When designing the DR-Z125L, Suzuki focused on two basic issues that can attract new riders: looks and handling. We are very glad to find out that this motorcycle ended up featuring aggressive new bodywork and agile handling. I will further talk about the main characteristics of this motocrosser in the same chapters that you got used to.
A big history record couldn’t characterize the bike we are talking about, but I suppose we can start with the Suzuki DR-Z125 which was developed in 2002 to fill the 125cc gap at Suzuki’s. The subject of this review was created in the same time and it was a slightly improved version of the DR-Z125 being called DR-Z125L. It got bigger wheels and a disc brake in the front, the rest of the characteristics remaining the same. Technically, the DR-Z125 and 125L are 2003 models.
When it was developed, the 124cc, 4-stroke, SOHC, single cylinder was based on the DR125SE Dual Sport model and it hasn’t suffer any changes through the years the only changes that you will notice being at the dimensions of this motorcycle, which make the 2008 model handle better: a bit longer, taller and with a bigger ground clearance. The seat’s height and the wheelbase also increased as you expected.
Suzuki’s DR-Z125 and DR-Z125L were introduced in the same period with Kawasaki’s KLX110, a bike that immediately became a competitor in a class traditionally dominated by Honda and later by Yamaha. As the number one competitor of the DR-Z125L I would name Yamaha TTR125L. Both bikes are very reliable, good looking and they perform approximately the same although the TTR is a little faster out of the box and the DRZ handles better.
The bike features aggressive new bodywork that makes it stylistic replica of the championship winning RM-Z machine. Sharp off-road styling with fuel tank, radiator shrouds and frame covers patterned after RM-Z models, seat and fender inspired from the RM-Z plus handlebar, front fender and number plate shared with RM85 attest the previous statement.
So the bike looks good, it is made out of quality materials but we are more interested on the compact 125cc 4-stroke, SOHC, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine designed for ease-of operation and low maintenance. The same engine which has a tuned intake tract and exhaust system for more low-to-mid range power. That power is being send to the rear wheel through the five-speed transmission with link-type gearshift system for precise operation and positive feel.
As you can suppose, such a bike needs a very smooth throttle response so engineers form Suzuki mounted a MikuniT VM20SS carburetor which gives the all the response necessary.
Another key feature of the engine is the digital-type CDI ignition system with timing set to enhance the engine’s low rpm characteristics.
Motocross bikes need to be strong but also light so the Suzuki DR-Z125L features a lightweight and durable steel frame and swingarm. Also, the rims are made out of lightweight aluminum for reduced weigh which means agile handling and improved suspension performance (not that the long-travel, oil damped front fork and link-type rear suspension won’t provide a smooth compliant ride).
I would like to use Suzuki’s strong braking performance provided by a single front disc brake with RM85 caliper and a rear brake drum to put the technical info to a complete, fast stop.
When you prepare to jump on the seat of the DR-Z125L you fell like you are up for the challenge. You know the bike’s not that powerful and that it was designed for beginners (probably as you do all that thinking your son is begging you to let him ride) but you enjoy the feeling of riding a bike to the max, to jump over bumps or to push it hard out of corners, don’t you? I certainly do!
I enjoy that the powerplant is tuned for strong low-to-mid rpm power by carefully selecting the lengths of the intake system and exhaust pipe, and by using a MIKUNI VM20SS carburetor that contributes to better throttle response.
I’ve been riding the KLX and the TTR also but, frankly, they just don’t handle like the Suzuki. The bike gives you the impression that it was created just for that and you become very confident on your riding abilities.
Suzuki announced a MSRP of $2,599 for 2008 and it is well worth it.
For experienced riders, the 2008 DR-Z125L will be a fun bike to steal from their sons and for beginners it will signify the start of a beautiful friendship.
Dimensions, Weights, Capacities
Chassis, Suspension, Brakes
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