From the premium-spec’d flagships to the more affordable day-to-day riders, when it comes to a 125cc scooter, there is a huge variety to choose from. And as the market opens up and we find most manufacturers offering at least one in their line-up, all with the goal of becoming your perfect everyday riding partner, your decision just got a whole lot harder!

But I’m here to help because, in this new blog, we’re filtering down the choices and focusing on what the Chinese-built sector of the 125cc scooter market has to offer.

Before we start though, I just wanted to iron a few things out. We know that Chinese 125cc scooters get a bit of stick because they typically aren’t as well-built or as reliable as their Japanese rivals, but as Chinese factories produce better and better quality bikes with lower price tags, they offer those with a passion for two-wheel riding a real-world and affordable chance to join the scene, so, we do have to give them some respect.

With that said, kicking the list off today is…

‎WK SX 125

In case you didn’t know much about them, WK is a brand that offers British riders on a budget affordable and practical first bikes. For this list, we’re focusing on their SX 125 model and the key things you need to know about this little guy are...

The air-cooled engine is fully Euro 5 compliant and reaches 8.7 hp. When it comes to the styling, it’s your typical small capacity scooter, meaning it’s slim and slightly sporty with bold colours and graphics.

We all know to expect a slightly more basic set-up when it comes to a lower-cost 125cc and the SX 125 is no different, it includes all the standard equipment needed to make a scooter of this type easy to use and ride, such as CBS and 14” wheels. However, WK has made it a bit more interesting for its target market with the inclusion of LED lighting (on the rears and indicators only) and a USB charging port.  

Overall, the combination of decent fuel economy, small practical touches and a £1,799 (+OTR) price tag equals a bike that’s got everything a young rider would need – and not much more.

Engine 125cc, 8.7 hp, air-cooled
Fuel tank 4.1L
Brakes Front and rear disc (CBS)
Seat height 800mm
Weight 100kg
Price £1,799 (+OTR)

‎Motorini SXi 125i

In either its luminescent ‘Lime Green’ or bright ‘Rosso Red’ colourway, the SXi 125i is another scooter that chooses to go for sporty styling. This isn’t a surprise though as it’s the look we are used to seeing on a 125cc scooter because that’s what’s favoured by the new and younger riders – who are the ones buying.

The SXi 125i also includes a Euro 5, 4-stroke, air-cooled engine, 8.3 hp output and LED headlight.

Motorini’s SXi 125i is another affordable model that’s got the look and, most importantly, low £1,849 (+OTR) price tag that will make those in search of a pocket-pleasing 125cc stop and click ‘add to cart’. 

Engine 125cc, 8.3 hp, air-cooledd
Fuel tank 5.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc (CBS)
Seat height 795mm
Weight 116kg
Price £1,849 (+OTR)

‎Neco Alex One

Neco’s Alex One is a little different from the others on today’s list and that’s because it falls more into the small-capacity maxi-scooter category and therefore has been built to handle slightly longer journeys.

Because of this, it includes two glove boxes, under-seat storage, a large saddle, backrest (which is a nice touch and something you don’t see on your typical 125cc) and a 14L fuel tank giving you a decent range. It also includes a handbrake which is very useful.

Coming in at 130kg makes it one of the heaviest on the list but, relatively lightweight in the scheme of things, so it will still be easy to manoeuvre and handle whilst inspiring confidence in its rider.

The £2,595 price tag makes it score higher on the pricing spectrum but, again, looking at the bigger picture is still a reasonably priced model.  

Engine 125cc, 8 hp, air-cooledd
Fuel tank 14L
Brakes Front and rear disc (CBS)
Weight 130kg
Price £2,595

‎MGB Fantasy 125

MGB’s main aim is to get young riders in the UK on the road at an affordable price without sacrificing style, and with their Fantasy 125, I think they’ve done just that.

