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 2023...
10) Sinnis Akuma
Sitting at #10 and kicking off the list today we have a great little bike from the Brighton-based firm Sinnis!
The Akuma is the only air-cooled bike on the list today, and while it doesn’t have the most competitive spec, it is full of the fun factor - plus we had a great time reviewing the 2022 model last year.
Powered by a 125cc, four stroke, air cooled, single-cylinder engine, the Akuma runs a five-speed gearbox and kicks out 9.7 horsepower at 9,500rpm and 8.5Nm at 7,500rpm. When it comes to top speed, Brett saw (a highly optimistic) 68 MPH in testing. For everyday top speed though, we can confidently say between 60 and 64 MPH. As I said, by no means competitive but still respectable.
However, where the Akuma wins for me is when it comes to fuel economy. Boasting a fantastic 123 MPG, with its 13-litre fuel tank you can expect up to 350 miles on a full tank here (perfect for town and inner city commuting).
The Akuma also comes packed with a 276mm disc up front and 220mm disc on the rear with a combined braking system, USD telescopic forks and a mono-shock, 14” wheels front and back, and surprisingly a 140 wide rear tyre.
As I mentioned earlier, the Akuma is rather light in the tech department, equipped with a simple digital dash and LED lighting throughout. But for the £2,599 price tag it comes with I’d argue it is the perfect budget-friendly option!
- Very economical
- Chinese manufacturing
- Low power figures
9) Lexmoto RSS125
In at #9 on the list today is the Lexmoto RSS125.
Lexmoto entered 2023 with its retro-inspired offering, the RSS125. It’s loaded with tech, performance, and great visuals and that is why it takes 9th place on my list.
Powering the RSS is a 125cc, four-stroke, liquid cooled, single cylinder engine rocking a six-speed gearbox and producing 14.1 horsepower at 10,500rpm! At the time of writing, Lexmoto hasn’t shared details on any determined MPG but expects over 300 miles on its full 14.5 litre fuel tank.
Onto the spec, the RSS has got a 300mm disc up front, 240mm disc to the rear running a combined braking system, telescopic forks, monoshock, 17” wheels front and back and a 140 wide rear tyre. One aspect that does let the RSS down is its weight, coming in at 163kg wet, which is very heavy for a 125cc bike and would be great to see Lexmoto work their magic and shave off a few kilos.
Coming with a pricetag of £2,899, you can get this bad boy in two different colourways, the Crimson Red edition or the Tuscany Yellow edition (the yellow being a personal favourite), I’d argue the RSS is a very competitive model looking to take over the 125 market in 2023!
- Great spec
- TFT dash
- Budget price
- Would be nice to see ABS
- Heavy-laden mass
8) Zontes ZT125-GK
Taking our eighth sport today is our final offering from a Chinese manufacturer - the Zontes ZT125-GK.
Zontes have really knocked it out of the park this year with their scrambler cafe hybrid. It is full of great looks, performance and tech, really tipping the scales of the budget bike market.
The ZT125 GK packs a 124.7cc four-stroke, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine with a six-speed gearbox, capable of reaching speeds of around 70 MPH on the top end.
With disc brakes front and back, Bosch ABS, USD telescopic forks, and a monoshock, 17” spoked wheels with a 130 wide rear, you can really feel the premium nature start to crawl into this corner of the global market.
However, its spec isn't the only thing feeling premium about this bike, the tech is where this bike really stands out for me. Coming equipped see a digital dash, keyless system, LED lighting all around, 2 x USB charging ports as a standard, slipper clutch, and even an electronic tyre pressure monitoring system! When you factor in that this bike is priced at £3,599, this is an incredible suit.
- Awesome looks
- Great performance
- Host of tech features
- Undeniable budget price
- On the heavier side
- Being Chinese built it won’t have the same reputation as Japanese and European rivals.
7) Kawasaki Z125
Next up and at #7 is the Kawasaki Z125.
Now this may come as a surprise and I can hear the comments asking why isn’t it further up the list. Well, I can answer the question quite easily. In 2023 the competition is incredibly stiff, and I personally feel as if the Kawasaki has been somewhat left behind when it comes to tech and economy.
