Table of contents
- 125cc motorcycles in a comparison test 5 concepts, one test winner
- The supermoto: Aprilia SX 125
- The retro bike: F.B Mondial HPS 125i
- The roadster: Honda CB 125 R
- The athlete: KTM RC 125
- Athlete number 2: Suzuki GSX-R 125
- Conclusion on the 125 series comparison test
On the small eight-liter excursion, we compare the concepts: roadster, athlete, retro bike and supermoto!
15 HP, 125 cubic meters and still huge differences!
“Light and shadow. Extremely handy, uncompromisingly sporty “
Aprilia SX 125.
Zongshen soft motor.
Narrow tank / bench combination, the cockpit stingy.
Buying a motorcycle is always a matter of taste, especially with the A1 machines.
Honda CB 125 R..
Made chic, the CB produced in Thailand, very high-quality appearance.
A great compromise between handy and reliable, addicting neutrality in turning.
Sturdy USD fork with fine responsiveness, stable braking system.
A mixed field.
KTM RC 125.
Modular system: The RC 125 shares many components with the large RC 390.
With exactly 16.4 hp, the RC 125 stretches what is legally permitted to the limit.
Handlebar stubs bring stoker feelings, but can be exhausting in everyday life.
A nice trip in autumn.
F.B Mondial HPS 125i.
The F.B Mondial HPS 125i, once known as the hipster, comes from China and is proud of its proud name.
The stylish lines of the tank and front spoiler, like an Italian made-to-measure suit.
She subordinates good driving behavior to good looks, but the latter succeeds with flying colors.
Because of small class. 125 cubic always rock!
Suzuki GSX-R 125.
Fork, swing arm and frame look slim – but the handling is good!
Easily legible, informative cockpit.
It looks like it has been washed too hot, but is very helpful for little ones.
If you ignore the individual preferences, at the end of this concept comparison there is a lot that remains tangible as a decision aid.
Mini autumn trip: In the northern Vosges it was really cold, but dry.
125cc motorcycles in comparison test
125cc motorcycles in a comparison test
5 concepts, one test winner
Aprilia, Honda, KTM, F.B Mondial and Suzuki vie for the youngsters with completely different 125 cc models: But which concept will win the group test? Roadster, athlete, retro bike or supermoto?
January 18, 2019
Northern Vosges, on a wonderful winter day: it still shines golden here and there while the fog slowly creeps out of the valleys, revealing spectacularly atmospheric scenes under the crystal clear sky. Above all, empty roads with good grip, our playground and test area for comparing the 125cc concepts. The group is in a good mood, Grandseigneur Test, Schorschi, on the supermoto: Aprilia 125 SX. Our highly motivated volunteer Fabian on the retro bike F.B Mondial HPS 125i. Yours truly on the roadster, Honda CB 125 R. Trainee Angelina with the athlete KTM RC 125. And, last but not least, logistics genius Tobi, also for athletes, namely Suzuki GSX-R 125. A colorful mix of fields. How do the individual concepts work in the eight-liter class? Which bike leaves the most coherent impression overall??
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125cc motorcycles in a comparison test
5 concepts, one test winner
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The supermoto: Aprilia SX 125
Appearance Aprilia SX 125: a picture of a supermoto. Wiry, slim, tall. So the SX encourages to emulate the Aprilia motto: Be A Racer! Accordingly, you will look in vain for comfort features, everyday life is better for others. The bench is as hard as a board, the cockpit looks spartan to cheap, the range is, well, modest with a tiny 6.2 liter tank capacity. Sponge over it, the SX wants to be fun. So it’s good that Aprilia has reworked the engine. This, like the whole machine, is built by Zongshen in China, the engine is already known from the RS and Tuono 125. A new mapping and the changed environment (airbox and exhaust) give it a little more pressure compared to the sisters the middle. Suits him well! Also noticeable is the buttery smooth run of this specimen – we remember that from the Tuono much more tingly. Because the SX has a short gear ratio and is not too heavy at 137 kilograms, the performance is completely okay despite the ultimately only mediocre engine.
The Aprilia SX 125 weighs 137 kilograms.
The handling? The Aprilia leaves the wide handlebar SX 125 Bending in an extremely easy and playful way is the easiest way to achieve crisp changes in lean angle of all machines in the field. Slide all the way forward on the bench in tight turns, stay up, push the machine, swing around the corner – a wild supermoto driving experience! It is a shame, however, that Aprilia did not buy tires that were appropriate for such a driving machine. The CST rolls in a woody manner and does not stick in a defined manner. Also a shame: ABS only works at the front, the brakes at the rear can be slipped happily. Funny only until someone cries. In addition, the chassis responds rather badly. Nothing against sporty toughness, but this fork overshoots the mark.
The retro bike: F.B Mondial HPS 125i
Steinhart, the perfect keyword for the representative of the retro category: F.B Mondial HPS 125i, once presented as a “hipster”. With her, it’s the rear stereo struts that turn the ride on bumpy asphalt into a rodeo ride. A reference to the motto of the HPS 125: “If you want to be beautiful, you have to suffer!” It subordinates good driving behavior to good looks, but the latter succeeds with flying colors. The stylish lines of the tank and front spoiler, like an Italian made-to-measure suit. A chic seat, wire-spoke wheels and the high-installed twin-pipe exhaust, then chic logos and emblems everywhere … Badge engineering in its most beautiful form, because the Mondial is also built entirely at Zongshen.
The F.B Mondial HPS 125i has to do without ABS.
That the seating position is a bit of a disaster, with the kinky legs and the exhaust that is always in the way on the right? That the ABS brake system is missing, instead the inferior CBS composite brake system is installed, where the hand and foot brake levers act on both front and rear brake calipers? That the engine, by the way the same as in the Aprilia, vibrates strongly here and comes across as rather tired? Inharmonious chassis, sluggish turning, weak initial tires? In the scoring fatal where the Aprilia SX 125 mercilessly hangs the red lantern around the pretty F.B Mondial HPS 125i. But forget everything when making a stylish appearance in the city. See and be seen! Murder draft even with every refueling stop. Thanks to the very decent workmanship, you can even look at them in the garage. Or right in the living room.
The roadster: Honda CB 125 R
A finding that can also be found for the Honda CB 125 R in a somewhat milder form. Made chic, the CB produced in Thailand, very high-quality appearance. The welds, paint and surfaces, the finish, everything looks very grown-up. Instead, a fiver in the phrase pig, and the handling of the Honda: Almost as jagged as the Aprilia turns in the clearly lightest machine in the field at 127 kilos, but much more stable. Is easier to drive with it.
At 127 kilograms, the Honda CB 125 R is the lightest machine in the test field.
A great compromise between handy and reliable, addicting neutrality in turning. In addition, because the fork responds wonderfully fine and dampens well, because the rear shock absorber parries cleanly, because the ABS is among the best in its class and because the brake grabs a lot after a blunt response, the extremely well-balanced Honda CB 125 R can claim the title “best 125 in this comparison ”. In addition: The ergonomics are compact, but assembled, a bit aggressive and at the same time extremely comfortable. Because it is light, the Honda keeps up well despite the nominally weakest engine with 13 hp. The only two-valve engine is running out of breath in the direction of 10,000 / min, where the others really bloom. But thanks to the strong middle you never feel inferior, the engine’s smoothness and throttle response are excellent. Even the sound is mature, full and plump.
The athlete: KTM RC 125
Missing top performance, no problem with the KTM RC 125. With exactly 16.4 hp, the RC 125 the legally permitted to the limit. As the performance diagram shows, however, it only trumps the competition by a hefty peak at around 9,500 revolutions. That helps her with acceleration, but less with pulling through. The KTM needs the extra power, because at 157 kilos, the RC is a bit stout. Keyword construction kit, because the weight comes from the many identical parts with the large RC 390: magnificent tubular space frame, fine cast rocker arm, wide rims, rear like the Honda with 150 mm tires. Powerful appearance of a large motorcycle that the crew also has to deal with. The seat height is the same for both, but since the KTM is wider, so the step arc is larger, it does not make it easy for smaller riders.
