The 125cc motorcycle market is in a great place right now, with so many excellent options - there's a bike for every style and every rider. Traditionally 125cc bikes have always been a great entryway into motorcycling and can offer young riders their first taste of freedom.
In 2019 that hasn't changed but now, even older and more experienced bikers are choosing a 125 as a highly economical urban commuter.
Aside from the economical advantages, these motorcycles are also extremely accessible. If you are aged 17 and over, once you have passed your CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) you can ride one of these on the road with L plates, the only thing you have to steer clear of is motorways and pillion passengers.
In this blog we're going to be looking at 125cc sports motorcycles. Some of the models on this list look like fully fledged superbikes and combined with all the technological upgrades we've seen over the last few years - these bikes are not your average 125s!
So with no further delay, lets take a look at ten of the best 125cc sport bikes on offer in 2019!
Despite being one of the biggest names in sport motorcycles, Suzuki waited until 2017 to finally introduce a 125cc version of their legendary GSX-R.
The bike comes with a newly developed 125cc engine that has been designed to offer a good balance of performance and economy, able to achieve speeds of up to 72mph! Impressive for a bike that can be ridden with L plates.
The GSX-R125 certainly looks the part with visual styling straight from its larger counterparts and can even come in Suzuki racing colours. This little GSX-R is aimed at being the perfect introduction to supersport bikes and has a suitably aggressive tucked ride position, so it doesn't just look like a superbike - it rides like one too.
The Suzuki GSX-R125 is priced at £4,299 and comes with Bosch ABS, keyless ignition, LED lights and an LCD display with a gear indicator - a nice touch for beginner riders.
Kawasaki Ninja 125
The Ninja 125 is brand new for 2019 and represents Kawasaki's first entry into the 125cc market for 25 years!
The full size chassis and super sharp styling give this bike real supersport looks and the new 125cc 4-stroke engine provides a supersport feel. The bike is a learner legal 125 so we're not looking at any crazy numbers here but the 14.7bhp is right at the top of the class, allowing this bike to easily cruise at 60mph and with a bit of effort reach the 70s!
The real sporty feel of this bike comes from the way the power is delivered, with maximum torque coming at 7,700 rpm. Just like a 600cc supersport, it means you have to crank the throttle and reach the upper rev ranges to really make it fly.
Although a new model, much of the technology used is derived from the previous 250cc Ninja and combined with Kawasaki's track record for producing super reliable motorcycles, I see this becoming a top contender in the 125cc arena. The Ninja 125 starts at £4,399.
Lexmoto LXR SE 125
Another new offering in 2019, this time a little lesser known but not to be underestimated, the Lexmoto LXR SE 125.
As is the fashion now in the 125 sport bike category, this thing looks like a real supersport. A full size chassis, upside down forks and aluminium swing arm all add to the effect, and wrapped up in stylish red and black bodywork the LXR SE 125 could easily be mistaken for a much larger motorcycle.
The only downside to all this full size loveliness is the weight - at 167 kilos there are A2 bikes out there lighter than this one! Still, performance wise it handles itself respectably, perhaps not quite on a par with the big boys of the category but the 12.1bhp engine can push an indicated 70mph in just the right conditions.
The Lexmoto LXR SE 125 does have one huge point in its favour though and that is the price. At just £2,499.99 this bike is well worth a look and a fantastic budget option.
If you want to know more, Alex has given the Lexmoto LXR SE 125 a thorough going over in his full review and test ride.
The Yamaha YZF-R125 is one of the titans of this category. First released in 2008 it's been hugely successful for Yamaha, in fact I rarely make any journey anywhere these days without seeing at least one of them on the road. This success is well deserved however and Yamaha have continued to develop the bike with the latest update arriving in 2019.
As far as visuals go, the 2019 YZF-R125 has been given updated bodywork and looks absolutely stunning. The changes are more than just cosmetic however, with an updated chassis giving improved handling and a brand new engine utilising Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) providing steady acceleration across all rev ranges.
On top of these improvements the bike has also been loaded with premium parts including LED lights, an LCD display and even a slipper clutch! If you are unsure of what a slipper clutch actually does - it essentially smooths out engine breaking during downshifts. During a very fast downshift or even an accidental one the slipper clutch prevents any type of rear wheel locking and allows for smooth deceleration.
I expect the Yamaha YZF-R125 to continue to be a top seller, with a starting price of £4,499 it's one of the more expensive bikes on the list but every aspect of it has been crafted with care and quality.
Aprilia RS 125
The Aprilia RS125 is the other titan on this list, having been at the top of the 125cc category for 25 years now.
