Top 10 125cc Scooters (2019)

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.

 

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 Peugeot’s Speedfight have proved just as desirable to 17-year-olds as most 125cc sports bikes for over 20 years; retro-inspired machines such as Vespa’s timeless 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…

 

No.

Make and Model

Price

1.

Lexmoto Titan

£1399

2.

Sym Crox 125

£1999

3.

Kymco Agility City Plus 125

£2299

4.

Peugeot Speedfight 4 125

£2699

5.

Piaggio Liberty 125

£2799

6.

Honda PCX125

£2929

7.

Suzuki Burgman 125

£3699

8.

Vespa GTS 125 Super

£4489

9.

Yamaha XMAX 125

£4649

10.

Honda Forza 125

£4689

 

Top 10 125cc scooters (2019)

 

1. Lexmoto Titan, £1399

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 50 and 125cc scooters and 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 13 different motorcycles and 10 different scooters. Its 125cc scooter range currently six models ranging from sports (the Enigma 125 at £1499) to ‘big-wheeler’ (Urban, also £1499), premium sports (the Ducati look-a-like Diablo, £1599), retro Milano (£1599) to maxi-scooter Chieftain (£1999). But the sports-all-rounder Titan is one of its newest and current cheapest so is the one we’re focusing on here.

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 Euro4-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.

 

Top 10 125cc scooters (2019)

 

2. Sym Crox 125, £1999

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 includes sports (Jet 4), retro (Fiddle), maxi (Cruisym) and big wheel (Symphony) offerings, the new Crox stands out as a fashionable, sporty, affordable small-wheeled scooter with a chunky, ‘urban’ style complete with semi-knobbly tyres and protective features such as hand guards. As such it not only reminds of popular youth-targeted scooter of the past, most famously Yamaha’s BW’s, it also adds the kin d of practicality and durability most useful to 17-year-old novices but without compromising its style. Scuff a sports scoot and there’ll be tears before bedtime. Do it to something like the Crox and it almost adds to its credibility.

The Crox is based on the mechanicals of the proven Jet 4 sports scooter and uses that bike’s reliable SOHC four-stroke single cylinder engine and tubular steel frame but now with more rugged bodywork that has shades of motocross style. On top of that there are basic but adequate clocks, decent under seat storage and Sym’s enviable five-year warranty. The Crox may not be the fastest or most secure handling 125 scoot but it’s got bags of street style at an affordable price.

 

Top 10 125cc scooters (2019)

 

3. Kymco Agility City Plus 125, £2299

Kymco is arguably the more up-market of Taiwan’s two leading scooter manufacturers (the other being Sym) and have 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 13 different machines ranging from a basic, budget-priced 50 (the Agility at £1499) to three other retro, urban and sports 50s, retro, ‘big wheeled’ and maxi 125s and even maxi 300, 400 and 550cc machines. Its ‘stock-in-trade’ 125cc offering is the Agility City, which also comes in more sporty-styled ‘City Plus’ form. As such it 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, Euro4-compliant, 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 front hoop to give easy, secure handling, especially on city streets; there’s a new 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.

 

Top 10 125cc scooters (2019)

 

4. Peugeot Speedfight 4 125, £2699

There are few more genuinely evocative or well-respected model names in modern scootering than that of the Peugeot Speedfight. First introduced by the then French-owned Peugeot company in 1999 (Peugeot scooters has been 51% owned by vast Indian company Mahindra since 2015), the Speedfight is generally agreed to have been the very first, sharply-styled, youth-orientated, small capacity sports scooter – something it’s remained as the definitive example of ever since. The succeeding Speedfight 2 was introduced in 2001, came with anti-dive front suspension, new styling and with air or liquid-cooled motors for the first time. The Speedfight 3 then came in 2009 with the latest version, the Speedfight 4, introduced in 2014. But the spirit of being a good looking, reasonably equipped with a sprinkling of the latest tech, affordable sports scoot has remained throughout.

