All lightweight, L-plate legal, full of horsepower and zippy engines, the contenders on this year’s list are typical, race-ready 125cc sports bikes. 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 mean 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.

*Limited UK Euro 4 supply - likely discontinued*

Engine 9.4 bhp, air-cooled
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 124cc, 13 bhp, Liquid-cooled
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 £2,399, 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-valve liquid-cooled engine producing 10Nm of torque this bike can move for a 125cc motorcycle! 

Engine 124.8cc, 12.6 bhp, liquid-cooled
Fuel Tank 15L
Seat Height 790mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 142kg
Price £2,399

Honda CBR125R

Now, this necessarily isn’t a new bike for 2021, but as Honda are currently selling it for £3,999, 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 currently buy this model-new through Honda's website, and if you can get your hands on one of these babies it’ll provide you with the ride to work you’ve always dreamt of! 

Engine 13 bhp, liquid-cooled
Fuel Tank 13L
Seat Height 793mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 136kg
Price £3,999

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, we tested the EU4 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 12.5 bhp, this bad boy brings looks and attitude to the table. A decent-sized 13.5L tank and plush seat make 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 £2,799.99 and, with a pretty impressive spec, it’s no surprise that the standard Lexmoto LXR is a top-selling 125cc motorcycle in the UK. On this list though, we’ve gone for the improved EU5 SE version with aluminium swingarm, yokes, and upside-down forks.

Engine 125cc, 12.5 bhp, liquid-cooled
Fuel Tank 13.5L
Seat Height 820mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 167kg
Price £2,799.99

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 its hourglass figure and creates a serious supersport look.

Kawasaki are bringing that Ninja reputation and A-game to the table with this 125! 

Engine 125cc, 14.8 bhp, liquid-cooled
Fuel Tank 11L
Seat Height 785mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 148kg
Price £4,199

KTM RC 125

An entry-level choice for aspiring racers, the KTM RC features a 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 that is sure to make an entrance. Smooth ergonomics, a steel 10L fuel tank, and an 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 15 bhp, liquid-cooled
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 aluminum 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 that ticks a lot of boxes.

On a recent road test review, BikeMatters tested the Aprilia RS 125 GP Replica and described their 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 15 bhp, liquid-cooled
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 15 bhp, liquid-cooled
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 swingarm has been used for rear suspension.

Priced at £4,799 this is the most expensive bike featured, so you won’t be surprised to hear it’s jampacked with even more spec, including a EU5 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 15 bhp, liquid-cooled
Fuel Tank 11.5L
Seat Height 825mm
Brakes Front and rear disc
Weight 144kg (wet)
Price £4,799

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 it's 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.