2011 Suzuki DR-Z125L
The type of engine powering the 2011 Suzuki DR-Z125L can rightfully be called the world's most popular motor. The slightly forward canted vertical four stroke, air cooled, SOHC, single cylinder mini thumper engine provides the motive power for literally millions of motorcycles around the world. Although it is a design that Honda pioneered way back in the Sixties, virtually identical engines are manufactured by literally scores of motorcycle marques around the planet and Suzuki's variant is second to none.
The only real unanswered question about this model is why the DR-Z125L has to cost nearly three thousand dollars. Motorcycles powered by essentially identical engines are available throughout the Third World at well under one thousand US dollars retail price. Although the DR-Z125L can be said to have somewhat higher quality components than, say, a Hero Honda version in India, it's difficult to see where the extra two grand plus has gone, other than in sheer corporate profiteering.
This is not to say that the 2011 Suzuki DR-Z125L is a dud of a bike. With a bore and stroke of 57.0 mm x 48.8 mm, and a compression ratio of 9.5:1, the DR-Z125L's motor generates easily governable power exactly where a novice rider will need it most. The precise antithesis of peaky, the DR-Z125L's 124cc engine is a wonder of tractability: the powerband resembles a badlands butte. There are no unpleasant surprises when taking to the trail or track on a DR-Z125L and the inexperienced newby will find that the engine is extremely forgivable of being caught a gear too high or low for conditions.
Although the DR-Z125L may share those famous yellow flyer cosmetics with its bigger RM brothers, the little four stroke can't seriously be taken as a racer anywhere but the pee wee leagues. It can be argued that the Suzuki RM85 gives up 40ccs but can still smoke the DR-Z125L on a motocross track. Flying around the berms is emphatically not what the DR-Z125L does best, although its larger wheels and front disc brake give it a marked advantage against the garden variety basic DR-Z125.
The 2011 Suzuki DR-Z125L is a superlative young rider's learner bike; an adequate light fire roader; and a reasonable all purpose off roader for teenagers or lightweight adults. Trying to pit the DR-Z125L against a fire breathing 125 class motocrosser such as a 2011 Yamaha YZ125 is like comparing a Chevrolet Aveo with Mark Webber's Red Bull Formula One car. Unfortunately Suzuki is not competing in the 125cc motocross category in 2010, and we can only pray that they will return to their senses and bring the glory of the RMs back to this smallest, but most fun class.
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2011 Suzuki DR-Z125L At A Glance
Base MSRP: $3,499
Engine Type: 4-stroke, air-cooled, OHC
Bore & Stroke: 57.0 mm (2.244 in) x 48.8 mm (1.921 in)
Ignition Type: Electronic ignition (CDI)
Compression Ratio: 9.5 : 1
Valve Train Type:
Transmission Type: 5-speed constant mesh
Final Drive Type: D.I.D 428HG, 130 links
Front Tire: 70/100-19 42M, tube type
Rear Tire: 90/100-16 52M, tube type
Wheelbase: 1270 mm (50.0 in)
Saddle Height: 805 mm (31.7 in)
Curb Dry Weight: 89 kg (196 lbs)
Fuel Capacity: 4.8 L
* Specs/pix apply to 2010 model, updates as released