Go-anywhere learner: Sinnis SM-XE 125 is a return to L-plate-friendly mud pluggers

Following the demise of previously popular Japanese 125cc trail bikes such as Yamaha’s XT and WR, Suzuki’s DRZ and Kawasaki’s KLX, there’s not been much choice for 17-year-olds looking for a modern, off-road-style learner machine.  

Aside from Aprilia’s near-£4000 RX 125, the only options were some fairly old-tech, air-cooled retro scramblers or hard-to-find Spanish-sourced Riejus and Derbis. Until now. 

Meet the all-new Sinnis SM-XE: a liquid-cooled, four-stroke 125 trailie from the leading Chinese/UK brand that combines modern mechanicals, styling and performance, with upright, novice-friendly trail bike ergonomics and a price tag of just under £3400. 

The first bike to use Sinnis’s all-new liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-valve, Euro5-compliant, 124cc four-stroke single, it produces the A1-class regulation 14.8bhp at 9000rpm, making it the marque’s most powerful CBT-friendly model yet.  

Along with 8.48ftlb of torque at 8500rpm (both figures which match or beat the Aprilia RX) and a six-speed gearbox, Sinnis claims its newcomer can also deliver a 60mph+ top speed. But it doesn’t end there.  

The SM-XE also boasts beefy 54mm upside-down forks, and a rising-rate mono-shock at the rear. You also get a traditional tubular steel single loop cradle frame bolted in the middle, and off-road style wavy disc brakes front and rear with regulation ABS.  

Wheels and tyres, meanwhile, are black anodised alloy-rimmed wires in pukka off-road 21in front and 18in rear sizes, both fitted with trail-style knobblies. 

All of that adds up to the maximum permissible performance for a 17-year-old on an A1 class licence. At just a claimed 140kg, the Sinnis should be easily manageable for novices, with contemporary trail bike styling to make you the envy of all your mates. 

Best of all, the SM-XE is currently priced at just £3399 plus on-the-road charges. The equivalent Aprilia is over £450 more, but you can only have it in one colour scheme – white with green detailing.