CBT riders and small-bike lovers, you’re up – it’s time to check the 10 best 125cc motorcycles taking the streets by storm in 2024, and I think you’re going to love all of these.

Every new rider will have their first taste of two-wheeled motorcycle freedom on one a 125 cc, and for that alone their value is immense. At the same time, older and/or more experienced riders may still find their frugality and ease of use just as appealing. All these picks work up to the CBT and A1 licence legal 15 bhp limit, ready to ride when you’re 17 years old and up. We’re also sticking with options that can be picked up new from dealerships in 2024.

This list will include some favourites that are still sold new today, plus some brand-new releases and updates for this year. What’s more, luckily a few of these models have larger capacity options if you like the foundations… So, let’s get going!

2023 Rieju Aventura 125

10. Rieju Aventura 125

Price Power Weight Tank Size Seat Height
£4,199 15 bhp (claimed) 138 kg (dry) 14 L 780 mm

With a surprising lack of adventure and touring models in the 125cc class, Rieju’s newest model proved to be an adept and fun option for 125cc riders after a bit more size. There is always the Sinnis T 125, and older (hard to come by) bikes like the Honda Varadero 125… but other than that *shrug*.

Originally hailing from Spain, Rieju has plenty of experience with lower capacity enduro models, scooters and motorcycles – and they say this Aventura is ‘built for adventure’, well it certainly has the history to build from.

A new liquid-cooled 125cc unit powers the adventure with a quoted 15 bhp on tap, though on the road it felt a bit more like 13 bhp, and you’ll want to work every gear to get to a quoted 70 mph top speed. It weighs in at 138 kg dry, but a big positive here was just how nicely it handled on the road. Though it is big, it wasn’t quite as roomy as I’d have first thought…

If you want the full info on this bike, check out the full ride review for BikeMatters.

2024 Herald Brat 125

9. Herald Brat 125

Price Power Weight Tank Size Seat Height
£2,999 14 bhp 147 kg (dry) 10 L 820 mm

How about this for an option that’s budget and looks cool as hell. Herald’s Brat 125 mixes the custom style with some modern tech including: digital dash, LED lights, USD forks and monoshock, and check that stainless steel exhaust!

Pricing on this is mad, £2,999, and it weighs 147 kg dry which should help it feel pretty solid on the road. It’s difficult to really understand a bike without riding it, but this thing looks unreal – brat style for sure. A quoted 14 bhp is available here, and all for a great price.

I’ve seen a Herald riding ahead of me when riding in the centre of London once, so based purely on that one occasion, it seemed agile on its feet and well-suited to dashing through traffic – but it did sound like it was running at full tilt whilst just about maintaining a decent town speed.

2024 Fantic Caballero 125

8. Fantic Caballero 125

Price Power Weight Tank Size Seat Height
£5,569 14.7 bhp 130 kg (dry) 12 L 820 mm

Number 8 takes us to the Fantic range, with the Caballero 125 – otherwise known for its bigger capacity variations of the 700 (with Yamaha’s CP2 engine), and 500 single-cylinder. This 125cc has character and style, will certainly turn heads on the road, and runs with 11kw or 14.7 bhp with 11.2 Nm of torque from the Minarelli single unit.

With plenty of 70s retro styling and an overall focus on fun, the 2024 model has had further updates to improve power output throughout the rev range with a new cylinder head, Variable Valve Actuation, and a slipper clutch. Sounds mega.

Dry weight is 130 kg, and the seat is at 820 mm as standard – you can also opt for the Deluxe with slightly more aesthetic spec, or Rally model if you want a more off-road ability with knobblies on – prices start at around £5,569 which makes it the priciest on the list. What do you think of this one? Love the look, myself.

2024 Husqvarna Svartpilen 125

7. Husqvarna Svartpilen 125

Price Power Weight Tank Size Seat Height
£4,899 15 bhp 151 kg (dry) 13 L 820 mm

Arguably the best looking on the list, Husqvarna has updated the Svartpilen and Vitpilen 125 for 2024, and offers a seriously unique take on this 125cc class. Of the two, the Svartpilen 125 is a tad higher spec with extras – flyscreen, pillion grab rail, and a space for luggage on the tank.

