A 125cc motorcycle is one of the most economical modes of transport you can find and makes for a great commuter or urban run-around. As long as you are aged 17 or older, all you need is a CBT licence to ride one of these on the road and this combination of value for money and ease of use has resulted in some of the top selling bikes in the UK.

In fact, there has never been a wider variety of quality models in this category as there are right now, with ever-increasing polish and attention to detail making them look and perform closer to their big bike counterparts every year. In this blog we are going to focus on the naked 125s, the perfect all-rounders, combining comfort, style and performance and doing it at a (mostly) affordable price.

So without further delay, here are 10 of the very best naked 125cc motorcycles on sale in 2022...

10.

Benelli Leocino

The Benelli Leoncino 125 is a brand new model for 2022 that aims to fill the middle ground between the more premium 125s, and the budget offerings and its performance and price reflect that.

Even though they are now made in China, the Italian styling remains in place with an attractive neo-retro design. The Euro 5 engine is a liquid-cooled single-cylinder with a 12.8bhp output that places it in the middle of the category. It has ample performance but won't quite keep up with the top dogs here. It also avoids any additional rider aids or features and utilises a combined braking system over ABS.

The result however is that this bike is a grand cheaper than some of the top competitors at £3,499 and makes for an attractive alternative.

Engine 125cc, 12.8hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 12.5L
Brakes Front: Single disc ø280mm with floating 3 pistons calliper
Rear: Single disc ø220mm with floating calliper 2 pistons
Suspension Front: Ø35mm Upside-Down forks
Rear: Swing arm with central shock absorber
Seat height 795mm
Weight 145kg
Price £3,499 (+OTR)

9.

Husqvarna Svartpilen 125

Husqvarna are now offering their successful Svartpilen as a 125cc capacity option and it looks almost identical to the 701 and 401 versions, complete with their cutting edge neo-retro styling. When it comes to big-bike looks this is one of the most impressive on the list.

The Svartpilen 125 uses the same Euro5 DOHC four-valve single-cylinder engine and steel trellis frame as the KTM 125 Duke, so despite being relatively new to the market, we already know its performance will be highly competitive. It also comes with a bunch of high-quality components including ByBre brakes, WP APEX front forks and Bosch ABS, there is a lot of motorcycle on offer here for the price.

Starting at £4,499, the Svartpilen is right on par with other top-of-the-range models but sets itself apart with a unique hipster chic.

Engine 125cc, 14.7hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 9.5L
Brakes Front: ByBre, opposed four-piston caliper, brake disc
Rear: ByBre, single-piston, floating caliper, brake disc
Suspension Front: WP APEX 43
Rear: WP APEX - Monoshock
Seat height 835mm
Weight 146kg
Price £4,499 

8.

Kawasaki Z125

After a lengthy absence from the 125cc scene, Kawasaki finally made their return in 2019 with a pair of A1 motorcycles, the Ninja 125 and the Z125. Both feature the same basic core of full-size trellis frame and 14.7bhp single-cylinder engine, which means they can stand up to the best 125s in the class.

The Z125 comes complete with the aggressive street naked styling the Z range is now famous for, finished in the traditional Kawasaki black and green, this is a great-looking motorcycle.

In terms of high-tech rider aids, the Z has been kept minimalistic, with just ABS as standard. To some that may be a plus and the motorcycle itself is well built and high quality. The result is that the Z125 is priced slightly lower than similar powered competitors, starting at £3,899, it is another excellent naked option.

Engine 125cc, 14.7hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 11L
Brakes Front: Single 290 mm petal disc. Caliper: Dual piston
Rear: Single 220 mm petal disc. Caliper: Dual piston
Suspension Front: 37mm telescopic fork
Rear: Uni-Trak, gas-charged shock with adjustable preload
Seat height 815mm
Weight 147kg
Price £3,899

7.

Suzuki GSX-S125

The GSX-S125 has been freshly updated for 2022 to be fully Euro 5 compliant with a brand new liquid-cooled, single-cylinder DOHC engine, offering the fully allowable 14.8bhp output. When you factor in that this motorcycle only weighs 133 kilos with a full tank of petrol, it offers the best power to weight ratio in the class!

Aside from the new engine, everything else is kept pretty basic. Again no fancy features or rider aids, Suzuki have opted to focus on the basics and making sure what it does have performs as well as possible. The result is that despite its sporty looks and class-leading acceleration, the GSX-S125 starts at £4,199, which makes it one of the more affordable models with this kind of performance.

Engine 124.4cc, 14.7 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 11L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Suspension Front: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Rear: Link type, coil spring, oil damped
Seat height 785mm
Weight 133kg
Price £4,199

6.

Zontes ZT125-U

You may be surprised to see a Chinese bike on the list among all these Italian and Japanese machines, but the Zontes ZT125-U is surprisingly good and definitely earns a spot here as an excellent budget option.

The ZT125-U has a futuristic, sporty naked design that looks like it should be way more expensive than it is, in fact with a different badge on it, I'm sure it would be. A water-cooled single-cylinder engine powers this machine with a 14.5bhp maximum output. That's close to the top-spec bikes in the category. The only downside is the high weight, at 150 kilos it may not quite be able to keep up with some of the others here, but it is certainly no slouch either.

The Zontes isn't light on features too, with keyless ignition, Bosch two-channel ABS, ride modes and even a slipper clutch! If you aren't sure what a slipper clutch actually does, it basically smooths out the revs on a downshift making changing gear quick and effortless. All this for a starting price of £2,999, the Zontes ZT125-U is well worth a look.

Engine 124.7cc, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 12.5L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Seat height 780mm
Weight 150kg
Price £2,999

5.

