Herald Motorcycles Review: Range, Reliability and Cost


The retro-commuter 125 is fast becoming a crowded market. Brands like Mash, Bullit, Sinnis, and WK offer no-frills, economical, learner-friendly machines in this space.

Herald is another company in the same vein. But with a couple of frills by way of custom work.

Cambridgeshire-based and Chinese-manufactured Herald has also recently expanded their line to include some 250cc and 500cc models. We thought we’d take a look at their rather stylish lineup. 

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About Herald

Herald started in 2010 in Cambridgeshire. Their initial focus was on importing retro-styled motorbikes, which they customized and then sold to retailers. Their goal was always to design and manufacture in the UK, however. 

The Brat was their first in-house design. Though this bike was still manufactured in China, it was a step towards UK production. IN 2019, the Brute 500 (discussed below) was released. This was their first bike designed and built in the UK. 

Build Quality

Herald’s Brute 500 goes in its own category. It’s built in the UK using a different set of components. Reviews on these are hard to find. But the few publications who’ve covered them seem to have enjoyed their test ride at the very least. 

As for the rest of the range, opinions will vary. Motorcyclists get very set in their ways, and many love their favourite motorcycle brand, like a football team. Many also have a deep, abiding distrust of motorbikes made in China

But even among those sorts, people generally agree that Herald bikes are a cut above the average imported, unbadged Chinese tomato can.

They are inspected, upgraded, and aesthetically modified in the UK before sale. So at least someone knowledgeable has had a look before you jump on. 

The Herald Range

Brat 125

Herald Brat 125


  • Weight(Dry): 147kg
  • Seat Height: 820mm
  • Engine: Single Four Stroke
  • Max Power: 13.9bhp
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Manual

Under this exceptional-looking exterior is a fun, lightweight commuter. Most 125cc bikes of this ilk opt for a muted aesthetic. This takes inspiration from the DIY scrambler/tracker scene. And, thankfully, it’s fun to ride too. 

Previous iterations of this model have felt underpowered at just 9.9hp. This newer version cranks up to 13.9hp. Combined with its low weight, this new power makes the Brat very capable in traffic. 

Aesthetically, this is a nicely put-together bike. A rugged outline, branded, custom, stainless steel exhaust, and a mono-shock rear suspension setup make this look like a true custom. An LED headlight, LED brake light, upside-down forks, and a digital dash complete a unique bike in the 125 class. 

Brat 250

Herald Brat 250X


  • Weight(Dry): 147kg
  • Seat Height: 824mm
  • Engine: Single Four Stroke
  • Max Power: 14.7bhp
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Manual

The limited edition 250cc carburettor version of the Brat uses the same classic outline and just increases the engine capacity. Admittedly, the larger engine block does look fantastic, as does the custom gloss paint job. 

But we were disappointed to see how little the added engine capacity affects the horsepower, jumping from 13.9hp in the 125cc to only 14.7hp in the 250cc. Horsepower isn’t everything, of course. There may be much more flat-out speed in the larger model, And it will undoubtedly feel more capable with a passenger. 

See more 250cc motorcycles

Brute 500 

Herald Brute 500


  • Weight(Dry): 145kg
  • Seat Height: 835mm
  • Engine: Single Four Stroke
  • Displacement: 449cc
  • Max Power: 42.9bhp
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Manual

Big single cylinders are fun. They sound great and offer a singular, torquey experience that many riders fall in love with. Herald seems to be chasing this kind of feeling with the design, feel, and look of their Brute 500. At only 145kg with 42.9 hp, this has a serious power-to-weight ratio. 

This is probably not one for novice riders. But for someone coming back to riding or stepping up from a smaller category, there’s a lot of fun to be had here. There’s more than enough speed for city, country, and motorway traffic. Put a set of knobby tyres on there, and you could even have fun on the trails. 

Herald has custom-manufactured components like internal yokes, wiring loom, swing arm, and outriggers for this machine. The result is uniquely striking and can compete with designs from the big three.

The Brute includes a digital dash, high-performance HEL brakes, adjustable suspension, and Avon MK2 tyres. This is also the first Herald bike designed, engineered, manufactured, and assembled entirely in the UK – pretty cool.

Cafe 125

Herald Cafe 125


  • Weight(Dry:) 126kg
  • Seat Height: 835mm
  • Engine Single: Four Stroke
  • Max Power: 9.9bhp
  • Transmission: 5 Speed Manual

The Herald Cafe is a stylish machine. Its sleek outline, low-profile seat, miniature indicators, black subframe, and blacked-out mudguards all contribute to its classic look. In terms of parts, it leans on form and function – without worrying too much about performance. 

