The Top 10 Best Scooters

‘Scooters’ doesn’t just mean Vespas and Lambrettas, for the most part, it means 125cc (or equivalent) commuters that are both brilliantly practical and among the most popular two-wheelers of all – but which are the 10 best?

Yamaha XMAX 125
Yamaha XMAX 125

A 'scooter' no longer means mods and rockers' Lambrettas and Vespas – in fact, it hasn’t done for many years. Nor does it mean 300cc ‘maxi-scooters’ such as Yamaha’s TMAX which, although impressive performers, can often cost £10K+. We've rounded up the best maxi scooters elsewhere, in case that's what you're after. No, instead, by far the most popular form of scooter is the modern 125cc (or equivalent) automatic commuter that can be one of the most affordable – and effective – of all forms of transport.

 

With simple twist ‘n’ go transmissions, useful underseat luggage compartments, some weather protection, usually low prices (both to buy and run) and, probably most conveniently of all, their A1-licence compatibility, which means they can be ridden on the road with little more than a CBT certificate, A1 class scooters make the most accessible, affordable and often convenient commuters of all.

 

What’s more, they don't need to just be basic transport. Some are ultra cheap, costing little more than £1000. Others are battery-powered, meaning they cost virtually nothing to run and are fully ULEZ-compliant. More than a few have modern luxuries such as Bluetooth compatibility and ‘start-stop’ functions. Others still are stylish design or fashion statements in their own right, while more than one is now available as a leaning three-wheeler!

 

But what’s currently out there and which are the best of each type? We decide in our Top 10 best (125 equivalent) scooters of 2024, in price ascending order…

 

 

10. Lexmoto Titan – the UK’s cheapest, from £1,679.99

Lexmoto Titan 125 - side
Lexmoto Titan 125 - side

Lexmoto is one of the best-known – and most popular – Chinese-built lightweight scooter and motorcycle brands in the UK. And ‘Chinese-built’ usually means one thing – cheap.

 

Lexmoto’s 50cc Echo, at just £1,449.99, remains the UK’s best-selling ‘moped’ while, in the 125cc class, of seven different models, its Titan is also currently the cheapest petrol driven 125cc scooter available in the UK. And, when you’re 17, and having to also pay for fuel, insurance, CBT, clobber and more, cheap can be very tempting indeed.

 

The Titan is the successor to Lexmoto’s previous best-selling FMS 125 and has far more spec, style and ability than you might expect. There’s a Euro5-compliant, fuel-injected, single-cylinder engine producing 7.2bhp at 7500rpm, making it good for around 55mph. It’s smartly styled, has a front disc brake with combined braking, underseat storage and adequate clocks. Sure, it’s not the fastest, best handling or has the build quality and features of the best from Honda and Yamaha, but for the price, it’s a great value and adequate runabout.

 

 

9. Piaggio Liberty 125 – the best ‘big wheeler’, from £2,650

Piaggio Liberty 125
Piaggio Liberty 125

Scooters tend to be either small or ‘big’ wheelers for a reason. Smaller, 10-12-inch wheeled machines will usual be either budget, sports or fashion-type scooters, but the trade-off for that can sometimes be wobbly stability, in the same way a bicycle with small wheels is less stable than one with big ones. It’s all about gyroscopic effect, don’t you know…  ‘Big wheel’ scooters, by contrast, generally use 14-inch or larger wheels, especially at the front, so appear more ‘motorcycle-like’ but, while still eminently practical, are more stable and reassuring to ride, which makes them especially popular for city commuters. On the slight downside, they’re sometimes less appealing visually and can be more expensive.

 

Of them all, the Liberty from Italian scooter specialist Piaggio remains probably the best thanks to its combination of practicality, Italian style and decent value. Introduced in 1997, it’s been updated numerous times since and is offered as both a 50 and 125. It has a larger still 16-inch front wheel while the 14-inch rear carries a generous 100-section tyre to further aid grip. Last updated in 2021, its frame and styling were refreshed to offer more roomy, upright ergonomics while a neat but basic dash gives the usual warning lights and also houses the speedo, fuel gauge and a digital clock. All in all, it’s a great, easy, affordable runabout that’s reassuring to ride and reasonable value. A slightly higher spec ‘S’ version is also available for £2650.

