Naked bikes are easy to use and practical, but what self-respecting 17-year-old cares about practicality? All that matters at that age is looking fast, which is where our top 125cc sportsbikes come in.
Of course, being 125s, all these bikes produce about 15bhp, but they keep the sportsbike attitude alive with revvy engines, great handling and excellent brakes.
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The RS4 125 is the successor to the legendary two-stroke RS125 which ruled the roads for 17-year-olds during the '90s and early 2000s. The RS4 keeps the spirit of the old RS alive, thriving on revs. As with the old RS, the RS4 handles and stops brilliantly, and perhaps most importantly for the youth, looks exactly like the RSV4.
If the Aprilia RS4 is a pure 125cc sportsbike with dreams of tearing round a track, the Honda CBR125R is completely different. Much less sporty than the others on this list, the Honda instead leads the way in ease-of-use and practicality. Just what you need as a new rider, probably not what you want.
KTM's RC125 is possibly the coolest looking 125 on the market, and it's got the ride quality to back it up. Suspension is courtesy of WP and the bike handles incredibly well - as you'd expect. The engine needs to be worked to get the best from it, but keep it spinning between 8000rpm and 10,500rpm and it'll easily hold 60mph.
Introduced in 2008, the YZF-R125 filled the gap between Honda's practical CBR and Aprilia's sport two-stroke RS, combining the ease-of-use of the Honda with the sporty handling of the Aprilia. The latest version gets upside down forks and improved brakes.
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