125cc motorbikes are popular with young and experienced riders alike. Offering high speeds and agility, 125cc bikes can be ideal for both city life and taking off-road. For anyone looking to get a foothold in the wonderful world of motorcycles, a cheaper Chinese bike, with equally cheap parts, will look extremely tempting. We’ve already listed the best 125cc bikes, but as the Chinese motorcycle market continues to grow, we’ve decided to take a look at the best bikes on offer from the region.
When they first began appearing, Chinese motorcycle brands developed a bad reputation – which was not entirely undeserved. Cheap materials and components resulted in many machines that looked decent but didn’t last.
However, Chinese manufacturers have made rapid progress in improving quality. There are now plenty of brands creating reasonably priced machines that benefit from competitive insurance costs thanks to specialist insurance for Chinese motorcycles.
It can be difficult to find accurate information about these Chinese bikes, with online forums often immediately ruling them out as bad products. Dig a bit further and you may find outdated information or unreliable, second-hand knowledge. We recommend having a look at 125cc owners’ groups on Facebook for the most reliable information.
One of the largest Chinese brands, Lexmoto, offers a range of motorcycles and scooters. The brand creates both homages to classic styles and more modern variants. The brand has a growing network of dealers and a solid supply chain for spare parts, helping you maintain your vehicle for longer.
Lexmoto produces a good range of bikes available for around or below £2,000. Models such as the ZSB, Assault and Isca are priced at £1,949.99, £2,099.99 and £2,149.99 respectively. Each vehicle is fitted with a reliable four-stroke engine, and all three meet the Euro-5 emissions regulation.
The ZSB is described as “a contemporary take on the traditional bike design”. Offering 13-litre fuel capacity and five gears, the vehicle has speeds of up to 90kmph. The Assault reaches similar top speeds and also boasts 9.5Nm of torque. This vehicle is designed for riding on rough terrain but is also perfect for those pesky urban potholes. Robust and sturdy, the bike offers comfort for those bumpier rides. The Isca offers a larger fuel tank at 16 litres and uses a centralised counterbalance shaft to reduce engine vibrations, guaranteeing you a smooth ride.
If you’re ready to make a bigger investment, the LS-N could be the one for you. Costing £3,799.99, the bike competes with larger brands’ models. It offers a 15.5 litre fuel tank, 10.6Nm of torque and a classic steel trellis frame. This vehicle is one for the naked bike lovers.
First arriving in the UK in 2010, Zontes’ products quickly garnered a passionate fan base. The brand offers a range of 125cc motorbikes, with the cheapest coming in at £2,099. The ZT125-U is praised for its quality and value, as well as its engine and reliability. Designed for new and experienced riders alike, the U claims to be the ‘ultimate naked street bike’.
The ZT125-G1 and ZT125-U1 are both valued at £3,199. While the G1 is described as a ‘street scrambler’, the U1 is made for the great outdoors. The G1 offers modern tech to help you move around the city, installed on a frame designed for classic motorcycle fans. The bike offers 13Nm of torque, a 10AH battery for tech use and eco and sport modes to customise the ride for your needs. As for the U1, this bike was built for adventure! The motorcycle features user-friendly controls to keep you safe and in charge while racing around and the smaller fuel tank of 12.5 litres (compared to the G1’s 20 litres) makes it nimble enough for hard terrain. All three Zontes motorbikes meet Euro-5 standards.
Sinnis uses technology licensed from Yamaha and Suzuki. The bikes can be pricier than those offered by other Chinese brands, but they’re still great value – especially when you compare the recreations of classic bikes to the cost of buying and maintaining an original.
Sinnis has a huge range of 125cc motorbikes and scooters, from sportier models to retro styles. The GPX is a Supermoto for newbies. With max torque of 10.67Nm and a liquid cooled engine that can handle full throttle (as well as city speeds), prices start at £3,399. For those with a smaller budget, the Akuma offers 8.5Nm of torque and has a price tag of £2,499. Coming in two colourways, the Akuma is manufactured to be agile, stylish and easy to handle.