Of course, being based on sister company KTM’s LC4c single-cylinder from the Duke range, the motor is about as good as it gets in this sector. You get 15 bhp to play with along with 11.5 Nm of torque, and it revs up to just past 10k revs. Tank size is a decent 13-litres, you get ABS, and even Easy Shift for clutchless shifting through the 6 gears.

They call it a ‘rugged street explorer’, and this really is one that I love the look of. Semi-all-purpose wheels on, WP Apex suspension, and it’s all packaged up at just £4,899 – a pretty good option that sails in company with some of the other premium options on this list.

These are a little on the compact side, so despite an 820mm seat and hefty 151 kg dry weight, shorter riders may do well to have a closer look at one of these due to the sheer compact dimensions. That’s pretty much the only reason it’s at #7, I don’t think I’d fit on it 6’3”. Anyway, a stellar option if you want that top-quality assurance and unique styling approach.

2024 Honda CB125R

6. Honda CB125R

Price Power Weight Tank Size Seat Height
£4,599 14.7 bhp 130 kg (kerb) 10.1 L 816 mm

Ah, Honda. Now you may raise an eyebrow at their place at a mere sixth on the list here, as they are an obviously hugely popular manufacturer of 125cc machines… but… there’s just not enough here to excite me and prompt it being any higher on the list. The CB125R has been updated for 2024 with a few new colours and visual tweaks, and it’s naturally well worth a look.

It’s one that many riders will likely find at training schools when getting their CBT, perhaps simply due to the vast availability of Honda machines mixed with ongoing reliability and availability of parts – plus they look the part.

Specs-wise, you’ve got a liquid-cooled single-cylinder with 15 bhp and 11.6 Nm of torque, a good 130 kg weight, accessible 816 mm in seat height, and 10.1 litres of fuel capacity. All for £4,599, too, which makes it a great option for someone starting out and after a big-name bike at a fairly good monthly price (somewhere in the region of £60 a month).

If you like the style, the CB125R has that neo café styling that carries through to the CB650R – a great bike with high-revving inline-4. Of course, consider the vast number of 125 machines from Honda – there’s plenty, even the MSX 125 Grom and Super Cub 125 if you want something different!

2024 Aprilia RS 125

5. Aprilia RS 125

Price Power Weight Tank Size Seat Height
£4,500 14.7 bhp 144 kg 14.5 L 820 mm

Back over in Italy, we find a manufacturer with plenty of racing heritage that has diluted the formula somewhat (quite a lot) and taken their success to the RS 125 (and Tuono 125). Well worthy of the fifth spot here, the £4,700 2024 RS 125 has the style and acumen for any budding racing fan, with supreme handling and cornering ability from the racing poise.

The single-cylinder is liquid-cooled and tops the power charts with 15 bhp, and when you’re hunkered down it’s a pretty thrilling ride. It was most recently updated in 2021 to improve performance, standard equipment and trim levels – with peak power figures now reached lower in the rev range, and now a 58-tooth sprocket with an adjusted final drive ratio.

It comes with ABS, a new fully digital dash, and enough race pedigree to help you #BeARacer – and move up to the new RS 457, RS660, or even RSV4 once you have enough skill under your belt… The RS lineage has plenty of racing power, though it’s not quite the 2-stroke RS it once used to be!

Funnily enough, I did review a RS 125 GP with its quickshifter quite a few years ago. You could go for the current-gen GP Replica at £4,850 as well, full adrenaline! Consider the Tuono 125 if you want more of an upright riding position but with that Italian flair.

2024 Suzuki GSX-R 125

4. Suzuki GSX-R 125

Price Power Weight Tank Size Seat Height
£5,099 14.8 bhp 137 kg 11 L 785 mm

Up next we find Suzuki. At EICMA we saw the introduction of the new GSX-8R, but for a brief period, the only sports bike from the Hamamatsu firm was the humble GSX-R 125 after the famous Gixxer litre bike was dropped from the line-up.

This 125 cc version features a basic LCD instrument cluster, a keyless ignition and easy start system, and LED lighting, it’s an accessible sports bike with a 785mm seat height and decent power-to-weight ratio - 14.8 bhp and 11 Nm of torque, fuelled by an 11-litre tank, Suzuki insists it has a great fuel economy and theoretical range.

Sports fans will be well suited to this model, in any case, with big bike DNA that boasts the advantages of lightweight ABS, aluminium wheels and a light chassis. The price does take the shine off it a tiny amount, particularly with the fairly basic LCD instrument cluster, but I’m not sure you’ll mind when you’re riding it at full tuck!

