The retro motorcycle market has been booming across the board for years now, however, the 125cc category seemed a little slow on the uptake. Not so long ago there were very few options when it came to 125 bikes with classic styling but I'm pleased to say that manufacturers have now caught up with the trend and there are a whole bunch of great models on offer.

In this blog, I am going to be running down the top ten very best retro 125cc motorcycles for 2024. I'll aim to cover a wide variety of styles from neo-retro to classic scramblers and cafe racers and I've even sneaked in a vintage cruiser so there should be something for everyone.

So without further ado, let’s get into it - shall we?

10. Mondial Sport Classic 125

Starting our top ten today is arguably one of the finest-looking 125s on the market - the Mondial Sport Classic 125!

The Sport Classic 125's visuals are inspired by the original 125cc world championship-winning bike from 1949 ridden by Nello Pagani (whose name adorns the side fairing) and is practically a work of art. In fact, at a glance, passers-by may assume they are looking at a super-premium big-bike but little do they know that the Sport Classic is actually a budget offering manufactured in China.

Onto the engine and the Sport Classic comes equipped with a liquid-cooled single-cylinder which has been derived from those used in modern Aprilia 125s and is capable of 70mph+ top speeds. Having ridden Mondial's naked HPS 125 previously, we can tell you that the gear changes are smooth and acceleration is decent with dual carriageway cruising easily possible.

When it comes to features, Mondial has kept things basic, although it does come with ABS rather than the combined braking systems usually found on Chinese bikes. The result is an attractive retro motorcycle with an equally attractive price tag of £4,349 on the road – though it may be found cheaper if you look around.

9. Bluroc Tracker 125

Next up and in at ninth we have the Bluroc Tracker 125…

The Tracker 125 marks a huge step up in spec for Bluroc, whose lovely cafe racer-styled Spirit 125 could also have easily made it onto this list. However, the reason I’ve chosen the Tracker is down to that brand new liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine that pumps out the full 14.8hp of CBT allowance.

As usual, the visuals are stunning. Black and gold seem to be the vogue colourway of 2024 which is just fine with me, but the Tracker also comes in a steel grey and flame orange version too. The fat 150/60 rear tyre is a nice touch as well, helping to increase that smooth big bike look and feel.

Something really likeable about the Tracker is the fact it is extremely light, weighing in at around 120kg with its 12L tank filled up. Seemingly, the power-to-weight ratio is outstanding for the class and it should be an agile little ripper on the back roads - all for the price of £3,899!

8. Mash X-Ride 125

Taking eighth is another unique motorcycle - the retro adventure-styled Mash X-Ride 125.

Designed in Europe and built in China, the X-Ride 125 takes its visual cues from the off-road bikes of the 70's. It comes in white or black colourways and a few modern touches like the gold rims, LED lighting, digital dash, and ABS brakes give it some contemporary flare.

The engine is a liquid-cooled single cylinder with 11hp output, so not the most powerful in the class but a low 130kg running weight means the power-to-weight ratio is good. Despite the adventure styling, this is definitely a bike that's more at home on the roads and the decent-sized 10L fuel tank makes it an ideal commuter.

Overall, the X-Ride starts at £3,899, making it another accessible motorcycle that provides plenty of style without breaking the bank.

7. Mutt Mastiff 125

Sliding onto seventh and we have an offering from Birmingham-based manufacturer Mutt Motorcycles - the Mastiff 125.

Coming into 2024 with a fresh new facelift, the Mastiff sports the gorgeous classic scrambler styling and is available in two colourways including a Matt Green and a Matt Black/Silver option.

The Mastiff also comes complete with an 18" front wheel and knobbly tyres, plenty of subtle attention to detail on the display, a vintage-looking leather seat as well as a steel tank rack.

Onto the engine and this 125 is powered by an 11hp air-cooled single cylinder which combined with a lovely low wet weight of just 128kg, offering some nice agile performance. The low weight is even more impressive given that it includes a fully filled 14L fuel tank, so medium-range commutes are definitely on the cards with this one!

Lastly, when it comes to the price, if you’re looking to pick yourself up a Mutt Mastiff 125, you will be looking at paying £3,495.

6. Sinnis Outlaw

For number six today I thought I would throw in a bit of a wildcard here in the form of the Sinnis Outlaw -– a super cool retro cruiser with another bargain price tag!

The Outlaw goes for that 70s Roadster vibe and for a more recent comparison, it reminds me a bit of Harley'’s 883 Iron, which is a good thing. Although much lighter than your traditional cruiser, weighing in at 150kg with a 13L tank makes it heavy compared to the scramblers and trackers in the class.

