When every major motorcycle manufacturer has a motorcycle with at least 1,000cc, it’s easy to dismiss 50cc and 125cc motorcycles as slow. However, you may be surprised to learn how fast some 50cc scooters can go. In fact, most 50cc and 125cc motorcycles come with restrictors installed to reduce their top speeds. Depending on local laws, riders may be allowed to remove those restrictions and unlock a new level of 50cc speed and 125cc speed.
How fast is 50cc?
Production 50cc motorbike and scooter top speeds range between 50-100 kph (about 30-60 mph). Most of them fall in the middle of that range. Top speeds are similar for most stock 50cc motorcycles because in many markets, these bikes tend to come with engine restrictions.
The top speed of your 50cc can also depend on whether it’s a scooter or a motorcycle. Scooters tend to have smaller wheels, which will be poorly suited to higher speeds.
At this displacement, the question “how fast is 50cc” might not be the right question to ask. Scooters are appreciated by many for their reliability and their fuel economy. They are designed to be simple and convenient commuter tools. At this displacement, speed isn’t their primary purpose.
The fastest 50cc
The current 50cc land speed record belongs to a metal fabricator who hit just over 233 kmph (about 145 mph) on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
However, this speed was achieved with a turbo-charged streamliner. These are nothing like production 50cc bikes. They use a special record-setting chassis in which the rider rides lying down and the rider and the engine are both located in between the front and rear wheels.
Information on the fastest 50cc scooter is scarce because most riders interested in speed will simply opt for larger-displacement motorcycles. Furthermore, 50cc motorcycles are often mechanically restricted to speeds of around 50kmph (30-35 mph). Complicating the issue further still are derestrictions and modifications. Many riders will derestrict their 50cc motorbikes and install performance parts to increase their top speeds. This is why statements about higher top speeds can be inconsistent or misleading.
How fast is 125cc?
Most production 125cc motorcycles have top speeds of 90-115 kmph (about 60-70 mph). Like 50cc motorcycles, many 125cc motorcycles roll out of the factory with engine restrictions installed.
The top speed of your preferred 125cc motorcycle will also depend on its design. At this displacement, motorcycles can be styled to resemble sportbikes, cruisers, or other larger bikes. This changes their weight, handling, and what types of speeds they are designed for.
The fastest 125cc
Depending on which classification you prefer, the 125cc land speed record is either 301 kmph (187 mph) or 241 kmph (150 mph). The 187 mph record was achieved by the same team that holds the current 50cc record.
Both records were achieved on the Bonneville Salt Flats, and both were achieved using streamliners – unique super-tuned motorcycles with frames that place the rider and the engine in between the wheels.
If you’re interested in the fastest 125cc production motorcycle, you’ve got options. At this displacement class, most leading motorcycle manufacturers offer 125cc versions of their leading sport bikes. You won’t get the same performance as a big bike, but you may get a taste of the experience at a fraction of the price (and speed). The top speeds of 125cc production bikes may approach 100 mph (160 kmph) depending on whether they’re derestricted or tuned.
Secure your scooter
Because they’re small, light, and easy to sell for parts, unsecured 50cc and 125cc scooters and motorcycles are easy targets for thieves. There are scooters that can easily be handled by a single thief.
This means that 50cc and 125cc security is just as important as it is for larger and more expensive motorcycles. Here are some key security tips:
- Lock your bike down: A disk lock is not enough, especially for something as light as a 50cc or 125cc motorcycle. You need a way to lock it to solid objects like lamp posts or railings, and we recommend chain locks.
- Use a motorcycle tracker: 50cc and 125cc bikes may be easy to steal, but they’ve also got plenty of cargo space that can offer good hiding spots for a motorcycle tracker. This ensures that even if it is stolen, you’ll be able to retrieve your beloved scooter or motorcycle.
- Choose your parking location carefully: Always consider carefully where you’ll lock up your motorcycle. Try to choose spots with high visibility (for you or someone you trust), video cameras, and/or restricted access.
When you consider the entire motorcycle market, 50cc and 125cc motorcycles aren’t chosen for their speed. They are valued for their fuel efficiency, ease of use, utility and affordability. However, it’s clear that there are fast 50cc scooters and fast 125cc motorcycles out there as well.
If you’re buying new, the dealer will probably be able to give you a good idea of the top speed of your selected model. If buying used, the top speed may vary wildly depending on whether or not the motorcycle is derestricted or tuned. The key is to research the models you’re looking at. Do your homework and you’re sure to find the best motorcycle for you!