If you’re not one for a sporty ride, Suzuki also offers the GSX-S 125 as an alternative for street-centric riding – though that’s £4,799. This could appeal to daily riders who want to roam the city streets and beyond – and also consider these also have a nice step up from these 125s to the A2 compliant (with restriction) parallel-twin 800cc motors, and up.

2024 Kawasaki Z125

3. Kawasaki Z125

Price Power Weight Tank Size Seat Height
£4,299 14.7 bhp 147 kg 11 L 815 mm

Staying in Japan, and reaching the podium in third, we have Kawasaki. Enter the Z125 (or Ninja 125), and Team Green has created quite an impressive machine updated for 2024, continuing the Sugomi design philosophy and applying it to the smallest in the family – capacity options continue all the way up to the top with Z H2.

The famed ‘Z’ line from Kawasaki continues with clear nods to the bigger Z range, this 125cc with a 14.7 bhp and 11.7 Nm motor and plenty of attitude on the road. The exposed trellis frame and sharp lines finish off a bike that will be sure to handle well on the roads, though it hasn’t changed a huge deal over the years – you could argue they’re not messing with a winning formula. Total weight is 147 kg, and seat height is 815 mm with an 11-litre tank.

This same package is also available in that sportier Ninja 125 full-tuck sports bike, and all of the Kawasaki’s also have the ergo-fit system, which is sure to help you make tweaks for the bike to fit you properly.

2024 KTM Duke 125

2. KTM Duke 125

Price Power Weight Tank Size Seat Height
£4,899 14.7 bhp 154 kg 13.4 L 800 mm

Second place, it’s the KTM Duke 125… on another day it could well be our #1 pick for 2024 125cc motorcycles, but the ever-popular Duke from Austria makes it to second spot this time around.

We love the Duke range, which starts here and makes its way steadily up all the way the big dog recently unveiled Super Duke 1390 for 2024. I quite enjoy the KTM marketing, they love a bit of character, and this 125 Duke is dubbed the ‘spawn of the beast’. This one has that liquid-cooled single-cylinder motor with the maximum power for legal CBT riding, 15 bhp, and a big 13.4 L tank to keep your rides forever long.

It has been a hugely popular motorcycle since it was first launched, and has a new design with a new engine, chassis and styling, and brings that raucous and energetic character to the streets, handling everything ‘like a knife through butter’.

Top spec 43mm WP Apex suspension features, and as an overall package this could well be the machine that’s lusted after the most by 125cc riders around the world…

2024 Yamaha MT 125

1. Yamaha MT 125

Price Power Weight Tank Size Seat Height
£5,102 14.7 bhp 144 kg 11 L 820 mm

At the top spot we find the Yamaha MT 125, along with the 125cc range that could include the R 125 or XSR 125 – I’ll forever be waiting to see a Tracer 125 with bigger dimensions for taller riders. But anyway.

The wicked 125cc unit is used in a few bikes including the MT 125, XSR 125 and R 125, and has proved to be one of the best 125cc motorcycles for years now. You could realistically pick any of the three options to go at #1 here, and Yamaha does a great job at offering a superb machine that’s packed with tech (though you do pay for it at £5,102).

But why is it #1? It has the heritage from the MT-10 distilled down into the 125cc form, with a torquey liquid-cooled single-cylinder providing 15 bhp and 11.5 Nm of torque, an assist and slipper clutch, deltabox frame with aluminium swingarm for dynamic and sporty riding, 5 inch TFT display with smartphone compatibility (with the MyRide app), traction control and ABS… it’s no wonder it’s at the top of many wishlists!

However if you’re a sports fan, alternatives are the well-loved R 125 and alternative XSR 125 (which I love the style of).

Alex from BikeMatters on the Rieju Aventura 125

The Last Stop!

So Yamaha takes #1, but I’ll have to stress that simply any of these motorcycles on the 2024 125cc list would be a top pick for you as a rider, whatever you’re after. Weekend fun, commuting ease, something to show off to your mates – or all three.

Hope you enjoyed the top 10 rundown, and head to the BikeMatters YouTube channel for more motorcycle content.

Last but not least, if you have your very own 125cc motorcycle you need to insure, make sure to get a motorcycle insurance quote direct with Lexham!

Video: 10 Best 125cc Motorcycles for 2024!

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