Coolest Sportbikes of the ’90s: 1991 to ’94 Cagiva Mito 125

A plucky, pretty 1995 Mito 125.

A plucky, pretty 1995 Mito 125. (Chuck Schultz: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license/)

In the United States, street-legal two-stroke sportbikes were a rarity once the Yamaha RD400, RZ350 and a handful of others faded into distant memories like a Castrol-infused cloud. But in Japan and Europe, amazing two-stroke race replicas lived on for a couple more decades. Aprilia’s AF1 125 was dominating markets in countries like Italy and Spain until this Cagiva came along. The Mito 125 arrived in ’89, and when Cycle World‘s European correspondent Alan Cathcart rode the bike in 1991, he was both amused and impressed. “The Mito is simply the horniest-looking, best handling, fastest 125 street bike in the world, capable of no less than 107 mph,” he wrote.

The Mito Evolution II, carried on with the Massimo Tamburini styling.

The Mito Evolution II, carried on with the Massimo Tamburini styling. (Stu Clayton: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license /)

But it got better. The 1994 Evolution I model was special, as can be seen in the details. The bike was penned by Massimo Tamburini who had just designed the iconic Ducati 916. Bellissimo.

True, the styling was absolutely amazing, but beyond mere visual appeal, the idea of ​​a sub-300-pound sportbike with excellent components sounded like pure fun, a teenage daydream soaked in bright red paint. When Valentino Rossi won the Italian Sport Production Championship on a Mito 125 in 1994, it made the Mito just about as cool as it got.

Power came from a 125.6cc single with 56 x 50.6mm bore and stroke measurements. The liquid-cooled engine had an electric variable-reed-power valve fed by a Dell’Orto carburetor. Output was rated at 34 hp at 12,000 rpm and 16.9 lb.-ft. of torque at 11,000 rpm. To help keep the engine in the middle of that narrow, peaky powerband, the Mito had a seven-speed transmission (until the Evo II, which had a traditional six-speed box); If six is ​​good, seven is better, right?

Its twin-spar aluminum frame holds a 40mm inverted Marzocchi fork and a Sachs shock with preload adjustability. More impressive was the brake setup, a single Brembo 320mm front disc and four-piston caliper, which had awesome stopping power for such a lightweight machine.

When Cathcart tested the earlier generation bike, he said: “With its 54.3 in. wheelbase, the Mito is tailored for normal-sized persons. It is not only very comfortable, even for a 6-foot rider like myself, but amazingly stable for such a quick-handling machine. The 267-pound bike has none of the twitchiness you’d expect from a 125, perhaps because of fairly conservative steering geometry of 25.5 degrees rake and 3.85 inches of trail.”

“But where the Mito really scores over its rivals is in the usability of its little two-stroke engine. There isn’t a lot of power on tap until the rev counter hits 3,000 rpm, but past that number, there is vivid acceleration—60 mph in just over 7 seconds from a standing start. By the time the engine finds 11,000 rpm, power drops off sharply, but then you should be doing more than 100 mph in top gear, which is to say seventh.”

Decades later, we’ve seen a handful of these bikes imported into the US, as vehicles that weren’t originally certified for our market can be brought in after 25 or more years as “collector” vehicles. We’ve even tested a Mito stuffed with a barking four-stroke Honda CRF450X engine; read about it in Petite Café in our March 2011 issue of CW.

This 2007 Cagiva Mito 125 was stuffed with a Honda CRF450X engine, and tested in the March 2011 issue of <i>CW</i>.” data-has-syndication-rights=”1″ height=”364″ src=”https://www.cycleworld.com/resizer/1K_rU4zEx2_YtPY_lM1hhdp6pB8=/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/octane/CWTVO6T5KZFB5B3IEH2A72POFY.jpg” width=”575″ /></p>
<caption>This 2007 Cagiva Mito 125 was stuffed with a Honda CRF450X engine, and tested in the March 2011 issue of <i>CW</i>.  (Cycle World Archives/)</caption>
<p>1991 Cagiva Mito 125 Specifications</p>
<table>
<thead>
<tr>
<th>MSRP:</th>
<th>$4,750 (1991)</th>
</tr>
</thead>
<tbody>
<tr>
<td>Engine:</td>
<td>liquid-cooled, two-stroke single</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Displacement:</td>
<td>124cc</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Bore x Stroke:</td>
<td>56 x 50.6 mm</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Compression Ratio:</td>
<td>TK</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Transmission/Final Drive:</td>
<td>Seven speed, chain</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Claimed Horsepower:</td>
<td>34.0 hp @ 12,000 rpm</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Claimed Torque:</td>
<td>17.0 lb.-ft.  @ 11,000 rpm</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Fuel System:</td>
<td>Dell’Orto carburetor</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Clutch:</td>
<td>Wet, multiplate</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Engine Management/Ignition:</td>
<td>CDI</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Frame:</td>
<td>Twin-spar aluminum</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Front Suspension:</td>
<td>40mm Marzocchi</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Rear Suspension:</td>
<td>Sachs shock, preload adjustable</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Front Brake:</td>
<td>Brembo four-piston caliper, 320mm disc</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Rear Brake:</td>
<td>Two-piston caliper, 230mm disc</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Wheels, Front/Rear:</td>
<td>Aluminum alloy</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Tires, Front/Rear:</td>
<td>110/70-17</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Rake/Trail:</td>
<td>150/60-17</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Wheelbase:</td>
<td>54.1 in.</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Ground Clearance:</td>
<td>5.9 in.</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Seat Height:</td>
<td>29.9 in.</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Fuel Capacity:</td>
<td>3.7 gal.</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Claimed Dry Weight:</td>
<td>284 lb.</td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>
		</div>

				<footer class= Categories Motorcycle

Leave a Comment