Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Young Guns Can Still Have a Lot of Fun; DESPITE the Strict Emissions Laws and Tales of Doom and Gloom, the Screaming Two-Stroke Appears Far from Dead, Says HARRIET RIDLEY

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Young Guns Can Still Have a Lot of Fun; DESPITE the Strict Emissions Laws and Tales of Doom and Gloom, the Screaming Two-Stroke Appears Far from Dead, Says HARRIET RIDLEY

Article excerpt

Byline: HARRIET RIDLEY

LIFE used to be so easy. Ride around on a 125 for a few days, answer a couple of Highway Code questions and hey presto! You left the motorcycle test centre on your new, 140bhp Honda FireBlade.

Over the past 10 years, however, the seemingly bike-hating authorities in the UK have made it increasingly difficult for people to get on a motorcycle, and now we're faced with even more draconian Euro 3 directives.

Surely these will put off all but the very keenest of wannabe motorcyclists. Congratulations to the manufacturers then who are fighting back, rendering the increasingly long period between CBT and finally achieving a full motorcycle licence as exciting as possible .

Yes, they're bringing out the most comprehensive and drool-worthy range of small sports motorcycles since the days of the Yamaha TZR, Honda NSR and Suzuki RGV.

Despite the strict emissions laws and tales of doom and gloom, the screaming two-stroke appears far from dead.

Take Aprilia's long-standing RS125. This teen dream machine has existed since 1992 in different guises and paint schemes, each one mimicking the Aprilia 125 GP bikes of the day.

But it has never strayed from the same principles: performance, handling and screaming revs. In 2006 it got a major overhaul with a sharp fairing, RSV-style headlamps, wheels and paint, upside down forks (yes, really!) and yes, those are radial callipers you see hugging the discs, with steel braided hoses feeding from the master cylinder. In restricted form it puts out a learner-legal 14.7bhp, de-restrict it and enjoy 33bhp of two-stroke power. At pounds 3,616 it's not cheap, but then neither is the build and specification.

For 2008, Cagiva has revamped its exquisite Mito 125, changing the denomination to Cagiva Mito SP525.

Despite the name, the engine size is only 124.6cc and power output is restricted to a learner-legal 14.7bhp. It's designed to look like the 1994 Cagiva V594 500GP bike of the legendary GP racer John Kocinski, and is also the reason it's named 525 - the 5 replaces the 1 in 125 to hark back to 500.

Like the RS125 it's a serious sports tool with rapid handling and steering and a screaming two-stroke engine. …

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