and for an extra £100 on top you can get yourself the slightly sportier-looking S variant.
How it compares
To put out 11hp for an air-cooled 125cc scooter priced at just over £2.5k I think is pretty good going and competitive for the modern world we live in. Let’s for a few seconds look at how this compares power-wise to some Japanese rivals, the slightly smaller Suzuki Address (113cc) starts from £2,399 and puts out just 9hp and the liquid-cooled Honda SH Mode 125 starts from £2,799 and puts out 11.3bhp.
Now there are of course many different pieces of spec we can compare such as some models having additional features like smart key technology, more storage, better dashes, difference in fuel economy and so on, but I think it is safe to say as a general and brief comparison goes, the Liberty is well placed in the mid-range 125cc scooter market.
On the road
Off the blocks and the Liberty is pretty respectable building up speed to around 50mph. Around urban roads, you feel confident in the Liberty’s speed and acceleration, with no cause for concern at all. Even on faster roads, the Liberty held its own and kept up with normal traffic flow very well. It's only speeds above 55mph where acceleration isn’t quite the same and you might start feeling a bit more in the way.
On a decent stretch, the Liberty reached 65mph as indicated on that large analogue speedometer. I think in good conditions, and maybe on a downward slope, it might creep further towards that fabled 70mph.
As a confident and comfortable everyday top speed, the Liberty should be able to maintain 60mph in most situations, with a tiny bit more on top if needed.
The large wheels on the Liberty really do make a difference when riding. With the large 16” wheel at the front, it makes the Liberty incredibly agile, and very confidence-inspiring as those tyres feel well gripped on the tarmac. Navigating busy roads really is a doddle!
I have to admit, the Liberty has surprised me slightly - it provides a great riding experience. Though it looks very smart and sensible, don’t let this fool you as for a 125cc air-cooled scooter, it is well equipped to have some fun!
Piaggio’s Liberty does everything expected of it. It handles urban roads very well and as a result, you will have a fun riding experience that will probably leave a smile on your face – well it did for me anyway!
The Liberty isn’t without compromises though. It would be good to have full LED lighting, rear disc brake, digital dash, and more under-seat storage but then you are basically wanting the more Premium Piaggio Medley, which will cost an additional £1,100 when compared to the Liberty 125.
The Piaggio Liberty is, as the 125cc scooter market goes mid-range in spec and price, so it can’t be compared to its flashier and more expensive liquid-cooled counterparts.
The Liberty as such is without the thrills of these premium options but what it does offer you is one of the best air-cooled 125cc scooters on the market in the UK.
Piaggio Liberty 125 Scooter Insurance
Here at Lexham, we are a UK-based insurance provider with over 20 years of experience, and we are proud to have our best deals direct! So, if you are looking to get an insurance policy for your Piaggio Liberty scooter (or any other moped, scooter, or motorcycle), make sure to head over to our Scooter Insurance page to get an insurance quotation.