Best 125cc Scooter: Dependable and Practical Commuting


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Last Updated: 21st July 2021

An excellent way to get started and/or a handy alternative to your main bike for local trips, 125cc scooters are an increasingly popular commuting solution in European cities.

A twist-and-go option with decent storage will make light work of commutes and make trips to the supermarket simple.

 

Best 125cc Scooters

We’ve made a list of some of the best on the market.


Honda PCX 125

Honda PCX 125

Specs:

  • Engine: Single cylinder 125cc
  • Power: 11.5hp
  • Top Speed: 70mph
  • Brakes: Front and rear disc

The PCX 125 hovers around the top-selling 125 lists for many good reasons.

A liquid-cooled engine makes it nippy for a 125, and with Honda’s Idle/Stop tech, a low friction engine, and low-friction tyres, it’s also really fuel-efficient (up to 134mpg).

The feet-forward riding style makes corners feel surprisingly fun on what is essentially a small displacement maxi scooter.

Weather protection, looks, and storage are influenced by the Japanese market’s expectations – which is no bad thing.

The bodywork is clean and offers typically excellent protection from wind and rain.

Storage is excellent too, and though the brakes don’t feature ABS, they are linked and function perfectly.

Check it out on Honda


Italjet Dragster

Italjet Dragster

Specs:

  • Engine: Single cylinder 125cc
  • Power: 14.9hp
  • Top Speed: 64mph
  • Brakes: Front and rear disc ABS

This raw trellis frame styling of this won’t be for everyone. There’s not much storage, weather protection, or faring on display here, but the aggressive, stripped-down, futuristic aesthetics contribute to the bike’s overall ultra-lightweight performance.

Its liquid-cooled engine hits the max 14.9 hp allowed for its class, and it feels torquey and responsive. The aluminium front swingarm is a seriously high-end feature for a 125cc scooter.

Italjet has developed a reputation over the last 60 + years for producing lightweight, performance-oriented scooters, motorcycles, quads, and, more recently, e-bikes.

The Dragster, in particular, is aimed at those who want the thrills usually reserved for larger displacement vehicles, packaged in an easily-insurable 125cc.

The 2021 edition has upgraded brakes, and ABS will come as standard in both models (previously, it had only been on the larger 200cc model).

Check it out on Italjet


Honda SH125

Honda SH125

Specs:

  • Engine: Single cylinder 125cc
  • Power: 12.3hp
  • Top Speed: 75mph
  • Brakes: Front and rear discs with ABS

This kind of design from Honda is built upon their decades of experience with low-displacement, lightweight commuters.

That’s not to say this is in any way retro or archaic, just that it represents a similar attempt at making an affordable, bomb-proof two-wheeled commuter that’s cheap to run and requires minimal maintenance.

This years’ redesign has significantly improved storage space and upgraded to full LED lighting and keyless ignition. A faring redesign has sharpened up a few of the lines, and the engine is punchier than previous models – it could even handle short motorway hops.

Mileage is excellent, and the Idle Stop/Start system used for fuel-economy in the Forza 125 is also present.

Handling and cornering are excellent thanks to the low centre of gravity and a comfortable riding position. The SH125 is worth looking into if you’re in the market for a mid-priced 125 with decades of reliable pedigree.

Check it out on Honda


Sym Jet 14

Sym Jet 14

Specs:

  • Engine: Single cylinder 125cc
  • Power: 10hp (more on the liquid-cooled model)
  • Top Speed: 60mph
  • Brakes: Front disc, rear brake

Sym is another Taiwanese manufacturer with a long history of manufacturing solid, reliable scooters and low-displacement motorcycles for their home country’s commuting market.

Teething problems marred a few of their models when they switched over from carburetor to EFI more than a decade ago, but they’ve been on a hot streak since and slowly making inroads into the European market.

The Sym Jet 14 is one we had a chance to ride in Taipei city a few years ago, and with its 14” wheels and comfortable riding position, it’s one we can recommend.

This won’t deliver the same power and acceleration as some of the other models on our list but as a reliable and smooth run around at a significantly lower price point than a more recognisable manufacturer, Sym is worth a look.

Sym also offers a liquid-cooled model with increased power and top speed.

Check it out on Sym Jet


Yamaha X-Max

Yamaha-XMAX125

Specs:

  • Engine: Single cylinder 125cc
  • Power: 14.2hp
  • Top Speed: 68mph
  • Brakes: Front and rear disc

Speaking of more recognisable brands, here’s Yamaha’s X-Max: a tried-and-true model from perhaps one of the world’s best-known motorcycle manufacturers.

Yamaha’s copy states that the model offers “the ideal balance of sportiness, practicality, and functionality.” It certainly comes close, though we feel those after pure sportiness might be more interested in the Italjet Dragster.

The X-Max probably is the best compromise on the market.

Decent storage (two full-face helmets), bodywork that protects from the elements, a dependable engine with good performance, and a comfortable, safe ride with ABS and traction control as standard indicate that Yamaha wanted this scooter to be a market leader.

