You don’t need to wait until you’ve passed your motorcycle test to drive a small motorcycle, but you do need 125cc motorbike insurance. We look at everything you need to know and how to cut the cost of your motorbike insurance.
What is a 125cc motorbike?
Anyone over 17 can ride a 125cc motorbike or scooter. What makes a 125cc different to other motorbikes is the size of the engine.
It has a smaller engine, which means it can’t go as fast as other motorbikes on the road, making it a safer option for inexperienced riders. These motorcycles usually have an upper limit of 70 mph.
The ‘cc’ stands for cubic centimetres. The higher this number, the more powerful the motorbike is. For this reason the 125 is also often called a learner motorbike, or an ‘A1 compatible’ motorbike.
Because of its size it’s one of the cheaper motorbikes to buy.
And 125cc motorbike insurance could be more affordable than insurance for more powerful motorcycles because of this.
Petrol costs tend to be relatively low too, and they can usually do 70 - 100 mpg.
What 125cc motorbikes can I buy?
Some of the best-selling 125cc motorbikes include:
- Honda CB125R
- Kawasaki Ninja 125
- Lexmoto ZSB 125
- Suzuki DR125SM
- Yamaha YZF-R125
If you’re aged between 17 and 19 you can only start out on a 125cc motorbike. Older riders who don’t have a full licence also have to stick to this smaller motorbike.
You can’t just buy the motorbike and go, though. Although you don’t need your full licence, there are a number of other requirements - including having a 125cc motorbike insurance policy - to have in place.
125cc motorbikes aren't the smallest on the market. There are also 50cc motorbikes or mopeds that 16-year-olds are allowed to ride. If you're looking for moped insurance, we've got you covered there too.
How much does it cost to insure a 125cc motorbike?
How much your 125cc motorbike costs to insure depends on several factors from the ride itself, to your riding experience and where you're keeping it overnight.
How and when you ride it are important too. If you're only using it to ride to work or socialise, you might pay less than if you're delivering takeaways throughout the night on it.
125cc motorbikes should be cheaper to insure than most motorcycles though, thanks to their small engine and limited speed.
What type of licence do I need to ride a 125cc motorbike?
To ride a 125cc motorbike you need to:
Take compulsory basic training (CBT)
Be aged 17 or over
Have a provisional licence
Have a valid 125cc motorbike insurance policy
If you've got a full car driving licence, you could then apply for a provisional motorcycle licence to be added to it by contacting the DVLA.
If not, you can apply for a provisional motorcycle licence by filling in a ‘D1’ form at GOV.UK. You can also can pick one up at your local post office.
When you have your provisional licence you then have to complete the CBT. It’s a test to teach riders how to ride safely on the road before they get their full licence.
This is essential for riders. If you don’t have it, you could be fined £1,000 and get 6 points on your licence.
You can book your CBT course with a motorcycle training school. The cost of your CBT varies depending on where you do the training and if you use your own moped or motorcycle. The average is around the £130 mark.
What can I expect from the 125cc CBT test?
The test takes a day and it has several different elements including:
- An eyesight check
- On-site training and riding
- On-road training and riding
You don’t pass or fail the CBT, like with a full driving test. Instead, it’s a course you have to complete before you can ride on your own.
Once you’ve done it you’ll get a certificate. You can then ride your motorbike as long as you have learner plates clearly displayed on it.
You’re allowed to ride your motorcycle without taking the full driving test. But you need to retake the CBT test after 2 years if you still only have your provisional licence at this point.
What 125cc insurance do I need to take my CBT?
It’s worth thinking about the type of insurance you have when you complete your CBT. If you use a motorbike that the CBT centre owns, you might be covered under its insurance.
You could also use your own 125cc motorbike, but you have to arrange the insurance beforehand if you do.
When you’re looking for an insurance policy, pay attention to the terms and conditions around cover while you’re doing your CBT test.
Some policies might only cover you if you’re supervised by an instructor. If this is the case you might need to arrange for your motorcycle to be delivered to the centre.
Or, you might have to have an instructor meet you at home and start the test from there.
What do I do if I want to ride a motorbike above 125cc?
There are some confusing rule differences from the DVLA but it has a flow chart to help you find out which licence you need.
If you want to start riding a more powerful motorcycle with a bigger engine, you need to pass your full moped or motorcycle test.
