Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

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Short Update Review On Keeway RKS 125cc - April 2014

I own a Keeway RKS 125cc. Keeway is a Chinese manufacturer. I was told before buying the Keeway that Chinese bikes are crap. But if you have read my blog you will know the reasons why I decided to risk it and purchase the Keeway. You will also recall the boyfriend did an initial review of the bike. That review is available here -  CLICK HERE

So 7 months on how is this so called crap Chinese bike faring? The bike has now done nearly 4000 miles. Most of those miles have been done through the wind and rain of winter.

Apart from an initial small hiccup due to a loose wire connection the bike has not had any further mechanical issues and has not needed to go back to the garage other than for its regular services.

The bike has performed well and has had no difficulty at all in matching the bf's Honda CBF 125cc on terms of power. It had a hard day of 257 miles up, through and down dale. It had to spend a good deal of its time maxed out to keep up with the bigger bikes I was on the trip with and it never missed a beat.

The tyres continue to stick well to the tarmac both in the dry and wet. A runaway Labrador charging across the road managed to prove that the brakes are also more than sufficient for sudden braking.

The gear change is still as sweet as the day I bought it and changing gear is a doddle. The bike has started no problem on the coldest of days and ticks over lovely.

So performance wise my Keeway has in 7 months been a little dream. But how about build quality ? Has he become a pile of rust?

Well to be honest the bike no longer looks like he came out of the showroom. But what bike would after 4000 miles riding through the winter?

Some of the paint in small patches is beginning to flake off the exhaust so that will need a re-paint in the not so distant future. There are tiny little spots of rust showing on the edge of my footpegs. Rust also likes to keep trying to develop on the shocks but I thorough brush down each time I wash them is keeping that at bay so far. Other than that so far so good. There is nothing shocking or usual in how the bike is holding together.

Maybe is is time to accept that some modern Chinese bikes are now much improved quality wise than their ancestors. They may not still be in the same league as some high end Japanese or other top brands but neither do I believe are they now deserving of a crap label. I admit I am very careful that my bike gets cleaned and polished on a regular basis and it is regularly serviced as and when required. But it has not received anything extra or special than most other bikes would not have received.  

So with a little love and polish will your Keeway still greet you with a shine after 4000 miles through the wind and rain? Damn right he will!!

sharon's keeway rks 125 shines in the back street.
Shine for the camera Zen

CLICK HERE to see Ren's Keeway RKS125 Review

Reader's Comments

Neil said :-
Thanks for the update on your RKS. I bought a 2014 RKV based on the first review and some other research about the history of Keeway/benelli and their manufacturing facilities. I've had the bike for a week, so I'm still in the running-in phase with only 230 miles on the clock.

I have a trials and motocross riding background but with places suitable for riding becoming harder to find I have decided to make the switch to a road bike.

The RKV seems to be good value for money so decided purchase the bike over a used YBR 125. There is a Chinese bike stigma but when I'm out on the road it doesnt matter :D

I'm sure the prices will go up when people catch on
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Neil. Just so you know, the Keeway now has over 9,500 miles on it. We've fitted a new chain and sprocket and a new rear tyre recently. This is all to be expected on any bike as I'm sure you know with riding off-roaders! Other than that be sure to keep it serviced, particularly oil and tappets. Sharon's still loving it and it is still behaving itself and looking good.
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Neil,
Hope you are enjoying your new bike. Please let me know who you get along with your Keeway as time goes by. Either on here or on our facebook page
Always good to hear other peoples opinions and reviews. As Ren already said I am still loving mine. Ren forgot to mention to keep it clean and polish it often as well :-)
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Doug said :-
Now there's a few miles under its belt, what's the fuel consumption/performance like compared to the CBF?
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Doug.

Sharon doesn't record the MPG with the same vigor as I do, she's so frippant with her cash! I estimate around 120mpg compared with the CBF's 140. It's not bad, not bad at all.
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
pierre said :-
Hi there, I'm planning to buy rks too, but i've received some comments from few owners that their bike handle wiggles once they've reached 110 speed. have you experience this in your bike?
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Pierre,
As regards any wobbles at high speed I personally have not experienced this with my own RKS. I did push the bike very hard during my 1300 mile trip around Scotland. It was often at its max speed limit for long durations but it never twitched once. I do not red line the bike however, I might push it at times but never over its actual limits. So if you treat your own RKS bike with respect and treat it right hopefully it will prove to be as good and reliable as mine has proved to be so far. Nearly 11 thousand miles on the clock now (17 thousand kilometres) and still riding great.
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Abir hassan said :-
I want to buy a keeway RKS.Can you tell me it's mileage in kmp/l?
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Abir.