Still, it gets the cruiser styling spot on with a ride position that isn'’t too extreme. The engine puts out 12hp so again pretty respectable, it likely won'’t accelerate as swiftly as the lighter bikes here but you will be flying once you get up to speed.

With a £2,999 price tag, if you are a fan of retro cruisers, this bad-boy looks fantastic and is as accessible as it gets…

5. AJS Tempest Roadster

Our middle man on the list today has got to be the AJS Tempest Roadster 125…

Powered by a 124cc, YB four-stroke, OHC, air-cooled engine, the Roadster is capable of producing 9.5hp and 9.5Nm of torque. However, the impressive tech and spec doesn’t stop there. The Roadster also comes equipped with alloy wheel rims, 37mm diameter front forks, stainless steel exhaust, combined brakes, electronic fuel injection, and a comfortable seat.

Another likable trait of this 125 has got to be the unique styling which really plays the part of an iconic retro-styled motorcycle. Sporting blacked-out forks, a black leather seat, and a gold exhaust, it is fair to say the Roadster looks undeniably good.

Onto the price of the Roaster and for 2024, you will be looking at paying £2,899 again making it one of the more affordable offerings well worth considering on this list!

4. Herald Classic 125

Sitting quite proudly in our fourth spot we have the Herald Classic 125.

Born and bred in Britain, the Classic 125 is Heralds’ best-selling bike, well renowned for its retro looks and extremely smooth handling. Featuring a 124cc, single four-stroke engine, the Classic produces 10hp making it the ideal commuter and weekend rider.

As you would expect from any motorcycle in this top 10 retro list, the visuals as we mentioned above, are outstanding. Sporting a lovely fusion of classic and modern design, the Classic comes in three different colourways including Olive Bronze, Granite Black and Gunmetal.

An aspect where the Classic does struggle for me is when it comes to tech, however, when you consider the extremely affordable £2,495 pricepoint it is clear to see why and how they’ve managed to keep the price low.

3. Honda Dax 125

Kickstarting our top three today we have one of Honda’s longest-standing models – the Dax!

Originating in 1969, the modern day Dax 125 comes equipped with a 125cc air-cooled, four-stroke engine that is capable of producing 9 horsepower. Off the back, these statistics might not look the best, however, if you pair these with the 107 kerb weight – you find yourself with a surprisingly nippy little machine.

In my opinion, the Dax 125 small stature makes this bike the perfect urban commuter, fitting in gaps where other bikes couldn’t quite manage. The 3.8L fuel tank is going to limit longer trips but that isn’t really what this motorcycle is about, it’s for zipping around town and having a great time doing it.

Lastly, if you are looking to pick yourself up a Dax 125 for 2024, you will be looking at paying £3,799 making it one of the more affordable options on this list - particularly considering it’s from Honda. You can’t argue with that, can you?

2. Fantic Caballero Rally 125

Just missing out on the crown today we have the Fantic Caballero Rally 125.

A really exciting attribute of the Rally 125 has got to be the design. Coming wrapped in a beige and black colourway, the Rally also sports a brown leather seat, gold forks, and two large 17” and 19” wheels at the front and rear.

The Rally isn't just for show though, with a new Euro 5 liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine from Minarelli that can put out 14.8hp, it is right at the top of CBT allowance. Similar to Yamaha, Fantic's Italian-built engine uses Variable Valve Actuation for smooth and constant acceleration and even comes with a slipper clutch for effortless gear changes.

Overall, the Fantic Caballero Rally 125 is the most expensive bike on this list coming in at £5,949. However, if you are someone who has a bigger budget to play with then this may be the bike for you!

1. Yamaha XSR 125 Legacy

Taking our top spot and rounding up our list today we have the Yamaha XSR 125 Legacy…

The XSR truly is the cream of the crop when it comes to the 125cc retro bike category, combining a mixture of retro and modern flavours and attention to detail in almost every area. For 2024, we have the stunning historic black colourway complete with a blacked-out engine and gold rims and we must say - it looks great.

The real star of the show, however, is Yamaha's fantastic 14.8hp liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine seen across their 125cc range. Aside from putting out the maximum allowed power for CBT holders, the engine's Variable Valve Actuation technology ensures that acceleration is constant across the entire rev range and makes it an absolute blast to ride.

Onto the price and it is fair to say that if you want something this polished you have to pay for it and the XSR 125 doesn't come cheap. One of these brand new will set you back £5,200, which makes it one of the more expensive on this list - however this is a bike that could last you for years and thanks to Yamaha's excellent build quality, should retain its value fairly well!

The Last Stop!

So there you have it! Here are my top ten great 125cc retro options that show you can have a cheap commuter on a CBT and still look darn cool doing it!

Last but not least, if you have a retro 125cc of your very own, or perhaps another bike you need to insure - make sure to get an insurance quote direct with Lexham.