Although this latest version is a little more conventional, with standard telescopic forks, it’s still smart looking and, thanks to its small wheels and sharp, nimble, easy handler. The engine is the latest, Euro4-compliant ‘Smartmotion’ liquid-cooled four-stroke with performance that’s pretty much par for the course for the class. But if it isn’t distinctly the fastest scooter in the class, it doesn’t miss out by much and more than makes up for it with its racy looks, great value and name, particularly as there are now fewer sports scooters available than previously. In this category, Peugeot also currently offer the retro-styled Django (for £3199) and premium all-rounder Pulsion (for £4499), but if you’re a sports-orientated teen after street cred on a budget, the Speedfight remains one of the very best – especially in new-for-2019 Total Sport racing livery.

 

Top 10 125cc scooters (2019)

 

5. Piaggio Liberty 125, £2799

In the world of 125cc scooters you can basically go one of four ways: affordable sports style (eg Peugeot Speedfight); 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 Euro4 engines in 2017 which also offer 10% more power than before it also gained an even larger front wheel (now 16in from 15in) while the rear 14in now 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.

 

Top 10 125cc scooters (2019)

 

6. Honda PCX125, £2929

The PCX is not just Britain’s best-selling 125 it’s the best-selling powered two-wheeler, with over 18,000 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. Then it was refreshed again for 2016 to meet the new Euro4 requirements and gaining new ‘Idle-Stop’ technology, LED lights all round, a smart LCD digital dash, lighter wheels to improve handling with an increased tyre size for extra grip plus even more luggage capacity in the under seat compartment. The result, today, 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 10.6bhp, practical and, best of all, at still under £3K 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.

 

Top 10 125cc scooters (2019)

 

7. Suzuki Burgman 125, £3699

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 125 (£3699), 200 (which is basically a more powerful 125 costing £4299), 400 (£6499) and flagship 650cc forms (at a whopping £9199). And although it could be argued the 125 is, as the least powerful, also the least long-legged of the bunch, it also still makes a great, comfortable, luxurious commuter, if you can handle its size.

Last updated in 2014 it’s powered by an uprated, fuel-injected, liquid cooled 125cc single cylinder four stroke engine producing 12bhp at 9000pm, gained optional ABS, got a new instrument panel with a rev counter added, a taller screen and styling changes to echo its bigger brothers. The result not only looks better and is better equipped, it provides a sense of roomy comfort few 125s can match. There’s 41-litres of storage space under the seat which is enough for two full-face helmets plus two glove boxes with another 5.5litres of space, one being lockable and with a 12V socket to charge your phone; stability from the 13in/12in wheels is OK and handling reasonable. Yes, its bulk means its not quite as manageable or novice-friendly as smaller machines, it’s not as fast as others and is quite pricey, but for comfortable two-up scootering not much comes close.

 

Top 10 125cc scooters (2019)

 

8. Vespa GTS 125 Super, £4499

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 came in 2019 when the larger 300 got the new, higher power HPE engine producing 24bhp and a raft of detail changes. But the learner-legal 125 version wasn’t ignored and now has Piaggio’s latest ‘stop-go’ ‘i-GET’ four-vale, 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.

 

Top 10 125cc scooters (2019)

 

9. Yamaha XMAX 125, £4649

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 updated for 2018 with a new Euro4 compliant, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled four-stroke single, updated styling, a rudimentary traction control system, updated, 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 for 2019 of an extra, even more premium version, the XMAX 125 Iron Max. This version, at £4849 (£200 more) comes with unique ‘sword grey’ satin paint, special dual seat, complete with leather pads, aluminium footrests, machined end grips, chrome speedo ring and possibly one of the daftest names in scootering, even if it is possible the classiest 125 around. Oh, and if that still doesn’t quite float your boat, Yamaha also offer its leaning three-wheeler scoot, the Tricity 125 (£3849) and the more budget and basic NMAX 125, at £2999, if you can’t quite stretch to the XMAX’s premium price.

 

Top 10 125cc scooters (2019)

 

10. Honda Forza 125, £4689

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 nits 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 2018, gaining a comprehensive restyle, electrically adjustable screen, LED indicators, new instrumentation, two all-new colour options and increased under seat storage space, all of which further enhanced 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 14.7bhp @ 8500rpm, with peak torque of 9.2lb.ft @ 8250rpm,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 298 miles. The Forza also handles well, thanks to quality suspension and larger than average 15in front, 14in rear wheels. While equipment-wise there’s a new electrically adjustable screen, slick, comprehensive dash, 48-litres 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.

 

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