Once you’re over 17 and have passed your CBT, the range of bikes you can ride opens up from just 50cc models to 125cc – until you pass your full motorcycle test, anyway. You’ll still need your L-plates, but a 125cc bike can offer so much more power, speed and freedom than a 50cc model. Your first 125cc bike could last you for a few years, so it’s important to choose carefully.
One of the big advantages of a 125cc bike is that they can hold their own on the roads really well – much better than a 50cc bike – but their running costs are relatively low compared to even a 250cc bike, let alone something 400ccs plus. Take a look at the gov.uk website, for example – the tax band for a bike under 150cc is just £17 per year – not bad at all!
As one of the smaller engine sizes available, 125cc motorbike insurance is likely to be far more affordable than it would be for a larger bike. Make sure you pick an insurer who really knows the difference between different kinds of bikes, so you’re getting cover that’s appropriate for what you ride. It’s nowhere near as big, powerful, or expensive as a high-end cruiser or sports bike, so why should it cost the same to insure?
There are three types of insurance you can go for:
- Third-party insurance covers the costs of damage to the other person’s bike if you’re involved in an accident, but not yours.
- Third-party fire and theft covers the costs of damage to the other person’s bike in an accident, as well as yours in the event of damage by fire or loss by theft.
- Comprehensive policies covers all of the above, and damage to your own bike in the event of an accident.
When buying a 125cc bike, it’s important to find that line between affordability and durability – you’ll want it to last for a few years, but not make too much of a dent in to your savings so you can save up for something bigger once you’ve passed your test.
You won’t be short of options, with many manufacturers producing toned-down versions of some of the world’s most famous and desirable bikes. Making the jump from 50cc to 125cc will see you with much more power than you’re used to, so make sure it’s a bike you can handle. 125cc bikes come in a much wider range of shapes and sizes too, so make sure you find something that you can ride comfortably.
Bikes like the Honda CBF125 or the Yamaha YBR125 are very safe bets – affordable and functional, more than enough for driving in urban areas, and they’ll handle dual carriageways and country roads very nicely too. But there’s no need to limit yourself – the right bike for you might not be right for everyone else. The most important thing you can do is research a bike carefully before you make the final decision.