First ride: Rieju RS3 125LC

Spanish 125 - Yamaha engine

Posted: 21 April 2011
by mark forsyth
Steel frame shrouded in alloy-look plastic covers
Fab'd alloy swingarm
Dinky blinkers
Er, is that a 600?
Spartan clocks
Gold chain - class

The Spanish Rieju manufacturer might be a new name to us here in Blighty but the company has some serious, deep-rooted history. They've been making two-wheelers non-stop since 1947 and were formed just before the Spanish civil war in 1934 where, like Sochiro Honda, they started by making bicycle parts.

I became aware of them last year when we had an MX50Pro on test. My twelve year old son did his best to break this manic, derestricted two stroke 'crosser but it proved to be unburstable. Great fun, too.

Because my eldest lad has now taken to the road it's given me the opportunity to ride lots of different learner models as we hunt for a likely candidate and, guess what, that Rieju name crops up again.

The Rieju RS3 125LC looks drop-dead gorgeous through the impressionable eyes of a seventeen year-old. Through slightly more jaundiced eyes (mine) it look pretty good, too. A beautifully fabricated alloy swingarm, upside down forks, radial front caliper and lightweight alloy wheels  aren't the sort of spec' that you'd expect on a learner bike. In terms of specification the Rieju knocks the opposition into a cocked Arai.

But never mind all the bling. What really matters is the engine.

It is exactly the same Minarelli four-stroke lump found in Yamaha's top-selling YZF125. Rieju have had an engine supply deal with the Italian firm since 1964 so it's understandable why they would also want access to this bullet-proof little DOHC, liquid-cooled motor.

There's a fundamental difference with the pricier Yamaha, though. While the YZF is fuelled by injectors and a complicated ECU, the Rieju uses a carb'. Rieju claim this frees up a horsepower or two but, looking at this parentally, it makes the RS3 a much easier (and cheaper) bike to derestrict when the L-plates eventually get binned and 15bhp just isn't enough.

In its restricted 15bhp form the Rieju will sit at an indicated 70mph all day. The engine is eager to rev and even sounds nice in a sort of growly, induction noisy kind of way. It was noticeably faster in all applications than the Honda CBR125 we've got on test at the moment. 

Steering is pretty sharp but stable at flat-out speeds which, let's face it, is where any 125 is going to spend 99% of its life. The riding position is more like a 250 (without the weight) so there's plenty of space for the bigger boned and much more chance that the opposite sex will be convinced this is a bigger bike than a mere 125. And how important is that last fact? Very.

I think the RS3 LC looks even better than Aprilia's now defunct two-stroke RS125. We looked at buying a used RS125 but practicality put me off. I mean, two-strokes and seventeen year-olds aren't a good mix , are they? Hail seizure and all that.  Mindful of the distinct possibility of endless 2am recovery trips we decided that a four-stroke is definitely the way forward for an easy life.

So far, the Rieju is up there at the top of the shopping list. We've got a few more bikes to try but the combination of knock-out spec, stunning styling and a bullet-proof, tunable Yamaha/Minarelli engine are going to take some beating.

The price is pretty keen, too. The RS3 LC retails for £3.399 OTR against £4,249 for the Yamaha.

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Rieju, RS3125LC, Learner legal

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MCN Group test versus CBR125 YFZR 125, Kymco 125, RS 125  27/04/11 Rieju RS3 125LC gets fastest 125 cc fourstroke and comments like "Rieju is on to a winner with its RS3 the same engine as the Yamaha but the Spanish bike out performs it and saving over £900". " There's no getting away from the fact that the RS3 is a good looking machine". "Based on the fun we had with this bike the RS3 is definitely a stunning bit of kit for your £3299"

 Looks like the fourstroke 125 sports market has a new king? 

Posted: 30/04/2011 at 11:19

Rieju RS3 got fastest fourstroke 125 in the group test - R125 77.6 MPH , Kymco 68.5 mph, Honda CBR125 73.2 Rieju RS3 125LC 79.7 mph , only quicker was the 2 stroke aprilia at 84.1 (but soon to be changed for a fourstroke version)

Posted: 30/04/2011 at 11:22

The 50cc version of this bike is one of the most ureliable bikes i have ever owned, if not IS th most unreliable bike ive ever owned. Not sure how the 125 version is but the 50cc model is horrendous. Highly recommend not buying the 50cc model, the problems i had was a faulty 2T tank (leaked 2 stroke oil everywhere), faulty speedo, faulty high beam headlight, faulty steering lock and a faulty spark plug.

Posted: 27/08/2012 at 02:11

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