LEXMOTO VENOM 125 (2015 - on) Review
- Bargain 125cc learner-friendly naked
- Owners report decent reliability
- Good level of standard kit for price
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£120|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Lexmoto Venom 125 was first launched back in 2015 and has been one of the best-sellers in the UK-based but Chinese-built brand’s line-up of bargain-priced, mostly 125cc machines, ever since – and it’s not hard to see why.
- Related: Best 125cc motorbikes
Although an easy-going, fairly basic, air-cooled roadster, the Venom stands out for its modern, attractive styling including a bright red frame (complete with trellis-like section), flashy graphics, smart alloy wheels and red brake calipers. It even has a built-in MP3 player and speakers with which you can listen to music as you ride along!
Like countless other Chinese-built bikes, the Venom’s a simple, basic machine with an underwhelming air-cooled, SOHC motor based on a time-expired Honda design – in this case the old CB125J produced up to 1985 – but now with added fuel-injection. The chassis is equally uninspiring, comprising a tubular steel frame with a monoshock rear end while build quality is a little basic, reliability is sometimes questionable and residual values when you come to sell on, are suspect, too.
But none of that really matters due to one thing – price. New, the Venom still costs well under £2000 making it one of the cheapest 125 commuters you can buy and nearly £1000 less than an equivalent Japanese machine. With around 11bhp and linked brakes it also performs reasonably, it might be flashy, veering on tacky, but it looks good, is also more than adequately equipped and is cheap to run.
- Related: Learn to ride a motorbike with MCN
On the downside, being Chinese-built and with lingering question marks about both its long-term durability and value, you also get the same slight concerns most Chinese bikes suffer from. Build quality, though improving, certainly isn’t the best, its dealer network, though comprehensive, certainly isn’t Honda-standard; it’s more vulnerable to corrosion and breakdowns than most and residual values aren’t great. But when a new bike is so cheap in the first place, maybe none of that matters.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Ultimately the Venom is a bargain-priced offering so you shouldn’t expect great things when it comes to ride and performance, however it is better than you might expect.
Its chassis has a similar sort of basic spec as its engine – conventional, non-adjustable telescopic forks up front and a rear monoshock with pre-load adjustment only. Not that this matters a great deal. The suspension is good enough for its performance and the Venom is slim, light, feels like a supermoto, perching you high and forwards (though the actual seat height is a reasonably low 770mm) and easy to tip into corners. Its Chinese CST Magsport tyres (110/80 front and 130/70 rear) grip well enough, certainly in the dry. Nothing touches down prematurely and it has flip-up footpegs (red, if you opt for the black main colour) – although these aren't spring-loaded as you’d normally expect so if you flip them up without realising you'll have flailing feet looking for non-existent support.
The seat itself is as cossetting as a plank of pine, but we can’t imagine many riders buying this machine for long hauls. Indeed some owners, who presumably only ride it over short distances, profess the Venom is very comfortable to ride.
All new 125s without ABS (which, surprise surprise, includes the Venom) now have to come with linked brakes, and the Lexmoto’s system is very good. Combined braking distributes the braking between both wheels, reducing the tendency to skid without the sophistication and expense of a proper ABS system. On the Venom, the normally rear-only pedal brings in both front and rear discs, with the handlebar lever adding extra bite by bringing in the extra piston on the front caliper. It's all fairly foolproof and doesn't lock up prematurely. However we have heard reports of some owners experiencing ‘juddering’ under braking, possibly due to a warped front disc.
EngineNext up: Reliability
As with many Chinese bikes, the Lexmoto Venom uses a copy of an outdated Japanese engine, usually air-cooled SOHC designs. These are made in China but based on far older Japanese designs, in the Venom’s case it’s the old single-cylinder lump from the Honda CB125J which ended Japanese production in 1985. That said, it is updated slightly with modern fuel-injection and also has a balance shaft. The exhaust is a basic ‘one-into-one’ made from plain, not stainless, steel. And the Venom’s gearbox is a fairly standard five-speeder with chain final drive. All-in-all a very straightforward spec that’s reflected by the cheap price. the price.