The KTM RC 125 is manufactured in India.
Handlebar stubs bring stoker feelings, but can be exhausting in everyday life. The pillion seat bench, which looks like a black cover, is still ingenious – but offers little support. The driving behavior of the RC is not uncompromisingly sporty, as the look suggests. Rather smooth. The fork and shock absorber are softly tuned, probably a concession to markets with poor road conditions. Like India, where all KTMs up to 390 cubic meters roll off the assembly line, so does the RC. Not necessarily nimble, but stocky and full – most like a big motorcycle. The first tires – Michelin Pilot Street – are okay, the brakes are a force, the ABS controls very finely. The switching paths are a bit long, but they are KTM RC 125 carries one of the best gearboxes in the field. The clutch of the test bike was a bit soft.
Athlete number 2: Suzuki GSX-R 125
What we do with the Suzuki GSX-R 125 would have arrived, the second athlete in the field. Which, in contrast to the KTM, looks dainty and compact – even when you look behind the scenes, i.e. the fairing, where thin frame tubes, a cheap-looking swingarm and fork emerge. That doesn’t seem entirely appropriate given the Suzuki’s ultimately not so cheap price. It looks like it has been washed too hot, but it suits the little ones very well. She leaves the big appearance, apart from the dashing MotoGP paintwork, so the others.
The engine of the Suzuki GSX-R 125 was able to convince in the test.
But she is stacking deep with this reluctance, because the Suzuki GSX-R 125 not only has by far the best engine in the field, but drives almost as well as the Honda. The drive is designed with a significantly shorter stroke than the competition, so the blue racing roll continues to turn lively where the others have long since given up. Up to 12,000 revolutions per minute! If you quickly reload the next gear in the great transmission, you will find the perfect connection and immediately have power again. And the chassis is more stable than it looks, bounces and cushions, especially at the rear, very appealing. Then snappy brakes, top ABS and good Dunlops, and that’s a second place behind Honda, ahead of KTM.
Conclusion on the 125 series comparison test
Buying a motorcycle is always a matter of taste, especially with the A1 machines. And the tastes are known to be different. If you ignore the individual preferences, however, at the end of this concept comparison there is a lot of tangible information as a decision-making aid. The Aprilia presented itself as pretty uncompromising. Anyone who can live with the lack of comfort and equipment and with the ridiculous range will find a very cheeky lighter in it. Crazy, playful, wants to be driven with concentration. A real Supermoto, that also ignites as a 125cc.
The complete opposite of the Mondial: wonderfully pretty, only playful in appearance, does not make a great effort when it comes to driving behavior. A real dazzler, and that is not even meant disrespectfully. The retro device is good for the city and for feeling. There you can get over the numerous weaknesses. “Like a big one”, probably the most frequently mentioned verdict on the KTM. Like no other 125cc, the RC knows how to present itself as a full-fledged motorcycle, with all the advantages and disadvantages. Which unfortunately has its price, and with ancillary costs it cracks the 5,000 euros! In general, these 125 cc, maybe apart from the Mondial, are no snapper, but the KTM is worth the equivalent. Even athletes, the little Suzuki demands fewer concessions in everyday life than the KTM, is therefore the more versatile motorcycle. And the faster anyway: No 125cc runs as well as the GSX-R. A good choice for sports fans, but it is not really cheap either. Finally the roadster, the Honda CB 125 R: Thanks to good ergonomics, it has concept-related strengths in everyday life, works anytime and anywhere. Because it is well done down to the last detail, it can also be fun. Is chic, affordable, realistically priced in, uses relatively little. Which ultimately brings you the huge test victory.
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