 

 

8. Super Soco CPx – the best-selling electric one, from £2,993

Super Soco CPx.jpg
Super Soco CPx.jpg

Super Soco is among the UK market leaders in electric scooters with its stylish, Chinese-built range of 50cc and 125cc-equivalent machine. The CPx was launched in late 2020 and in its first year became a UK best-seller. 

 

It’s a no-frills, ‘big wheel’ machine (albeit an electric one). There’s a 6bhp-equivalent hub-mounted motor inside the rear wheel, a choice of one or two 2.7kWh removable batteries under the seat and there’s a usefully big, weather-beating windscreen lives up front. Performance admittedly isn’t great, and range isn’t massive, either, but if you keep it under 30mph it can nudge 80 miles in twin battery form. Meanwhile, for the price, nothing else electric comes close.

 

 

7. Suzuki Burgman 125 EX, the best ‘maxi’ 125, from £3,199

A scooter being ridden through Cambridge
A scooter being ridden through Cambridge

Maxi-scooters – larger machines that have more luggage and pillion capacity, extra luxury and features and usually the higher price that goes with it – are mostly associated with larger capacities – except for the Suzuki Burgman.

 

The Japanese marque introduced its first Burgman as a 250 way back in 1998 which proved so successful it spawned a whole family of Burgmans ranging from 125cc to a colossal, twin-cylinder 650.

 

Today, the Burgman lives on in the UK as a 400 (£7,199) and, as revived last year, the 125EX, and although only a 125 it still makes a comfortable, luxurious and great value commuter – if you can handle its size. It’s powered by a new, economical, ‘Suzuki Eco Performance Alpha (SEP-α)’ air-cooled, 125cc, single cylinder four stroke producing 8.5bhp which is claimed to be capable of a massive 148mpg. There’s also smartphone charging, start-stop technology, LED lighting, 21.5L of underseat storage space and a standard rear carrier.

Read our Suzuki Burgman 125 review now

 

6. Honda PCX125 – the UK best-seller, from £3,649

2021 Honda PCX125
2021 Honda PCX125

With well over 20,000 sold since its launch in 2010, the PCX is not just Britain’s best-selling 125 it’s its best-selling powered two-wheeler, period – and for good reason. It’s sporty yet practical, stylish yet well-equipped and also affordable, all backed with the reassurance, reliability and dealer experience the Honda badge brings. 

 

First facelifted and given even better fuel economy (a claimed 134mpg) in 2014, it was further updated for 2016 and received a thorough overhaul again for 2021 to become Euro5 compliant and more. The result is a classy, comfortable scoot that’s easy to ride, engaging enough to entertain and still decent value. Honda currently offers five different 125cc scooters in the UK: the ‘sensible’, big-wheeled SH125i, the more basic Vision, a smaller version, the SH Mode, the luxurious, sporty Forza and the PCX. Of the lot the PCX offers the most for the least money – no wonder it continues to be so popular.

 

 

5. Yamaha NMAX 125 – the PCX rival, from £3,778

Yamaha NMAX 2021 town riding
Yamaha NMAX 2021 town riding

Most recently updated in 2021, Yamaha’s answer to Honda’s best-selling PCX125 is the NMAX as introduced in 2021 and is also one of the best-selling scooters in the class.

 

With smart styling and modern features including keyless ignition, traction control and ‘stop-start’ it’s not only frugal, easy to ride and impressively built – it’s got more than its fair share of quality touches, too. With 13-inch wheels and weighing just 131kg, it’s light, nimble and easy without being flighty or unstable. The modern, liquid-cooled, four-valve single cylinder engine boasts a form of variable valve timing to maximise performance and it has lots of quality touches including a clear LCD dash, smartphone connectivity, two cubby holes and 23 litres of storage space under the seat, all helping make it among the most practical 125 scooters around.