If you enjoy a retro style, Sinnis has both the Outlaw and the Hoodlum. Priced at £2,799 and £2,499 respectively, both offer a classic frame with modern features. Both models offer 9Nm of torque and feature five-speed gearboxes and four stroke-engines with 13 litre capacities. However, the Outlaw was made to weave through streets while the Hoodlum offers more controllable power.
Keeway is part of the QianJiang group, one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in China. QianJiang is also the owner of the oldest Italian manufacturer, Benelli. Keeway’s current roster includes the K-Light and the RKF125, coming in at £2,749 and £3,349 respectively. The K-Light offers 8.9Nm of torque, while the RKF reaches an impressive 10Nm. Although the RFK has previously been criticised as a heavy bike, weighing 190kg, updates to the vehicle have made it lighter and more agile. The bike now weighs 137kg compared to the K-Light’s 144kg. Both vehicles are Euro-5 compliant.
Keeway also offers a couple of Cruiser options: the Superlight LTD and the Superlight SE. If you’ve been looking for a Keeway Superlight 125 review, wanting to know the differences between the two, then look no further. Both bikes offer 8.9NM of torque, have five-speed gearboxes and are Euro-5 compliant. The LTD and SE both have 15-litre engines, weigh the same and are designed for open-road rides. However, the SE is priced higher at £2,749, compared to £2,649 for the LTD, coming in a sleek gloss black compared to the LTD’s matt black, grey and red options.
Although one of the largest motorcycle manufacturers in China, Lifan is one of the lesser known Chinese brands here in the UK.
The brand has a wide range of bikes, including plenty of 125cc models. Covering street bikes, cruisers, dirt bikes, cubs and scooters, Lifan’s range really does vary. While the Camel and the C-MAN3 offer the highest torque with 9.2Nm, the LF125-12G street bike offers the highest top speed of 100kmph.
The Camel is a street bike with a max speed of 93kmph, five-speed gearbox and two seats, making it perfect for couples or friends who want to ride together, while the C-MAN3 is a cruiser that offers high speeds of 95kmph.
Bullit motorcycles have now been rebranded as Bluroc. Designed in Belgium and manufactured in China, these bikes look the part. Inspired by vintage motorcycles, the vehicles wouldn’t look out of place in a vintage rally.
The Hero 125 is a versatile bike that offers dominance on the road. The bike is light, weighing only 121kg, and can reach 9Nm of torque. These elements combined means the Bullit Hero 125 top speed is 97kmph. We think it’s one of the best Chinese motorcycles for Bluroc’s affordable prices.
You can find more of our top picks in our guide to the best Bullit motorcycles.
Sanyang Motor Co, otherwise known as SYM, is a Taiwanese motorcycle company with major production facilities in mainland China. The company sells a wide range of scooters, motorcycles and ATVs, but the UK branch of the company tends to focus on scooters.
SYM scooters are popular in the UK as well as in their country of origin and seem to offer a style and finish that is ahead of its competitors. The company originally started through a collaboration with Honda Japan, which wanted to expand overseas, meaning that SYM is often seen as a more credible brand than a lot of other Chinese motorcycle brands.
The SYM Fiddle 125cc CBS E5 has a classic Italian style. Granted, at 9.5hp, the bike isn’t the most powerful option, but it’ll get you from A to B in style and at a low cost.
Kymco is another motorcycle company founded in Taiwan. Like SYM, Honda was involved with Kymco when it was first founded as it originally started off as an overseas Honda manufacturing plant.
The company invested heavily in Kymco throughout the 1960s and 1970s and in 1992, it began to produce its own motorcycles. In 2003, the company bought out Honda’s share and have continued to work on their own range, which includes 50cc mopeds, 125cc scooters, and maxi bikes. Kymco is viewed as a very reliable brand across the world.
The Kymco Agility City+ 125 is a new addition to the brand’s catalogue that is both practical and agile. The bike has a maximum power of 8.8hp at 8,500rpm and a maximum torque of 9Nm at 6,750rpm for a top speed of 52mph.
Need motorbike insurance?
No matter which bike you choose, you will need insurance before you can ride it anywhere. Bikesure offers specialist insurance for Chinese scooters and motorbikes.