Utilising a 125cc four stroke, liquid cooled, single cylinder engine with a six-speed gearbox, the Z125 produces 14.7 horsepower. Of course, this is respectable especially due to the CBT power limitations, however, the Z125 will only see a top speed of 70 MPH and I feel in some areas struggles against the competition.
Onto the tech, the Z125 comes equipped with a simple digital dash and LED lighting. When we are seeing Chinese budget models come better equipped in the tech department, you really wish Kawasaki would up their game.
Lastly, whilst I feel the Z125 is lacking in spec, it is undeniable that it is a fantastic-looking bike with two opinion colourways, wrapped up in a beautifully styled package for £4,299.
- Japanese reliability
- Good spec on paper
- Great looks
- Lacking in tech
- Doesn’t have the best real-world economy
6) Husqvarna Svartpilen 125
Taking the sixth spot today we have the wonderful European offering - the Husqvarna Svartpilen 125.
The Svartpilen is, in my opinion, one of the best-looking 125s ever made. With its rugged design and neo-retro styling, it perfectly blends new and old into a hot pot of tasty but subtle visuals. An added bonus is that it has been loaded with spec too for this year, so let’s get into it.
Powering the Svartpilen is a 125cc, four-stroke, liquid cooled, single cylinder engine with a six-speed gearbox cranking out 14.7 horsepower, the Svartpilen will reach speeds of up to 75 MPH. As for range, it’s got a healthy 105 MPG with its 9-litre fuel tank, expect around 210 miles here.
Coming onto tech, the Svartpilen packs a large 320mm single disc up front and 230mm disc to the rear combined with ByBre calipers and Bosch ABS providing excellent stopping power. We also see WP Apex telescopic forks and monoshock, 17” spoked wheels, Pirelli Scorpion Rally tyres, and a whopping 150-wide rear. The 152kg weight in combination with the spec really starts to make this feel like a big bike.
Coming in at £4,899, for me I would really argue that you can't go wrong with this beauty - it is definitely one to keep your eye on for 2023!
- Gorgeous looks
- Fantastic spec
- Big bike proportions
- On the heavier side
- Small fuel tank
5) Suzuki GSX-S125
In at number #5 has got to be the Suzuki GSX-S125 - Suzuki have always held strong footing in the 125cc market, and this year is no different!
Whilst I haven’t ever really been a massive fan of the Suzuki’s looks, its performance, and low weight are undeniable. Coming equipped with a 124cc four stroke, liquid cooled, single cylinder engine that produces 14.7 horsepower. Its low weight of 135kg wet gives it one of the best power-to-weight ratios in this class. In terms of acceleration, it will be spritely with top speeds sitting at around the 75 MPH mark.
Something I like about the Suzuki GSX-S125 is that it features Suzuki’s latest tech developments in the form of a shutter-key lock system, easy start, digital dash and an LED headlight. You’ve also got three amazing colour options to choose from too, such as Metallic Triton Blue, Titan black and Pearl Brilliant white, with my favourite being pearl white!
When it comes to pricing, the GSX-S125 comes in at £4,699, sitting in the middle of this list. Overall, I think I’d agree this is a very nice offering from Suzuki and maybe one to consider if you’re in the market for a 125cc bike!
- Great power-to-weight ratio
- Great economy
- Lots of colour options
- Could have LED lighting throughout
- Looks are a little bland (in my opinion)
4) Aprilia Tuono 125
Just missing out on one of the top spots and sitting at number #4 is the Aprilia Tuono - taking heavy inspiration from its elder siblings, the Tuono is a real looker and has the performance to back it up.
Powered by a 124cc four-stroke, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine, with its six-speed gearbox and sporty front fairing this bike will see top speeds up to 80 MPH! It pumps out 14.7 horsepower at 10,000rpm and 11.2Nm at 8,000rpm, but that sport-focused performance will rake in the economy, seeing an average of only 90 MPG.
In terms of tech, this is another bike that is relatively basic, coming equipped with a simple digital dash and LED lighting throughout. Coming in three different colourway options, you can pick up your very own Tuono for £4,650.
