New Aprilia RS 125 and Tuono 125 unveiled

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Aprilia have unveiled fresh versions of their RS 125 and Tuono 125 models with updates including new styling, a reworked engine, fully digital dash readout and a new ECU.

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Both models get a new single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine with a new head, redesigned combustion chamber, new intake and exhaust ducts and a new iridium spark plug. The cams, air intake and filter are all new, as is the repositioned throttle body. The exhaust has also been entirely redesigned with a new and more efficient catalyst.

The result of all these changes, and the new ECU Aprilia say, is a ‘more robust’ torque curve and an engine that hits maximum power (15bhp) at lower revs.

2021 Aprilia Tuono 125

Away from performance, both bikes have had a styling update to match the rest of their model family – the 660 and V4 versions have already been unveiled. The Tuono 125 gets the taller screen and more pronounced half-fairing style of the standard Tuono V4 and is now available in red, white or grey.

Meanwhile, the RS 125 could now easily be mistaken for its 660cc big brother and comes in red or a gorgeous new white, purple and red livery. There’s also a GP-replica version that mimics the current RS-GP MotoGP bike and gets a quickshifter as standard (usually an optional extra) and a cover for the pillion seat.

How much? The 2021 Aprila RS 125 costs £4600 (the GP-replica is an extra 100 quid) and the Tuono 125 costs £4500. Keep an eye on MCN for full reviews as we get hold of the bikes in the UK.

2021 Aprilia RS 125 clocks

Why is the Aprilia RS 125 a significant bike?

Its legacy is remarkable. Check out the summary from our full review of the original

"For most of the 1990s, Aprilia’s RS 125 was the must-have 125c bike – both the hottest and coolest thing a 17-year-old could plaster a tatty L-plate on. A potent, shrieking banshee of a water-cooled two-stroke motor, wrapped in a gorgeous aluminium twin-spar frame, blessed with credible chassis components, a full-size riding position and a sleek, sporty fairing.

"All of that desirability was multiplied several times over by its Italian exotica kudos and genuine Grand Prix pedigree – and even more so after a pimply 18-year-old called Valentino Rossi won the 125GP title in 1997. Owning an Aprilia RS125 was as good as things got, a universal badge of honour. It was also a great leveller, its desire cutting across classes. From rich kids swanning about on Daddy’s showroom-fresh minter to hard-charging chavs terrorising town-centres on rattle-can lash-ups, all across Europe young riders aspired to Aprilia’s RS125 in astonishing numbers."


Aprilia RS 125: a potted history

  • 1992-1995 Aprilia RS 125R Extrema

Rectangular headlight, Rotax 123 engine, 34mm carb, three-spoke wheels, analogue temperature gauge.

  • 1996-1998 Aprilia RS 125

Rounded headlight, digital temp gauge, simplified name. The one most likely to earn cult status in the future.

  • 1999-2005 Aprilia RS 125

Wider, more bulbous bodywork, five-spoke wheels, new headlight, Rotax 122 engine with 28mm carb.

  • 2006-2012 Aprilia RS 125

Complete restyle with sharper, more angular bodywork, pointy nose, Y-spoke wheels, new dash. 2008-on models have a different ignition system to help it meet Euro3.

  • 2013-2016 Aprilia RS4 125

Renamed Aprilia RS4 125 for a little while as the firm’s lineup changed.

  • 2017-2020 Aprilia RS 125

Name switched back to RS 125, model updated.

  • 2021-on Aprilia RS 125

Euro5 update for both RS 125 and naked Tuono sibling.

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Ben Clarke

By Ben Clarke

Assistant Editor (Motorcycling), hick for life, two cylinders max