All lightweight, L-plate legal, full of horsepower and zippy engines, the contenders on this year’s list are typical, race-ready 125cc sports bike. And we’ve made sure to feature a variety all at different ends of the two-wheel spectrum. So, are you ready? I know we are – on your marks, get set and let’s go!

Motorini MT 125RRI

An air-cooled engine (the only option on our list with this type) and 9.4 bhp means that the Motorini MT 125RRI is a sporty two-wheeler built for getting you from A to B reliably and securely. At £2,199.99, this affordable beginner friendly MC isn’t going to be playing with the top dogs further down our list, but it will have enough power for anyone looking for their first taste of a sports bike.

Engine Air-cooled
Power 9.4 bhp
Fuel Tank 11.5L
Seat Height 770mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 130kg
Price £2,199.99

FB Mondial Pagani 1948 125

With retro bodywork and a pretty good spec – liquid-cooled engine, front and rear disc brakes and a max torque of 10.5Nm, this has the foundations to turn into an instant classic. We think this is a perfect option for anyone looking for a learner-legal sports bike with a bit of swagger, character, and a perky engine for not a bad price.

Engine Liquid-cooled
Power 13 bhp
Fuel Tank 9.5L
Seat Height 785mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 133kg
Price £3,599

Keeway RKR 125

This learner legal is brought to life with race inspired bodywork and single cylinder multi-spark-multi-valve technology producing 12.6bhp. Priced at £2,299, this budget-friendly bike will generate more bang for your buck with a 5-speed gearbox, electric start, and electronic fuel injection. Don’t mistake the RKR for an underdog though, with a 4-valave liquid-cooled engine producing 10Nm of torque this bike can move for a 125cc motorcycle.

Engine Liquid-cooled
Power 12.6 bhp
Fuel Tank 15L
Seat Height 790mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 142kg
Price £2,299 (was £2,499)

Honda CBR125R

Now this necessarily isn’t a new bike for 2021, as Honda aren’t currently selling them anymore, but we’re throwing it in as a wildcard because it’s a pretty impressive bike and we think it deserves a place. A medium seat height combined with low weight and a liquid-cooled engine means you can really boss the roads on the classic and legendary Honda CBR125R.

Selling ships loads all over the world this commuter and beginner friendly flagship will provide you with an easy, comfortable, economic, and reliable ride...and at the end of the day it’s a Honda so you’ll know exactly what to expect. As we’ve already said, you can’t currently buy this model new, but if you can get your hands on one of these babies second hand it’ll provide you with the ride to work you’ve always dreamt of. 

Engine Liquid-cooled
Power 13 bhp
Fuel Tank 13L
Seat Height 793mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 136kg
Price £2,500-£3,200 (used)

Lexmoto LXR SE 125

Weighing in at 167kg this is the heaviest bike on the list, but don’t panic because this big bike is still a learner friendly option. In a recent BikeMatters review Alex tested the LXR SE 125 and explained that “the steering was responsive and felt firm, allowing you to really throw the bike into corners and maintain good control – inspiring a lot of confidence whilst riding. Perfect for a beginner on a CBT!”

With an action red exterior and a liquid-cooled engine delivering just over 12 bhp, this bad boy brings looks and attitude to the table. A decent sized 13.5L tank and plush seat makes this a bike that would be comfortable to ride at any speed (as long as you aren’t expecting to get over 70).

Priced at £2,499.99 and with a pretty impressive spec it’s no surprise that the standard Lexmoto LXR is a top selling 125cc motorcycle in UK. On this list though, we’ve gone for the improved SE version with aluminium swing arm, yokes, and upside-down forks.

Engine Liquid-cooled
Power 12.1 bhp
Fuel Tank 13.5L
Seat Height 800mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 167kg
Price £2,499.99

Kawasaki Ninja 125

The A1 and CBT licence friendly Kawasaki Ninja is a great option to consider if you want to start enjoying the thrills of motorcycling. Sporty suspension, independent ABS, and an ERGO-FIT high seat provide nimble handling which increases rider reassurance and maximises control and comfort. A liquid-cooled engine provides a smooth and powerful delivery that is set to pack a punch. Full-fairing bodywork compliments it’s hourglass figure and creates a serious super sport look.

