Words and Pics by Gabriel Asseily
Gabs is a regular contributor to the MBT Forum and is also a relatively new biker. Who better, then, to give us an objective opinion on one of the options open to learners who don’t want to ride scooters? Here’s his review (maybe not totally objective as he bought one) of Suzuki’s learner friendly GV125 Marauder.
Introducing Suzuki’s 125cc 4-stroke Marauder! Not the most powerful bike around and definitely not the sportiest. Having trawled through websites on bikes and having had the idea that I would be hopping onto the latest R1 or Fireblade, once I had done all the training and got my licence I began to understand just how how naïve I was.
A lot of people will look at custom bikes as a category for the older generations or simply do not bother because they don’t provide the adrenaline rush most of us seek. Well I can only say that since purchasing this bike last year, I could not imagine myself without a custom in my garage. (I felt the same after testing the Harley Fat Boy a couple of years ago – couldn’t live with one as an only bike but. Ed)
UK Marauder 125s come in two colours – metallic navy (as in the pictures) or silver (which actually looks like a very pale blue). Dark blue suits it better, I think. I bought this bike initially for two reasons. The first was that I needed a bike to train on; the second was that I had to convince people that I was not going to end up as the next smear on the wall or car bonnet!
Having searched around a bit, I decided that the look of the Marauder was actually quite nice. And it is a good looking bike, bearing in mind that it is only a 125.
The physical aspects: The bike actually looks bigger than it is in real life. Most people have asked me if it’s a 250 or sometimes a 400. Sadly when I switch on the engine, most revert back to 250.
The bike itself is pretty low and quite wide although no larger than a GSXR600 (tested with a friend).
There is a seat for a pillion on the bike as standard and most find the ride actually enjoyable. However do not go expecting to be riding with luggage and a pillion unless you are willing to put the luggage in front of you.
Apart from that everything is pretty conventional. I do like the shape of the tank though. It just seems a little different, in terms of comparing it with a Harley let’s say.
Oh and I love the notice on the tank – “Warning failure to follow these safety instructions may result in injurity! What the heck, it’s still better than my Japanese.
In any case, the bike is actually still a little bit of a head turner. I have even had a couple of compliments from Harley owners! Such friendly folk!
The technical side: Well the bike generates the whole of 11.5 BHp and 9.6Nm torque. So are we talking a brute of a bike? No! Then again it is not designed for that.
The bike is great for city commuting. It will take you up to 30 miles an hour in however long, but it still holds it fine. No vibrations, no dodgy steering nice and easy. Once you try and hit 40 miles an hour you can hold that as well, but you will struggle, without the help of a slope or tailwind, to get much further up.
My top speed with the wind, a hill and the will of engine was a whopping 70 miles an hour. Just.
Ok, so maybe I’m being fussy about the power of a 125cc bike, but there is a small problem for me. This comes when it is time to turn. In a city there is not much problem but you will not find yourself steering round a corner at 30mph easily. The handling is actually not all that great.
So you end up having to slow down a fair bit for those sharper corners and then suffering because of the lack of power.
You may ask why not lean more into the corner and this leads me to my second gripe about this bike. The foot pegs. You turn that bike too much and they will scrape the road.
Now I know it is not a sports bike but if you are going a touch too fast for a turn you see that curb come up pretty close and so you lean! Of course the pegs scrape a little and you start to let off. Then you need the power to get back up to speed again and.
In terms of stability, the bike is perfect. At traffic lights you start off and you can literally take both feet up like landing gear on a plane! It is super stable.
The bike weighs in at 126kg dry but it is still heavy enough to feel like a proper machine.
Next up is suspension. Well the bike is pretty low, as you’d expect from a custom. You will feel the bumps. Two up you will feel more than the bumps.
Unfortunately the suspension allows for you to feel things a little too much. Mind you it is supposed to be a cruising bike, in other words, open roads. Bearing in mind that I am talking about central London (and we all know what the roads are like there), perhaps the criticism is a little unfair.
Compared to other learner bikes, the Marauder’s larger wheels and proper clutch and brakes make it easy to learn to ride on. It’s not threatening, such power as is available is easily accessible without needing great handfuls of revs to pull away and the whole thing is built strong enough to withstand those inevitable low speed tumbes when you’re learning. It’s also difficult to crash it – I know because I’ve done so but I had to try quite hard!
In conclusion: I would highly recommend this bike as a first bike and as a baby commuter. Long distances would not be ideal, just because the top speed will not hack it on an A road. For the image conscious, all I can say is that as mentioned above, I have people asking me if it is a Harley, and Harley riders asking where I got a 125 model from.
And finally, Suzuki have a great dealer network and the basic mechanicals are well tried and tested. For those wishing to get a bike with a little classic feel to it and an easy learning curve this is a definite must.
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