A day with the Suzuki GSX-R125

Published: 01 September 2017

We spent a day riding Suzuki’s new GSX-R125 around the technical Stowe Circuit at Silverstone, to find out whether it can stake a rightful claim to such a sporty name. Here’s how we got on.

It’s been a long time coming

The GSX-R125 is Suzuki’s first assault on the sporty 125 market since the rawkus two stroke RG125 of the 80s and 90s.

Taking the legendary GSX-R name, this bike is aimed firmly at newer riders looking for a sporty thrill from their first road-going machine, in a class already heavily populated by the other major Japanese and European manufactures.

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The engine is silky smooth

At the centre of the GSX-R125 lies an all-new double-overhead-cam 124.4cc single-cylinder motor, producing 14.8bhp. For such a busy little engine, the power delivery feels linear and silky smooth, revving freely throughout the range.

Acceleration is also more than adequate for a bike of this size, thanks to a kerb weight of just 134kg, making it the ideal tool for nipping between cars in traffic, as well as the occasional backroad blast.

As well as having plenty of poke, the GSX-R is also incredibly frugal and after 12 20-minute track sessions around the Stowe short circuit at Silverstone, the bike’s digital display was still reading 69.5mpg.

It goes round corners

The ride on the GSX-R125 is also surprisingly firm and plush, inspiring more than enough confidence to get your knee down, should you ever find yourself at a track.  Despite being firm, the ride is also forgiving enough to be comfortable over the bumps and potholes that litter our British roads.

The quality ride is only complimented by the Dunlop D102 tyres, which come fitted from the factory and offer plenty of grip for a bike of this size.

Stopping power is also impressive, with the single waved front disc and lightweight two-channel Bosch ABS unit offering a reassuringly progressive bite, without too much intrusion from the electronics. The rear brake also works well when used in tandem, however needs to combined with the front to bring you to a stop. 

There’s a sporty stance

Along with the sporty ride and handling, the Suzuki also offers a genuinely aggressive riding position, without being uncomfortable. The clip-on bars are mounted under the top yoke to invoke a hunched over position, yet it remains not too extreme to be uncomfortable during everyday riding.

A quality finish

With neat digital clocks, complete with such features as a gear indicator, an adjustable RPM indicator and fuel gauge, the GSX-R125 feels like a quality product. There’s a premium finish to the paint and, side on, it looks almost identical to some of the larger GSX-Rs in the range.

You also get a keyless ignition system, which means the bike won’t start unless the specialist key fob is within around a meter of the machine - offering an added level of security when you’re off the bike.

However, should you ride off and leave the fob behind, the system won’t recognise it’s missing until you next come to switch the bike on. Suzuki supply each bike with a failsafe pin to combat this though.  

It’s well priced

At £4099 for the model we tested (£100 more than the standard colour schemes) this bike is very competitively priced. Sitting slap-bang in the middle of the premium sports 125 class, the GP rep is £200 less than a KTM RC125 and a whole £600 less than Aprilia’s RS125 and, although the Honda’s CBR125R is slightly cheaper, the Suzuki looks more modern and exciting and comes with more features.

Final thoughts

With plush suspension, a silky smooth power delivery and a brilliant level of agility, the GSX-R125 offers the perfect introduction to the world of sports bikes. With a hunched riding position, appropriately angled clip-ons and handling to match, it’s low enough and light enough to be unintimidating to novices, yet is perfectly capable of being pushed to its limits when you want to have fun.

The GSX-R125 Stats

Price £3999 (launch price) GP colour scheme is £4099

Engine 124.4cc single cylinder

Frame twin spar aluminium frame

Seat height 785mm

Suspension Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped (front). Link type, coil spring, oil damped (rear).

Front brake Single wavy disc

Colours Black and red, white and red and MotoGP colours

Available October

Power 14.8bhp@10,000rpm

Torque 8.49ftlb@8000rpm

Kerb weight 134kg

Tank capacity 11 litres

Some of its closest rivals

KTM RC125

Neat touches like upside down forks and a distinctive orange frame make the KTM the ideal poster bike for any teenagers’ bedroom wall.

14.8bhp, 135kg (dry), £4299

Yamaha YZF-R125

If you squint hard enough, you could mistake an R125 for an old gen R6, making it popular with young riders wanting sporty looks.

14.8bhp, 142kg, £4599

Honda CBR125R

This bike has been around in various guises for well over a decade and remains popular with new riders and commuters.

13.1bhp, 137kg, £3799

The cheaper alternative

Motorini MT125RRi

New for 2017, the Motorini is built in the Far East and offers riders a slice of Italian styling with an affordable price tag.

9.4bhp, 130kg (dry), £2199.99

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