Tested – Aprila RS125

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Aprilia’s RS125 is right up there with some of the best bikes I’ve ever ridden – in the top three definitely – and rightly so. You’ll struggle to discover a bike that leaves you grinning as much as this little pocket rocket.

Aprilia ruled the roost in small capacity racing for years, dominating the smaller classes, and this bike is rammed full of the lessons they’ve learnt on the track. It’s light, agile and achingly good looking.

The RS125’s single cylinder engine may only pump out just shy of 15hp in restricted form, but it’s still an intoxicating ride. The lack of power means you’ll try and keep it in the sweet spot as much as possible – the secret to riding this bike is all about working up through the slick gearbox as quickly as possible and keeping the momentum going, and this essentially means that you’ll spend most of the time with the throttle pinned and trying to use the brakes as little as possible.

The lack of power may make overtakes on the motorway a struggle, but away from fast, straight roads the RS125 can hold its own. The chassis is truly amazing – easily capable of handling double the power – and the bike is among the world’s best handling bikes. It’s sublime on the move and corners predictably and precisely, allowing you to confidently attack bend after bend after bend.

And should things even threaten to get out of hand the RS125’s brakes have plenty of bite and feel, bringing things to a controlled halt quickly. That feel and poise is partly down to the quality components, in this case the beefy 40mm upside down forks and the radial caliper at the front.

The attention to detail on the bike is amazing, and the semi-digital dash and the styling give it a proper ‘big bike’ feel. If you’re ever lucky enough to try one on your favourite back roads you’ll be hooked – I am.

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