SUZUKI GSX-R125 (2017 - on) Review

Highlights

  • Learner-friendly 125cc sportsbike
  • Great handling and superbike looks
  • Cheap to buy and run

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
Power: 15 bhp
Seat height: Medium (30.9 in / 785 mm)
Weight: Low (295 lbs / 134 kg)

Prices

New £4,499
Used £3,600 - £4,200

Overall rating

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

The Suzuki GSX-R125 was introduced in 2017 as the Japanese firm's A1 class learner sports rival to the class-leading Yamaha YZF-R125.

As such it was Suzuki’s first four-stroke sports 125 and the Japanese firm’s first sports 125 since the two-stroke RG125 went out of production 20 years earlier in 1996.

At the same time, Suzuki also introduced that year a ‘sister’ naked version of the GSX-R125 – the Suzuki GSX-S125, which was mechanically identical but unfaired, with a more upright riding position, handlebar-mounted instruments and a slightly lower, by £300, price tag.

The GSX-R has a lot going for it, too. Its all-new, liquid-cooled engine produces the maximum 15bhp but weighing just 134kg (compared to the Yamaha’s 142kg) it has the best power-to-weight ratio in the class. And its sporting credentials are backed up by the fact Bradley Ray passed his motorbike licence on one. 

LCD screen on Suzuki GSX-R125

It also has plenty of nice touches such as its MotoGP-alike styling (complete with GP team replica livery option), has an LED headlight and LCD dash. On the slight downside its proportions are slightly smaller than the Yamaha (which may suit some novices) so giving less of a big bike feel and its brakes and suspension aren’t as impressive as the latest from both Yamaha and Aprilia, either. But then the Suzuki’s also cheaper than those two, so you pays your money…

Overall, though, the Suzuki GSX-R125 offers a good introduction to the world of sports bikes with decent handling and performance and a more affordable than some price.

Once you've read this review and our owners' reviews, you might consider joining an online community like the Suzuki Owners' Club to join the discussion and meet likeminded people.

Watch: BSB stars on Suzuki GSX-S125s

Ride quality & brakes

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

With a hunched riding position, appropriately angled clip-ons and handling to match, the GSX-R125’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.

Compared to rivals like the KTM RC125 and the latest incarnation of the Yamaha YZF-R125 the standard fork set-up on the GSX-R125 does look comparatively cheap. The Yamaha, for example, now features beefy, inverted, 41mm forks compared to the Suzuki’s fairly spindly, non-adjustable, conventional items. Even so, the GSX-R’s suspension is well damped and more than adequate for any new rider. 

Its ride is surprisingly firm and plush, inspiring more than enough confidence to get your knee down (should you ever find yourself at a track!).  Yet, despite being firm, the ride is also forgiving enough to be comfortable over the bumps and potholes that litter our British roads.

Suzuki GSX-R125 knee down on track overhead shot

And the quality ride is only complimented by the Dunlop D102 tyres, which come fitted from the factory as new 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.  

Owners are generally impressed with the chassis and ride of their bikes, the only real criticism being the lack of adjustment available.

Engine

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

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 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 back road blast.

The bike also sounds good, delivering a throaty, if slightly whiney growl, which is reminiscent of a muffled Moto3 bike, even with a standard Euro4 compliant single-sided, dual muffler exhaust.

Suzuki GSX-R125 wheelie

The lightweight clutch is very user friendly and makes low speed manoeuvres a doddle, which is handy for new riders taking their first steps into motorcycling. As well as having plenty of poke for its size, the GSX-R is also incredibly frugal and often returns well in excess of 70mpg even when ridden hard. 

The gearbox can be quite stubborn when trying to click into first gear from neutral. Once in gear though, the shift is perfectly smooth, with no false neutrals up or down the box. Suzuki GSX-R125 top speed? Downhill, if you crouch right down, you might hit 80mph if you're lucky. 

Reliability & build quality

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

The Suzuki GSX-R125 is a relatively new model, being introduced in 2017, so assurances about build quality and reliability have to take that into account.

