SUZUKI DR125 (1985 - 2001) Review


  • Dirt bike styled learner legal 125
  • Can be ridden on a CBT
  • Imported in small numbers so quite rare

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £30
Power: 12 bhp
Seat height: Low (28.5 in / 725 mm)
Weight: Low (256 lbs / 116 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Suzuki DR125SE, is a straightforward but attractively styled four-stroke learner trailie that was only available for a limited period, so rare now. Earlier twin-headlamp “Raider’ was more common, but most are by now unserviceable. A good Suzuki DR125SE is a valid alternative to a Yamaha XT125 or the like.

125 enduro bikes for the road were once a mainstay in sixth form carparks up and down the country, after the heyday of legally questionable two-strokes and before the rise of tidy race reps and naked roadsters in the category.

During this simpler time, when TFT was a noise you made to voice incredulity and ABS were a thing you had under your T-shirt, bikes like the DR with its bawdy decals and rugged off-road looks were all the rage.

Suzuki DR125SE motorcycle review - Engine


Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Again, fairly straightforward fare – the Suzuki DR125SE has a long history, after all and most of the basic mechanicals were carried through from the 1980s – but when it comes to rugged learner trailies there’s not much wrong with that.

The Suzuki DR125SE is big enough for larger riders, a doddle ride and relatively comfortable, too, just don’t expect to go dicing with the Aprilia or Cagiva 125 sportsbike boys.

The off-road looks aren't just for show either and the DR will handle a spot of light greenlaning at the weekend. Just pick some trails that are near your house because riding too far to get there will get monotonous quickly!

Suzuki DR125SE motorcycle review - Side view


Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Suzuki DR125SE is home to a softly tuned, proven, and solid four-stroke single. Identical to that used in Suzuki’s enduring GN125 learner custom. So don’t expect much in the way of thrills from the Suzuki DR125SE but there’s plenty of good-to-honest motive force here.

The GN125 engine is still built by the thousands in China and is fitted to all manner of small retros and commuters to this day - so you'll never struggle for spares.

By modern standards, the DR's 12bhp is nothing to shout about and won't trouble the 15bhp A1 power limit. But the DR is so light that you'll feel spritely enough nipping around town or across a field.

Suzuki DR125SE motorcycle review - Side view

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Suzuki DR125SE is among the more rugged of the Japanese 125 trailies which is why, although now long in the tooth and never imported in great numbers, there are still some Suzuki DR125SEs around. Basic mechanicals and cycle parts are fine if looked after with no major reliability issues.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

There aren’t many Suzuki DR125SEs about, which helps keeps used values up, but if you find a good un’ they’re decent value and you could be onto a winner – all the rugged peace of mind and style of , say, a Yamaha XT125, but with a whole bundle more exclusivity.

If you're not a learner but are looking for something old-school and dirtbike-shaped for your garage, the bigger Suzuki DR-Z400 could be a better bet. The road-only SM variants are fetching big money these days though.

If you want the modern equivalent then your options are a little more limited - with learner legal mudpluggers falling out of fashion in recent years. A Sinnis SM-XE 125 might be up your street, though.

Or you could find a used Suzuki DR125 for sale.

Suzuki DR125SE motorcycle review - Side view


3 out of 5 (3/5)

What you see is what you get with the Suzuki DR125SE. Minimal, off-road style switchgear and single clock surrounded by idiot lights; reasonable quality brakes, suspension etc and a token pillion seat. Nothing more, nothing less…


Engine size 124cc
Engine type 4v single, 6 gears
Frame type Steel tube double cradle
Fuel capacity 13 litres
Seat height 725mm
Bike weight 116kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Single 230mm disc
Rear brake Drum
Front tyre size 80/80 x 21 in
Rear tyre size 90/90 x 18 in

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Annual road tax £25
Annual service cost £30
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 4 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 12 bhp
Max torque 8.7 ft-lb
Top speed 65 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 24 secs
Tank range 110 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

1985: Suzuki DR125 Raider launched.
1993: Raider discontinued.
2000: Suzuki DR125SE launched.
2001: Suzuki DR125SE discontinued.

Other versions

Suzuki DR125 Raider: Paris-Dakar styling with twin headlamps.

Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI DR125 (1985 - 2001)

7 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI DR125 (1985 - 2001) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your SUZUKI DR125 (1985 - 2001)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Engine: 3.4 out of 5 (3.4/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Equipment: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £30
5 out of 5 Great bike
09 April 2021 by SaffiPemba

Year: 1990

Had this bike next to a Yamaha TW200 and XT550. It soon became bike of choice in mud and cotton soil (rainy season east Africa). I could pull this one out of a huge ditch easily, XT550 was too heavy. Underpowered for sand but very comfy on the main roads. Did around 120 km/h. Never had any problems. Only a flat front tire once 3 hours away from home in the bush. That was a loooooong trip back.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

smooth ride. Did 16 hour trips on dirt roads.

Engine 3 out of 5

bit underpowered.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

No problems, only had it for three years though

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

did all servicing myself

Equipment 5 out of 5

came well equiped

Buying experience: private buy

5 out of 5 Suzuki DR125S so much better than my Honda XL125S
09 February 2021 by fivish

Year: 1989

Annual servicing cost: £10

12V electrics were so much better than the 6V on my Honda.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

So simple to service yourself.

Equipment 5 out of 5

The 12V electrics were so much better than my Honda with 6V electrics.

Buying experience: Bought from Suzuki main dealer with good PX value for my Honda XL125S which was a terrible bike.

5 out of 5 so much better than the honda 125
13 July 2020 by fivish

Year: 1988

Annual servicing cost: £50

after sufferring a honda 125 trail bike i got the suzuki 125 trail bike and it was so much better in every respect

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
3 out of 5 Cheap reliable slow bike bumpy ride tho
14 March 2020 by Billy bob

Version: Se

Year: 1995


Ride quality & brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5

it’s ight

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5

Buying experience: Cheap

5 out of 5 Simple yet so well built
11 September 2016 by Rodney Trotter

Year: 2001

Annual servicing cost: £40

It's such a simple bike and yet so well built. Everything has 'Made in Japan' written on it which is confidence inspiring and helps you see why it works so well.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

I say 4 out of 5 only because I use it for the road mostly, and it's no YZFR125. It IS perfectly sprung for dual purpose but is probably neither a blow-away road bike or dirt bike. Does a bit of both and does it perfectly provided you aren't going nuts.

Engine 4 out of 5

4 out of 5 only because its not the most exciting engine in the world. It puts out about 12hp but it's so lightly tuned and time-proven that reliability is the strongest point by far. These engines will become power generators after the next nuclear fallout or zombie apocalypse.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Some corrosion on screws and smaller parts but not due to my neglect. No frame or swingarm corrosion worth noting which I think is most important. Everything is metal apart from the two tiny fairings. It starts on the switch first time without fail everytime. It never bogs, never stutters, it just goes mile after mile. Will sit comfortably at 55 on knobblies, varies with wind and riding stance!

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Takes 800ml of 5w-40 4 stroke oil shared between clutch and engine. Doesnt burn any but oil is always worth changing if you look after stuff. I couldn't say how much fuel it takes as i never let it run out but it literally goes forever. Probably about as simple as machinery gets.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Favourite features... Maybe the seat. Very comfortable. Maybe the electric start? That's nice as well. Neutral indicator is useful as mine is a little finicky about getting into neutral. The whole package is brilliant and simple.

Buying experience: Bought privately for less than a grand but more than a PlayStation 4. If anything I paid less than I should have but I believe they needed it gone. Either way I can't fault the bike so I'm happy.

4 out of 5 .
12 June 2013 by Massher


Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5 A lot of fun
25 April 2010 by djpert1

First bike I owned. I bought an old MoT failure and used it to run around the farm. I think that I bought a real bodged up dog of a DR but I'll tell you about what I found anyway. The bike is a lot of fun to ride (when it starts). The kick start can tke a few attempts but once it is running it's great. Very easy and has a fair amount of grunt for a 125. The suspension on mine had completeley had it unfortunateley. It would bottom out both front and rear over any types of bumps I encountered but I think that considering the state of the bike, I can't really make a fair judgement. The brakes howver were good as they weren't too sharp which is good on slippy grass. All in all, it's a great bike for ragging round the farm with and very novice friendly. Have ridden a good one which was very good. Certainley worth a look.

Ride quality & brakes 2 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
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