A Contender In The Battle For The 125 cc Class

While most eyes are on the battle for supremacy of the upper-displacement brackets, the fight between the flyweights rages on, and Suzuki’s newest weapon is its GSX-S125. Like the rest of the “Gixxess” family, it comes based on the “R” version but is stripped of its body panels to become a proper naked sportbike. The 124 cc powerplant stays within the A1 licensing envelope with 10.8 kW to serve as a true entry-level bike cum indoctrination piece capable of drawing in the very youngest riders, and that’s exactly how it’s set up; to be as rider-friendly as possible with a low curb weight of 133 kg and manageable, 785 mm seat height. Today I’m going to dig in a little deeper to see what all Suzuki has going on with this decidedly important little ride.

Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-S125.

2018 Suzuki GSX-S125 Design

All-in-all a very slick bike with many of the genetic markers that endear its big brothers to the riding public.

Naked is as naked does, and although the chin spoiler keeps it from being completely nude, there’s no doubt that naked sportbikes are actually the new standards, and the Gixxess definitely qualifies as both. A chopped-down front fender and stacked-lamp headlight housing leads the way with a bikini flyscreen up top to complete the rather Transformer-ish front end that is sure to appeal to the kids almost as much as it repels me, in spite of having grown up on a diet of that popular franchise. Guess I’ve outgrown it, but I’m not the one Suzuki needs to impress.

Blackout fork sliders make a custom connection and help visually tie the bike together, front-to-back, across the general darkness down low. Forward-swept cheek fairings partially conceal the radiator and act as spoilers to funnel cooling air while limiting resistance to penetration at the front end, just like the big-boy bikes, so the rider gets a sort of preview of things to come with successive licenses.

An LCD display and bank of idiot lights ride behind the screen in a compact bundle that keeps the command-and-control area clean and uncluttered, with whisker-mount turn signals that leave naught but the mirrors to disturb the lines of the short-rise bar. A deeply sculpted, 11-liter fuel tank takes over the upper lines from there with an aircraft-style filler cap set flush with the top deck and generous knee-pockets to act as an anchor when you start throwing around the body English. The tapered tank meets a similarly narrow saddle to form a skinny waist that works with the low(ish) seat height to inspire confidence when the training wheels have to come out.

An upswept subframe visually opposes the forward-swept cheek fairings for a nice bit of symmetry, and the rise to the narrow pillion pad forms a nice butt-bucket to help keep the rider well ensconced in the bike, rather than just perched on top. In keeping with current design trends, the taillight forms the terminus of the tail section for an ultra-clean installation that sports the same LED tech as the rest of the machine.

Finally, a narrow mudguard protrudes from beneath the subframe to complete the rear wheel spray protection and mount the turn signals and plateholder. As ever, a hugger-mount, tag-and-turn would change the look dramatically, and not in a bad way. All-in-all a very slick bike with many of the genetic markers that endear its big brothers to the riding public.

2018 Suzuki GSX-S125 Chassis

2018 Suzuki GSX-S125
- image 780312
The GSX-S125 rides on a frame derived from its race-tastic cousin, the GSX-R, so it delivers a sophisticated ride in spite of its small size.

The GSX-S125 rides on a frame derived from its race-tastic cousin, the GSX-R, so it delivers a sophisticated ride in spite of its small size. Subtle tweaks to the suspension hardpoints stiffen the assembly even more than before with the engine used as a stressed member to eliminate a section of frame. This reduces weight and maintains the stiffness of the assembly.

Standard hydraulic forks float the front end on locked-in damping values with a coil-over rear shock to complete the straight-up-vanilla suspension system. The steering head comes set for 25.5 degrees of rake and 93.3 mm trail, eager numbers indeed, especially when you factor in the 1,300 mm wheelbase and 40-degree range of motion of the front end. Not only does this lend the Gixxess a certain enthusiasm for the corners, it should make for relatively tight parking-lot maneuvers as well.

Suzuki provides the 125 with a twin-piston caliper and 290 mm disc to haul down the front end opposite a 187 mm rear disc and single-pot caliper, all under the watchful eye of a two-channel Bosch ABS feature that provides the only safety net on this particular machine. Cast-aluminum rims mount symmetrical, 17-inch hoops to round out the rolling chassis with a 90/80 up front and 130/70 in back.

Front suspension: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Rear suspension: Link type, coil spring, oil damped
Rake / trail: 25.5° / 93.3 mm (3.7 in.)
Brakes: Disc (Petal)
Front tire 90/80-17M/C, tubeless
Rear tire: 130/70-17M/C, tubeless

2018 Suzuki GSX-S125 Drivetrain

2018 Suzuki GSX-S125
- image 780310
Suzuki missed an opportunity at the clutch when it opted to not bring a slipper clutch to the table.

As with the standing structure, Suzuki borrows from its Gixxer R-and-D department for the powerplant. The 124.4 cc thumper runs in a decidedly oversquare layout with a 62 mm bore and 41.2 mm stroke. A water jacket and radiator deals with the waste heat from the moderately warm 11-to-1 compression ratio, and while we have that spicy ratio to thank for the 10.8 kW of power the mill generates at 10,000 rpm, we can also blame it for its high-grade taste in fuel that will put you at the high-octane hook every time.

Dual over-head cams time the four poppets via crankshaft-driven chain, and the induction control falls to the 32 mm throttle body. The injector within the TB carries a pair of dual ports meant to deliver a consistently metered, air-fuel charge through both intake valves for efficient atomization and flame-front propagation. Suzuki treats the bore with its proprietary SCEM technology that coats the cylinder wall with a super-slick layer of nickel-phosphorus-silicon-carbide material that acts almost as a spray-in sleeve that is purported to have low-friction, high heat-transfer properties with all the obvious benefits thereof.