On face value, however, 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. The tacky plastic has been kept to a minimum and ancillaries such as mirrors are reasonable quality and offer plenty of visibility without being swallowed up with your own elbows.  

Our Suzuki GSX-R125 owners' reviews show that this little sportster has a few build quality issues, but even so buyers enjoy their bikes.

Suzuki GSX-R125 cornering on track

Even so, there are some areas that should be highlighted. Despite Suzuki’s usually glowing reviews for its gearboxes there have been some reports of slight glitches with that on the GSX-R125.

When we tested it new we did sometimes find ourselves missing a few down changes, due to the awkward position of the linkage. Also, and this may only be because it was new and tight, we struggled slightly to change from first gear into neutral, which is the sort of thing novices can do without.

We’ve also heard some owner reports of electrical problems concerning the rectifier, stator, wiring loom, relays, etc, although these were all few and far between and quickly resolved under warranty.

There have also been some reports of the rear brake seizing up.

Finally, this Japanese firm hasn’t the best record when it comes to corrosion on its smaller, cheaper bikes, with painted surfaces such as the Suzuki GSX-R125 exhaust headers susceptible to rust and corrosion affecting exposed alloy surfaces – especially if not cleaned regularly and/or ridden through winter.

We’ve few specific complaints of this with the Suzuki GSX-R125 yet but, as these kind of bikes get used and abused by novices and change hands regularly, it’s worth flagging up.

Value vs rivals

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

Although no budget or economy-orientated commuter, the Suzuki GSX-R125 is both more affordably priced than some rival sports 125s and cheaper to run, which, when you’re 17 and operating on a tight budget is worth bearing in mind.

Although £300 more expensive new than its naked sibling, the GSX-S125, the GSX-R stacks up well against offerings from other manufacturers, being cheaper not just than Yamaha’s class-leading and admittedly higher-spec YZF-R125, but also the premium Aprilia RS125 and even KTM’s RC125.

Yes, the Suzuki’s slightly lower spec but, performance–wise, there’s nothing in it, it’s just as good a learner bike, it has great sports styling and is even available (for a slight premium) in Suzuki’s MotoGP replica livery, something worth bearing in mind considering its recent MotoGP success.

Suzuki GSX-R125 vs rivals

On top of that, Suzuki has a track record of routinely offering financial incentives to new buyers with discounts, accessory packs and more so it’s worth keeping your eye out for deals.

While, finally, the GSX-R125 is also slightly cheaper to run than most of its sports 125 rivals, too. Insurance is slightly better than most, servicing and parts prices aren’t bad and the little Suzuki is impressively (for a sports 125) frugal on fuel as well, regularly returning mpgs approaching 100.

As a used proposition the good news continues. Due to its slightly lower new price and lesser appeal than bikes like the YZF-R125 and Aprilia, prices of used, low mileage, virtually as-new examples can be as low as £2,800 – representing a saving of over £1000 on new. A used YZF-R125 of the same vintage is invariably more.

And although we’ve highlighted some areas of potential unreliability to watch out for in the future, to date the GSX-R125 is fault free meaning you should be able to snap up a great-looking, sporty Suzuki for a relative snip.

Equipment

4 out of 5 (4/5)

With a neat, fully-digital LCD instrument display, complete with such features as a gear indicator (useful for novices), an adjustable RPM indicator and fuel gauge (also worth having), not to mention an LED headlight and more the Suzuki GSX-R125 feels like a quality product. 

There’s also a keyless ignition system, which means that the bike won’t start unless the specialist key fob is within around a metre of the machine, which offers 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 which could be a problem. Suzuki does supply each bike with a failsafe pin to combat this, though.   

Despite all that, however, the GSX-R isn’t quite as well-equipped as most of its sports 125 rivals, particularly the latest Yamaha YZF-R125, Aprilia RS125 and KTM RC125, all of which have better quality suspension, brakes and other features. That’s why the Suzuki is slightly cheaper, after all. In this sense the GSX-R125’s closest real rival is the similarly specced Kawasaki Ninja 125.

A number of official Suzuki accessories are also available if you want to bump up that basic specification. These include a pillion seat cover, protective tank pad, a double bubble screen, heel plate protectors and so on, which are sometimes offered free as a new sales incentive so keep your eyes open for any deals.

