Author: Bryn Davies

11 of the best 125cc adventure bikes money can buy


Who says you need a big bike to have an adventure? Here at ABR we like to celebrate the fact that you can get out there on two-wheels and have an epic trip no matter how big the engine is. It may take a little longer to get to your destination on a 125 but hey, it’s all about the journey, right?

Well, that’s exactly where this feature comes in. For those of you who are new to riding and only hold an A1 license, or even for those who just want to try out something smaller, here is a selection of the best 125cc bikes (new and used) that are ready and willing to take you on an adventure.

Enter your email address below to sign up to the ABR newsletter and receive the 96-page Guide to Motorcycling in Britain absolutely free.
Your Free Guide to Motorcycling in the UK
Enter your email address below to sign up to the ABR newsletter and receive the 96-page Guide to Motorcycling in Britain absolutely free.

Just don’t forget to purchase 125cc motorbike insurance before setting off…

Sinnis 125 Terrain

Sinnis 125 Terrain

Looking at the Sinnis 125 Terrain, you’d be forgiven for thinking it had a larger capacity than the 125cc that’s on offer, with it measuring up fairly close to the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 that we’ve got on loan at the moment in terms of size. It has all the typical adventure-style add-ons as well, including crash bars, a taller screen, full luggage set, a bash plate, and it’s even got an adventure beak on it. It did more than enough to impress ABR Editor Bryn back in 2017, and you can read his full review on the mini adventure bike here.

Price: £3,599
Performance: 12.7bhp
Fuel capacity: 14 litres
Weight: 162kg
Seat height: 780mm

Honda XL125 Varadero

Honda XL125 Varadero

The Honda XL125 Varadero is arguably one of the most sought after 125 motorcycles, largely down to its big bike looks and feel, but also down to the excellent build quality. Unfortunately Honda has discontinued the bike but there are plenty of second hand models available. 2007 models will offer fuel injection and more modern looking fairing.

Price: £1,500 (older models) – £3,500 (newer)
Performance: 11kW (15bhp)
Fuel capacity: 17.5 litres
Weight: 154kg
Seat height: 800mm

Suzuki RV 125 Van Van 125

Suzuki Van Van

The Suzuki Van Van is probably most notable for its chunky back tyre and as a dual-purpose 125 it’s a great little machine for road riding, mixed in with some gentle green laning. It’s not a particularly big bike and it you’re a large person then you may find it’s a bit too small (at 6’2 and 16 stone I certainly did). Though, if you don’t have that problem it’s a great bike and you can pick them up for about £1600 used.

Price: Discontinued (available from £1,995 second hand)
Performance: 11.5bhp
Fuel capacity: 6.5 litres
Weight: 128kg
Seat height: 770mm

Derbi Terra Adventure 125

Derbi Terra Adventure 125

As happy cruising at 60-65mph in sixth as it is tackling the mud, the Derbi lives up to the dual-sport name, albeit with only 125cc. Seat comfort and a supple ride make the slower days no hardship unlike most of the 125s on the market. If you’re happy seeing the world at 60, the Terra Adventure is up to the job.

Price: from £2,300 used
Performance: 15bhp
Fuel capacity: 11 litres
Weight: 117kg
Seat height: 850mm

Yamaha WR125R

Yamaha WR125R

With a seat height of 930mm the Yamaha WR125R is the perfect choice for larger A1 adventurers. The high price may be off putting to some, but it’s worth it when build and engine quality are taken into consideration. It’s competent at both on and off-road riding and as far as 125s go, it offers an impressive top speed of 75mph.

Price: £4,099 (from £2,000 used)
Performance: 14.8bhp
Fuel capacity: 8.5l
Weight: 126kg
Seat: 930mm

Fantic Caballero Rally 125

Fantic’s Caballero range of scramblers have always been more about pulling off a stylish urban look rather than actually venturing off road, but in the Rally model, the Italian/Chinese bike has become more green lane friendly than ever. The 19″ front and 17″ rear wheels sport Pirelli Scorpion Rally knobbly tyres, there is 200mm of suspension travel front and rear, as well as a decent amount of ground clearance and bash plate, all making the little Fantic a genuine greenlaning option.

But if you’re idea of adventure is cruising along the Amalfi coast on a spring afernoon, a bike as good-looking as the Cabellero Rally 125 will be able to pull that off too.

Price: £5,949
Performance: 15bhp
Fuel capacity: 12l
Weight: 130kg
Seat: 860mm

Kawasaki KLX 125

Kawasaki KLX 125

If you’re concerned about the already limited speeds of your 125 then the KLX125 isn’t for you. A meagre 10.6bhp offers little in the way of power and a top speed of 62mph might end up frustrating many riders, especially on a longer distance ride. As a commuter and casual weekend green laner though, the KLX125 is great.

Price: from £1,700 used)
Performance: 7.9kW (10.6bhp)
Fuel capacity: 7 litres
Weight: 113kg
Seat height: 830mm

Rieju Aventura 125

Like the Honda Varadero in this list, the Aventura is a 125cc machine that looks and feels more like a more substantial machine. And, while we’re not completely sold on the double stacked headlight, this remains a good-looking machine.

Being an adventure bike, it’s also better prepared for covering distances in greater comfort than some of the opposition with its upright seating position and weather protection. You also get a good-sized TFT display, handguards, spoked wheels, and some off-road friendly rubber for greenlaning.

Price: £4,199
Performance: 15bhp
Fuel capacity: 14 litres
Weight: 138kg
Seat height: 780mm

Aprilia RX 125

If you enjoy adventuring on the dirt, then Aprilia’s little dirt bike is certainly worth checking out. With an off-road friendly 21″ front wheel, 240mm of suspenion at the front and 210mm at the rear, along with knobbly tyres, and plenty of ground clearance, the RX 125 is crying out to be taking on the Trans Euro Trail.

The 7l fuel tank might seem a little light for long-distance adventures, but this 125 is as frugal as it is nimble, and with a claimed 108mpg fuel consumption, you won’t be needing to fill up all that often. The bike’s upright stance and light weight make it more than approachable for beginners, but that towering 880mm seat height may prove daunting for all but the tallest or riders.

Price: £3,650 (from £1,850 used)
Performance: 15bhp
Fuel capacity: 7l
Weight: 134kg
Seat height: 880mm

Honda XR125L

Honda XR125L

The Honda XR125L is a brilliant bike for taking on your A1 adventures if you fancy combining road riding and green laning. The looks combined with the size of the bike make it seem like a larger machine and it has the usual quality associated with Honda motorcycles. Older versions of the Honda XR125L are available, but the newer ones have the useful inclusion of an electric start.

Price: From £1,000 used
Performance: 8.2kW (11bhp)
Fuel capacity: 12 litres
Weight: 119kg
Seat height: 820mm

KTM 125 Duke

OK, so the KTM 125 Duke (there’s also 390cc, 790cc, 990cc and 1390cc versions) isn’t an ‘adventure bike’, but it’s a good option for those looking to ride a well-built, great looking 125 that’s also nippy. Off-roading is pretty much out of the question unless some modifications are made, but it will make carving through the twisties on any road tours you may want to go on a hell of a lot of fun.

Price: £4,899
Performance: 15bhp
Fuel capacity: 13.4 litres
Weight: 154kg
Seat height: 800mm

This article was originally published on 29 October 2015, and has been updated on 9 June 2020, and on 6 March to include some models that have since been released.