Read our Yamaha NMAX 125 review now

 

4. Yamaha Tricity 125 – the three-wheeler one, from £4,453

Yamaha Tricity 125
Yamaha Tricity 125

There’s been an upsurge in leaning ‘three-wheeled’ motorcycles and scooters in recent years, most popularly with scooters such as Piaggio’s MP3 family and most dramatically in motorcycles with Yamaha’s radical, MT-09-based Niken. The theory behind all is delivering added security and reassurance, particularly to new or less confident riders, by having two front wheels, and therefore extra grip, which lean and steer via sophisticated suspension systems. 

 

Italian giant Piaggio paved the way with its revolutionary MP3 but the latest versions in the UK are now only available in 300, 350 and 500cc forms so Yamaha’s 125cc Tricity, at just £4024, is far more relevant for most commuters. It has a lot going for it, too, if you’re only going short distances. It might not be exactly fast, nor have the cheapness and frugality of more conventional offerings, but it’s more reassuring than most bikes or scooters and is far cheaper and better at traffic-busting than a car!

 

 

3. Vespa GTS 125 – the classic Italian, from £4,850

GTS Super scooter in red
GTS Super scooter in red

If you’re after a classically stylish urban scooter there can be only one – Vespa. The original was launched way back in 1946, established the whole scooter concept with its small wheels and step-thru’ frame, and proved a huge success by being a utilitarian, affordable, but stylish transport-thru for a war-ravaged Italy. It was produced by Italian automotive giant Piaggio (which today remains Europe’s largest manufacturer of powered two-wheelers), named Vespa (Italian for wasp, after the buzzing sound of its two-stroke motor) and led to a whole dynasty of machines.

 

The GTS is Vespa’s modern but classically retro-styled, reincarnation and is available in 125 and 300cc forms. The latest update is Euro5-compliant and has Piaggio’s latest ‘stop-go’ ‘i-GET’ four-valve, single-cylinder engine producing 12.2bhp with decent handling and practicality plus bags of style and quality touches. They’re hugely popular with trendy city types and are a doddle to ride but are better suited to city rides than longer journeys. Quality and equipment are good, too, but with new prices of the 125 approaching £5000 they’re certainly not cheap. For those who can afford it, however, the Vespa GTS is the coolest modern scooter of all.

 

2. Yamaha XMAX 125 – the classy sportster, from £5,353

Yamaha XMAX 125 - side
Yamaha XMAX 125 - side

Dating back to 2014, the XMAX 125 is, like its bigger 300 brother, Yamaha’s premium 125cc sporty scooter offering. As such its closest rival is Honda’s best-selling Forza 125. Yamaha describes it as its "ultimate, everyday urban commuter" and in most respects that's right, attempting to offer, again like the Honda, an ideal balance of sportiness, practicality and functionality.

 

Since updated for Euro5 with a fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, four-stroke single and with updated styling, rudimentary traction control, premium LCD dash, LED lights, two-position screen and keyless ignition, it’s a tempting alternative to the Forza but also comes with an even more premium version, the XMAX 125 Tech MAX which, at £5803 also has unique satin paint, special dual seat, aluminium footrests, machined end grips and chrome speedo ring. 

 

 

1. Maeving RM1S – the trendy electric one, from £7,495

Maeving RM1S Review: Inner and Outer City Commuter Tested
Maeving RM1S Review: Inner and Outer City Commuter Tested

British brand Maeving launched its first product, the RM1, a vintage-styled, big-wheeled, electric-powered, 50cc-equivalent bicycle/motorcycle in 2022 to great success. Now the company has followed it up with this more powerful, A1-class S version, which is capable of around 70mph.

Although strictly speaking not really a scooter (due to its large 18-inch wheels and lack of leg-protectors and storage space), it’s such a great commuter and city machine we had to include it here. It’s a simple twist ‘n’ go so is a doddle to ride; is brisk enough to keep with city traffic, is light and nimble so slices through traffic effortlessly and, probably best of all, it’s so beautifully made and chic, you can’t help but turn heads all the way from Shoreditch to SoHo. 

Read our Maeving RM1S review now

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