There are several different tests you can take to get your full licence. But the ‘A1’ is the minimum you need to pass to ride a 125cc motorbike without your L plates.
What are the pros and cons of riding on a provisional licence?
It’s completely legal to ride with a provisional licence, as long as you’re following all the rules and have your L-plates displayed at all times. Some riders might choose to keep doing this even if they have the chance to take a full test.
Pros of riding on a provisional licence
It could be cheaper than paying for a full licence
You don’t need to pay for and arrange lessons
You can ride straightaway and skip a lot of extra administration around the full licence
You could earn a no-claims bonus for every year you don’t claim on your insurance, even if you don’t have a full licence
Cons of riding on a provisional licence
You can only ride certain motorbikes
You can't to carry passengers or use the motorway
Your motorbike insurance could cost more
If you don't pass your test within 2 years, you have to retake your CBT
Types of 125cc motorbike insurance
There are 3 main levels of cover for 125cc motorbike insurance and they work the same way as car insurance.
As the name suggests, the only cover you get with this level of insurance is damage to a third party’s property or vehicle. It provides the lowest level of cover but isn’t necessarily the cheapest option. Any costs to repair damage to your own motorbike comes out of your own pocket.
Third-party, fire and theft
You get the same cover as drivers choosing third-party insurance, but you're also covered if your 125cc motorbike is damaged by fire, or stolen.
If you choose comprehensive insurance, you get the same benefits as third-party, fire and theft. The main benefit of comprehensive cover is that it offers protection for your 125cc motorbike if it's involved in an accident, even if it's deemed to be your fault.
Comprehensive policies sometimes come with additional elements, which could include a replacement motorcycle, personal accident cover, or travel outside of the UK.
What's not covered by 125cc motorbike insurance?
It's important to be aware of what is not covered by your 125cc motorbike insurance.
As a general rule expect the following to be excluded:
Passengers - you can insure them with pillion cover, but only if you have a full licence.
Other riders - don't assume their insurance will let them ride your motorbike.
Track days - want a ride on a race track? You'll need to arrange specialist track day insurance.
Modifications - any modifications you make to your ride need to be declared to your insurance company. Your costs may go up, but it's better than risking invalidating your cover.
Damage to tyres.
There are, of course, always variations between policies. To find out what is and what is not covered by your policy, it's important to read your paperwork carefully.
What extra cover can I get with my 125cc motorbike insurance?
As with any motorbike insurance policy, there will be a range of bolt-on benefits you can buy to bolster your cover.
These are likely to include:
- Breakdown cover - to get you back on the road quickly if you breakdown
- Helmet and leathers insurance - both can be expensive to replace if damaged in an accident
- Personal accident insurance - cover that pays out if you're seriously injured in an accident
- Legal expense insurance- your legal costs are paid if someone makes a claim against you after an accident
- No-claims bonus (NCB) protection - this enables you to make a claim on your policy without losing the discount offered to your by your NCB
How do I save money on my 125cc motorbike insurance?
Motorbike insurance is competitive, which means you should take the time to compare insurance prices from different insurers.
This makes sure you’re buying a policy that not only meets your needs but one you can afford as well.
The cost of insurance could also change depending on what kind of licence you have. Riders with a provisional licence might pay higher prices because they’re seen as being at a greater risk of having an accident and making an insurance claim.
There are a number of other ways to cut the cost of 125cc motorbike insurance:
- Enhance your motorbike security. This includes measures like installing a tracker or ground anchor. These could lower your costs as they make your motorcycle more secure.
- Store your motorbike in a safe place, such as a lockable garage, instead of keeping it on the road.
- Consider advanced rider training. The more riding experience you have, the cheaper your insurance tends to be. But it might also be worth investing in advanced riding courses. These not only improve the way you ride, but could lower your insurance costs.
- Look at how you use your motorbike. Your costs could change depending on how you use your motorbike. If it’s for everyday commuting you could pay more compared to occasional, social use.
- Raise your excess. If you choose to pay a higher motorcycle insurance excess, your costs might be lower. Just make sure you could afford to pay the excess if you did make a claim.
- Pay for your insurance yearly, in one lump sum. It tends to be cheaper than making monthly payments that charge interest.
For more information, check out our guide on how to get cheaper motorbike insurance.