The 10.8 kW comes backed up by 11.5 Nm that develops by 8,000 rpm and a six-speed transmission to help keep you within the usable powerband, though it seems Suzuki missed an opportunity at the clutch when it opted to not bring a slipper clutch to the table. No traction control or any such business to clutter up the works, just Suzuki’s “Easy-Start” feature that allows for one-touch starts without having to hold the button down while the starter grinds away.

Engine: 4-stroke, 1-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC
Displacement: 124 cc
Bore x Stroke: 62.0mm x 41.2mm (2.4in x 1.6in)
Compression ratio: 11.0 : 1
Power: 11.0 kW (15 PS) @ 10,000 rpm
Torque: 11.50 Nm (8.48 lb.ft) @ 8,000 rpm
Lubrication: Wet sump
Ignition: Electronic ignition
Fuel System: Fuel Injection
Transmission: 6-speed, constant mesh
Drive: Chain
Starter: Electric

2018 Suzuki GSX-S125 Price

2018 Suzuki GSX-S125
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U.K. Riders can expect to fork out just under £4k for Suzuki's little entry-level naked standard.

U.K. Riders can expect to fork out £3,799 for Suzuki’s little entry-level naked standard in Solid Black, Stronger Red/Titan Black or Metallic Triton Blue.

Colors: Solid Black, Stronger Red/Titan Black, Metallic Triton Blue
Price: £3,799

2018 Suzuki GSX-S125 Competitors

2018 Suzuki GSX-S125
- image 779705
2018 Honda CB125R
- image 779912
Power numbers don't matter much in a class limited by regulation rather than physics, you're gonna' both get there about the same time.

While there are plenty of cheap, er, inexpensive Chinese-built 125s on the market right now, the GSX-S125 is pulled from a much higher shelf, so it needs another premium product for a fair head-to-head. That was easy enough to achieve by looking at one of Suzuki’s traditional domestic foes, Honda, and its CB125R that actively vies for a slice of that same, entry-level market.

The Red Riders pin the hopes of their indoctrination campaign on its Neo-Sports Café concept that brings a fresh new variation on the old naked-standard theme and attempts to capitalize on the resurgent popularity of the café class. Like the Gixxess, the CB carries bits and bobs from the design of its larger siblings for a certain continuity of design, but I have to admit that the littlest CB is also the least café, and it comes off looking more like a generic standard.

Both run with ABS protection, but Honda alone chucks on an IMU that adds to the capability with an anti-endo function that Suzuki can’t match. Power drops off in favor of Suzuki with only 9.8 kW and 10 Nm from Honda’s mill against 10.8/11.5 from the Suzuki’s; not that it matters much in a class limited by regulation rather than physics, you’re gonna’ both get there about the same time. Besides, straights are for fast bikes but corners are for fast riders, and the latter is a lot more fun.

Honda comes off just a skosh prouder with a £3,949 price tag versus the £3,799 sticker on the GSX-S125, but that’s not liable to swing the needle very much.

He Said

“Although Suzuki falls behind in tech a bit against the Honda, it still should be on the short list of anyone with an A1 license who expects to eventually move up through the sportbike progression. Also, you can pencil me in as a fan of the blue livery; it just works with the body style and blackout.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “All these 125 cc sportbikes are so much fun. Honestly, I’ve said it before, riding a slow bike balls-to-the-walls is so much more fun than riding a fast bike and keeping it at the speed limit. This is a nimble little bike with plenty to give on the highway, but I wouldn’t head onto the interstate with one. It’s basically the same platform as the GSX-R125, but the higher bars give you a more comfortable seating position if you want to use it as a commuter. So..... pick your poison.”

2018 Suzuki GSX-S125 Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 4-stroke, 1-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC
Displacement: 124 cc
Bore x Stroke: 62.0mm x 41.2mm (2.4in x 1.6in)
Compression ratio: 11.0 : 1
Power: 11.0 kW (15 PS) @ 10,000 rpm
Torque: 11.50 Nm (8.48 lb.ft) @ 8,000 rpm
Lubrication: Wet sump
Ignition: Electronic ignition
Fuel System: Fuel Injection
Transmission: 6-speed, constant mesh
Drive: Chain
Starter: Electric
Chassis:
Front suspension: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped
Rear suspension: Link type, coil spring, oil damped
Rake / trail: 25.5° / 93.3 mm (3.7 in.)
Front brake: Disc (Petal)
Rear brake: Disc (Petal)
Front tire 90/80-17M/C, tubeless
Rear tire: 130/70-17M/C, tubeless
Dimensions & Capacities:
Overall Length: 2,020 mm (79.5 in)
Overall width: 745 mm (29.3 in)
Overall height: 1,040 mm (40.9 in)
Wheelbase: 1,300 mm (51.2 in)
Ground clearance: 155 mm (6.1 in)
Seat height: 785 mm (30.9 in)
Curb mass: 133 kg (293 lbs)
Fuel tank capacity 11.0 L (2.9 / 2.4 US / Imp gal)
Fuel Economy: 122.82
Details:
Colors: Solid Black, Stronger Red/Titan Black, Metallic Triton Blue
Price: £3,799

References

Honda CB125R

2018 Honda CB125R
- image 779909

see our review of the Honda CB125R.

Suzuki GSX-R125

2018 Suzuki GSX-R125 Wallpaper quality
- image 728845

See our review of the Suzuki GSX-R125.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: suzuki.co.uk, global.honda.com

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