- Great top speed
- Fantastic looks
- Not the best fuel economy
- Light on tech
3) KTM Duke 125
Taking the third spot on this list has be (drumroll please), the KTM Duke 125!
Whilst this one shares a lot of its components with the Svartpilen 125, the Duke has one over the Husqvarna in terms of spec and tech.
Powered by a 125cc four-stroke, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine, the Duke puts out 14.7 horsepower at 9,250rpm and 12Nm at 8,000 RPM. It’ll see top speeds of around 75 MPH and boasts a decent 117 MPG, with a brilliant 13.4 litre fuel tank you can expect to cover around 340 miles on a full tank!
In terms of spec, the Duke has got a 320mm disc up front, a 230mm disc to the rear, with Bosch ABS providing safe and secure stopping power. The seat height measures up to 830mm and the wet weight is kept low at 139kg wet - which again makes for great big bike proportions here.
Onto tech, we see a TFT display, LED headlight and optional LED turn signals (available for an eye-watering £380), all wrapped in a classic KTM colourway with black and orange or white and orange.
The KTM Duke is priced at £4,799 and for that price, I’d argue you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck!
- Excellent performance
- Low weight
- Great range
- Optional extras are pricey
- Whilst its got the TFT dash, tech is light
2) Honda CB125R
Just missing out on the top spot on the list and coming in at second is the Honda CB125R. The CB125R is another real looker, this bike does the neo-retro styling unlike any other and is a personal favourite of mine.
Powered by a 125cc four stroke, liquid cooled, single cylinder engine with a six-speed gear box it produces 14.7 horsepower alongside Hondas’ typical economy averages a brilliant 128 MPG and with its 10.1-litre fuel tank you’ll see an expected 280 miles on a full tank. Top speed peaks at around 74 MPH.
The CB125R has also got a 296mm single disc up front, a 220mm disc to the rear, ABS, Showa USD telescopic forks and a monoshock, 17” wheels front and back and a solid 150 wide rear tyre. The seat height is 816mm and it has an ultra-low weight of 130kg, boasting one of the best power-to-weight ratios on this list.
Whilst tech is basic, something I do like about the CB125R is the host of colour choices available, coming in matte gunpowder black, matte jeans blue, matte crypton silver and candy chromosphere red with my personal favourite being the Crypton silver option.
Priced at £4,599 Honda is doing what Honda does best by offering up an economical and sensible option at a fair price point.
- Honda reliability
- Stunning looks
- Big bike proportions
- Fantastic fuel economy
- Light on tech
1) Yamaha MT125
As many of you have probably guessed, once again taking the number one ultimate spot on my list is… The Yamaha MT125!
Coming equipped with a 125cc four stroke, liquid cooled, single cylinder engine with a six-speed gearbox putting out 14.7 horsepower, you will see speeds pushing 80 MPH. Another great thing about the Mt125 is the mighty 134 MPG and 10-litre fuel tank allowing for an estimated 290 miles in range.
The MT125 also comes packed with a 292mm disc up front, 220mm disc to the rear, ABS, telescopic forks and a monoshock, and 17” wheels with a 140 wide rear tyre. Onto tech, we see a 5” TFT display, LED headlight, traction control to keep you upright and an assist and slipper clutch to keep things nice and smooth.
Packed with spec, tech and ultra-cool looks the MT125 is the undisputed king of not just naked 125s, but 125s across the board. Pulling styling from its larger siblings, it’s a real stunner all for the price of £5,102.
Whilst it might be the most expensive and premium offering on the list, with that plethora of tech and spec, it checks out in my books!
- Excellent performance
- Fantastic fuel economy
- Vivid visuals
- Loaded with tech
- Premium price tag
The Last Stop!
So, there you have it, my ten best-naked motorcycles of 2023!
Do you agree that The Yamaha MT125 deserved the top spot, or perhaps you thought another bike was worthy of this position? Let us know in the comments below!
Last but not least, Lexham Insurance are specialist in motorcycle insurance, so if you have your very own naked 125cc to insure, be sure to check out Lexham's motorcycle insurance directly!