All of these motorcycles are (of course) within the CBT and A1 licence limits, and therefore are often the perfect bikes for learners and new riders to get on as their first motorcycle, and as such have shifted some incredible numbers.
A few disclaimers: Top speed figures are noted as an approximate maximum – I’m sure you can dig a few extra mph out of some of these. MPG is also noted as per manufacturers figures, so expect this to vary in real life riding. Price may change depending on dealer offers and promotions, but at the time of writing these are correct.
Key for brake stats: ABS = Anti-lock Braking System. CBS = Combined Braking System. (UBS for Yamaha = Unified Braking System).
1. Honda CB125F
So, the #1 bike is the Honda CB 125 F! Retaining its place at the top of the pile (it was #1 in our top 10 from last year), the CB 125 F is a great option for new bikers who have most likely just passed their CBT riding one of these (as Alex did! Read his CBT tips blog).
Trusty, stable and forgiving, the CB125F is pretty much a do-it-all bike from a manufacturer that sell an outrageous number of bikes in a year – whilst it’s absolutely not their highest powered 125cc bike on the market with 10.4bhp (or the best looking, that CB125R…) it’s still punchy enough for a bit of fun, yet certain not to fail you on a cold morning commute – plus it goes to show that top speed isn’t always king. Whilst it does only have a 13-litre tank, it’ll also get around 151mpg and you’ll get a massive 390~ miles out of a tank, and only weighs 128kg so is lovely and nimble. Brand new, the CB125F will cost you £2,829.
2. Honda CB125R
For the #2 spot is the Honda CB 125 R. This neo sports café from Honda was missing on our previous top 10 125cc motorcycles list – and you definitely let us know about it! An absolutely stunning 125cc bike, the CB 125 R is given a distinctive look that isn’t far off its bigger brothers in the 650 and 1000cc models.
LED lights, Nissin breaks, and café style – the CB 125 R also comes in a variety of different colour options to stand out on the road. With 13.1bhp output from the liquid cooled single cylinder motor, this bike has done incredibly well in its first year on the market, and is great fun on the road. It’s also £3,989 brand new!
3. KTM 125 Duke
One of the all-time favourites for many rider in the UK, the KTM 125 Duke is a hugely popular bike – and has shown that with some pretty impressive sales figures in 2019. Whilst self-confessed as the entry level bike from KTM, it’s far from entry level when it comes to the stats – TFT display, LED lights, 6 speed transmission, liquid cooled outputting 15bhp from the single cylinder engine – that Duke is going to be a hugely fun bike to ride on the road.
It somehow only weighs 137kg too. If you fancy being a proper hooligan (yes, you do) you could even get a KTM Factory graphics kit to stand out even more than the bright orange! New it is £4,099.
4. Lexmoto LXR 125
At #4 is the Lexmoto LXR 125 – a bike that has quickly soared up the top sales list and is now by far the most popular 125cc machine to come out of the Lexmoto HQ in Exeter. It’s an incredibly impressive motorcycle that really does feel like a big bike, but you don’t need a big budget to get one – it’s £2,199!
It’s quite possibly one of the cheapest liquid cooled motorcycles you can find, has dual front discs (!) and performs incredibly well out on the road outputting 12.1bhp and weighing 167kg – Alex from BikeMatters has also reviewed the LXR 125 SE, although it is slightly different from this LXR. Check this one out if you’re after a sports bike – it’s selling well for a reason.
5. Honda Z 125 (Monkey Bike)
Another small bike! The Honda Z 125 is #5. More widely known as the Honda Monkey bike, the Z 125 was released in 2019 as an alternative mode of transport that is surely just a bit of fun. It will only take up a tiny bit of room in your garage, weighs 107kg, has 9.25bhp and can be bought in “banana yellow”! That doesn’t mean it’s lacking in spec though – you still get USD forks, twin rear shocks, front and rear discs with ABS. It’s basically a full bike that’s shrunk in the wash.
All in all, this monkey bike has sold well in 2019, and has had a load of people monkeying around on the roads. Sorry I had to… Price £3,699.
6. Yamaha YS 125
Another Yamaha, this time the YS 125 at #6. Whilst it’s directly aimed at learner riders & commuters after a reliable and commuter friendly option, this 125cc motorcycle is still good fun on the roads. With 18inch wheels, eco indicator and a noted 140mpg, everything is geared towards riders who want to get about reliably and economically – and it’s sold well over the years. It has a very light and forgiving clutch and transmission, and is a great all-rounder for commuters and first time riders.
Alex from BikeMatters tested this one and had a great time on it – if you want to know all about the YS125, the link is in the description! Price is £2,899.
7. Yamaha YZF-R125
Our first sports bike in the top 10, at #7 is the Yamaha YZF-R125. A hugely popular sportsbike from Yamaha, the YZF-R125 was also updated in 2019 and is inspired by the legendary bigger brother, the YZF-R1 – and they aren’t messing around, this bike really does push the limits for a 125cc sportsbike.
With an assist & slipper clutch, variable valve actuation and high-flow cylinder head, power is no problem at the max 14.7bhp for CBT and A1 category riders – plus the MotoGP inspired cockpit and lightweight parts everywhere, the weight comes in at 142kg and overall this bike is wickedly fast for a 125cc. Price brand new is £4,499.
8. Honda MSX 125
A firm favourite worldwide with a cult following, the Honda MSX 125 (or Grom) is #8. Having been around since 2013, the grom has been redesigned a few times and is still selling high numbers to this day – so is clearly a firm favourite for beginner riders who may prefer a more… compact ride.
Heavily styled on streetfighter bikes, the MSX125 (Grom) outputs 9.6bhp from its air cooled single cylinder motor, and 4 gears. Whilst that may not sound anything special, a kerb weight of 101kg and 12 inch wheels will mean it certainly builds up speed quickly! It’s priced at £3,389 brand new, and you can get it in a base colour of red or black with silver bodywork.
9. Yamaha MT 125
At #9 we have the Yamaha MT125. Updated in 2019 with a few new bits including the new paintjob “ice fluo” in white and red, the MT125 has proven to be one of the most popular naked 125cc bikes in the UK market for 2019 – and no doubt for years to come.
It obviously looks great, but it’s also a great performer on the roads with it’s liquid cooled single cylinder motor & 6 gears, outputting a maximum 14.7bhp. It’s packed with features including ABS, a “high tech” LCD instrument panel and really gives you the big bike feel you’re after. Top speed is listed as 70mph but I have no doubt it will go a bit more than that! Brand new it will cost you £4,349.
Update: There is a new MT125 on the way for 2020, including an assist-and-slipper clutch, variable valve actuation and a redesigned look to match the rest of the MT range – no doubt it will sell incredibly well in 2020!
10. Keeway Superlight 125
To kick off our top 10 list we have the Keeway Superlight 125. The Superlight is a favourite amongst budding cruiser fans who have a thing for choppers, and as such is the best selling 125 cruiser on the market. With unique looks and presence on the road, the ergonomics and riding experience is exactly that of a cruiser with a characteristically low 730mm seat height.
The 15 litre fuel tank is estimated to provide 110+ mpg, and the air cooled single cylinder motor will put out around 10.4 bhp – but the bike only weighs in at 134kg! Priced at £2099, it’s not a bad start to our list with this cruiser – you’ll go like a bat out of hell.