With an LED headlight, taillights and indicators, combined digital and analogue clocks, USB port and lockable front glove box, this learner-legal has all the essential equipment needed for commuting to work, getting to college or just a bit fun.

Putting fun aside, it’s also equipped with front and rear disc brakes and adjustable twin rear shocks for added control and reassurance – something important in a bike targeted at younger riders.

With MGB’s 125, it doesn’t have to be a sweet, sweet Fantasy, that £1,899 (+OTR) price makes it pretty budget-friendly and, therefore, realistic.

Engine 125cc, 8 hp, air-cooledd
Fuel tank 5.4L
Brakes Front and rear disc (CBS)
Weight 108kg
Weight £1,899 (+OTR)

‎AJS Modena

With its strong 60s styling, AJS’s Modena fills a void in the retro scooter market and sets itself apart from the rest of the bunch, especially if you go for the two-toned orange paint scheme – one thing you won’t have to worry about is being seen!

I actually really like the brightness of this colourway; it makes those whitewall tyres and checkerboard graphics really stand out! However, if you aren’t so keen and do want to tone the styling down then white or black are also available. When BikeMatters were given the opportunity to take the Modena on a road test, Brett concluded that you’d struggle to find a budget retro scooter as good-looking as this!

Along with the styling, AJS has sprinkled this with practical touches such as front and rear luggage racks that can handle up to 5kg apiece and a clear dash that follows along the same styling lines as the rest of the scoot.

One last thing to point out is that the Modena only weighs 95kg – yes, you read it right! This not only makes it extremely lightweight and, therefore, a pleasure to handle and ride but also the lightest on the list today.

As a brand, AJS set out to make scooters that are affordable, stylish and edgy, and the Modena is no different. It positions itself front and centre and proves that Chinese-built scooters can capture the hearts of many.

Engine 125cc, 7.1 hp, air-cooled
Fuel tank 4.6L
Brakes Front and rear disc (CBS)
Seat height 735mm
Weight 95kg
Price £2,199

‎AJS Insetto

AJS is one of the longest-surviving British motorcycle companies, and their scooters reflect this. Whilst all their offerings are different, they share the same retro-inspired twist and nod to the past which riders, especially those younger generational hipsters, can’t get enough of!  

Alongside this, the Insetto also features a smooth air-cooled engine, telescopic front forks, lockable glove box and rear luggage rack.

The Modena and the Insetto have their differences, but both are good examples of the Chinese-built and British-born hybrid.

Engine 125cc, 8.5 hp, air-cooled
Fuel tank 7.2L
Brakes Front and rear disc (CBS)
Seat height 789mm
Weight 115kg
Price TBC

‎Royal Alloy GP 125

Ah, Royal Alloy, one of the bigger players in the scooter world.

One thing to note about the GP model is that it weighs 130kg, the same as the maxi-scooter, the Neco Alex One, so if you are used to the likes of a lighter scoot, such as the 95kg AJS Modena or even the 116kg Motorini SXi 125i, you may notice the increase in weight more. But, really, 130kg should still be light enough in weight and easy to manoeuvre for most riders.

The £3,299 (+OTR) price is a considerable jump compared to the others, who are mostly under £2k, and, if you hadn’t already guessed, that also makes it the most expensive choice on the list today. You could argue that it therefore should maybe have a liquid-cooled engine and ABS, instead of the only noticeable difference from its lower-cost rivals being a marginally larger fuel tank and sturdier steel cradle frame. But, alas, the larger investment is for that Royal Alloy badge and traditional Lambretta styling.

In summary, the Royal Alloy GP is a scooter that’s not just sought-after by newer riders, it also appeals to those scooter-rally enthusiasts who can’t say no to a classic-looking scoot. Therefore, it’s those timeless looks and pretty big reputation, not just in the UK but around the world, which bulk up that price. Yes, it would be nice to see some things changed but that would also mean upping the price further. If you are after something like that and you’ve got a higher budget, you may want to look at our Top 10 125cc Scooters list for a bit more variety. 