Honda CB125R

The CB125R received an update last year with a brand new DOHC 4V single-cylinder engine that gives increases to both horsepower and torque. Where it was slightly lacking in the performance department previously, it can now compete with the best of the 125cc division and still features the same unique styling and big bike proportions which have become the hallmark of this model.

Aside from the new engine, the latest version of the CB125R has been given some lovely-looking 41mm Showa Big Piston forks, finished in gold. Along with the full-size tyres, this is another great 125cc bike that not only looks like a larger machine but also benefits from a smoother and more responsive ride quality as a result.

Starting from £4,399, the Honda CB125R sits nicely in the middle of this list.

Engine 124.9cc, 14.7 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 10.1L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Suspension Front: 41mm SFF-BP USB forks
Rear: Single-damper
Seat height 816mm
Weight 130kg
Price £4,399

4.

Aprilia Tuono 125

Aprilia is a legendary name when it comes to 125cc motorcycles, with their RS125 being one of the best and most loved models of all time. In the modern era, with the ferocious two-strokes a thing of the past, Aprilia are still putting out some excellent bikes and this is one of them.

The Tuono 125 is basically a naked RS, with the same high-quality components, lightweight frame and liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine. Once again at the top of the allowable power at 14.8bhp, Aprilia's racer DNA is all over this and the half faired front end will add more wind protection than most of the other naked motorcycles on the market.

Speaking of that front end, one thing Aprilia does better than perhaps anyone else is with their 125s is capture the style of the larger bikes that inspire them. The RS125 looks just like an RSV and this Tuono looks exactly like the new Tuono 660 and for my money is perhaps the most stylish bike on the list. The Aprilia Tuono 125 is fully Euro 5 compliant and starts at £4,600.

Engine 124.2cc, 14.7 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 14L
Brakes Front: Ø 300mm stainless steel disc, 4 pistons radial caliper
Rear: Ø 220mm stainless steel disc, single piston calliper
Suspension Front: Upside-down fork with Ø 40 mm stanchions, 110 mm excursion
Rear: Asymmetrical swingarm, monoshock absorber with 120 mm wheel travel
Seat height 810mm
Weight 144kg (wet)
Price £4,600

3.

Yamaha XSR 125

The XSR 125 is Yamaha's latest addition to their 125cc line-up, taking the same spec as the R125 and MT-125 and giving it their signature sports heritage twist.

I got the chance to test ride one of these last year (check out the BikeMatters Yamaha XSR125 review) and I was extremely impressed by the level of polish that has gone into this bike. It is a 125 that not only looks like a big bike but rides and feels like one too. The key to their success is in the impressive Euro 5 engine, not only one of the most powerful in the class but featuring Yamaha's Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) technology, to ensure a smooth and constant acceleration all the way through the rev range. The big bike proportions and full-size wheels only add to the smooth and grown-up feel of this motorcycle.

The design is vintage, with a 70s inspired flavour but with plenty of modern touches and details. The end result is a beautiful-looking naked 125 that rides as good as it looks. The XSR 125 costs £4,450 and is another excellent addition to the list.

Engine 124cc, 14.7hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 11L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Suspension Front: Upside-down telescopic fork, Ø37mm
Rear: Swingarm
Seat height 815mm
Weight 140kg (wet)
Price £4,450

2.

KTM 125 Duke

The 125 Duke from KTM has been around the top of the class for years and while its rivals have all levelled up around it, the little Duke is back with a fresh update for 2022 and looks better than ever.

Firstly, one of the most striking things on this bike is the visual design. It looks just like a little Superduke, with KTM affectionately calling it 'The Spawn of the Beast', this motorcycle is an absolute beauty. It isn't just the visuals that are impressive though, with a DOHC four-valve single-cylinder engine putting out 14.8bhp, it is again right at the limit of A1 licence power.

The Duke also comes with a bunch of cutting-edge features including a TFT display, ByBre brakes, Bosch two-channel ABS, upside-down WP APEX forks and preload-adjustable monoshock. The price tag is £4,499 and you get a highly competitive 125 that looks like a supernaked. What's not to love?

Engine 124.7cc, 14.8 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 13.4L
Brakes Front: Four-piston radial fixed calliper, brake disc
Rear: Single-piston floating calliper, brake disc
Suspension Front: WP APEX 43
Rear: WP APEX - Monoshock
Seat height 830mm
Weight 139kg
Price £4,499

1.

Yamaha MT-125

Yamaha are producing some outstanding 125cc motorcycles at the moment and the freshly updated MT-125 might just be the best of them all.

The MT utilises the same 14.8bhp engine as the XSR and R125 with its VVA (Variable Valve Actuation) technology. It sounds pretty fancy but, in a nutshell, it uses two separate valve timings, one set up for optimum performance at low revs and another for high revs. The engine will automatically switch across as you accelerate and provide constant and smooth power delivery right across the board.

One of the key updates to this latest MT-125 is the larger front brake disc, now up to 292mm, which should provide a touch of extra stopping power. Considering the XSR was outstanding in every way except its average brakes, this might just provide a near-flawless 125cc experience. When you factor in the addition of a slip and assist clutch, just to make the bike even smoother to ride, the MT-125 is going to be hard to beat.

At £4,700 it is the priciest option on the list, but some might say you get what you pay for, this is a 125 that can tick almost every box.

Engine 124cc, 14.8 hp, liquid-cooled
Fuel tank 11L
Brakes Front and rear disc
Suspension Front: Upside-down telescopic fork, Ø41mm
Rear: Swingarm, (Link type suspension)
Seat height 810mm
Weight 142kg (wet)
Price £4,700