If you’re of a certain age and took your test after 1982, then the chances are you had to have a 125cc machine as your first learner steed… With the reduction from 250 to 125cc machines, did this mean a reduction of the ‘fun factor?’ Not a bit of it!
They may be hard to find, and only do around 70mph in restricted form, but basket cases of the bikes below can still be found for around a grand, with minters going for some pretty daft figured. Here’s CB-Net’s pick of the two-stroke race-replica 125s, from the 1980s and 1990s…
Bike: Suzuki RG125UN Wolf
Price then: £2889 (1992)
Comments: This was basically a 1990s’ RG125, but it came in un-faired, with right-way-up (not inverted) forks and a more straightforward box-section swingarm. A much more easy-going proposition than the RG, many owners loved the Wolf all the more…
Bike: Yamaha TZR125
Price then: £2079 (1992)
Comments: The original machine from 1987 shared the looks and the Deltabox frame of the original TZR250 2MA so for many youngsters in the 1980s and 1990s this was one of the coolest choices around! The great thing about this model was it came in a choice of faired (2MA look-a-like) or naked versions. Can be found cheap (but knackered) or nice ones around £1500.
Bike: Yamaha TZR125R
Price then: £3939 (1993)
Comments: Replacement for the previous generation TZR125, this was a fully-faired race-replica, with upside-down front forks and two-piece seats, giving the bikes the look of the later V-twin TZR250s and two-stroke GP racers. A number of trick ‘European’ versions using uprated suspension were also assembled by Belgarda in Italy. Prices can go as high as £4000+ for these models!
Bike: Cagiva Mito
Years: 1989 (First Gen)
Price then: £3369 (1992) £3684 (2011)
Comments: The Mito or ‘Myth’ was Valentino Rossi’s first bike and was originally modelled and marketed as a look-a-like to Eddie Lawson’s 500cc Cagiva GP bike. From 1994 on, the Mito Evo 1 had looks that aped the Ducati 916 and it was also the fastest model ever, thanks in part to a seven-speed gearbox. The bike could top more than 100mph in de-restricted form and was still being sold relatively recently in the UK as well as providing the basis for both the Cagiva Planet and Raptor 125s. Ratty ones start at £500 up to a few grand for sorted ones.
Bike: Honda NSR125
Price then: £3239 (1992)
Comments: Honda’s reliable ‘safe pair of hands’ take on a race-replica screaming two-stroke 125. As a result it suffered not only in comparison to the Italian exotica 125s, but even the likes of Yamaha’s TZR series. Only Kawasaki’s AR was (arguably) duller… Built in Italy, too! Basket cases come in at a few hundred quid, with restored (yes, restored) versions at more than £3000!
DESIGNER NOTES BIG SPLASH ON THIS ONE SAYING CB-NET CHOICE!
Bike: Yamaha RD125LC
Price then: £840 (1982)
Comments: This is our choice of machine at CB-Net: it’s a perfect mix of street-cred, pose and power! Coming from a time when the Powervalve was the bike we all dreamed of having, this was the learner-legal two-stroke of choice! Had the competition whipped. As a result, mint examples are very pricey today: half-decent ones start at a couple of grand, with really nice ones starting at around £3500… That’s a lot of wonga for just 80mph with a tailwind…
Bike: Suzuki RG125 GAMMA//125FUN
Years: 1985-1991 (Gamma) 1992-1996
Price then: £2889 (1992)
Comments: Another one of our favourites, the original 250 Gamma ‘Light Sprinter’ came in half and full-faired versions. Looks/colours aped both the 250 Gamma and RG500: replaced in 1991 by a steel-framed RGV250 look-a-like, which promised much, but failed to deliver.
Bike: Kawasaki AR125
Price then: £1749 (1990)
Comments: Always in the shade of the LC and then subsequent models, the AR has fared rather better than it did at the time, thanks to the benefit of rose-tinted hindsight! Always fast in de-restricted form (around 22bhp and more than 100mph.) Well-looked after ones can now fetch up to £3000!
Bike: Aprilia RS125/R
Price then: £4289 (Jan 1997)
Comments: The evergreen 125 – still being sold today: the RS125 has been released in a host of replicas to reflect the superstars of the day and was always one of the most expensive of the lot. So very cool though… current price is £4699, but our tip is get the lovely single-swinger AF-1/Sport Pro for around half that for some retro two-stroke cool!
Bike: Yamaha TDR125
Price then: £3649 (Sep 1995)
Comments: Yeah, race-replica 125s were all well and good – but what if you were larger than average? In the 250 class the TDR250 was a perfect ‘crossover’ bike, with the powerband AND a bit of comfort – this was the 125 version. The styling aped the bug-eyed TDM850 of 1991 and the Deltabox chassis hid the feisty TZR motor. Prices are between £1000-£2800.
Bike: Gilera GFR125
Price then: £2999 (1994)
Comments: Rarer than an extremely rare thing, this is a thing of beauty and copied the early RS125’s single-sided swinger, and featured twin easy-fill caps for both fuel and two-stroke oil. Just think what a 250cc V-twin version could have gone like? So rare we couldn’t find one for sale – don’t expect even rough ones to start any lower than £1500…
Want a 125? Who doesn’t – if you’re of that age! We think www.unit5motos.co.uk are currently the best people to source sport and trail 125s in the UK. Check them out!