With a fifteen-year pedigree and a 2017 redesign to meet Euro 4 standards, Yamaha’s X-Max is as close to a touring 125 scooter as it gets.

Check it out on Yamaha


Kymco Like

Kymco Like

Specs:

  • Engine: Single cylinder 125cc
  • Power: 11hp
  • Top Speed: 60mph
  • Brakes: Front disc, rear brake

Kymco is another Taiwanese manufacturer who’s been making an impact in the European market in the last decade. The Like takes a lot of inspiration from classic Italian scooters but combines it with a lightweight, easy-to-handle design that’s perfect for a first-timer or smaller, lighter person.

Its engine is air-cooled and not going to win you any races on the track. However, it feels respectably powerful and fast enough for urban riding.

The 7l fuel tank (large for a scooter at this price), comfortable seat, and decent front and rear suspension make longer trips possible, though probably not what this scooter was intended for.

Front and rear brakes with a combined braking system leave very little room for complaints. Abrupt city stops and gradual country road slowdowns both feel comfortable and easy to control.

Storage isn’t incredible as this has gone for a minimal, retro look. A small backpack and some light shopping won’t be a problem but remember these things were first designed for the Taiwanese market – where the weather means no one wears a full face on a scooter.

Check it out on Kymco


Honda Forza 125

Honda Forza 125

Specs:

  • Engine: Single cylinder 125cc
  • Power: 14.9hp
  • Top Speed: 80mph
  • Brakes: Front and rear discs ABS

Some people will understandably prefer to stick with a more recognisable brand.

Honda is mostly credited with inventing the scooter concept, with their Cub 50 and Cub 90 series being listed in some places as the best-selling motor vehicles in human history.

The Forza 125 carries some of that pedigree with it, delivering a scooter that looks decent, can be ridden on a valid CBT, and has all of the features you’d expect from a top-end manufacturer.

An adjustable screen, Idle Stop system, which shuts down the engine after 3 seconds of inactivity (can be turned off), and comfortable riding position make this capable of longer trips.

Its ample storage can easily fit a medium-sized grocery shop or luggage for some light touring.

This is a super-efficient scooter from Honda that fits into the 125 category. Not cheap but built to last around a long reputation of two-wheeled excellence.

Check it out on Honda


Vespa GTS 125

Vespa GTS 125

Specs:

  • Engine: Single cylinder 125cc
  • Power: 21hp
  • Top Speed: 62mph
  • Brakes: Front and rear disc ABS CBS (combined braking system)

Credited with some of the most iconic scooters ever seen, it’s no surprise people pay attention when Vespa launches a new model.

The GTS stays true to the company’s functional but stylish design principles. A liquid-cooled, fuel-injected engine makes this a surprisingly powerful little machine and a lot of fun to ride in urban settings.

Like most vehicles with this kind of retro-appeal backed up by decades of experience, is at the higher-end in terms of cost.

And while it’s a premium scooter, it earns its place in the category with more than just its badge.

Traction control and full ABS mean the engine’s punchiness is offset by effective braking and reliable handling in various conditions. We also think they got the Vespa “look” with this, and it has the potential to be a future classic.

Fun Fact: Vespa made their first 125cc scooter in 1948 – an example of which was ridden by Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in the film Roman Holiday.

Check it out on Vespa


Suzuki Burgman 125

Suzuki bergman

 

Specs:

  • Engine: Single cylinder 125cc
  • Power: 8.5hp
  • Top Speed: 65mph
  • Brakes: Front and rear disc

While it doesn’t have stripped-down looks like the Dragster or Vespa’s retro-chic, this is a comfortable, reliable machine with lots of storage (41L under the seat and another 7 in the front). It offers decent protection from the elements, which is a bonus for us UK riders.

The latest faring redesign has made these newer models softer and more rounded than many of their competition.

And while you mightn’t love the addition of the windscreen aesthetically, it’s effective at keeping the rider protected from the elements and on track in windy conditions.

ABS and heated grips come as standard – nice touches in a killer overall package.

Check it out on Suzuki


Peugeot Speedfight 4

Peugeot Speedflight

 

Specs:

  • Engine: Single cylinder 125
  • Power: 11hp
  • Top Speed: 67mph
  • Brakes: Front and rear disc

This urban-focused, lightweight scooter from Peugeot has a shorter wheelbase, sharper lines, and an overall smaller outline than others on our list.

Its liquid-cooled engine only delivers 11p but has decent torque for its size with good acceleration for overtaking in traffic. Fuel economy is top-tier, too, with Peugeot claiming 60 miles from 2.1 litres of fuel.

Taiwanese company SYM builds the smart motion engine, and reports are excellent.

Reducing engine friction and using a licensed AGC system that only charges the battery when cruising has improved fuel efficiency by over 5%.

Maintenance and cost should stay low, with a service required every 5000km and a belt replacement every 10000km.

Check it out on Peugeot

Conclusion

Hopefully, we’ve given you something to think about. A 125 can be a great entry point for a slightly older teenager, the first bike for an adult new to motorcycling, or a reliable short-trip run-around for anyone. They require little maintenance and are cheap to run and insure.

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