You only have to turn on the television or open a newspaper to realise how tough things are for many of us these days, so any inexpensive form of transport which helps us get to work cheaper and easier has got to be a good thing. Suzuki have smartly recognised this, and are bringing a range of super-simple 125cc scooters to Europe in 2023.
This, the Address 125, is the cheapest of a trio of scoots sharing the same basic 9bhp air-cooled engine and simple chassis design. It features classic, almost retro styling, in contrast to the sportier Avenis and the more contemporary Burgman EX.
A quick look at the sales charts in recent years shows sales of 125cc scooters, particularly Honda’s PCX125 and the Yamaha NMAX, have been huge – appealing not only to commuters but also the huge number of delivery riders working for the various takeaway apps. Suzuki say they are not targeting these giants of the class, instead it looks like they are going up against the various Chinese scooters which have also been increasing in popularity in recent years, with their more basic specifications and bargain price tags.
Suzuki’s new scooter range is built in their own factory in India, where more than five million models based around the engine have been produced and sold in Asia and South America. The motor itself has been updated to meet the latest Euro5 emissions laws, but the basic roots of the engine can be seen by the old fashioned manual kickstarter on the left-hand side of the engine.
Not that the Address 125 needs to be kicked into life. It’s got an electric starter of course, which the manufacturer rather grandly dubs ‘Suzuki Easy Start System’ and firing up the Address is as simple as switching on the television.
Indeed the Address 125 is fundamentally an appliance, designed to do a specific job as efficiently as possible. There are no gears, just a fully automatic ‘twist and go’ transmission, and away from the lights it is surprisingly brisk. A combination of light weight (105kg) and lively gearing means that it’ll pull ahead of most cars away from the traffic lights, although it starts running out of steam at around 40mph. We saw the needle creep briefly up to 60mph on our test ride, but realistically bank on a top speed of 50-55mph on a dual carriageway. If your regular riding involves more open roads, you might want to consider finding the extra budget for an NMAX or PCX, which enjoy a 10mph top speed advantage over the little Suzuki. As a 125, the Address 125 can be ridden on motorways by full motorcycle licence holders, although one of the big attractions of this category of scoot is that they don’t need a full licence and can be ridden on L plates after doing a day’s Compulsory Basic Training (CBT).
It's a basic machine on the chassis front too. Suzuki have fitted linked brakes to the Address 125, with a 190mm front disc and a drum at the rear. Like most things on the Address, the performance is adequate. Personally, I’d like to have some more bite and feel from the stoppers, however for the purpose of the machine they do the job.
One thing I am not so keen on are the small wheels: 12” at the front and 10” at the rear. Like other scoots with these wheel dimensions, it is incredibly nimble to ride but can feel skittish – particularly on wet and or bumpy roads. The Dunlop tyres are a decent addition though, and better than those found on most scooters of a similar price. Personally, I prefer bigger wheeled scooters for their riding characteristics, but the Address compares favourably to other small-wheeled scoots I’ve ridden in the past.
Although it’s low on spec, the Address 125 has all the basic stuff you need. The USB charger point, situated down by an open glovebox capable of holding a drinks bottle or mobile phone, is a really useful feature – arguably vital for any rider using their phone as a navigation device – but that’s about it really.
Otherwise, the display is dominated by the large analogue speedometer, which is easy to read, and which looks great in my opinion. It’s got a small fuel gauge and clock, while the surrounding lights illuminate in various colours to show how economically you are riding.
Of course, it’s pretty much impossible to return poor fuel economy with the Address 125. Suzuki claim 149mpg under the standardised testing programme, and although this is probably an ambitious number to aim at in everyday riding, somewhere between 100-120mpg should be easily achievable. With a five-litre fuel tank, you can expect over 100 miles before needing to fill up.
That fuel tank sits at the back of the bike, with the filler cap just above the number plate. The downside to the tank’s location is that it restricts under seat storage. That said, 21.8 litres of storage is still pretty usable, and there’s the option of a 27 litre top box, which can also act as a storage space for your crash helmet while parked up.
The upside to the location of the fuel tank is that there’s no ‘tunnel’ running between the rider’s legs, where many competitors have their fuel fillers. Not only does it make for generous leg room for the rider, Suzuki has handily fitted some luggage hooks to allow the carrying of grocery bags. I think with a bit of planning and technique, you could carry a fair bit on the Address.
Comfort is good, with a big squishy saddle and generous leg room. And if you do take a passenger, there are some really generously proportioned grab rails to make it comfy for them too. If I have one small complaint, then that would be that the handlebars are quite narrow. I preferred the wider bars of Suzuki’s Avenis, which we’ve also ridden, as they felt less cramped and more comfortable – and I am a shorty too!
Looks wise, the Address 125 is in my opinion the best looking of the trio of new Suzuki scoots. I like it. There’s a hint of classic Vespa, the three matt colour options are all fashionable and done to a high standard, while the chrome headlight surround really pops and is a stylish touch.
It’s kind of hard to get excited about the Suzuki Address 125, but that’s no bad thing. It’s a bit like reviewing a washing machine. I feel no affection to my washing machine, but it gets my clothes clean and that’s all that matters.
In the same way, I don’t feel a lot of love for the Address, but I have a lot of admiration for it. Comparing it to the less established Chinese brands, it looks better, feels better built, and has a more established dealer network. I can see a lot of consumers who might ordinarily buy a less well-known brand heading down to their local Suzuki retailer this summer.
I have a lot of respect for basic and utilitarian machines which do exactly what they say on the tin, and the Address joins that list. I’ve ridden a few sub-£3k Chinese scoots in my time testing motorcycles and, in terms of build quality, this feels lightyears ahead of anything else I’ve ridden for the money.
It is a very, very sensible option and looks like a smart move by Suzuki to bring these models to Europe in a time when saving money is a priority for many of us. As an inexpensive way to get around, the Suzuki Address 125 is one of the finest appliances on the planet.