Much like the R, the suspension on the naked S is well-damped and firm enough to be competent both in town and out in the twisties. We spent an afternoon on the bike exploring nadgery B-roads and it was a pleasure to ride – not once feeling too soft for the rutted countryside.
There is also plenty of ground clearance to inspire a good degree of lean, which is helped by the aggressively-placed foot pegs, which give the riding position a little added flair. Dressed in grippy Dunlop D102 rubber, it is more than capable of taking the punishment both in the dry and in rainy conditions at faster road-going speeds.
In town, it’s also brilliantly flickable, thanks to its lightweight steering. A 40-degree turning angle either way also means even the tightest of bends can be pulled off with ease.
Coming to a stop, the Bosch ABS system will kick in if you give it a big handful of front brake at low speed, but it is otherwise unobtrusive and ample for a bike of the size. The motor also offers a mild degree of engine braking as you shift down gears, which helps bring you to a standstill fractionally quicker.
Launched at the same time as the fully faired GSX-R125, the naked GSX-S receives the same 124.4cc single-cylinder lump as its sportier brother and offers a similarly linear power delivery all the way to its 11,500rpm redline.
As well as being punchy, the DOHC motor is also incredibly free revving. Accelerating through the gears, the bike will happily do a speedo-indicated 40mph in second gear, with revs to go and, flat out, the clocks will show an indicated 80mph. It will do all of this while returning an indicated 80+mpg too.
Throttle response is also good. Coupled with an ultra-light clutch, the bike offers well-balanced, trouble-free slow speed control, which is ideal for learners. Like many low capacity Suzuki’s though, the gearbox can be stubborn when clunking into first and false neutrals can creep in between first and second gear if you’re particularly hand fisted.
The GSX-S feels like a quality product. Stacked up against its rivals, it looks just as aggressive and just as modern. Much like the faired bike, the conventional forks help drive down cost, but it would be good to see an upside down setup in place for some added bling.
The front end may not be to everyone’s tastes either - the assembly looks a bit squashed and compact and would really benefit from a larger fly screen to tidy up the area between the lights and clock stay.
Even with the £100 more-expensive GP paint, the GSX-S is still £300 less than the standard KTM 125 Duke and a whole £500 less that Yamaha’s MT-125. This money saved could then go towards a wide-range of genuine accessories, including a colour-matched seat cowl, which really tidies up the back end of the bike.
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As well as a brilliant optional extras catalogue, the GSX-S comes with a unique secure shutter-key lock system, which hides the ignition barrel until the separate receiver next to it has been triggered, using a unique magnetic fob found at the top of the key.