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Top 10 Best 125cc Scooters - Whatever your budget

Freelance motorcycle journalist, former editor of Bike & What Bike?, ex-Road Test Editor MCN, author of six books and now in need of a holiday.



Top 10 Ten Best 125cc Scooters for 2023_01


At 17, with a provisional motorcycle licence in your wallet and a CBT certificate in your back pocket, you’re legally entitled to take to the road on a A1 class 125cc motorcycle – or scooter.

And although the latest 125cc bikes often have huge appeal to up-and-coming bikers, they’re not for everyone. Scooters, with their ‘twist ‘n’ go’ automatic transmissions, smaller proportions and ‘step-thru’ chassis are not only simpler to ride but they’re less intimidating for those who merely want commuter wheels to get to work.

With leg guards, windshields and sometimes even adjustable screens, scooters often offer better weather protection than a bike. While with built in luggage usually including an under-seat compartment big enough for at least one helmet they make eminently practical commuters, too.

And if all that sounds a little too sensible, practical and, well, dull, scooters don’t have to be like that, either. Sports scoots such as Sym’s Jet have proved just as desirable to 17-year-olds as most 125cc sports bikes; retro-inspired machines such as Vespa’s GTS are about as trendy round town as two-wheelers get; few 125s of any type are as luxurious and slick as Yamaha’s latest XMAX and none are as roomy and comfortable as maxi 125 scoots such as Suzuki’s Burgman.

But which are the best, which type should you go for and what, exactly, do you get for your money. To help you decide, here’s our selection of the current best, of all types and in price ascending order…


Top 10 Ten Best 125cc Scooters for 2023_01


Lexmoto Titan: £1,999

Lexmoto are probably the quintessential Chinese-made lightweight scooter and motorcycle brand in the UK who specialize in Chinese built but UK branded and distributed 50cc, 125cc, 300cc and electric scooters, 125cc bikes and, more recently, 500 and 650cc motorcycles. What’s more, their success and growth in recent years means they’re now one of the UK’s biggest sellers with a range that now includes 19 different motorcycles and 15 different scooters. Its 125cc scooter range currently has four models ranging from the sports-all-rounder Titan, which is its current cheapest, so is the one we’re focussing on here, but also includes premium sports (the Ducati look-a-like Diablo, £2279.99), premium maxi-scooter (the Apollo at £2769.99) and stylish all-rounder (the Aura, at £2739.99).

The Titan is Lexmoto’s successor to its previous, best-selling FMS 125 scooter and has far more spec, style and ability than you might expect from such a budget-priced offering. There’s a Euro5-compiiant, fuel-injected single cylinder engine that produces 7.2bhp at 7500rpm, making it good for around 55mph, decent styling, a front disc brake with a combined braking system (meaning both brake controls operate both front and rear brakes for added security), decent under seat storage and adequate clocks. Sure, it’s not the fastest, best handling or with the kind of build quality and features on the best from Honda and Yamaha, but for the price the Titan’s a great value and adequate runabout.



Sym Jet 125: £2,699

Sym is the scooter brand (although they also offer a few motorcycles) of the Sanyang Motor Company based in Taiwan, which currently offers in the UK a large range of scooters in capacities including 50, 125, 200, 300 and even 600cc. Like compatriots Kymco, their products are best categorized as offering near-Japanese quality but at prices sometimes closer to Chinese machines.

Out of a 125cc range that currently includes maxi-scoot (Cruisym and Joymax), retro (Fiddle), commuter (Orbit) and big wheeled (Symphony) offerings, its Jet family stands out as its best-selling learner legal scooter with smart, sporty styling, 14in wheels for decent handling, smart features such as LED lights all round and decent under seat storage.

Best of all, though, a wide variety of specifications are available, including both air-cooled and more modern liquid-cooled engines and different trim levels meaning there’s a Jet 125 to suit every budget.



Piaggio Liberty 125: £2,800

In the world of 125cc scooters you can basically go one of four ways: affordable sports style (eg Sym Jet); fashion-conscious ‘retro’ (Vespa GTS); premium all-rounder (such as Yamaha’s XMAX or Honda’s Forza) or ‘big-wheeled’ practicality. And the best example of the latter is Italian scooter specialists long-lived and hugely popular Liberty. Most of the former three types have wheel diameter of around 10 or usually 12inches, which helps make them small, nimble and easy to manage – but also makes them less stable, particularly on uneven road surfaces such as in city centres, due their reduced gyroscopic effect. ‘Big wheel’ scooters, by contrast, generally use 14in or larger wheels, so appear more ‘motorcycle-like’ but, while still eminently practical, are more stable and reassuring to ride, which makes them especially popular for city commuters. On the slight downside, they’re sometimes less appealing or trendy, visually and can be more expensive.