Performance-wise, all that adds up to peak power of 11bhp, peak torque of 9.5ftlb and a top speed of around 68mph, none of which is worth getting excited about when the latest liquid-cooled, DOHC Japanese 125s put out 15bhp with ease. But, considering the Venom’s light weight it’s still enough for spirited performance
The motor is a revvy little thing that winds up to 11,000rpm in the two lowest gears, according to the probably optimistic rev counter. Use those revs and the Venom sprints up to an indicated 50-55mph pretty quickly and will cruise at 60-65.
Over 55mph high frequency vibes thrum through the seat and bars, despite the engine having a balance shaft.
Reliability is generally OK, according to most owners reports, although servicing is compulsory every four months to comply with the warranty.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Although the Venom is ultimately a budget-priced, Chinese-built bike with all the usual concerns over build quality and reliability that come with that, it’s worth reminding that it’s also one of Lexmoto’s most proven and popular models and we’ve received feedback from plenty of satisfied owners.
"It’s from China... big deal. I’ve never had an issue mechanical or otherwise," says one. "Maybe it’s how they are treated by their owners…"
While another said: "I couldn’t give a toss about brand junkies knocking Chinese bikes. I’m a mechanical engineer and know good value when I see it."
You get the idea.
It’s also worth repeating that, although the Venom is at the flashier end of the Chinese 125 spectrum, mechanically it’s very basic, so there’s little that can go wrong. The old Honda-derived, air-cooled, overhead cam engine is about as proven as they get and is also easy to home-service and maintain.
The tubular steel chassis, suspension and brakes are largely simple and straightforward, too. While, apart from the oddball MP3 player and useful USB power socket, there’s little by way of flashy electrics – or electronics – to go wrong.
So, if it’s maintained and serviced properly and cosmetically looked after you should have little worry about. That said, although largely slathered in fancy, weather-proof plastic, the Venom, like many Chinese bikes, hasn’t the best metal and paint finishes so we definitely recommend through routine cleaning of road grime, salt etc to keep corrosion and rust at bay.
Moving parts such as suspension linkages, steering components and brake calipers, should also be regularly cleaned and/or lubed as required. And it’s also vital that all controls, levers, throttle grip, pedals, gearchange etc are regularly checked and serviced as well, particularly if ridden through winter. Much of that applies to all machines, of course, but with the Lexmoto’s slightly suspect budget quality it’s more important here than with most.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
There’s no getting away from the fact that the Lexmoto Venom 125 is not only one of the cheapest 125s you can buy, it’s also very cheap to run – that’s the main reason for its huge and continued popularity after all.
At around £1800 new, the Venom upholds the Lexmoto tradition by undercutting almost every rival. A Zontes Firefly 125 is £100 cheaper, but everything else costs more. The Sinnis RSX comes in at £2199, but if you want a Japanese brand name you'll pay a lot more – a Honda CB125F has a tag of in excess of £2700 while a Suzuki GSX-S125 is almost exactly twice as much as the Venom, albeit with more power and sophistication. It's worth remembering though, that Lexmoto won't hold its price as well as the Honda or Suzuki if you want to sell it a few years on.
And that, of course, is just the start. With owners reporting average mpgs in excess of 70mpg the Venom is also very affordable when it comes to fuel. Insurance is about as cheap as it gets for a 125, too, while owners also report that parts are fairly easy to get and also very cheap.
There are, however, two ‘flies’ in the Lexmoto Venom’s ointment. Firstly, if buying new, it’s a condition of the manufacturer-backed warranty that the bike is serviced an unusually frequent every four months – which, at an average £70 on each occasion, quickly racks up and is an expense most new owners complain about.
In addition, although virtually everything about the Lexmoto is cheap, residual values aren’t great, especially compared to Japanese machines, and is something that should be factored in. Buy a new Venom for £1800 by all means, but we wouldn’t be at all surprised if, after a year or two and a couple of thousand miles under its wheels, that you’ll struggle to sell it for much more than £1000. That’s certainly the case with the few used examples we’ve seen.
Yes, the Lexmoto Venom 125 is a budget-orientated, Chinese-built bike with the emphasis on having a low price. But although its mechanical aspects are a little basic and old fashioned, it does make up for that with a few, some surprising frills.
Instrumentation’s not bad for a start: a big analogue speedo sits next to a (colour changing) digital display with a tiny rev counter, fuel gauge, clock, trip meter and gear indicator.