One thing to note is the difference in price for the various colour options – the statement Kawasaki Lime Green and Stardust White will cost around £3,999, whereas Spark Black comes in at £3,899.

Engine Liquid-cooled
Power 14.8 bhp
Fuel Tank 17L
Seat Height 785mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 148kg
Price £3,899 (spark black) £3,999 (lime green and stardust white)

KTM RC 125

An entry-level choice for aspiring racers, the KTM RC features full race-spec with good manners to create the perfect everyday rider. Loud, bright, and modern orange highlights and a powerful twin headlight create an eye-catching bike which is sure to make an entrance. Smooth ergonomics, a steel 10L fuel tank and economic liquid-cooled engine create a stylish yet efficient bike with a considerable range.

Not far behind others featured on the list, in terms of price, power and engine, the street legal KTM puts emphasis on acceleration and exhilaration. Spec including BREMBO brakes, telescopic fork suspension and BOSCH ABS, mean this top of the range bike definitely had to be considered a contender for the title.

Engine Liquid-cooled
Power 15 bhp
Fuel Tank 10L (+ 1.5L reserve)
Seat Height 820mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 139kg
Price £4,499

Aprilia RS 125

With sleek and aggressive aesthetics looking more like armour, Aprilia’s RS 125 is ready for battle. A tall seat height, sleek fairing and liquid-cooled engine make the RS built for speed. Taking inspiration from its big sister the RSV4, the RS is designed for younger riders. A slender aluminium frame and power output of 15 bhp, make this an agile 125cc which is easy to handle and even easier to ride. With a £4,499 price tag this is a more expensive entry, but if you’ve got the budget, this is a race ready bike which ticks a lot of boxes.

On a recent road test review Alex from BikeMatters tested the Aprilia RS 125 GP Replica and described his time on this bike as “the eager puppy wanting to take you out for a walk. You coax each other to get as much out of yourselves as possible, sprinting down the road with a beaming smile on your face!” We think that says it all.

Engine Liquid-cooled
Power 15 bhp
Fuel Tank 14.5L (+ 3.5L reserve)
Seat Height 820mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 126kg
Price £4,499

Suzuki GSX-R125

With a bright, racy, and aerodynamic exterior, you’ll definitely maximise speed and feel like a pro riding the Suzuki GSX-R125. A compact chassis and lightweight ABS give ultimate control so you can really throw it into corners and feel that response. High horsepower (15 bhp) and generous torque (11.5Nm) produced by a liquid-cooled engine make the spec on this bike outstanding. Coming in at £3,899 this is more of a premium entry-level option but if you’re looking for something that really screams power, we doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Engine Liquid-cooled
Power 15 bhp
Fuel Tank 11L
Seat Height 785mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 134kg
Price £3,899

Yamaha YZF-R125

Dominating this year’s list and gaining head honcho status we have the Yamaha YZF-R125. This L plate thriller features a six-speed gearbox which gives it a quick and responsive acceleration. To guarantee excellent and confident road handling and ease of use, an aluminium swing arm has been used for rear suspension.

Priced at £4,599 this is the most expensive bike featured, so you won’t be surprised to hear it’s jampacked with even more spec, including a liquid-cooled engine, fuel injection system and lightweight wheels. This premium 125cc sports bike really is the big cheese, but don’t be concerned, it’s a great choice for new and experienced enthusiasts.

Engine Liquid-cooled
Power 15 bhp
Fuel Tank 11.5L
Seat Height 825mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 142kg (wet)
Price £4,599

So, there we have it. What are your thoughts on our top 10 125cc sports bike choices? Let us know in the comments below or on social media. If it’s not a sports bike you’re after, but you still want a 125cc motorcycle, check out our top 10 125cc motorcycles list.

Don’t forget, with any new or old bike, at home or out and about, it’s important to ensure its stored safely and securely. If you’re looking for tips to keep your two-wheeler safe from thieves take a look at our bike security guide.