Great value 125 motorbikes with cheap insurance

Buying a great-value 125cc motorbike is no easy task, despite their learner-friendly output and apparent simplicity.

They have to be friendly enough for novices, but with enough fun factor to get you hooked on bikes for life. They need to be built to an attractive price, with all the mod-cons you’d expect. The choice is massive, with most tastes and needs catered for, from commuter to enduro bike.

We’ve picked three great options – one new, and two used machines – to suit different pockets.

Yamaha XSR125 Legacy – new £5202

Yamaha gives its fantastic 125 platform the neo-retro treatment…

Yamaha’s dedication to building high-quality 125s is unmatched. The Deltabox beam frame, liquid-cooled engine with variable valve actuation and full-sized running gear stands out
among spindlier, more basic rivals. It’s a ‘proper’ motorcycle that happens to have a 125cc engine, with big bike dimensions that lend it a secure, solid feel as well as accommodating fully-grown adults in better comfort than many L-plate machines (which are often scaled-down in size as well as cubic capacity). Neat styling and detail inspired by Yamaha’s heritage is the icing on the motorcycling cake here.


  • The Legacy edition offers different wheels and cosmetic details compared to the standard XSR, but no other real advantage for the £400 higher RRP. 
  •  For the very timid, or the very short of leg, the 810mm and 140kg claimed weight is 25mm higher/10kg more than a Mondial HPS125, for example. There’s a little more to manage. 
  • There’s only one colour option – black with gold detailing. A good thing it looks great, then!

Read our full Yamaha XSR125 Legacy review here.

Insure from – £322.31*

Yamaha YZF-R125 – used: £1800-3500

The definitive 125 sportsbike of choice for over a decade…

The YZF-R125 is a perennial success for Yamaha, with good reason. It packs the style of the R-family of sportsbikes, as much fun as 15bhp will ever be, full-size ergonomics, usability and reliability.


  • Full plastics means more to damage. They’ll take a knock well, but a full set of replacements will run to over £1000. 
  • The sump only holds 1.2 litres, and intervals are just 1800 miles. Sticking to the schedule is essential to longevity, as the high-revving motor ages the oil quickly.
  • Teen abuse is rife. They’ll deal with a lot, but there’s so much choice you can afford to wait for a bike that has seen at least some maintenance in its life.

Read our full Yamaha YZF-R125 review here.

Insure from – £274.51*

Honda CB125R – Used: £3000-4000

Easy manners, reliability and a touch of neo-retro style, too…

Honda canned the once-popular CBR125R sportsbike in favour of the naked CB, with its more appealing urban/faintly retro styling. Like the XSR, it’s a full-size bike so has a solid feel and road presence. It’s less powerful than rivals with its aging CBR-derived engine, though it’ll still top 70mph.


  • Some owners report issues with false neutrals and shifting. Ensure the clutch freeplay and gear lever height are set correctly. 
  • The black-painted silencer takes a pelting from water and debris from both wheels. It’ll come to look shabby as the miles rack up.
  • The motor is strong with no inherent issues: poor starting or unusual noises clearly betray abuse and neglect.

Read our full Honda CB125R review here.

Insure from – £236.73*

Read our next article MCN’s guide to 125cc motorbike insurance >

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*Insurance policy quote taken from average credentials of MCN Compare customer.