The LED tail light cluster is another nice touch which are brighter and last far longer than traditional lightbulbs, while, as mentioned at the beginning, the Venom also unusually features a tank-mounted, MP3-compatible sound system that accepts both micro SD card and USB stick and has speakers located in the side panels on the petrol tank. It works, too, with whatever your taste in music being audible, despite your helmet, at speeds up to 45mph. In towns, the reaction you can get is simply bizarre – and hilarious.
What’s more, thanks to a useful USB charger, you can keep your phone or accessories charged whilst riding along. Neat. While further ‘neat’ touches include fancy tapered tubular handlebars and ‘built-in’ crash bars, which provide both you – and the bike – extra protection in the unfortunate event of a tipple.
All in all, and certainly considering the bargain new price the Venom is available for, it’s not bad – not bad at all.
While in addition to all that, Lexmoto themselves have a sister company – www.cmpoparts.com – which specialises in spare parts and accessories for all Lexmotos, including things like budget-priced luggage.
|Engine type||Air-cooled single cylinder|
|Fuel capacity||14 litres|
|Front brake||singel disc, double piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||-|
|Rear tyre size||-|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£20|
|Annual service cost||£120|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||11 bhp|
|Max torque||9.5 ft-lb|
|Top speed||68 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
- 2015: Lexmoto Venom 125 introduced
Owners' reviews for the LEXMOTO VENOM 125 (2015 - on)
6 owners have reviewed their LEXMOTO VENOM 125 (2015 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£120|
Version: Carb version
Annual servicing cost: £100
Very comfortable bike to ride. I am a full license holder and commute 30 miles every day to work (do not own a car) Great on fuel, cheap insurance and it has never let me down so far. Never use the MP3 player but it is quite a decent sound system.
Great brakes. Gears are fine too.
This must be bullet proof; feels it.
Its from China... big deal. Never had an issue mechanical or otherwise. Maybe its how they are treated by their owners.
Do all my own work.
Buying experience: Motor smart in Dudley supplied. Great dealer and the after sales service is the best i have come across.
Had loads of bikes (in my 50's!) and bought this for casual fun and has not let me down. If you haven't been on a 125 for a while try one, keep the throttle nailed and aim for the gaps!. Could not give a toss about brand junkies knocking Chinese bikes, am a mechanical engineer and know good value when I see it. able to maintain easily without electronic interference and quite a nippy wee bike around town. have not used mp3 player (not interested/don't know how to) but a real blast to relive my youth. no mechanical problems to date and the only mod done is to spring load the footpegs and "adjust" the exhaust note. Bargain!
Better than expected, have not been able to outbreak myself yet!
Basic tech but that's the appeal for me
Far improved from earlier Chinese offerings
self serviced and happy to do so
Good, in a Chinese style kind of way
Buying experience: Minimal really, knew what I wanted and knew I would never see them again, goes for Japanese manufacturers also.
Version: Standard (white/blue)
Annual servicing cost: £70
I love this bike apart from the brand and the abuse you get with that then there no reason not to like this bike looks good very cheap to run, buy and insure! parts were fairly easy to get and also very cheap. Havent had any problems as yet so far so good!! But every bike has problems whether its Japanese or not and eventually depending on how well its looked after!!
So far so good!! Good response cheap to replace
Good copy of the honda cb engine hopefully it last as a honda version would but I don't have any doubts
Havent had any problems as yet but still early days
Very cheap to buy, insure and run!! But also dont agree on havent to pay for it to be serviced every 4 months for the warranty not to be void
Like the speedo nice and up to date has an mp3 player which you can just about hear dont recommend it if your not a teenager tho as you would look an idiot but good down country roads where you cant be seen lol
Buying experience: Very good experience with a great dealer whos very helpfull from apex motorcycles
Annual servicing cost: £200
Good bike. Some bits could be better
Front judders whilst under braking. Maybe due to warped discs
Has broken down once. Does seem to have a gear linkage issue
Very costly to go to dealer so I do it my self.
Comes with MP3 player so that's good
Buying experience: Only paid 1200 with 140 mile on clock
for the price is good bike, in its own range compare with Sinnis SP 125
lextek exhaust system
Buying experience: bought it from a dealer. Advertised price is 1349.00, with OTR its 1450
Think having to have a service every 4 months at £70 a time is ridiculous just for the warranty,i totally do not agree with this.
Apart from having to have a Service every 4 months that is ridiculous.
Buying experience: Every thing is fantastic about this bike apart from having to have a service every 4 months thats just a joke.