What Does 125cc Mean: A Guide to 125cc Bikes & Scooters

Have you ever looked at a 125cc bike and wondered what does 125cc mean? This guide is here to help you understand 125cc scooters and bikes, who they’re made for, and whether or not they’d make a good fit in your commuting life. Read more below to explore the world of 125cc bikes and if they’re something that needs to be added to your wishlist.

What Does 125cc Mean?

a white ktm 125cc motorcycle

Every engine has a piston cylinder arrangement and the volume of the cylinder is measured in cubic centimeters, or cc. Therefore, the number 125 relates to how powerful the bike is. The lower the cc, the lower the power the bike creates.

How Fast is a 125cc Bike and is a 125cc Bike Too Slow?

The maximum speed you can expect to reach on an engine size of 125cc is 70mph. You should be able to cruise along comfortably at around 50-60mph.

Depending on what you require from a motorbike or scooter will depend if a 125cc bike is too slow. If you’re commuting, and living in an urban area, a 125cc bike would work wonders. If you’re looking at exploring the open road, this probably isn’t the right bike for you.

What is the 125cc Scooter Life Expectancy?

While there is no definite answer, a regular 125cc engine can last around 10,000 miles which is potentially around 10 years, if you’re doing 1,000 miles a year. As most scooters are used for commuting and city navigation, 1,000 miles a year is a likely number.

Scooters with over 20,000 to 30,000 miles are considered high mileage. The engine capacities on these smaller bikes are not as expansive as larger bikes, therefore this type of mileage is rarely seen. Bikes with this amount of mileage may have some issues, or have been adjusted by mechanics to provide some additional life. However, in general, 125cc motorcycles are likely to last (in good condition) for around 10,000 miles.

Can I Ride a 125cc Bike on my Car License?

Depending on where you are in the world will depend if you need to take additional testing before you can ride a scooter or motorbike. In most cases, you will need to apply for additional paperwork and testing before you can ride a scooter.

If you have a full car driving license, you can ride a motorcycle up to 125cc but you will need to complete a CBT first. A CBT is a day-long course that begins with basic motorbike training and finishes with you riding the bike itself out on the road with a supervisor.

Can a 125cc Go on the Motorway?

You cannot ride a 50cc scooter on the motorway. However, if you ride a 125cc scooter, then you are free to ride the motorway as regularly as you like.

When it comes to taking the motorway with your scooter, it’s advised that only experienced riders take to the highway. If you’ve been riding a while and you’re familiar with your bike, then you should be ok but first-time riders or new riders should build up their confidence on the main road first before getting on the motorway.

What is the Difference Between 150cc and 125cc?

The main difference between a 150cc and 125cc bike is the engine displacement. As the bigger engine, the 150cc bike is going to be able to pick up speed and travel faster than the 125cc bike simply because of the difference in the size of motorcycle engines.

A 150cc bike is going to be more aerodynamic so it’s likely to be able to cruise at speeds of 90 miles per hour, compared with a 125cc bike which sits comfortably at 70 miles per hour. Due to the more powerful engine, a 150cc bike will be able to reach higher speeds faster. Since bikes need time to shift gears, most of the higher cc bikes will have the capabilities to speed up quicker.

If the road capabilities are ideal, a 150cc bike is able to travel significantly faster than a 125cc bike. However this depends on whether you’re out country riding, using public roads, or if the weather is dry. As these types of bikes are usually used in city-like locations, the speed of the bike should be less of a factor when looking at 125cc street bikes and scooters.

Why Should I Choose a 125cc Bike?

125cc scooters are really popular amongst city-dwellers and those living in urban environments for many reasons but mainly due to how easy they can make commuting, as well as their price and economic advantages.

Easy to ride

Scooters are really easy to ride. They provide a quick solution to endless hours of commuting, as you can zip in and out of built up traffic. You also have significant control over your bike with a clutch and gearbox, which means you’re able to get out of someone’s way faster, merge into traffic easier and more confidently than a bike with much more power.

Styles for everyone

These scooters come in all shapes and sizes so whether you prefer a sporty bike, a custom bike, or something super simple, there are a range of 125cc motorbikes on the market that are sure to suit anyone’s style.


Scooters are relatively cheap to run and due to their low speed, and smaller engine, you’re capable of achieving more than 100 miles per gallon, making it a super economical investment.


When looking at commuting options these days, public transport can be just as expensive as taking a train. However, a scooter comes at a different price point. It’s easy to pick up a second-hand 125cc scooter for a few hundred, while a brand new scooter comes in cheaper than a car. If you add that up, it’s a cheaper and more cost-efficient option than some annual train and bus passes.

Good for beginners

If you’re just starting out on your bike journey, a 125cc scooter is a great Investment, because it allows you to build your confidence on two wheels in a safe and easy-to-control environment. Once you feel like you’ve mastered the 125cc bike, it’s easy to get on bigger, stronger bikes in the future.

What Does it Cost to Insure a 125cc Bike?

Depending on what make, model, and age your scooter is is going to depend on how much it’s going to cost to insure. There are a range of insurance groups that bikes and cars sit in  and depending on multiple factors of your bike will depend on which group it falls in.

Group two is usually where you’d find a low cc scooter. However, for the more expensive and sporty models, a 125cc bike can sometimes sit in the group 12 bracket (this, however, is quite rare).

When it comes to insurance, an insurer will also consider things such as your age, occupation, and whether you have any insurance claims, and they will use all of this information to calculate an insurance price that’s unique to you.

How Can I Get More Power Out of My 125cc Bike?

125 cc cafe racer motorcycle

While 125cc bikes are meant for short-term travel and commuting, there are ways you can modify your bike to get more power out of your engine chamber.

Upgrade your front and rear sprockets

If you upgrade your front or rear sprockets, you can increase the power-band control of your bike.

Motorcycles with 125cc engines lack top speed compared to those with larger displacement engines (like the difference between 150cc and 125cc engines). Therefore, purchasing a front sprocket with less teeth than stock, and a rear sprocket with more teeth than stock, can help you get some more speed out of your engine.

Increase your bike’s air intake

Reducing your bike’s air intake is the easiest and most economical method to increase the available horsepower. When you purchase your 125cc bike, the air intake system is often quite strangled, so reducing the restriction on the bike can improve the speed at which your bike’s engine operates at.

You can install a range of aftermarket additions to increase your bike’s air intake by almost 50% to achieve even better performance, or you can visit a mechanic for some help in boosting the air intake if you’re not as familiar with a bike engine.

Upgrading your exhaust system

Once you’ve upgraded your bike’s air intake, you’re going to want to also update the exhaust system to get that extra power flowing. Without this combination, you’ll be missing out on the improved power that both of these additions can provide.

As most manufacturers have to meet certain emission requirements to keep their business functioning at lower costs, the exhaust on your bike may not move air through as efficiently as it could. This is where installing an aftermarket slip-on or full exhaust system can come in handy to provide the extra horsepower and torque you need for faster speeds.

For more tips on how to get your bike moving faster, take a look at some top tips on how to increase motorcycle horsepower here.


You should now know what does 125cc mean. 

There are a range of vantage points to purchasing a 125cc motorbike from economical savings, to making that morning commute that much easier, these small bikes have great capacity and are a great purchase for beginner riders, and also city-dwellers. 

With so many 125cc engine bikes available, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting your perfect 125cc scooter.

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