Sharon usually gets around 120mpg, that converts to 42, 43 kmp/l. We think it pretty good.
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Jay said :-
Hi Sharon,

How was your Rks doing now?
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Jay. I'll give Sharon a nudge to make a comment here but I can tell you the bike now has 15,000 miles on it. I rode it briefly the other day and it still feels fantastic. There are indeed a few signs of wear but nothing more than I have experienced with any other marque. For example I noted the cush drive behind the rear sprocket is a little slack but at 15,000 miles I'd expect that.

Sharon does look after the bike well but I am still impressed with the build quality. There is rust in those places that are hard to clean and there are some marks here and there yet I repeat, nothing more than I've seen on a "high quality" Japanese, British, American or German make.

Anyhow, I'll let Sharon give you her opinions...
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Sharon said :-
Hi Jay, thanks for the nudge to do an update on how the Keeway is doing. Will get right on it Sir and post a blog about it.
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Ryan said :-
I have the KSR Moto Code 125 (basically same model as built in same factory) and I think this bike is perfect, I am 6ft2" and I a "plump" fella and I think this bike is the best and most comfortable bike I have ridden!

I used to have a Yamaha YZFr 125 and I didn't like the riding position.

The only thing that really puts this bike down is the speed! mine has 1000 miles at the moment and the fastest I have gone is 57mph.

I hope to see more of theses as the build quality is great! I have left it in all weather and no rust ^.^
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Ryan. Sharon and I have seen the KSR Moto Code and you're right, apart from the name on the tank we can't spot any difference at all. What you say about this size surprises me though! I'm am only 5ft 8 and I find my knees don't fit under the tank where it comes out at the top. Still, we're all shapes and sizes.

I'm glad you're liking the bike, it's a little corker and great fun to ride.
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Darren said :-
Hi I've just bought a keeway tx can anybody comment on these
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
said :-

01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Darren. The Keeway TX shares the same engine as the RKS, as such if you look after it and service it it should look after you. As you can see from the review we've been happy with the quality of the Keeway amd there's no reason the TX should be any different. As with all bikes make sure it is well maintained.
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Ben said :-
Hi Sharon hoping you might be able to offer some advice on a couple of things.

I have the keeway rkv and find that the headlight is sorely lacking in brightness but am unsure if getting a higher rated lamp will help or blow my fuses? Current wattage is 35w. It's bad and hardly lights up the road. The headlight has two bulbs. One for dipped and one for full beam. Only one lamp is lit at a time. I wondered if you had upgraded your lamps or knew if there were any aftermarket options? I ride all year round and winter nights can be tricky.

The other question I have is about fuel/air mix. I'm trying to locate the adjuster screw on the carb but the manual is a bit sketchy. My mix is currently too rich which is fuzzing up my spark plug.

Many thanks

01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Simeon said :-
Hello Sharon,

I bought the RKS 3 months ago (influenced by your review) and now it has nearly 1000 miles. I have taken a good care of it during the run-in period. It seemed to be a great bike for inexperienced drivers and for commuting- low price, low fuel consumption, lightweight and it looks great. But now I am facing a few problems, which make me wonder if I am the "lucky" one or the bike is actually not that good. So I was wondering if you can share your experience about the following things.

First of all - there is this slight shaking up and down while driving. I thought that the tyres are not balanced so I went to the service - but they said that it is alright.
2. It is extremely hard to shift to neutral. And when I manage to do it- the N-gear light does not always turn on.
3. Usually when I have to stop on a red light the engine stalls right when I pull the clutch in and start decelerating with the brakes (the only way to keep the engine on is to apply the accelerator while I slow down).
4. Just recently appeared another problem, similar to number 3. Sometimes while I am driving (I have noticed that it usually happens in 4th gear with 6-7k RPM) the engine wants to stall - The RPM goes down slowly and applying the accelerator does do much, except to keep the engine on.

I talked with the guys in the service about the last two issues and they raised the idle RPM but the problems still persist.
The temperature here is around 10 degrees Celsius and I always warm up my motorcycle for a few minutes before I ride.

Any input will be much appreciated.

Kind regards,
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Sharon's asked me to look at this...

Ben - Sharon's not made any changes to her headlights. Hers - like yours - is a standard 35/35 watt bulb. By design and like many many other motorcycles and cars only one bulb lights up at a time. I would strongly warn you off "tinkering" with the setup.

Firstly because upgrading the bulbs would invalidate your warranty and risk damaging the electrics on the bike. Secondly changes to the lighting could cause you to fall foul of the law. I am not an expert, if you feel you must go further you'll need professional advice.

Again messing with the fuel air mixture can also damage the bike! I'll be happy to post up a picture of the tickover mixture screw but if you mess with it and break it...

