LEXMOTO LXR 125 (2021 - on) Review
- All-new Euro5 compliant motor
- Increased seat height
- Bargain price tag
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
What was the UK’s best-selling sportsbike last year? Believe it or not, it was the Lexmoto LXR 125. Yep, this Chinese-built 125 topped the 'sportsbike' charts.
Available as the standard and more expensive SE model, this is a review of the cheaper version.
What was the secret to its success? A price tag of under £3000 certainly helped but you have to hand it to Lexmoto, when you look at the LXR with its radial brakes, sporty fairing and big-bike silhouette it certainly doesn’t appear inferior to the likes of its far most costly rivals from Japan (built in the Far East), Italy (built in Italy) or Austria (built in India).
- Related: 2019 Lexmoto LXR SE 125 review
The Lexmoto model range are built by Chinese company TARO and then imported into the UK, however they are far from just 'off-the-shelf' products. TARO actually send prototypes to Lexmoto for testing and evaluation in the UK and the firm’s feedback helps form the new model’s final specification.
The LXR, for example, has UK-specific gearing, suspension settings, lights and even the dash was a result of the UK’s technician’s comments and input. Lexmoto have been working with TARO for 14 years and for 2021 the LXR has been upgraded to meet Euro5 regulations through an all-new twin-cam four-valve motor, which is the bike’s first update since its launch in 2019.
To be brutally honest the rest of the bike is basically identical to before and aside from a new shock, which is longer and raises the seat height by 20mm to 820mm, the 2021 LXR is identical to the 2020 model (the SE gets more updates).
And that’s how it rides and looks – exactly the same as before but with a slightly more spirited engine that is frustratingly vibey when revved.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Lexmoto have increased the length of the shock on the new LXR, upping the seat height from 800mm to 820mm and putting more weight over the front wheel. The more expensive SE model benefits from 37mm upside down forks and a claimed lighter alumnium swingarm, too.
In terms of its handling the changes in the standard bike aren’t apparent, mainly as the CST Magsport tyres are fairly rock hard and not that confidence-inspiring, but the suspension is certainly adequate for road use.
It’s nowhere as assured as KTM, Yamaha or Aprilia’s offering (so kneedown is out of the question) but it is ok for most road riders to feel happy with. What is annoying, however, is how the tank’s edges press on your inner thigh, making it uncomfortable over distance.
It’s a real shame as the 'big bike' feel of the LXR means it has a relaxed riding position with lots of room even for taller riders, it’s just let down by the tank’s sharp edges.
Small capacity bikes have an exemption that means they aren’t obliged to run ABS and while most premium models choose to have it, the Lexmoto makes do with combined brakes instead.
A cost-saving choice, the LXR’s twin four-piston radial front calipers run braided lines (the lever has a span adjuster) and wave discs and are fine in their power and feel however the rear is just too sharp, making it hard to apply precise pressure at low speed.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The all-new 125cc motor is Euro5-compliant and has a four-valve head with double overhead cams where the old model had a single overhead cam and just two valves.
A touch more spirited than before, it revs quickly but isn’t as refined or smooth motor as more expensive rival 125s use and also not as fast. The Lexmoto is happy to sit at 60mph but up this to 65mph and once the rev counter goes past 8000rpm the motor’s vibrations are quite intrusive, even more so at 70mph, which is when it runs out of puff.
The clutch action is nice and light and the gearbox fairly good but overall it feels a bit raw and rough due to the vibes. On the go the exhaust (which is stainless steel) sounds pleasingly fruity and when you are doing 30 or 40mph passers-by do tend to turn their heads, which doesn’t make you feel embarrassed as the LXR is a great looking bike that certainly doesn’t appear a 125 to a casual observer.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
This is a big concern for buyers as there is an impression that Chinese bikes will be built to a budget and build quality and reliability will suffer as a result.
When MCN tested a 2019 LXR 125 SE we were disappointed about the finish as after just 600 miles its paint was starting to flake in some areas.
That said, Lexmoto have fitted the LXR with a stainless steel exhaust and you have to take into account the fact the bike is very cheap to buy and also spare parts are extremely budget-friendly.
As our 2021 LXR was virtually brand new (less than 1000 miles on its clocks) we can’t use it as a yardstick however riders don’t seem too upset with their LXR models when you look at the owners’ reviews on MCN’s website and the LXR comes with two years warranty, which is reassuring.
A few forums complain about the ignition barrel failing but in generally it seems as though mechanically the LXR is solid.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Chinese bikes are generally considered to be cheap to run and as the LXR 125 is small in capacity, insurance (depending on age) isn’t too horrible. Spare parts are both plentiful and cheap via a link on Lexmoto’s website to www.cmpoparts.com with a whole front caliper costing just £43.99, mudguard £25.99, side panel £26.49 and top fairing £29.49, which is excellent and means a silly spill won’t cost the earth.
Most 125s can average around 80mpg and the LXR is no exception with MCN recording mid 80s mpg numbers.
Costing £2799.99 as tested (or £3099.99 for the higher-spec SE model with its inverted forks and TFT dash) the LXR 125 stacks up well against the competition. Premium models such as the Yamaha YZF-R125 (£4800), Kawasaki Ninja 125 (£4199), Aprilia RS125 (£4600) and KTM RC125 (£4499) are considerably more expensive (and not always built in the same country and the firm’s big capacity models).
Although there are a few other Chinese bike importers, aside from Hyosung with the GT125R (£2699) Lexmoto is the main one to import a sportsbike style of bike into the UK were rivals tend to stick to naked bikes.
When it comes to used prices you have to expect to take a hit and second hand LXRs tend to get advertised for about £1500, which is £1300 off the new price. Most bikes are sold in private sales so getting rid of it again after you have outgrown this 125 could be more of an issue than with a 'known' brand, which you are likely to be able to part exchange with a dealer against the price of a bigger capacity model.
As standard the LXR comes with radial brakes, wave discs, a stainless steel exhaust and digital display (which has a fuel gauge and gear indicator). The SE then also gets a full-colour TFT dash, with USD forks completing the look.
Lexmoto sell their own range of parts through their website and as well as spares you can get a tinted screen, luggage rack, bar ends and a few other items to enhance its looks. Another source of kit is online sellers with screens, exhaust end cans and crash protection fairly easy to locate.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled DOHC single|
|Frame type||Tubular steel trellis|
|Fuel capacity||13.5 litres|
|Front suspension||Non-adjustable conventional forks|
|Rear suspension||Mono shock|
|Front brake||299mm twin disc (linked)|
|Rear brake||240mm single disc (linked)|
|Front tyre size||110/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||150/70 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£21|
|Annual service cost||-|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||12 bhp|
|Max torque||8.1 ft-lb|
|Top speed||69 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
- 2019: Lexmoto LXR 125 launched as a budget-friendly sporty 125. It is powered by a SOHC 2-valve liquid cooled engine but comes with radial brakes, wave discs and a digital dash to give it a more premium appearance.
- 2019 – Lexmoto LXR SE 125 adds inverted forks to the LXR’s base alongside an aluminium swingarm and yoke. The SE costs a £300 premium over the stock bike.
- 2021: Lexmoto LXR 125 is upgraded with an all-new six-speed DOHC 4-valve motor that is Euro5-compliant and a taller shock, upping the seat height to 820mm from 800mm.
- 2021: Lexmoto LXR SE 125 gains the same Euro5 motor and shock change as the LXR but otherwise is identical to before. It costs £3099.99 compared to the £2799.99 base model.
Owners' reviews for the LEXMOTO LXR 125 (2021 - on)
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