RETRO 125cc MOTORCYCLES – The best things come in small neo-retro packages. Why do you see so many more, single-cylinder, retro 125cc motorbikes on the streets in Europe? Well simply, there are restrictions on displacement and power output, by rider age. Not to mention the prohibitive cost of a full motorcycle licence.
All of the above combined means that, many motorcyclists in Europe and the UK, initially start by thrashing around on 125cc bikes. While frustrating for some riders, it’s ultimately a good thing. 125cc bikes are light, easier to control, they’re great for ripping around town. More importantly, they really help you to hone your roadcraft before trading up.
RETRO 125cc MOTORBIKE PRACTICALITIES
When you’re new to riding the most important thing is to get as much practice as possible. It’s more advisable to get a 125cc motorcycle that’s going get you from point A to B without drama.
That drama namely being; spending time with a non-runner, on the side of the road. In addition, you undoubtedly don’t want to be hunched over a motorbike, which is in jigsaw pieces on the garage floor, while the sun goes down on yet another day of zero riding.
The more practical option is to opt for a new or nearly-new, learner-friendly 125cc motorcycle, that will almost guarantee to keep you on the road, in preparation for the day that you decide to upgrade your licence.
RETRO 125cc MOTORCYCLES 2020 CHOICES
A few years back, if you wanted to buy small displacement retro / new classic-looking motorcycles, to ease you into riding, your options were limited. At a stretch, the only options were the Honda Rebel 125 and Yamaha YBR Classic or maybe a Suzuki VanVan 125.
The alternative option was to opt for a vintage/classic like the Honda CL125 – purchased off eBay, GumTree or Preloved or other similar sites. And that’s only if you had the motivation, expertise or access to expertise, to build a small displacement custom 125cc yourself.
All of that has changed. There’s an abundance of choice when it comes to learner legal, 125cc retro motorcycles.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of some of the best-looking retro 125cc bikes for beginners, to help your decision-making. That’s if you’re in the market for one, of course.
Best Retro 125cc Motorcycles 2020
- MUTT MOTORCYCLES – HILTS 125CC, MONGREL 125CC
- HERALD MOTOR CO.
- BULLIT MOTORCYCLES – SPIRIT 125 and HUNTS S 125
- BRIXTON MOTORCYCLES – BX125 RETRO 125CC ROADSTER, BX125R CAFÉ RACER and BX125 HAYCROFT CAFÉ RACER
- MASH MOTORCYCLES – BLACK 7 125CC and CAFE RACER 125CC
- FB MONDIAL – HPS125
- HANWAY MOTORCYCLES – MASCULINE 125 CAFÉ RACER, BLACK CAFÉ 125 and SCRAMBLER 125
- SINNIS MOTORCYCLES – 125 CAFÉ RACER, 125 SCRAMBLER and HOODLUM 125
Birmingham UK, based, Mutt Motorcycles was founded by Benny Thomas of Boneshaker Choppers. Initially, it was customising Herald Motor Co. 125cc motorcycles, however, it’s now producing its own line of small-displacement motorbikes based on the same Suzuki GN125 derived engines.
Additionally, Mutt Motorcycles also happens to be the owner of the Imperial Motorcycles marque, for which there’s a new line of more classic looking bikes. The attention to detail and quality of the parts on each Mutt bike is exceptional. This should be the bike of choice if you’re looking for the full vintage custom-look, without lifting a finger.
Mutt Hilts 125cc
Mutt Mongrel 125cc
Despite not being the first such manufacturer of the new wave of learner legal, retro 125cc motorcycles, Herald Motor Co. Cambridgeshire UK along with Mutt Motorcycles can be credited with truly increasing the demand for small displacement retro motorcycles – at least on this side of the North Sea and Channel.
The best selling bike in Herald’s line-up is the Classic 125cc which was launched in June 2012 and has just been recently updated to meet EURO 4 regulations. The Classic 125cc is joined by its sibling; the Café 125cc. Both were released in December 2017.
The older Classic 125cc can very easily be customised to look like a Mutt at low cost. The Maverick 125cc is definitely worth checking out if you prefer your retro 125cc motorcycle in a street scrambler/tracker package. Herald has updated its other bikes to meet EURO4 – and there’s likely to be a few new surprises in 2020.
