The aprilia extrema 125 was introduced in early 1992, and together with the Cagiva Mito, were a kind of “top” bikes in the 125 cc category manufactured between the '80s and the '90s. These two eternal rivals competed in different versions on the market until the first decade of 2000s. However the most powerful versions were the ones at the launch of the model, till the introduction of new driving license in 1996 for minors at the age of '16' in Italy. Abroad the full power versions were still available until the end of production.
The word "peak" does not indicate haughtily "the best available" because previous models are a wonderful example of technique, style and performance, but the last step of the mad period of high-performance two-stroke motorcycles.
Italy was one of the last European countries which applied the restriction for driver license for 16 year olds which reduced the power of 125 cc bikes. Until 1996 the result of the "fredom-period" resulted in the death and injuries of many young people on the roads. Our thoughts are with all the deceased.
Full GP-style fairings, sporty handlebars bracket, engine behavior, sound and driving position takes you in a sort of hypnotic state that a friend of mine, still alive, called "video-games effect". There was no time to think about the consequences of riding mistake and this together with the obvious recklessness of youth created a deadly cocktail.
The law that limited the power of motorcycles designed for sixteen-year-olds was applied in 1996 to comply with other European countries, did not encourage manufacturers to develop new frame designs. These two different designs remained identical for Aprilia RS and Cagiva Mito for two decades. The engine, referring to the Rotax 122 which will be discussed later, was simply adapted to the changing emission regulations.
I also believe that we can speak about "top" bikes because for few years the evolution of 125 cc bikes was mainly focused on increasing power and speed, in 1991 the main focus changed to improve lifetime of the engine. In the GP World Championship event which happened in these years, with two-stroke motorcycles in all categories (125, 250, 500), the higher lifetime of the engine was already an important goal for at least a couple of seasons. Many of you can remember the "big bang engines" oriented towards it. The result is a very modern and balanced frame/suspension set combined with an "easier" engine for more enjoyable road riding. It’s obvious today that having more HP after 9000 rpm is useful "on paper", but giving it up in favor of more "torque" also means being faster on track. On road this aspect is even more important, especially if you want to cruise safety without constantly looking on the tachometer meaning more enjoyable driving experience.
Even today riding a sport bike like Extrema with two-stroke engine without any pollution and power restrictions awake emotions that no other machine can offer. 125 cc bikes, especially the super sports bikes, are not only nostalgic, but they are also highly fascinating elements of the magical world of sports motorcycles with two-stroke engine.