Smiles for miles, bigger than most of these bikes.
Riders choose bikes for any number of different reasons. Sometimes (and maybe even frequently), the heart just wants what it wants, and it won’t take no for an answer. While minimotos are great at certain tasks, they’re clearly not meant to be the fastest, best-handling, or most off-road-capable machines you’ll ever throw a leg over. That’s totally fine, because that’s not what they’re meant to do.
Choose the right one for your needs and you’ll have a lot of fun, no matter what you use it for. You’ll also probably save yourself some money at every turn—both on the bike itself, as well as the insurance and fuel costs. Here in 2023, those are definitely looking like points in this category’s favor. We love cheap and cheerful, especially when it comes with a heaping helping of ‘good’ on the side.
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 2023. 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. 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.
For 2023, Honda somehow upped the Monkey’s unique aesthetics even further by giving it a tartan makeover. It’s a chef’s kiss of a design choice if we’ve ever seen one.
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
Honda ST125 Dax
We know there are a lot of Hondas on this list, but when you’re the company that offers the most bikes in a given category, that’s going to happen. The ST125 Dax is yet another resurrection of a well-loved model from Honda’s past—but of course, with modern conveniences/safety items like disc brakes and ABS. A little bike like this is all about the charm, which the ST125 Dax has in abundance.
Engine: 124.9cc air-cooled single cylinder
Curb weight: 107 kilograms, or just under 236 pounds
Price: £3,749, or about $4,609
What’s that, you say? You want a small-displacement dual sport with 6.3 inches of suspension travel and fat tires? You’re in luck, ‘cause Yamaha has you covered. Sure, Team Tuning Fork has been making the TW200 for what seems like forever, but then again, you could say the same for the Super Cub, and look how many people love it.
The TW200 is a diminutive little dual-sport that might be a great option for you if indeed, you’re all about that dual-sport life. If you can’t stick to just the dirt or just the tarmac, your choices are limited in this category—but Yamaha wants to make sure you know that you do have some good ones.
Engine: 196cc air-cooled single overhead cam single-cylinder
Curb weight: 278 pounds
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
If you enjoy R-series Yamaha looks, but you want them minified, then hopefully you live in a market where the R125 World GP 60th Anniversary bike is available for sale in 2023. That’s right; it sports that absolutely beautiful 60th Anniversary livery in the smallest possible package you can find it in. It also comes Yamaha’s Deltabox frame, an assist and slipper clutch, LCD instrumentation, and a 140mm-wide rear tire.
Engine: 124cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder
Curb weight: 144 kilograms, or about 317.46 pounds
Price: £5,500, or about $6,757
KTM 200 Duke
This pocket-sized Duke packs more than just a styling punch. Features include a Supermoto ABS mode, WP Apex upside-down forks and monoshock, and radially-mounted ByBre brake calipers. When you’re ready for something a little more powerful than a 125cc naked bike, the 200 offers a claimed 18.4 kilowatts (just under 25 horsepower) at 10,000 rpm. Claimed torque is 19.3 newton-meters (about 14.23 pound-feet) of torque at 8,000 rpm.
Engine: 199.5cc liquid-cooled single cylinder
Curb weight: 159 kilograms, or about 350.5 pounds
Price: ₹ 191,693, or about $2,331
Think you can’t have a mini-motard? Aprilia wants you to think again. It comes equipped with Bosch ABS on the front wheel, a Magneti Marelli MIUG4 ECU, and of course, that inimitable Aprilia styling. Further proof that you don’t need a big bike to have a big smile in the saddle.
Engine: 124.2cc liquid-cooled single cylinder
Curb weight: 134 kilograms, or 295.4 pounds
Price: £ 3,900, or about $4,792
Husqvarna Svartpilen 125
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: £ 4,799, or about $5,896
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.
Engine: 49cc two-stroke single cylinder
Curb weight: 45 kilograms, or about 99 pounds
Price: No longer available new, but used versions can go for silly money if they’re very nice.
Tell Us What We’ve Missed
What’s your favorite small-displacement bike in 2023? 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.