Of French origin, Bullit Motorcycles offers new riders a 125cc cafe racer experience, within the 125cc retro motorcycle segment. The Spirit 125, is its flagship model, which was launched in 2017. If you’re looking for a more upright riding position, you’ll find that on the Hunts S 125cc naked roadster and Hero 125cc street tracker.
Bullit is a fun brand with seriously, high-quality components. One look at the inverted forks on the Spirit 125cc tells you it means as much business as a 125cc can. Bullit appeals to the learner-legal market but also experienced riders who are seeking a fun, great-looking small retro motorcycle – maybe as a commuter or weekend plaything.
Bullit Motorcycles Spirit 125
Bullit Motorcycles Hunts S 125
Owned by family-run, Austrian company ‘KSR Group’; Brixton Motorcycles was launched at EICMA 2015, meaning it’s a relatively new entrant to the small displacement, retro motorcycle segment. Using a Japanese-developed engine, Brixton Motorcycles’ approach has been to combine classic styling, with modern features including; LED lighting, EFI, digital speedometer and more.
There’s an air of solid quality about Brixton Motorcycle’s BX125 and the limited edition Haycroft café racer offers unique custom styling, that is likely to turn heads.
Brixton Motorcycles BX125 Retro 125cc Roadster & BX125R Café Racer
Brixton Motorcycles BX125 Haycroft Café Racer
Mash Motorcycles is another retro French motorcycle marque that’s been hugely popular in mainland Europe and has now expanded into the UK. The manufacturer takes its inspiration from the late sixties and early seventies era of motorcycle design. The Mash Black 7, is an elegant looking 125 roadster, that looks like a much bigger bike. Equally, the 125 café racer gives off the impression that it’s more assertive than it likely is. You may find yourself being challenged by riders of bigger bikes at the lights were it not for the L plates.
Mash Motorcycles Black 7 125cc
Mash Motorcycles Cafe Racer 125cc
6. FB Mondial
FB Mondial was founded by two brothers in the first half of the 20th century and who manufacturing motorcycles in 1948. The Italian marque dominated racing for over 8 years, between 1949 and 1957. FB Mondial’s new motorcycles can be placed at the premium end of the scale, relative to other 125cc bikes on this list.
The manufacturer’s HPS125 motorcycle uses an engine sourced from the Piaggio Group, which is also used in Derbi models. The bike has a distinctive modern style, fused with retro cues and will certainly get you noticed.
FB MONDIAL HPS125
Hanway Motorcycles, also based in Cambridgeshire, UK, draws inspiration from retro cafe racer design, however, takes a more modern and sophisticated approach to its Black Café 125, Scrambler 125 and Masculine 125. You’ll find a plethora of high specification components Hanway Motorcycles – along with modern features such as; LED lighting, inverted shock forks and more – all combined into a superb retro 125cc finish.
Hanway Motorcycles Masculine 125 Café Racer
Hanway Black Café 125
Hanway Motorcycles Scrambler 125
Based in Brighton, Sinnis Motorcycles can take credit for disrupting the 125cc market by initially offering the RetroStar and TrackStar. The Brighton based marque has since updated its range to include the Sinnis Scrambler 125 in addition to the recently launched Hoodlum 125cc [bobber], along with the Sinnis 125 Café Racer – (Sinnis Bomber as it’s now known).
Sinnis was arguably at the forefront, of utilising small robust Japanese-derived engines built in China and then adding higher quality components, to create unique classic-inspired machines. Additional, they’re one of the few brands to cater to the 125cc cruiser market
Sinnis 125 Café Racer Bomber
Sinnis 125 Scrambler
Sinnis Hoodlum 125 Bobber
Which of these Retro 125cc Bikes Would Be Your Choice?
So there we have it. That’s the list of the best-looking retro 125cc bikes. This sector of the motorcycle market is expanding rapidly – with manufacturers promising new bikes, as their sales grow. So expect to see a revised list at some point in the coming year. If your style is vintage/classic these are the best 125cc bikes you buy in 2020.
In the meantime, which retro 125cc bike would you go for?