SWM SM125 R (2017 - on) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 2 out of 5 (2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
Power: 14 bhp
Seat height: Tall (35.0 in / 890 mm)
Weight: Low (267 lbs / 121 kg)

Prices

New £3,499
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Its price point puts the SWM in competition with ‘premium’ 125s from the Japanese brands rather than cheaper Chinese alternatives and on this front the SM125R certainly holds its own.

The seat’s firmness is annoying, and the lack of ABS is a concern, but it looks great and the motor performs as well as any of its rivals’ engines.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Annoyingly, you can’t feel your bum after about five minutes as the seat is chronically hard. SWM are off-road specialists and they have fallen into the trap of fitting an off-road seat to a road bike, rather than a nice comfortable road one, and this does detract from the bike’s fun factor. The handling is good but the linked brakes aren’t as effective as the SWM’s rivals who all have ABS fitted.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The motor, which is built by SWM in their Italian factory and not imported from the far east, has a double overhead cam four-valve head, fuel-injection and even a cool red rocker cover – a subtle hint at its Husqvarna roots. It delivers typical 125cc performance with a decent gearbox and light clutch, but what impressed MCN the most was its total lack of vibrations.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The SWM is built in Italy, not China, which can either be a blessing or a curse depending on your view on these things. It is a premium product, and appears well built, but only time will tell. That said, it comes from the old Husky factory and their bikes are pretty solid and withstand a lot of off-road abuse!

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

With a price tag of £3499 the SM125 is at the top end of the off-road style 125 market, but it is a step above cheap imports in terms of quality. It’s just a shame ABS is lacking and the seat isn’t more forgiving.

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

The SM lacks ABS, but it does have inverted forks and the sump has a neat bash plate. The dash is a bit basic, and lacks a fuel gauge, but it does have a stopwatch - presumably so you can time your McDonald’s runs.

Specs

Engine size 124cc
Engine type Four-stroke, liquid-cooled single
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 7.2 litres
Seat height 890mm
Bike weight 121kg
Front suspension Inverted forks, non-adjustable
Rear suspension Single shock, adjustable spring preload
Front brake 1 x 260mm disc, three-piston caliper; linked
Rear brake 220mm disc, two-piston caliper linked
Front tyre size 80/90X21
Rear tyre size 110/80x18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 80 mpg
Annual road tax £21
Annual service cost £150
New price £3,499
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 14 bhp
Max torque -
Top speed 70 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 110 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2017: Model introduced

Owners' reviews for the SWM SM125 R (2017 - on)

1 owner has reviewed their SWM SM125 R (2017 - 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.

Review your SWM SM125 R (2017 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Engine: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Reliability & build quality: 2 out of 5 (2/5)
Value vs rivals: 2 out of 5 (2/5)
Equipment: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
3 out of 5 Potentially good bike.
07 July 2021 by Karlo Pauc

Version: RS 125 R Factory

Year: 2019

Annual servicing cost: £150

Best: Equipment, design. Worst: Bike tarnished by poor build, post sales support and workshop service. I would not recommend it, better get some established brand (Yamaha WR 125 R).

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Very good to ride when all is good. Brakes (CBS) were very good. Driving pillion 1 hr. max. before brake is needed, rider also.

Engine 3 out of 5

Engine performance was good. Problem was cam chain and tensioner making noise on 1500 km. Hassle having to remove fuel tank, cylinder head and lots of stuff to change spark plug, takes around 1 hr. Newest problem was losing power/low max. speed/overheating on 7000 km.

Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5

Very poorly built, every 400 km something happens. Side stand screw fell out, then side stand leg, then problem with side stand sensor, washer under foot peg missing, washer under seat lock fell off, rear left turn signal burned by exhaust, OEM battery (Exide) dead after 1 year, speedometer/odometer working on-off. Corrosion on wheel spokes, nuts, bolts, lambda sensor. Around 1500 km cam chain and tensioner making noise, ignored in workshop, fixed by importer around 7000 km. Soon Gremlins started and bike lost power, overheat, (suspected piston + electrics 300€) sold for 2200€ as a result.

Value vs rivals 2 out of 5

0 km service 100€ 1st service 750 km (Factory 1000 km) 100€ 2nd service 2700 km (Factory 5000 km) 100€ 3rd service 7000 km (Factory 10,000 km) 150€+ rear turn signal 25€ + battery 25€

Equipment 5 out of 5

Factory model packed fully. Handguards, steering foam guard, extra adjustable suspension, Arrow aluminium muffler, racing ribbed seat, decals. The only official thing left to mount was Arrow carbon muffler. OEM Kenda tyres were ok, mounted even better Dunlop Trailsmart MAX/Trailmax.

Buying experience: Bought new from dealer. Was asked 1000€ (4000€ full price) deposit on invisible bike (no showroom example). Only good thing got more expensive model (4500€) due to waiting extra 1 month. Disappointing for brand and owners, only 2 (125) bikes sold in 4 yrs. mine was last so far, that says it all.

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