Of them all, Piaggio’s Liberty remains arguably the best for its combination of practicality, style and value. First introduced in 1997 it’s been consistently updated since, is offered in a variety of capacities and has sold over 800,000 Europe-wide. Last updated with new Euro5 engines in 2020 it also now has a larger still 16in front wheel while the 14in rear carries a generous 100-section tyre to further aid grip. The frame and styling were also updated to offer roomy, upright ergonomics and more elegant styling. While a neat but basic dash gives the usual warning lights and also houses the speedo, fuel gauge and a digital clock. All in all, the Liberty is a great, easy, affordable runabout that’s reassuring to ride and reasonable value. A slightly higher spec ‘S’ version is also available for £2900.



Kymco Agility City Plus 125: £2,959

Kymco is arguably the more up-market of Taiwan’s two leading scooter manufacturers (the other being Sym) and has a deserved reputation for a growing range of scooters across all capacities and types that offer almost Japanese standards of design and quality but often at a more affordable price. Their current scooter range in the UK comprises 11 different machines ranging from a basic, budget-priced 50 (the Agility at £2099) to the electric I-One (£3999), Super 8 R sports 50 (£2599), X-Town 125 (£4599) and DTX125 (£4899) maxi-scoots (£4899), DTX320 (£5599) and AK550 maxi-scoot (£9899 to £10,399).

Its ‘stock-in-trade’ 125cc offering, however, is the Agility City+ which manages to combine the best of many scooter types, namely larger wheels for manageability and stability, sporty-ish urban styling, decent under seat storage, reasonable spec and performance and all for a temptingly-affordable price.

First introduced in 2017, it’s powered by Kymco’s latest air-cooled, fuel-injected single, which has a top speed of around 65mph and is claimed to be capable of in excess of 100mpg. A new 14in rear wheel matches the large 16inch front hoop to give easy, secure handling, especially on city streets; there’s a combined braking system which links both front and rear disc brakes to give more progressive and secure stopping power; it gains a more comfortable seat and there’s refreshed, angular styling including LED lights and new cast alloy wheels. The result, while not as fast as some or luxurious as others, is a brilliant all-rounder at a great price.



Suzuki Burgman Street 125EX: £2,999

When it comes to maxi-scooters – larger machines that have more luggage and pillion capacity by virtue of their size and, quite often, the larger amount of creature comforts and higher price that go with it, one manufacturer comes to mind quicker than any other – Suzuki.

The Japanese marque introduced its first Burgman, the model name it’s given to its maxi-scooter family, in AN250 form way back in 1998 and was so successful it spawned a whole family of machines ranging from 125cc to a colossal, twin-cylinder 650 and also including 200 and 400cc versions, all characterized by oversize proportions, bags of comfort for two and luggage capacity, luxury fittings and equipment – and the premium prices to match.

Today in the UK the latest versions live on in 400 (£6999) and a revived for 2023 125cc version – the new Burgman Street 125EX, and although the 125 is the least powerful and long-legged of the pair, it still makes a great, comfortable, luxurious and great value commuter, if you can handle its size.

It’s powered by a new, economical, ‘Suzuki Eco Performance Alpha (SEP-α)’ air-cooled, 125cc, single cylinder four stroke engine producing 8.5bhp and claimed to be capable of a massive 148mpg. There’s also smartphone charging, start-stop technology, LED lighting, 21.5L of underseat storage space and a standard rear carrier.



Honda PCX125: £3,599

The PCX is not just Britain’s best-selling 125 it’s the best-selling powered two-wheeler, with well over 20,000 sold since its launch in 2010 – and for good reason. Sporty yet practical, stylish and well-equipped yet affordable and all backed with the reassurance, reliability and dealer experience the Honda badge brings, the PCX achieves better than any other 125 scoot an ideal blend of abilities. It was first updated with a styling makeover and even better fuel economy (a claimed 134mpg) in 2014. It was refreshed for 2016 to meet Euro4 gaining new ‘Idle-Stop’ technology, LED lights all round, a smart LCD digital dash, lighter wheels to improve handling plus more luggage capacity and received a thorough overhaul again for 2021 to become Euro5 compliant and more powerful and gaining updated styling, new wheels, suspension, extra luggage space and more. The result is a classy, comfortable ‘sit-in’ scooter that’s easy to ride, engaging enough to entertain with its slick, liquid-cooled, single cylinder motor producing an easy 12.3bhp, practical and, best of all, at still around £3500 new, very tempting value. Honda currently offer four different 125cc scooters for sale in the UK: the ‘sensible’, big-wheeled SH125i, a smaller version, the SH Mode, the luxurious, sporty Forza and the PCX. Of the lot we’ve no doubt the PCX offers the most for the least money – no wonder it continues to be so popular, not just in the UK but across Europe.



Yamaha NMAX 125: £3,775

Most recently updated in 2021, the NMAX is Yamaha’s answer to Honda’s best-selling PCX125 affordable commuter cum all-rounder 125cc scooter and it’s such a close contender it’s also one of the best-selling scooters in the class.