Simeon - It sounds to me like your technicians are not being very helpful. The running problems regarding the gears and tickover sound like clutch adjustment. I can't fix bikes from afar and I'm not a mechanic, I recommend you try another mechanic that you can trust.
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Ben said :-
Hi Ren
Thanks for your reply. The bike is not under warranty and I feel that the headlight is not bright enough to light the road when travelling home in the evening.

With regards the mixture screw that pic of location would be appreciated. Currently my bike is drinking fuel and stinks of petrol when left and turned off. I now have to turn the fuel switch to off when parking.
Thanks again for your advice

01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Ben - sounds much more like a float bowl issue rather than mixture. Note the mixture screw only effects the tickover circuit. To alter the the whole mixture you are into jets, needles and filters. If the float is too high fuel ratios go up across the range and some may be seeping into the engine overnight. It's easy enough to check with a piece of clear plastic pipe.

Regarding the lights, you will need to research the output of the alternator, regulator/rectifier and sum up all the electricals on the bike. Also be VERY aware of the laws regarding lights. You can't simply chuck on a big bright bulb.

I will get the picture of the mixture screw when I next see Sharon, but I still think you're barking up the wrong tree.
01/01/2000 12:00:00 UTC
Oriol said :-
I own a RKS125 since July '15 and I have similar problems than Simeon (three comments above).
When I first bought the bike, it worked fine. It was summer and consequently it was warm all the time. However, once fall arrived and temperatures decreased (the same now at winter) my bike started to give me some problems.
After riding some miles, when I stop for like 20 seconds or more (i.e. traffic red light) and I try to start moving again, the accelerator doesn't work and the bike suddenly stalls. After that happens, it is pretty difficult to start the engine again because as before, the accelerator looks like its not doing anything. After a minute or so it works normally again.

Why do you think this happens?

PS: The bike has all the services done and it has about 3800 miles
21/03/2016 12:33:30 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Oriol

There's potentially thousands of reasons for the problem. But - if my memory serves me well there's a carburettor heater on the Keeway. If the bike starts fine on cold days then after a few miles riding the tickover fails it's possible the carb is icing. Google "Carb Icing".

Where do you live Oriol? In the UK it *can* be a problem but in my experience it's quite rare.

21/03/2016 01:32:03 UTC
Oriol said :-

I live in Barcelona, and this winter temperatures have been around 6-7ºC like at 7am (the lowest maybe, except a couple of days that could have been a bit lower). It has been a warm winter actually so I believe the Carb Icing thing is too extreme considering the conditions here. May it be a "dirty throttle body" problem?

22/03/2016 07:39:29 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Oriol

6-7ºC? Right that is it, I'm moving to Barcelona, make up the spare bed Oriol I'm on my way!

I would be inclined to agree, it is possible but unlikely to be carb icing. Here are a few more things to think about.

1. Choke stuck? When cold starting on choke does the choke lever return fully when warmed up. If so does the plunger on other end of the cable in the carb also return home completely?

2. Your tappets (valve clearance) *should* have been checked when it was serviced, but it is not uncommon for shops to "not bother". While this usually effects cold starting they are worth checking.

I do also agree the carb may need a clean. BUT at under 4,000 miles this would be unusual. Some more details may help.
22/03/2016 10:02:14 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Carb icing occurs when the air is damp and temperatures are above freezing - 6C would be perfect. What happens is that as the fuel leaves the jet it partially vaporises. This reduces its temperature (remember physics and latent heat of vaporisation?) to the point where the moisture in the air freezes. In extreme cases you can see snow forming on the outside of the carb. In dry very cold conditions it doesn't happen.

Many years ago I used to have a Mini (a proper one) that was very susceptible to this, and the Honda Dominator I had 15 years ago also suffered. It had a carb heater but I never believed it worked. A dose of Silkolene FST used to help.
22/03/2016 03:13:21 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I understand the basic science principles I guess but I'd always presumed it would involve lower temperatures.

I'd never heard of Silkolene Pro FST, according to google it's a petrol treatment for carb icing. If the silkolene solves the problem then it would make sense it's a carb icing issue.
23/03/2016 03:52:34 UTC
Eve said :-

Thanks for these helpful reviews! I'm trying to help my sister, new to biking and trying to get her licence, find a reasonably cheap learner but one that will serve her well for a 90 mile round trip commute (thankfully down south, I myself live in beautiful, but lets face it, drizzly Scotland) whilst she's gaining experience. I know next to nothing about the decency of 125's - it's been 20 years since I had a little Kawasaki 100 (no idea what it was!) to learn on. So far I have Lexmoto and Zontes to look at and now this great looking little bike has been added into the mix. Really appreciate the reviewing! As for myself, I'm getting back on a bike and am seriously eyeing up the new Yamaha XSR700, although the Triumph and Ducati Scramblers are pretty close behind ;D

19/06/2017 10:17:38 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Eve. The Keeway seems to be one of the better quality Chinese bikes and even at 24,000 miles we still think it's been good value.

