The Aprilia RS 125 stands as a beacon of Aprilia’s dedication to blending performance and design. Hailing from the picturesque Italian town of Noale, this lightweight sports bike caters to both novices and seasoned riders. Since its inception in the late 20th century, the RS 125 has not only carved a niche in Aprilia’s esteemed lineup but has also resonated with motorcycle aficionados worldwide, thanks to its balance of affordability, style, and performance.
Dimensions & Weight
|Seat Height||820 mm|
|Dry Weight||134 kg|
Engine & Performance
|Engine Type||Single-cylinder, four-stroke, liquid-cooled|
|Engine Size/Displacement||124.2 cc|
Transmission & Fuel
|Number of Gears||6-speed|
|Fuel Capacity||14.5 litres|
|Fuel Economy||40-45 mpg|
Chassis & Suspension
|Frame Type||Aluminum perimeter frame|
|Front/Rear Suspension||40mm upside-down telescopic fork / Asymmetrical swingarm with monoshock|
|Front/Rear Brake||Single disc with radial calipers|
History and Evolution of the Aprilia RS125
Late 1980s and Early 1990s: The Beginning
The RS125 was designed to replace the old Aprilia AF1 and debuted in 1991, marking Aprilia’s entry into the Grand Prix motorcycle World Championship. Initially, the bike was powered by a Rotax two-stroke engine, aligning with the sporty aspirations Aprilia had for the model.
Mid-1990s: Making a Mark
Between 1992 and 1995, the model was known as the RS125R Extrema and featured a Rotax 123 engine, a rectangular headlight, and analog gauges among other features. By the period of 1996 to 1998, the model saw a revision with a new Rotax 122 engine and a rounded headlight unit, as well as the addition of a digital gauge replacing the temperature gauge.
Late 1990s: Aerodynamic Mastery
The RS125 underwent another revision from 1999 to 2005, introducing more rounded and bulbous fairings, a single air duct on the driver’s right-hand side, and an enlarged lip on the headlight unit, which were seen as steps towards better aerodynamics.
2000s: Embracing Modern Technology
The dawn of the new millennium brought with it technological advancements, and the RS 125 was no exception. From 2006 to 2012, the RS125 saw substantial updates including a completely new fairing styling similar to the RSV 1000R, a digital gauge, and multispoke rims. Notably, in 2008, the electronics were updated to meet more stringent EURO3 emissions standards. While the model retained a two-stroke engine, it now featured a new Dell’orto 28 mm VHST carburetor.
2010s: Safety and Electronics
In 2012, the RS125 model line was replaced by the RS4 125, transitioning from a two-stroke to a single-cylinder four-stroke fuel-injected system. This new model, now known as the RS125 since 2016, carried forward the legacy of the RS125 but with modern technological enhancements, such as fuel injection for improved fuel efficiency and smoother throttle response, as well as digital displays and ABS for enhanced safety.
Performance and Handling
The Aprilia RS 125’s performance narrative starts with its heart: the 124.2 cc engine. Though its specs might seem modest, this single-cylinder, four-stroke engine surprises many with its energetic acceleration and a melodic throttle note. Paired with a 6-speed transmission, riders get access to smooth gear shifts, ensuring the power remains within grasp, whether cruising or sprinting.
Chassis and suspension play a pivotal role in the RS 125’s revered handling. The lightweight aluminium frame, inspired by Aprilia’s racing lineage, ensures agility while the bike’s suspension — telescopic forks upfront and a monoshock at the rear — strikes a balance between comfort and sportiness. Whether on a long stretch or navigating tight bends, the RS 125 offers a ride that’s both confident and exhilarating.
Safety hasn’t been overlooked. With disc brakes on both wheels, stopping power is assertive and reliable. The addition of an ABS system in newer models brings an extra layer of security, preventing wheel lock-ups during sudden braking scenarios, a testament to Aprilia’s commitment to rider safety.
Maintenance and Reliability
Maintaining a machine as finely tuned as the Aprilia RS 125 requires a combination of regular checks and proactive measures. Known for its robust engineering and meticulous Italian design, the RS 125 has, over the years, established a reputation for reliability. However, like all mechanical wonders, it thrives best with consistent care.