That’s not to say this thing is bad. But it does feature the same 9.9hp engine that was common throughout Herald’s 125 range until recently. This engine is far from powerful. Even within the 125cc A1 class (where the limit is 15hp), the Cafe’s 9.9 hp will feel noticeably sluggish outside of an urban environment. 

But those looking for a stylish bike for city riding could do much worse. The fundamentals are all here. And the Cafe features LED indicators, an LED halo headlight, and Racetek adjustable rear shocks. The 12-litre fuel tank also supplies this bike with a decent range. 

Classic 125

Herald Classic 125


  • Weight(Dry): 126kg
  • Seat Height: 740mm
  • Engine: Single Four Stroke
  • Max Power: 9.9bhp
  • Transmission: 5 Speed Manual

The Classic 125 uses the same engine and many of the same components as the Cafe 125. The tank, subframe, wheels, and many parts are the same. But while the Cafe opts for a classic, scrambler custom design, the classic goes for something more timeless. 

The teardrop tank, knee indents, flat seat, low profile panels, and exhaust all have a retro appeal. 

This model is essentially unchanged from previous iterations. The four-stroke, single-cylinder engine is reliable, if unremarkable. The forks feature gators. These are not an indication that this bike is a true off-roader. But they do look smart. The front forks are tuned for city riding. 

Adjustable rear shocks and a custom rear headlight are new for this year. Twin analogue clocks make up the display. These also contribute to the classic look of the bike. 

Classic 250

Herald Classic 250


  • Weight(Dry): 130kg
  • Seat Height: 790mm
  • Engine Single: Four Stroke
  • Max Power: 17.4bhp
  • Transmission: 5 Speed Manual

This limited edition run of the Classic adds some engine size to make it a more versatile machine. The added capacity here gives the Classic 250 17.4hp of power. This is quite a jump from the 125 model’s 9.9hp.

The overall outline remains much the same as the smaller version. The larger engine block makes for a slightly chunkier feel, however. The jet black and alpine white versions feature miniaturized indicators and blacked-out front and rear lights. 

Completing the look are Pirelli Phantom tyres, a black megaphone exhaust end, wide bars, and a halogen headlight. This is a fun-looking commuter with enough grunt to take on some longer rides too. 

Mirage 125

Herald Mirage 125


  • Weight(Dry): 152kg
  • Seat Height: 800mm
  • Engine Single: Four Stroke
  • Max Power: 9.5bhp
  • Transmission: 5 Speed Manual

The Mirage is unique among Herald’s range. The rest of the bikes have a recognisable retro element. The Mirage is more inspired by contemporary adventure models from companies like KTM and BMW. 

But this is a learner-friendly machine. And like many of the other commuter-style motorcycles in the range, the Mirage comes in well under the 15hp limit for the A1 license class at 9.5hp. Despite this, it is better set up for some light romping than many other models.

Good wheel clearance, an upright, wide-armed seating position, and semi-knobbed tyres will help you on some moderate dirt tracks. It also looks like that front mudguard can be removed, using the protruding part of the cowl to protect you from mud and give more clearance. Upside-down forks, an LED display, and optional luggage set round out an interesting 125 bike. 

Maverick 125

Herald Maverick 125


  • Weight(Dry): 120kg
  • Seat Height: 885mm
  • Engine Single: Four Stroke
  • Max Power: 9.8bhp
  • Transmission: 5 Speed Manual

The Maverick is another striking design from Herald. From the massive clearance in the back to the high routing of the exhaust pipe, this thing screams custom classic. According to the manufacturer’s copy, the Maverick has already made a splash, featuring in Amazon’s Adventure Bike TV. 

And we can see why. At only 120kg, its relatively low power (9.8hp) won’t stop it from feeling fun. The aggressive lines, spoked wheels, knobbly tyres, and number boards are all a throwback to the classic era of DIY scramblers. 

Modern, convenient touches include electronic ignition and LED lights. We can see this one appealing to commuters after something different. But without having to spend hours grinding, welding, and soldering to get that look. 

Scrambler 125 

Herald Scrambler 125


  • Weight(Dry): 126kg
  • Engine Single: Four Stroke
  • Max Power: 10bhp
  • Transmission: 5 Speed Manual

The Scrambler bears many similarities with the Classic and Cafe models. It uses the same lightweight subframe, 12-litre tank, and front fork setup as those bikes. The 4-stroke engine will also feel immediately familiar to anyone who’s ridden those other bikes. 

At 10hp, the power feels respectable. The low overall weight helps with this, and you’ll be able to take off at traffic lights and keep up in urban environments. 

In a nod to real off-roading, the Scrambler features an adjustable front mudguard and a headlight grill. Dual analogue clocks and a custom LED rear light complete the look.

All motorcycles can be seen on Herald