125cc Scooter vs 125cc Motorcycle – Which Is Better?

Scooter - Cover Page

Wondering whether to buy a 125cc scooter or a 125cc motorcycle for your daily commute?

While there are definite advantages for each of these two-wheeler, the decision depends on what factors do you favor in your vehicle.

A 125cc scooter comes along with foot-rest platform, built in storage and automatic transmission. It will also have a better fuel economy, lower weight and easier usability when compared to its motorcycle counterpart.

A 125cc motorcycle, on the other hand, will have manual transmission, higher fuel capacity, higher power and better top speed advantages.

Difference between a Scooter and a Motorcycle

Before diving into the differences, let us first quickly go through what these two-wheelers are.


The main distinction that scooters has from their two-wheeler counterparts is a step-through frame and a platform for the rider’s feet.

The normal engine capacities for a scooter range from 50cc to 250cc.

Engine cc refers to the capacity of the engine measured in cubic centimeters. A 50cc engine here, for example, will have an engine whose cylinder volume capacity is 50 cubic centimeters.

However, you can find scooter makes whose engines go all the way up to 850-900cc nowadays.

Unlike motorcycles, scooters do not have manual transmission for motor acceleration. The rider has to just twist the hand throttle to accelerate and decelerate the scooter.

As a result, scooters are easy to use since the rider does not need to learn operating manual transmission. In addition, scooters are light weighted and affordable when compared to motorcycles.   


A motorcycle is characterized as the two-wheeled vehicle which is powered by a motor and contains no pedals and no step-through chassis.

The normal engine capacities range from 100cc to 1500cc. Bigger motorcycles with more cylinders have their capacities go as high as 2500cc and even more.

Motorcycles have manual transmission system and as a result, the motorcycle rider must learn to operate the transmission. For every gear change, the rider has to shift the gear pedal while simultaneously using the clutch lever. The gear pedal should be shifted up for higher speeds and should be shifted down for lower speeds.

Motorcycles have higher speed capabilities and has a superior braking system when compared to the scooters.


Engine Size50cc to 250cc100cc to 1500cc (and more)
Gear TransmissionAutomatic or CVTManual Transmission
Wheel Size10’’ – 16’’16’’ or larger
Built-in StorageYesNo
Footrest platformYesNo
Power and SpeedLowHigh
WeightLight weightHeavy weight

Case Study: 125cc Scooter

To understand the difference between a 125cc Scooter and a 125cc Motorcycle, we have taken 2 case studies with a model vehicle for each category.

For 125cc scooter, we have considered Honda SH125i for suitable comparison.

Honda SH125i

The Honda SH125i is a popular learner friendly scooter with 125 cc single cylinder engine, producing 12.9 bhp at 8,250 rpm and maximum torque at 6,500 rpm.

The pricing is at premium end of the spectrum with features including Dual channel ABS, bag hook, and adjustable dual rear shocks.

125cc Scooter - Honda SH125i


  • Capacity: 125 cc (low)
  • Power: 13 bhp / 10 kW (low)
  • Red Line: 10,000 rpm (average)
  • Top Speed: 70 mph / 113 km/h (average)
  • Economy: 130 mpg / 2.2 L/100km (very good)
  • Range: 200 miles / 322 km (high)
  • Fuel Capacity: 7.0 litres / 1.5 gallons (low)
  • Seat Height: 799 mm / 31.5 inches (low)
  • Wet Weight: 134 kg / 295 pounds (light)
  • Power to Weight: 0.097 bhp/kg / 0.072 kW/kg

Case Study: 125cc Motorcycle

For 125cc Motorcycle case study, we have considered Yamaha MT-125.

Yamaha MT-125

The Yamaha MT-125 is a premium learner friendly naked bike with 125 cc single cylinder engine with Variable Valve Timing (VVT), producing 14.8 bhp at 9,000 rpm and maximum torque at 8,000 rpm.

The key features include aluminium swing arm, ABS system, 6 speed gearbox with gear position indicator etc.

125cc Motorcycle - Yamaha MT-125


  • Capacity: 125 cc (low)
  • Power: 15 bhp / 11 kW (low)
  • Red Line: 11,000 rpm (high)
  • Top Speed: 80 mph / 129 km/h (average)
  • Economy: 90 mpg / 3.1 L/100km (very good)
  • Range: 200 miles / 322 km (high)
  • Fuel Capacity: 10.0 litres / 2.2 gallons (average)
  • Seat Height: 810 mm / 31.9 inches (average)
  • Wet Weight: 140 kg / 309 pounds (light)
  • Power to Weight: 0.107 bhp/kg / 0.080 kW/kg

Difference between 125cc Scooter and 125 Motorcycle

Now that we have glanced through the key specifications of a 125cc Scooter and a 125 Motorcycle, here are the key differences.

 Parameters125cc Scooter
[Honda SH125i]
125cc Motorcycle
[Yamaha MT-125]
Engine Capacity125 cc125 cc
Power13 bhp / 10 kW15 bhp / 11 kW
Red Line10,000 rpm 11,000 rpm
Top Speed70 mph / 113 km/h 80 mph / 129 km/h
Economy130 mpg / 2.2 L/100km 90 mpg / 3.1 L/100km
Range200 miles / 322 km 200 miles / 322 km
Fuel Capacity7.0 litres / 1.5 gallons10.0 litres / 2.2 gallons
Seat Height799 mm / 31.5 inches810 mm / 31.9 inches
Wet Weight134 kg / 295 pounds140 kg / 309 pounds
Power to weight0.097 bhp/kg / 0.072 kW/kg0.107 bhp/kg / 0.080 kW/kg

As you can see in the above table, here are the features where scooter is better  and the features where motorcycle is the winner.

Features better in 125cc Scooter

  1. Economy
  2. Low Weight

Features better in 125cc Motorcycle

  1. Power
  2. Top Speed
  3. Fuel Capacity

Factors to Consider

Apart from the performance features and distinction mentioned above, you also need to consider a few more factors if you are planning to buy one of the two-wheelers.


If your daily commute includes manoeuvring through busy traffic roads, a scooter might be a better two-wheeler here. Unlike motorcycles, scooters are easy to handle when it comes to acceleration and braking. They do not possess the manual transmission gear system, which makes them handy to use in busy traffic roads.


Motorcycles takes away the trophy here due to their superior braking system and better equipped suspension. If you are riding through potholes, motorcycles absorb the shock much easily than a scooter. Also, when driving in high speeds, motorcycle brake will prove to be better if you have to halt abruptly.

However, if you are involved in an accident, scooters are much better bet owing to their leg room and low weight.

Built-in Storage

Scooters have built-in storage facility with a large space over the rear wheel. The bike rider can easily place helmet or other goods in the space provided. However, motorcycles lack any kind of built in storage with them.


Since scooters are easier to ride and manoeuvre, not much training and understanding of the operability is required. This will prove useful as other members of your family and friends can also use your scooter without much fuss.

What’s it going to be?

Accounting the advantages and disadvantages along with the factors you are considering, which one of these two vehicles do you prefer for your daily commute?

Is it going to be a 125cc scooter or its motorcycle counterpart?