Routine maintenance is paramount. Oil changes, for instance, are recommended roughly every 3,000 miles or annually, ensuring the engine remains lubricated and operates at its peak. The bike’s chain also necessitates regular attention, with adjustments and lubrication suggested every 500 to 1,000 miles. This not only ensures smooth transmission but also prolongs the lifespan of the chain and sprockets. Brake fluid, a crucial component for safety, should be inspected regularly and replaced approximately every two years to maintain optimal braking performance.
Yet, it’s not just about routine checks. Aprilia’s commitment to their riders extends to addressing potential issues head-on. Over the years, there have been occasional recalls or advisories, but Aprilia’s approach has always been proactive. By promptly addressing concerns and offering solutions, they’ve ensured that riders can continue their journeys with peace of mind.
Owners’ forums and communities often echo a similar sentiment: the Aprilia RS 125, when treated with care and respect, rewards its rider with consistent performance and reliability. Regular maintenance, combined with the brand’s dedication to excellence, means that this motorcycle remains a trustworthy companion for the roads ahead.
Aprilia RS125 Reviews and Testimonials
The voice of the rider community offers an invaluable perspective on any motorcycle, and the Aprilia RS 125 is no exception. Over the years, riders, both novice and experienced, have taken to various platforms to share their experiences, and these reviews and testimonials paint a vivid picture of what it’s like to own and ride this iconic machine.
The Positive Acclaim
Most riders laud the RS 125 for its exhilarating riding experience. Its nimble handling, combined with a punchy engine, makes it a joy to ride, especially on twisty roads. Many owners appreciate its sporty aesthetic, often mentioning how the bike’s design garners attention and admiration. The RS 125, for many, isn’t just a mode of transport; it’s a statement, an extension of their personality. Novice riders, in particular, find it to be an excellent stepping stone into the world of sportbikes, praising its forgiving nature and manageable power output.
While the majority of feedback is positive, some riders have expressed areas where they believe there’s room for improvement. The seating position, for a few, can be a tad aggressive for long rides, leading to discomfort. Others have commented on the exhaust note, yearning for a beefier sound reminiscent of older two-stroke models. Some also wish for a more comprehensive digital display, with modern amenities like smartphone connectivity and navigation.
When riders compare the RS 125 to its peers, such as the Yamaha YZF-R125 or the KTM RC 125, the Aprilia often receives praise for its superior handling dynamics and distinctive Italian design flair. However, some believe that its competitors offer a slightly more holistic package in terms of features and electronic aids at similar price points.
Frequently Asked Questions
What class of motorcycle does the Aprilia RS 125 belong to?
The Aprilia RS 125 is classified as a lightweight sports bike, often favoured by beginners and those looking for an agile ride.
Can I ride the Aprilia RS 125 with a provisional licence?
In many countries, including the UK, you can ride the Aprilia RS 125 with a provisional licence and a completed Compulsory Basic Training (CBT). However, regulations may vary by country, so it’s essential to check local rules.
How does the RS 125 fare in terms of insurance costs?
Being a 125cc bike, the RS 125 generally has lower 125cc insurance premiums than larger sports bikes. However, rates can vary based on factors like age, riding experience, and location.
Is the Aprilia RS 125 a two-stroke or a four-stroke?
The modern Aprilia RS 125 models are four-stroke. However, earlier models of the RS 125 were two-stroke.
How often does the RS 125 need a top-end rebuild?
For older two-stroke models, top-end rebuilds were recommended roughly every 10,000 miles, depending on usage. The modern four-stroke versions are generally more robust and require less frequent major maintenance.
What’s the top speed of the Aprilia RS 125?
The RS 125 can reach a top speed of around 80-90 mph, depending on the model year and conditions.
Are there any aftermarket parts I should consider for the RS 125?
Many riders opt for aftermarket exhausts, performance air filters, and ECU upgrades. These can enhance performance but might affect warranty and insurance. Always research and choose reputable brands.
How does the RS 125 handle wet or slippery conditions?
Thanks to its lightweight frame and reliable ABS system in newer models, the RS 125 handles wet conditions reasonably well for its class. However, like all bikes, caution is advised in slippery conditions.
How comfortable is the RS 125 for pillion riders?
While the RS 125 is designed with a pillion seat, it’s more suited for short rides due to its sporty nature. For longer journeys, comfort might be an issue for the passenger.