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125cc machines are still the biggest capacity that new drivers on L-plates are legally allowed to ride on roads in the United Kingdom (providing that the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) has been completed), which is the main reason for the enduring popularity of the 125cc class.
However 125cc scooters are often more accessible, enjoyable and just plain useful than is the case with motorbikes that have a similar capacity. As automatics, scooters also tend to be easier and less intimidating to ride, especially for young drivers, than their manual motorbike equivalents. They also make more practical commutes thanks to having a luggage compartment and leg protectors in most instances. But what are the best 125cc scooters on the market today?
The Honda PCX125
The Honda PCX is a hugely successful and popular scooter, and not without good reason. It is in the number one best selling scooter in the whole of the United Kingdom, as well as being the best selling 125 and the second best selling powered 2-wheeler. The PCX offers excellent value, even by Honda’s always superb standards, coming with lots of kit such as LED lights and the pioneering ‘idle stop’ system that assists the liquid-cooled 4-stroke to provide an impressive 133 miles per gallon. The scooter is also comfortable, well balanced, stylish, easy to ride and with lots of storage space, ticking all the boxes for new and old scooter riders alike.
The Vespa Primavera 125
This classic, small-wheeled Italian-style scooter is the modern equivalent of the famous original Vespa popularized by Audrey Hepburn in the film “Roman Holiday” in the 1950s. The modern Vespa is available in different engine sizes, something that has ensured its popularity with stylish city commuters. There are 50 and 125 versions in the United Kingdom, and others overseas, but all Vespa variants are stylish, practical and brisk, and excellent to ride, albeit somewhat on the expensive side.
The Peugeot Speedfight 4 125
The Peugeot Speedfight is perhaps the most famous, popular and successful sports scooter ever produced. When first launched more than two decades ago back in 1996, the original incarnation of the Speedfight was also arguably the first ever true sports scooter because of its mixture of decent handling, and youthful, aggressive style, with its nippy engine. That engine was originally a 2-stroke but is now a 4-stroke, and the modern Speedfight also comes with a very cool spec including inverted forks, racy alloy wheels and projector headlamps. Good value and still practical (even coming complete with a USB socket), the Speedfight is an excellent choice for anyone.
The Honda Forza 125
The Forza is the maxi-style, top-spec 125cc scooter offered by Honda and has a lot to recommend it for those interested in features and luxury, even if it is less popular and more expensive than the PCX. The Forza is one of the fastest scooters in its class, with its 4-stroke, 4-valve, liquid-cooled engine propelling it, and also offers excellent suspension and bigger than average 15/14-inch wheels. With an adjustable screen and lots of storage, as well as great features such as LED lighting and keyless ignition, the Forza is arguably the grandest and poshest scooter of them all.