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The Last of the road legal 125cc dirt bikes

The Last of the road legal 125cc dirt bikes
11 Nov
Written by Bobby Beck

The FB Mondial SMX 125cc one of only a handful of road legal 125cc dirt bikes you can buy in 2021/2022

When it comes to road-legal 125cc dirt bikes and supermoto's, there isn't much to choose from these days.

It used to be the case that all the big names Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki all made a 125cc road legal dirt bike. While some of these manufacturers still make dirt bikes, they are no longer road legal and only intended for off-road and competition use. It also used to be the case that you could convert an off-road machine for road use, but with the new emissions regulations and the 15bhp limit on learner legal 125cc road bikes, this is also not possible with most modern off-road machines.

Why most of the big names have chosen to stop making this style of bike, I dont know. You only have to take a look on Instagram or some of the Facebook groups aimed at 125cc riders to see that the iconic dirt bike is still very populer with both young and old riders alike. Plenty of manufacturers still make crossover adventure style bikes, but they dont resemble the look that comes into peoples minds when imagining a dirt bike.

Thankfully for 2021/2022, F.B. Mondial has chosen to update their SMX model thanks to a new Dellorto fuel system to meet Euro 5 regulations, and it makes up one of only a handful of 125cc road legal dirt bikes you can still buy in the U.K.

It's a lovely looking machine too. I'd go as far as to say it's probably the best looking and performing 125cc road legal four-stroke dirt bike on the market.

It has those aggressive lines and stance people expect from a dirt bike that comes in a bold red or yellow colourway with matching race-inspired livery, which even includes the names of the various suppliers Mondial have used to build the SMX. Very reminiscent of seeing the sponsors names on factory motocross bikes.

It also comes in two flavours, Enduro and Supermoto, both of which are essentially the same bike, but one has knobbly off-road tyres the other has small S.M. wheels with extra-grippy tyres.

Engine-wise, the SMX uses the same liquid-cooled Aprilia derived engine found across the whole Mondial line up and, thanks to the new fuel system, puts it pretty much bang on the 15bhp limit for 125cc machines. This means that a speedo indicated 75mph is possible and has very impressive acceleration for a machine in this category.

The acceleration and throttle response is somewhat helped because the SMX comes as standard with a quick throttle. Now I'm sure most of you know what a quick throttle is but for those who dont allow me to explain. In a nutshell, a quick throttle reduces the turn necessary to reach full throttle. With a standard motorcycle throttle, you have two choices: Let go of the throttle, re-grip and turn for full-throttle OR turn until your wrist can't bend anymore. Another name for quick throttles is a "half-turn throttle", pretty self-explanatory in that it reduces the throttle turn by around 50%. However, the one fitted to the SMX is pretty much a quarter turn, and within approximately 2 inches of throttle movement, you have gone from zero to wide open. This makes the SMX an enjoyable and energetic vehicle to use both on and off the road.

Another aspect that helps the SMX 125 perform like a much bigger machine is the oversized rear sprocket, which also helps with acceleration and, combined with the quick throttle, makes it relatively easy to lift the front end and spend some time on that back wheel if that's what you're into.

Typically one of the adverse effects of a large rear sprocket is a loss of top-end speed, but as we mentioned already, the SMX can reach speeds of 75mph which is pretty much the top end limit of all four-stroke 125cc bikes, so it's clear to see Mondial have spent some time setting this bike up to get the best all-round package.

One of the reasons dirt bikes are so populer with 125 riders is down to the fact that from a size and dimensions perspective, they do not feel like a small bike, and that is certainly true of the SMX.

The SMX also lends its self well to being "tricked" out. A few mods in the right places like some chunky Renthal bars, seat cover, and some dress-up items like some colour coded bolts from the likes of Probolt would help an already awe-inspiring machine stand out even more. On the topic of customization. I noticed that while the SMX only comes with a single exhaust, there is an identical mounting bracket on the opposite side. Thanks to the twin exhaust system found on the F.B. Mondial Flat Track I think it would be pretty easy to retrofit a twin-pipe set up on the SMX using flat track parts, which at a guess, would either bolt straight on or only need minor fabrication work to get it to fit given that both the Flat Track and SMX share the same engine.

If it's a dirt bike you're looking for, it would be wise to make sure you check out the F.B. Mondial SMX, and I'm sure you'll be impressed! The only deciding factor you need to make is whether you go for the Enduro version or the S.M. version. It wouldn't matter which version for me as I'd want both types of wheels anyway, so I'd probably buy the S.M. version and order a set of bigger spoked wheels and knobbly tyres for when I wanted to get seriously muddy.

- Bobby Beck

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