If you’re looking to beat the congestion, park that bit easier in town and save money on fuel, then commuting by small motorcycle or scooter is ideal.
Yes, you will get wet when it rains, but you will probably get to work on time and avoid unreliable and dangerous public transport too.
There are loads of reasons to consider ripping up that Travel Card and taking to two wheels – £1699 is the cost of freedom aboard a Suzuki Address 125. Is it worth the money? Insidebikes rode one for a week to find out.
Let´s be brutally honest, public transport generally doesn´t work too well.
It´s becoming almost impossible to predict when you might arrive at your place of work. In many cases, trains and buses are jammed dangerously full, the seats are dirty (if you can get one) and the staff are little more than fare penalty operatives.
I recently tried to get to work in Altrincham from Chester. From front door to office desk took 1 hour and 52 minutes exactly, compared to around 40 minutes by car or motorcycle. I also had to visit the rail station the evening before to buy a ticket, as the queues to buy one in the morning are so ridiculously long. What a farce.
So Suzuki didn´t need to convince me to give commuting on the Address 125 a try. Yes, a 35 mile journey is probably too far on a motorbike which can only hit 70mph downhill, with the wind behind it, but it still only took 50 minutes to get to work, using a mix of A roads and motorways.
The Address isn´t a sporty, ultra fashionable scooter like say, a Peugeot Jet Force, Aprilia SR125, or Honda Pantheon. It is traditional, basic transport in fact and very similar to the old Honda C90 Cub. The Address has a four speed gearbox, no clutch, with neutral at the top of the gearbox, then four changes down to gradually go faster. I set off in second gear half the time, but it was OK, it didn´t stall.
The gear change has the old heel `n´ toe mechanism, which will make it familiar to anyone of a certain age, who spent a few years burbling to a factory job back in the 80s. There´s a dual seat, with a little bit of underseat storage, plus the handy features like decent lighting, a fully enclosed drive chain and (welcome to the 21st century) a fuel injected single-cylinder, four stroke engine.
Yes, the Address 125 is now a rip-snorting hi-tech machine, with spot-on fuel delivery and steady power from just above tickover. It´s got a semi automatic gearbox, so you clunk it into gear, then twist the throttle and a second or so later it moves away from standstill. Press down on the pedal and it clicks into 2nd, 3rd and top gear. Downward changes are best left until the bike is doing less than10mph, otherwise it selects third or second with some force.
But the whole thing feels very durable, even if it is a bit crude. The motor buzzes along near flat out for an hour if you can handle it. The suspension is soft, but it corners surprisingly well, despite having skinny tyres not much wider than a mountain bike.
There´s not a lot of acceleration, but it will wheelie – if you hold the front brake on, accelerate in first, then let the brake off. Top fun and I personally would be proud to obtain an ASBO for such a feat of motorised gymnastics.
When you build up speed it becomes fun to try and keep that momentum and in town, it is surprising how, with some advance planning, you can pretty much keep pace with traffic in 40mph and 50mph urban areas. You do get out-dragged off the line, but you can slip between lanes of stationary traffic with ease, and if you wear a comedy `Gromit´ type helmet like myself, you will find car drivers often move aside to let you through.
So, the Address goes OK, stops reasonably and handles OK for something so lightweight and fairly basic in its chassis design. It can do the job of getting you to work on time. The only question mark for me is the cost, at £1700 it is about £700 above the cost of the average Chinese made commuter.
That said, you would hope that a bike from a leading brand name would outlast a cheap `n´ cheerful runabout from Guangzhou.
But the Address is also 300 quid more than a Honda Lead 100 scooter, which is nearly as fast and has a carrier rack on the back. Same two year warranty with the Honda as you´d get with the Suzuki too…
But apart from the lack of carrying space (I reckon that 1700 quid should buy you a £10 carrier rack on the rear of the Address myself) I would say this is almost perfect for commuting. It easily does 80mpg, and Suzuki have a finance package available too, which means you can own the thing for under £50 per month – less than the average bus ticket.
The Suzuki Address 125 is definitely worth considering if you are new to two wheels, or looking for a low cost alternative to buying a second car, or using godawful public transport.
Get Suzuki motorbike insurance for the suzuki address 125.
Engine Single cylinder, 124cc, four stroke
Bore and stroke 53.5mm X 55.2mm
Electronic fuel injection
Compression ratio 9.6:1
Peak Power n/a
Peak Torque n/a
Gears 4 speed
Frame; Step-thru, steel tubular type
Forks; Telescopic, non adjustable
Rear suspension; Twin shock, non adjustable
Brakes; Disc front, drum rear.
Wheels/Tyres; 70/90 17 in front, 80/90 17 in rear
Dry Weight 104kgs
Fuel capacity 0.9 gallon
Estimated top speed 65mph
Price £1699 June 2007