Aftermarket crash protectors, exhausts, rim tape, rad guards and the like can also all be had if you want to further ‘bling’-up’ your GSX-R.

Suzuki GSX-R125 key fob

Specs

Engine size 124cc
Engine type Single cylinder DOHC
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 11 litres
Seat height 785mm
Bike weight 134kg
Front suspension Non adjustable
Rear suspension Non adjustable
Front brake Single petal disc, ABS
Rear brake Single petal disc, ABS
Front tyre size 90/80-17
Rear tyre size 130/70-17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 122 mpg
Annual road tax £21
Annual service cost £150
New price £4,499
Used price £3,600 - £4,200
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Three years

Top speed & performance

Max power 15 bhp
Max torque 8.49 ft-lb
Top speed 69 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 296 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

2017: Model introduced

Other versions

Standard GSX-R125 with MotoGP-replica paintscheme: £4099

Owners' reviews for the SUZUKI GSX-R125 (2017 - on)

3 owners have reviewed their SUZUKI GSX-R125 (2017 - on) 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 GSX-R125 (2017 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 4.7 out of 5 (4.7/5)
Reliability & build quality: 3.7 out of 5 (3.7/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Equipment: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Annual servicing cost: £150
5 out of 5 Buy one, worth the money and good fun for 4 stroke 125
20 June 2020 by Perks88

Year: 2020

Annual servicing cost: £130

I bought this bike as my commuter, got 2 old strokers that arent reliable enough to get me to work but still way too fun to let go. Overall the bike is great can be really thrown about, also does not have the look of a small bike, quite low seat which i like as im 5ft9 and can easily put both feet flat on the floor, something i cant do on my rs. I do struggle to tuck in on this bike though finding it a bit of an awkward angle to what im used to, but its my commuter so not much need to tuck in anyway. The dash is nice and very posh compared to what im used to. The bike sounds quite good when you give it some but i will be getting an exhaust system for it, if anything just to make it heard in traffic, im used to a screaming 2 stroke and people move over but not on this.. this is not a problem just a personal preference. The main problem with the bike is the gearbox going into 1st from neutral is very tricky sometimes and it goes through gears way too easily when coming down the gears missing is very easy the bike seems to take a while to properly warm up too... i will be putting different tyres on eventually as they are a bit lairy in the wet. Overall though this really is a great bike and i know ill have it for years because its a suzuki.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

After about 20 mins riding to warm up properly the bike really wants to be thrashed. ABS took some getting used to but like it now. Can ride for good few hours before you have a numb backside.

Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Not owned it long enough to know if it corrodes but ive had suzukis in the past and they do like to rust. There is a little bit of moisture in the front left indicator

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

Tyres poor in rain

4 out of 5 Gsx-r125
17 April 2020 by Paul Needham

Version: There is only 1 currently

Year: 2018

Annual servicing cost: £170

Excellent ride and very cheap running costs

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Mostly excellent apart from rear brake binding

Engine 5 out of 5

Best in class, I've tried most

Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5

Bought from new, had 2.5 years later, it's had to have a rectifier, stator, wiring loom, relays, headlight assembly, all wheel bearing, had 5 or 6 warning displays on dash, some which prevent use, nearly all the work was covered by warranty, brilliant, rear brake siezes up regularly.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

About £14 per 2500 miles for service, 4 a year for me, 2 rear tyres, one front tyre and 2xchain and sprockets, insurance, tax and parts very reasonably priced

Equipment 4 out of 5

Could do with a power supply for phone etc

Buying experience: Very good

4 out of 5
23 April 2019 by Lee Stewart Rankin

Version: 2018

Year: 2018

The front suspension is a little soft unfortunately there not adjustable.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

There good for along continued ride, great commuter bike.

Engine 4 out of 5

Good performance for its size.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

On going cost weren't clearly explained on purchase, on going cost are abit steep, but I love the bike..

Equipment 5 out of 5

Plenty of go due to engine design and weight of the bike.

Buying experience: Got it for $3800

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