The only downside we've come across are parts. While the dealers can het everything dealer parts are always expensive. Here the Lexmotos are good as there's a whole world of cheap parts online. Swings and roundabouts.

The XSR is a sweet looking machine and the motor is a peach. You go easy on that throttle. If you ain't ridden for a while how about a refresher lesson just to get you back in the swing of things?
19/06/2017 09:50:00 UTC
Alan said :-
Has any one had a problem with the rkv 125 that kangaroos in every gear at 6rpm. I am now stuck on how to fix the issiue
27/07/2017 06:26:07 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Alan. Hmmmmmm. I'd start with a thorough service. Spark plug, tappets, air filter, oil change, chain tension.

You're quite specific on the revs. Coils breaking down, spark plug breaking down, HT lead breaking down. Air filter partially blocked unable to provide enough air as the revs rise. Clutch slippage as the power rises. Carburettor partially blocked, air leaking in before or after the carburettor. CDI unit breaking down. CDI crank sensor breaking down. Vibrations creating an electrical short at certain vibration frequencies.

What do you mean by kangarooing? Are the effects very harsh and sharp, suddenly no power then all power or a softer feeding in and out of the power? IF the effects are softer then I'd be focusing on fuelling. If they are brutally harsh then electricals.
28/07/2017 07:20:13 UTC
Josh said :-
Hi has anyone had any cooling issues with the rks? Bikes a 19 plate only few months old
I can ride for 1 hour and the bike takes 4-5 hours to cool down
That's with riding at normal speeds not blasting it and letting the bike warm up for 20mins it's way hotter than my friends keeway tx 125 enduro and his cools down 100% times faster, it's that hot I can't even touch it it burns before you put your finger on it, I can feel the heat in my seat and my petrol tank was warm Is that normal to be boiling hot ?
23/07/2019 07:51:57 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
If the RKS is running as you'd expect I'd struggle to imagine it is WAY WAY WAY hotter than your friend's TX (which has the same engine). If it was running extremely hot I'd expect noises and it would be difficult to ride.

My only sensible advice would be to get one of them infra red temperature guns to get real usable data compared with your mate's bike. I'll add a link to ebay so you know what I mean.
24/07/2019 12:10:42 UTC
Bob said :-
Josh, has the bike been messed with?
Is it running the standard air filter and exhaust?
If these have been modified it will be running lean and hot.
24/07/2019 12:41:20 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I have one of those temperature gadgets - it's more useful than you think. For instance, if a twin is running unevenly you can point it at the exhausts to see which one is cooler. They're amazingly accurate.
24/07/2019 03:31:23 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I always thought they'd be mega expensive. Gotta admit for six and a half quid it would churlish not to have one

24/07/2019 04:32:09 UTC
Phil said :-
My son's RKS starts from cold with out the choke on, as soon as you move the choke to on the engine cuts out. He says that the bike cuts out when he comes to a junction but start's fine again. Any ideas?
20/12/2019 06:39:56 UTC
ROD said :-
Hi Phil, Although I do not have any experience with the RKS I have the following thoughts :- If the bike has a choke it is probably a bike fitted with a carburetor. It sounds like the bike is running rich, so the first thing I would check is the air filter to check if it is dirty and blocked. This will stop the flow of air to the carb and make the air/fuel ratio rich.
If the bike is secondhand I would then check the main jet size to make sure it is the standard size, as a few lads will believe the bike goes faster with the air filter removed and fit a larger main jet to compensate. When selling the bike they may have just replaced the air filter?
I would also give the bike a general service and include checking the tappets.
20/12/2019 07:31:06 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Howdy, this might sound stupid but are you sure you're moving the choke in the right direction.
I'm not familiar with your bike but check the choke flap is in the closed/open position when it should be.
I had a mate with a C15 who was flummoxed when it would start just fine without choke but then wouldn't run hot, you can guess the rest.
If all is OK then +1 the advice already provided.
21/12/2019 12:03:35 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Sound advice chaps. It is also possible the choke cable is fitted incorrectly.

As Upt' says ensure the choke flap is open in the open position, closed in the closed position. As ROD says ensure the air filter is clean and check for other blockages. Getting into the jetting would be the last resort. Also consider float bowl operation and height, too high would cause rich running. The pilot circuit (tickover circuit) might have the air/fuel screw set too rich - if the bike runs fine above tickover I'd be looking at the air/fuel screw.

A full service including the tappets is also good advice. My CBF250 would never tick over right due to tight tappets... which eventually burned the valve seat requiring them to be lapped in.

I'm hoping it's something simple ie stuck choke or blocked air filter.
21/12/2019 07:40:04 UTC

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