Gaining a new look and fresh features including keyless ignition, traction control and a stop-start engine system, the NMAX was already frugal, easy to ride and with impressive build quality and detailing and as a result is a quick, convenient and cheap way to get about town.

With 13inch wheels and a weight of just 131kg it’s light, easy and nimble to ride but never feels flighty or unstable, making threading through city traffic a joy. The modern, liquid-cooled, four-valve single cylinder engine boasts a form of variable valve timing to maximise its performance and efficiency and it has lots of quality touches including a clear LCD dash, smartphone connectivity, two cubby holes and 23-litres of storage space under the seat, all helping make the NMAX one of the most practical 125 scooters you can buy.



Honda Forza 125: £5,149

One-eighth-litre scooters don’t get much classier. First launched in 2015 as a junior, 125cc version of the Forza 300, the Forza 125 was intended as Honda’s new, premium, sports/GT offering in the learner class and it certainly succeeded if its Europe-wide sales of over 30,000 are anything to go by. And although it’s been comparatively less successful in the UK, largely because of its pretty hefty price tag, there’s also no doubt that the Forza remains one of the classiest, most versatile and simply most effective 125 scooters available.

The Forza 125 was updated again in 2021 to gain Euro5 compliance, plus gaining a comprehensive restyle including electrically adjustable screen, LED indicators, new instrumentation, colour options and increased under seat storage space, all of which further enhance its classy, premium appeal. The basics, however, remained pretty much unchanged. At its heart is a sophisticated, four-valve water-cooled, SOHC single producing a decent 14.3bhp @ 8500rpm, enough to give it class leading acceleration and make it one of the faster 125 scoots around. At the same time ‘Stop-Go’ tech helps give good fuel economy and a claimed tank range of around 300 miles. The Forza also handles well, thanks to quality suspension and larger than average 15in front, 14in rear wheels. While, equipment-wise, there’s an electrically adjustable screen, slick, comprehensive dash, masses of under seat storage, great looks and keyless ignition. No, it’s certainly not cheap, but the Forza 125 is a brilliant one, if not the very best.



Yamaha XMAX 125: from £5,350

First introduced in 2014, the XMAX 125 is, like its bigger brother in the 300cc class, Yamaha’s premium, high quality, sporty scooter offering, only this time in the quarter-litre class. As such its closest rival is Honda’s best-selling Forza 125. Yamaha describe it as their ‘ultimate, every day urban commuter’ and in many respects they’re right, attempting to offer, again like the Honda, the ideal balance of sportiness, practicality and functionality.

It was recently updated with a new Euro5 compliant, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled four-stroke single, and now features updated styling, a rudimentary traction control system, premium LCD instrument panel, LED lights all round, two-position screen and keyless ignition. And if all that is starting to sound very similar to Honda’s Forza 125, that’s because the XMAX 125 is – right down to its price. Where the XMAX 125 differs, though, is with the addition of an extra, even more premium version, the XMAX 125 Tech MAX. This version, at £5800 comes with unique satin paint, special dual seat complete with leather pads, aluminium footrests, machined end grips and chrome speedo ring. Oh, and if that still doesn’t quite float your boat, Yamaha also offer its leaning three-wheeler scoot, the Tricity 125 (£4450).



Vespa GTS 125 Super: £5,450

There’s no more iconic image in scootering, nor one as well-known and universally liked, than that of the classic Vespa – and the latest GTS 125 is the best yet. Produced by Italian automotive giant Piaggio, which today remains Europe’s largest manufacturer of powered two-wheelers, the first Vespa, (Italian for wasp, and named after the buzzing sound of its two-stroke motor) was launched way back in 1946. And as a utilitarian, affordable, but stylish step-thru for a war-ravaged Italy desperate for cheap transport it became a huge success leading to a whole family of Vespa machines.

The GTS is Vespa’s largest, modern, but classically retro-styled machine, first launched as the GT200 in 2004 before itself evolving and being updated into a whole family of machines in 125, 300cc and standard and premium Super forms. All combine classic Italian Vespa style, easy small-wheel riding, decent practicality, plenty of quality design touches to justify their premium prices and, of course, unequalled Italian scooter style. As such, it’s no wonder they’re so popular with fashion-conscious scooter types.

The latest update is Euro5-compliant and has Piaggio’s latest ‘stop-go’ ‘i-GET’ four-valve, single cylinder engine producing a reasonable 12.2bhp, reasonable handling for a small-wheeled scoot, decent practicality including a comfortable seat and under seat storage capable of taking two open face helmets along with a useful leg shield compartment plus bags of style and quality touches. These include lashings of chrome and neat badging, updated LCD dash and tons of options. The GTS may not be the cheapest but it’s a great all-rounder and nothing comes close for authentic Italian style


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