Mini motos mean a lot of things to a lot of people. For some, they represent a nostalgic wormhole that leads right back to the days when they first started riding. Depending on where you live in the world, and how motorbike licensing is structured, they could just be an everyday type of bike that you and everyone you know use to get around. Bikes that may be small, and not particularly glamorous, but you love them because they do their jobs well and get you where you need to go.
As riders, we might disagree on any number of things—but the one thing that tends to bring all riders together is how attached we can get to bikes we love. Moto love, like other types of love, isn’t always logical. One rider’s terrible mistake of a bike-buying decision is another’s One True Love, you know?
The brief here was bikes under 250cc (or equivalent), so here’s a quick and dirty list of great small-displacement bikes you can get in 2022. Please note that not all bikes are available in all regions. All specs are taken from their respective manufacturers, as and where available—and if said specs aren’t available, then we haven’t included them.
For some years, the Honda Grom was sold as the MSX125 in markets outside the U.S. However, with the most recent revision in 2021 (sold as a 2022 model in the U.S.), Honda decided not to fight the enthusiast tide any longer, and it’s now universally called the Grom.
What can we say about this little guy that hasn’t already been said? It’s got a style mostly all its own—although Honda clearly took notes from itself when it drafted the Navi, which drew definite design cues from its older sibling, the Grom. People love to customize it, and if you can’t have fun on a Grom, you probably shouldn’t be riding bikes. Sorry, we don’t make the rules.
Engine: 123.9cc air-cooled single cylinder
Curb weight: 103 kilograms, or 227 pounds
The Honda Monkey’s silhouette needs no introduction. There’s a reason, after all, that an acceptable synonym for mini moto is “monkey bike.” With the genre’s genesis in the 1970s, Honda struck a very specific goldmine here, and created a moto styling icon for the ages. Sure, there may be variants—but in your heart, there’s only one Monkey. In a world where everything old is new again with almost clockwork-like regularity, the Monkey’s charms are honestly pretty comforting.
Engine: 124.9cc air-cooled single cylinder
Curb weight: 231 pounds
Honda Super Cub C125
The most current version of the world’s best-selling motorcycle is small, approachable, practical, and extremely friendly. What other motorbike—in any segment—has such a devoted fanbase that someone actually created and published a comic book about it that later got turned into an anime series? Not even Vespa can make that particular claim.
Engine: 124cc air-cooled single cylinder
Curb weight: 238 pounds
In the 1970s, tiny little Honda trail bikes first made inroads into American woodlands and hearts alike. Many years passed without a mini moto to fill this particular niche, but at long last—it's back. Of course, if you put “Trail” in a model name, you know that riders will want to test its capabilities. As most would probably expect, it’s not a rugged adventure bike—but it’s more than happy to take you on plenty of weekend camping adventures, then be your trusty commuting companion. Most commuter-focused bikes can’t do both, so that certainly sets it apart.
Engine: 124.9cc air-cooled single cylinder
Curb weight: 259 pounds
This electric conversation-starter features a unique and polarizing design language all its own. While it’s no e-bike, its light weight and diminutive size mean you could probably take it into a building with you if you don’t want to leave it parked outside. Importantly, it features a removable battery that can just as easily be charged off the bike as on—and it weighs 37 pounds, so it’s not totally ridiculous to tote around. (Side question: If you have to walk up a significant number of stairs with your battery, does it count as exercise?)
Motor: Interior permanent magnet motor that makes a claimed 10kW (13.5 hp) and 252 Nm (185.9 pound-feet) of torque at the rear wheel
Battery and charging: 50 Ah / 2.6 kWh removable battery that can be charged on or off the bike; charges from standard 110 or 220V outlet from 0 to 80 percent in two hours or 0 to 100 percent in three hours
Range: 53.5 miles combined
Top speed: over 56 mph
Curb weight: 174 pounds including battery
Kawasaki Z125 Pro
Kawasaki design in the 2020s has grown increasingly angular, whether faired or naked—and the Z125 Pro is no exception. The 2022 colorway of Pearl Robotic White and Candy Plasma Blue practically screams “superdeformed Gundam” with its styling, and that’s before you even get an eyeful of those color names. Did Kawasaki make those choices on purpose? Only the design department knows for sure. It’s a good example of a tiny bike not necessarily projecting a cuddly image. If that’s what you’re looking for, then this could be the minimoto for you.
Engine: 125cc air-cooled single cylinder
Curb weight: 224.8 pounds
Yamaha MT125 (non-U.S. model)
If you love the lines of Yamaha’s current iteration of its MT family, but want to see it minified, then the MT125 should be on your radar. That is, if it’s available in your market. The 2022 Cyan Storm colorway is particularly tasty, and puts us in mind of Petronas blue.
Could this be the furthest thing from a Petronas FP1 that there is? Maybe, but since you’d ride each of these bikes for completely different reasons, they’re not exactly in competition with one another.
Engine: 124cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder
Curb weight: 142 kilograms, or 313 pounds
Price: £4,700, or about $6,360
KTM 125 Duke (non-U.S. model)
A bike’s looks and your personal feelings about them are always important, but possibly not more so than on small-displacement options like this. That said, you either enjoy KTM Duke designs or you don’t. If you do, then the idea of a pocket-sized Duke—which, incidentally, KTM rather amusingly refers to as “Spawn of the Beast” in its marketing materials—could be immensely appealing to a level that defies size.
Engine: 124.71cc liquid-cooled single cylinder
Dry weight: 141.4 kilograms, or about 311.7 pounds
Price: ₹ 1.69 Lakh, or about $2,260
Aprilia RS125 (non-U.S. model)
If you’re looking for Aprilia RSV looks in a tiny little 125cc bike, there’s only one answer for you. Luckily, it’s a minified stunner with the kind of sporty styling that only Noale can provide. It’s living proof that power doesn’t have to be everything when you look this good.
Engine: 124.2cc liquid-cooled single cylinder
Curb weight: 144 kilograms, or 317.4 pounds
Price: £4,600, or about $6,226
Husqvarna Svartpilen 125 (non-U.S. model)
Clean, modern, minimalist lines define the Svartpilen family, and the 125 certainly doesn’t buck that trend. The dark smoke and matte bronze colorway looks particularly good with the planes and angles present in this design, instantly setting it apart from the bevy of nostalgia-inducing retro-modern designs currently available. It’s different from just about everything else—even its close Pierer family cousin, the KTM Duke 125.
Engine: 125cc liquid-cooled single cylinder
Dry weight: 146 kilograms, or about 321.9 pounds
Price: £4,499, or about $6,090
Forever Winner: Honda Motocompo
Can any of the other bikes on this list fold up and fit in the trunk of a regular passenger car? We’re not talking about trucks or SUVs here, just regular cars. No? We didn’t think so. Long before the concept of last-mile vehicles became A Thing, the Motocompo was way ahead of the curve. There’s a reason that enthusiasts have pined for Honda to bring it back as an electric mini moto for years. Even as recently as 2021, you can see how influential its design remains in modern creations such as the ICOMA Tatamel Bike concept.
Engine: 49cc two-stroke single cylinder
Curb weight: 45 kilograms, or about 99 pounds
Price: No longer available new, but used versions can cost almost as much as that Cake if they’re very nice.
How About You?
What’s your favorite small-displacement bike in 2022? There are plenty to choose from, depending on where you’re located—so let us know in the comments if yours isn’t listed here.