When I was a lad, this bike was the stuff of every 17 year old's dreams with its race bike aesthetics and 100mph top speeds. A lot has changed since then with Euro-4 making that kind of performance in a 125cc a distant memory, the RS125 however, continues to have class leading performance, build quality and looks and is still the stuff of learner legal dreams.
The looks are based on the RSV4, complete with the triple headlight and sharp angular tail and for my money, this is the best looking 125cc motorcycle on the market. The 4-stroke 125cc engine puts out 15bhp, which is right at the top of this list and offers matching performance, able to reach the high 70s (with a very long road).
The RS125 starts at £4,499 and comes with radial brakes, USD forks and Bosch ABS as standard but the quick-shifter and USB port are optional extras. For £100 more you can get the GP replica version that does feature the quick-shifter and Alex has given this an in depth ride review.
KTM's RC125 is yet another solid choice in the 125cc sport bike category and like most KTM motorcycles, it has a rather unique look.
The unique style comes from the angular front fairing with its letterbox style twin headlights and the classic KTM orange and black paint job. Personally, I really like it but it may not be everyone's cup of tea.
Performance-wise the RC125 is up there with the best of them, a single cylinder 124cc engine puts out 15bhp and can push into the 70mph club with a good long road. The handling is nice and nimble with decent acceleration in the upper rev ranges and the Bybre brakes give it excellent stopping power.
The price of the KTM RC125 starts at £4,449. There is an LCD display with a gear indicator and ABS comes as standard but aside from that the RC lacks some of the modern tech that KTM have put into their latest un-faired Duke 125 so I expect an updated version of this bike to be heading our way soon.
Not everyone is going to want to fork out 4-5 grand on a 125cc motorcycle, even a super fancy sport bike so I'm rounding out this list with a few more budget offerings, starting with this MOTORINI MT125RRI.
The name is a bit of a mouthful and gives off an Italian vibe but it's actually a Chinese built machine. In terms of spec it is on the lower side with a 9.4bhp engine but its capable of 58mph which to be fair is going to do just fine on UK roads and keep you abiding by the law!
The MT125RRI has a surprisingly impressive design, looking like a tidy Italian sport bike as the name would suggest. It has a fully digital dash and can give you a very economical 84mpg. Combined with a low price point of just £2,199 this could be worth considering if you want a nice looking bike that can get the job done cheap.
Rieju RS3 125
Spanish company Reiju are utilising Yamaha's 4 stroke engine to create a sporty offering with a lot of premium components at an affordable price.
The RS3 125 is another bike with a full 15bhp output and boasts some of the highest performance specs on this list. Reiju have added Showa USD forks, radial brakes, LED lighting and an optional quick-shifter to further this bike's race orientated appeal.
The standard version starts at £3,499 which is a grand cheaper than some of its high end rivals but despite the impressive stats, it may fall short of their excellent build quality. Still, the RS3's fully faired big bike aesthetics look great and for the money this is another solid option.
Similar to Aprilia, a 'Pro' version is available with an awesome Castrol livery and the quick-shifter as standard.
Keeway RKR 125
The next budget friendly choice is the Keeway RKR 125. Despite the 125cc engine, this is a full size motorcycle with a 790mm seat height. That makes it a good option for taller riders or anyone who plans to move on to larger powered bikes in the future, as this will get you used to big bike proportions.
As you would expect on this list, it has great sport bike styling and looks nice in white, black or red colour options. The engine is a 125cc single cylinder that has been developed in partnership with Benelli. It can put out 12.6 bhp so the acceleration and top speeds are respectable but not quite top of the range.
The Keeway RKR 125 keeps things basic with no fancy tech or rider aids but it makes up for that with a lovely low price tag - just £2,499 brand new for a decent sport 125 that looks and feels like a big bike. Not bad at all.
F.B Mondial Pagani 1948 125
The fusion of modern and retro design elements has become very popular in motorcycles recently but you don't tend to see it so much in the smaller capacity models. F.B. Mondial are looking to change that with our final entry on this list - the very unique Pagani 1948 125.
If your looking for a 125cc sport bike that's a little bit different - this could be the one for you. Named after legendary motorcycle racer Nello Pagani, this is one good looking motorcycle. It seems to cross over into cafe racer territory with its stripped down rear end and has a scrambler-esque high mounted exhaust but the clip-on bars, USD forks, racing style cowl and belly pan keep it planted firmly in the sport category.
The Pagani is powered by a single cylinder engine provided by Piaggio (who also provide the engine for the Aprilia RS125) and puts out a very healthy 13.4bhp, so you can expect some decent performance out of this 125.
The F.B. Mondial Pagani 125 starts at £3,599 and if you are into that futuristic retro vibe, it doesn't come much better than this.