Top 10 post CBT 125s

Phil West
By Phil West
PhilWestNew Former Editor of Bike, ex-Road Test Editor of MCN, ridden more bikes than he can remember. Likes: GTS, Paso, Mantra. Dislikes: own rust bucket LC and 900 T-Bird daily driver.

If you’re a learner, over 17, and have got your provisional A1 licence, it’s time to get out on the road. But what are the best bikes available to you to ride on L plates once you've completed your CBT? Here’s our pick, in no particular order...

2014 Yamaha YZF-R125
Yamaha YZF-R125
Yamaha’s take on the supersports 125 was originally launched in 2008 and updated in 2014. It has proven to be both the class best seller and one of the most popular learner bikes of all time, with almost 50,000 sold in the UK. The reasons are simple. It’s great looking (so much so that it’s easy to mistake for its R6 bigger brother as it’s actually around the same size), well-built and well equipped (now featuring, for example, a multi-function LCD display). It is pretty much as exciting and rewarding to ride as a 125 gets, and yet is easy and unintimidating, too. But then, with a new price approaching £4500 you’d expect it to be good.
KTM Duke 125

KTM Duke 125
The smallest Duke is the most junior member of the Austrian firm’s popular Duke family. Essentially evolutions of the company's single-cylinder supermotos, the Duke range is also available in 390 and 690cc form as well. Funky looking, nimble and great fun to ride, the 125 version is just as much of a looker as its bigger brothers and, although learner legal, still has a flavour of the punchy excitement of those bigger bikes. Not cheap, but hugely cool, easy to ride and decent fun.

Honda CB125F
Honda CB125F
All-new last year, the CB125F is a humble, modest and simple-to-ride commuter that has proven to be not just one of the most popular 125s on the market but also one of the UK’s best selling bikes overall. The reason for that is threefold: it’s a Honda, with all the reliability and reassurance the name implies; it’s ultra-simple and easy to ride; it’s reasonably stylish and well-equipped (if a bit plain) and, most of all, it’s both good value to buy and, with a claimed 145mpg, very cheap to run.
Honda PCX125
Honda PCX125
Not just the UK’s but Europe’s most popular and best selling 125cc learner legal scooter – and with good reason. The PCX is probably the perfect blend of style, ease of use, practicality, comfort, economy (Honda claim an impressive 134mpg from its liquid-cooled four-stroke single cylinder engine) and performance. It looks good, goes well and simply delivers. It’s even decent value, as well.
Suzuki VanVan
Suzuki RV125 VanVan
Oddball, fat, balloon-tyred ‘beach bike’ (effectively a two-wheeled beach buggy) is one of the older machines here, having been originally introduced way back in 2003. But its enduring popularity is such that Suzuki this year introduced a bigger brother – the RV200. Although air-cooled and just 12bhp it’s easy to see why: the VanVan’s totally unintimidating, has a very low seat, is a doddle to ride and is decent fun, too. Not long legged or quick but appealing to shorter novices and useful on farms, too.


Kawasaki KLX125
Kawasaki KLX125
Straightforward, stylish, easy to ride and appealing, ‘old school’ style, trailie might not be able to match the sophistication and dynamism of Yamaha’s WR, but then it’s over £1000 cheaper. The air-cooled, four-stroke KLX is pleasing on the eye, reasonably equipped (with a ‘wavy’ front disc brake, for example) and, most importantly of all, easy and straightforward to ride, particularly because of its trail bike upright riding position and wide handlebars.


Yamaha WR125
Yamaha WR125R
The most desirable of the current crop of learner 125 trailies is a far cry from the cheap and smoky two-stroke of old, such as Yamaha’s hugely popular DT125. Instead the WR is based around the same, sophisticated, fuel-injected and liquid-cooled four-stroke single as the YZF-R and MT and is a lavishly equipped, full-size funster, making it great for larger riders. And, if you fancy something with a little more street ‘edginess’, Yamaha also offer the supermoto style WR125X, with road wheels/tyres, too. Again, over £4K, though.


Yamaha MT125
Yamaha MT125
Launched in 2014, the smallest member of Yamaha’s funky MT roadster family is based on the chassis and engine of the class-leading YZF-R125 sportster but with a more upright, newcomer-friendly attitude. The result is one of the best 125 roadsters around with plenty of cool style, performance that matches anything in the class and is an undemanding doddle to ride, too. The only downsides are a slightly small fuel tank and, at over £4000 (and just £300 cheaper than the fully-faired YZF-R) a fairly steep price tag.


Aprilia RS4
Aprilia RS4 125 Replica
Aprilia’s iconic two-stroke learner 125s may now be consigned to history, but the Italian firm’s reputation for building the most-lusted after and sportiest of all learner category machines is intact, thanks to the four-stroke RS4. Styling-wise it’s a mini-RSV4 superbike. In terms of spec it has the best of everything (especially in ‘Replica’ trim which has racer livery paint), from its USD forks to genuine aluminium beam frame and, though learner legal and still easy to ride, it’s also about as thrilling as a new machine of this size can be. At over £4000 it’s not cheap, though…


Lexmoto XTR125
Most popular of the Chinese budget learner bikes, the XTR, which is a fairly shameless imitation of Honda’s popular CBR125R, at least styling-wise, may not win an awards for performance, durability, quality or looks but is so cheap – just over £1000 new, or a quarter of that of the YZF-R125 – in a class where most riders are skint to say the least, that it simply can’t be ignored. Plus, as a learner, you could do worse…
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