25 years af­ter its birth, the RS125 is back

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Jon Urry MCN GUEST TESTER

The Aprilia RS125 first smoked its way on to race tracks 25 years ago and quickly set about dom­i­nat­ing its class. Quick to link its GP suc­cess to its road bikes, Aprilia launched the sporty AF125 Fu­tura in the same year, which be­came the RS125R Ex­trema in 1994 and fi­nally the leg­endary RS125 in 1996, a ma­chine that up­held the hon­our of stink-wheels the world over and kick-started nu­mer­ous GP ca­reers un­til it was re­placed by the four-stroke RS4 in 2011.

Now, to cel­e­brate the RS’S 25th an­niver­sary as well as up­dat­ing it to make it Euro4-com­pli­ant, Aprilia has changed the name of their RS4 to RS125 in homage. But it re­mains a four-stroke…

True to form, the RS125’S liv­ery re­mains race-in­spired. The fair­ing de­sign is the same Rsv4-mim­ick­ing look as be­fore, but along­side the black and sil­ver paintschemes, you now have the op­tion of a Mo­togp-rep for an ex­tra £100, which even comes with a quick­shifter.

The dash is up­dated and can be linked to a smart­phone via Aprilia’s AMP sys- tem, there is more un­der­seat stor­age, ABS is fit­ted and the mo­tor is Euro4­com­pli­ant with­out any change in power or torque. So it’s ba­si­cally an RS4 that is Euro4-friendly, and with a bit of Ital­ian mar­ket­ing hype be­hind it.

The en­gine is very smooth thanks to a bal­ancer shaft, and makes the re­quired 15bhp that al­lows it to top 80mph while also only sip­ping petrol. But, like all small-ca­pac­ity four-strokes, it is very flat in its per­for­mance and hits a brick wall rev lim­iter at 11,000rpm. These char­ac­ter­is­tics make it feel func­tional rather than thrilling.

The chas­sis does noth­ing to re­ally dis­tin­guish it­self from the likes of the Yamaha YZF-R125 or KTM RC125. The sus­pen­sion is sur­pris­ingly good, though, and it han­dles im­pres­sively as well as be­ing nice and roomy for taller rid­ers.

The two-stroke RS125 was al­ways an as­pi­ra­tional 125 due to its rac­ing suc­cess and its abil­ity to be eas­ily der­e­stricted, which helped jus­tify its higher price tag. But the four-stroke world has changed all this. The new RS125 is cer­tainly de­sir­able, but un­der­neath its racy im­age it’s just an­other 15bhp four-stroke 125.

HIGH­LIGHTS O New dash with in-built lap timer and op­tional AMP con­nec­tiv­ity Un­der­seat stor­age com­part­ment

Fancy new dis­play gets new lap timer It’s cer­tainly got the racy looks nailed

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