2022 KTM RC 125 offers MotoGP looks on learner budget

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KTM have revealed the first major update to their CBT-friendly RC 125 sportsbike, promising MotoGP-inspired bodywork, an updated chassis, revised engine, and more tech for 2022. We've ridden the race-inspired  2022 KTM RC390, bigger brother to the RC 125 and it got a full five stars.

First introduced back in 2014, the outgoing RC was getting a bit long in the tooth – missing out on some of the luxuries found on its naked Duke 125 sibling and falling behind rivals like the Yamaha R125 and Suzuki GSX-R125 along the way.

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This now all looks set to change though with the new bike immediately grabbing the attention of tearaway teens thanks to MotoGP-inspired bodywork, said to mimic the firm’s RC16 grand prix racer.

Gone is the Futurama-style twin headlight and in its place sits a new LED design that shares more than a passing resemblance to the old RC8 superbike.

Available in two colour designs, not only is the new look more modern but it’s also said to be more aerodynamic and comfortable for the rider – working alongside a new frame that’s 1.5kg lighter than before, plus a tall screen for added wind resistance.

 

Greater pillion comfort features for 2022

A narrower knee area should also make things easier for shorter and new riders and each body panel contains less screws and fixings to make servicing easier. 

A thicker pillion seat pad looks set to make things nicer for passengers too, although it’s unlikely many of you will be going two-up on a 125.

Should you want to though, the Euro5-friendly liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine now gets claimed improved acceleration, throttle response and torque figures thanks to a 40% larger airbox. This is joined by a lighter, redesigned exhaust featuring a stainless steel header and aluminium muffler, plus a six-speed gearbox.

For added practicality, there’s now a larger 13.7-litre fuel tank (up from 10 litres on the previous RC 125) and the mirrors can be folded – making it possible to filter through even the tightest gaps in the traffic.

Riding the KTM RC125 on track

Complementing the lighter chassis, a WP Apex open cartridge front fork sits up front, with an Apex shock at the rear from the same firm.

Adding to this are new lighter rims that save 3.4kg over the previous model, with a large 150/60 x 17 profile tyre at the rear for that authentic ‘big bike’ look.

The result is a bike that should be easier to chuck around and change direction – ideal for slaloming your way through the closest McDonald's carpark.

Saving a further 960 grams are fresh brakes, with every RC model now kitted with a four piston Bybre front caliper and 320mm disc, plus a 230mm rear rotor and one-piston fixed caliper.

It also comes equipped with KTM’s Supermoto ABS system as standard – allowing riders to deactivate the rear intervention for some proper skidding action, and even switch off the rear lift sensor altogether.

Further tech updates include a full colour TFT dash that adapts to light conditions and can be connected to your smartphone via the KTM MY RIDE app. These slot behind height-adjustable handlebars that can be altered by 10mm.

Expect full pricing to be revealed soon, with the new bikes set to arrive in dealers from March 2022. Keep an eye on MCN for a full, expert KTM RC 125 review coming soon. 

2022 KTM RC 125

KTM RC 125 model history

The KTM RC 125 was launched in 2014 and followed the ever-popular upright 125 Duke, which first arrived in 2011.

This was the same year that KTM launched the larger, 373cc 44bhp RC390. Designed for the A2 licence market, it is a genuine sportsbike for the restricted rider; with great handling and capable of a top speed of over 100mph.

Both machines have since received updates, with both bikes last changed in early 2017 to comply with Euro4 regulations. The Duke was then subsequently recalled for a problem with the headlights.

Sporting the same side-mounted exhaust as the duke and a new belly pan, it also gained a slightly-tweaked engine and did away with the ride-by-wire throttle of the older machine.  

Highlights from our 2014-2021 KTM RC 125 owners’ reviews

We’ve got a decent number of owner reviews of the existing KTM RC 125. Here’s what readers had to say about its reliability:

"Had an issue early on with the bike where the high beem rely set on fire. Not what you want to see under a fuel tank. Luckily warranty covered it if not would have been cheap to replace. The rest of the bike is solid. No other issues and you have the ability to upgrade the majority of the bike," said Egreen16. 

Nick Burton 57 reports "I have had the RC125 for 2 years, it broke down early on as a result of a faulty battery, which was replaced under warranty. No problems since then after 7,000 km."

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Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade