While there is little to criticise about the RS’s chassis (aside from the fact it is painted and not polished) it does nothing to really distinguish itself from the likes of the Yamaha YZF-R125 or KTM RC125. The suspension is surprisingly good and it handles impressively as well as being nice and roomy for taller riders, but it’s doesn’t feel like a GP-refugee like the older two-stroke generation. It feels, slightly disappointingly considering its RS 125 name, just like its rivals…
The engine is all very smooth in its running thanks to a balancer shaft, and makes the required 15bhp that allows it to top 80mph, but like all small capacity four-strokes it is very flat in its performance and hits a brick wall of a rev limiter at 11,000rpm. These characteristics make it feel functional rather than two-stroke thrilling like its namesake.
The days of the old RS 125 two-stroke nipping up are long gone and the four-stroke RS4 has a fairly proven reliability record. Much of any 125’s reliability issues stem from the owner and a general lack of maintenance, so if well looked after there should be nothing to fear. The build quality appears equally high on the RS 125.
With a price tag of a £4700 the RS 125 is certainly at the top end of the 125 market, but you have to remember that this is a machine built in Italy and not some far eastern country like the competition. The MotoGP rep is only £100 more and adds a quickshifter, which is very cool, but with the KTM RC125 costing £4299 and the Yamaha YZF-R125 a salty £4599, the RS 125 is still a premium machine.
The RS’s chassis is high spec with an aluminium frame, inverted forks and a radial brake with ABS, which is cool, and the RSV4-style fairing is also a nice touch. Annoyingly, a USB port is an optional extra and you also need to pay more for smartphone connectivity.