Engine 125cc, 9.7 hp, air-cooled
Fuel tank 11L
Brakes Front and rear disc (CBS)
Seat height 770mm
Weight 130kg
Price £3,299 (+OTR)

‎Lexmoto Diablo 125

Are you looking for a scoot that has the sharp and sporty styling perfect for showing off in front of your mates? An air-cooled engine with enough puff (8.6 hp) to comfortably escort you to and from meeting them? A selection of modern-day necessities such as LED lighting, front and rear disc brakes and a clear digital display, to make riding alongside them safe and controlled? And a low price that means you can save for it quicker instead of submitting an application to the bank of mum and dad? 

Well, with their reputation for creating go-to scooters with the A1 licence rider in mind, Lexmoto are offering you just that when it comes to their Diablo 125. At £2,099.99, it’s the perfect choice for those looking for a decent model that will give them a bit of freedom without having to pay the bigger bucks for a Japanese alternative.

Spoiler alert – this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Lexmoto…

Engine 125cc, 8.6 hp, air-cooled
Fuel tank 6L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 790mm
Weight 114kg
Price £2,099.99

‎Sinnis Shuttle 125

Designed for the budget-conscious daily rider, I think that’s fair to say for most Chinese scooters, Sinnis’s Shuttle 125 is built for commuters.

The fuel-injected, 4 stoke “GY” style air-cooled motor reaches 7 bhp and it’s estimated to get around 100 mpg so it will help you keep more money in your pocket.

Sinnis have put the emphasis on the Shuttle being a commuter, so it includes under-seat storage, front glove box, phone compartment, rear luggage rack, LED lighting, USB socket and a wide stance.

It helps that is also looks the business and because of this, you’d be proud to have it by your side.

£1,699 (+OTR), makes it exceptionally cheap, and the cheapest on the list today. As Sinnis intended, the Shuttle 125 would be a great choice for those who are more budget-conscious and travelling shorter distances regularly.  

Engine 125cc, 8 hp, air-cooled
Fuel tank 7L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 790mm
Weight 110kg
Price £1,699 (+OTR)

‎Lexmoto Apollo 125

The Apollo 125 is one of the latest additions joining Lexmoto’s 2021 line-up.

From the outside, it doesn’t look like your typical 125cc. It’s got aggressive detailing, big wheels and an even bigger presence but underneath it’s still the same 125cc engine. By just looking at it you can see how Lexmoto are trying to compete with their Japanese rivals.

To ensure it can cope with your daily commute the Apollo 125 comes with a large 13L fuel tank, seat and storage space (which includes two front compartments). For a dash more practicality, a USB charging point is also included.

The £2,499.99 price makes it good value for what it is and, that’s a 125cc that can take an extended trip in its stride.

Engine 125cc, 8.7 hp, air-cooled
Fuel tank 13L
Brakes Front and rear disc (CBS)
Seat height 780mm
Weight 146kg
Price £2,499.99

‎The last stop

Through a combination of nimble handling, sporty styling and low-cost motoring, it’s obvious to see why the 125cc Chinese-built scooter has evolved into one of the most popular options on the market.

However, a common trend that sets them apart from their Japanese rivals is the engine and power output. On most Japanese models, this will be better and many of these models will also have ABS which is an upgrade compared to the CBS found on most Chinese models. This trend is something to be aware of and keep an eye on.

But, putting all opinions and spec aside, because, at the end of the day, they are great starting places for those fresh off their CBT or jumping on a two-wheeler for the first time.

Before you go, I want to your know thoughts on my top 10 125cc Chinese scooter choices. I’m a bit nervous to ask this but, drop a comment below or head over to Facebook and send a message.

Related article

AJS Modena 125 Scooter Review - Full Road Test

We got our hands on the popular AJS Modena retro scooter! Read more to find out how we got on...

Read more