2023 Suzuki Burgman 125 review - commuting on the Burgman 125

a scooter riding in a town centre

The updated 2023 Suzuki Burgman 125 boasts new start-stop technology and a more luxurious feel compared to the other 125s in the range

THE updated 2023 Suzuki Burgman 125 slots into the 125cc scooter range alongside the oddball Avenis and retro Address 125. Compared to those models it’s a slightly more premium package and is the only one in the range to boast Suzuki’s SEP-α engine, meaning silent engine start-ups and start-stop technology.

For this model launch we were whisked to the traffic-hating town of Cambridge, for a morning of bicycle dodging before heading out into the countryside to stretch the legs of the new 125.

Suzuki Burgman 125 review

The Burgman 125 (or the Burgman Street 125EX, to give it its full name) was announced last year, and followed hot on the heels of the Avenis and Address 125cc scooters that round out the 125cc Suzuki twist-and-go range. Compared to those machines, the biggest difference is the engine, and while the output of the motor is basically the same across the board, 8.5bhp and 10Nm (7.5lb-ft) of torque, this bike does gain some technical innovations the other two do not. It centres around the motor’s Suzuki Eco Performance Alpha (SEP-α) engine technology, and sees this bike gain Suzuki’s Engine Auto Stop-Start (EASS) and Silent Starter System. Styling compared to previous Burgman models is also slightly tweaked for 2023, although it’s still immediately recognisable with its trademark swooping lines and distinctive headlight shape. 

Compared to the previous gen’ Burgman 125 (classed as the UH125), the new bike is down on power to the tune of 3.5bhp, although thanks to lower weight and an optimised CVT system it still sprints to 200 metres quicker than the older bike, handy for getting away from the lights quicker than the hoards of e-bikes that seem to have taken over Cambridge!

Slinging a leg over the bike for the first time I’m impressed with the cockpit, which is fairly roomy for what is quite a small scoot. The leg shields offer a significant amount of legroom for taller riders and, as with most 125cc scoots, the seat is expansive for both the rider and passenger. I turn the key and the LCD dash (remember them!?) boots up, thumb the starter button and without any noise whatsoever the engine fires into life. The silent start system on this bike is exactly that, totally silent and without any perceivable clatter, very good if you regularly leave for work in the early morning and don’t want to wake your family or neighbours. The engine is also super-smooth, and as we sit outside the hotel waiting to depart, the lack of noise and vibes from the motor makes it difficult to even tell whether the bike is running or not. 

Another change for this model compared to the Avenis and Address is the inclusion of 12-inch wheels at both ends. The move is aimed at giving the bike a slightly more refined ride - handy given the crater-sized potholes we are having to deal with out on the road. Thankfully, the Burgman is feather-light and changes direction like a pondskater, meaning no matter how late you spot the obstacle, you can pretty much always get around it. Should you have to hit an unavoidable bump in the road, the suspension tries its best to soak it up, although some of the larger hits will have you jolting out of the seat - a more-than-expected outcome on a bike like this. Overall, though, the handling around town is very good and the Burgman feels extremely manoeuvrable, with decent low-speed stability and a minuscule turning circle. 

The braking system is equally as good, and comprises a combined braking system that uses front disc and rear drum set-up. The left lever (normally the rear brake) operates both the front and rear brakes, while the right lever operates the front brake only. 2-channel ABS is featured, although unless it’s wet you’ll probably not really notice it as the skinny Dunlop D307 N tyres provide a surprising amount of grip.

On the engine and performance front, I never really noticed a deficit in power compared to the other 125cc scooters I’ve tested, most of which produce closer to the 11kW (15hp) CBT limit. The bike gets up to speed nicely, keeping us ahead of the traffic, and only starts to lose steam when you get above 40mph. 

Another function of the bike that I didn’t notice was the stop-start function of the engine, which pauses the engine when you stop and restarts it once you wind on the throttle. Suzuki has done an excellent job of implementing the tech, meaning you don’t need to do anything for it to work and, unless you are focusing on it, you probably won’t even notice that it’s doing its thing. Mated to the silent start function, the whole process is seamless and fuss-free. I mentioned it in my video review of the bike, and I stand by it; tech like this that is implemented badly is a pet hate of mine. Kudos to Suzuki for getting it tuned in such a way that you don’t even know that it is there.

One of the knock-on effects of the system is a quoted fuel economy of 148mpg and a range of around 180 miles which isn’t bad going for a bike with a 5.5-litre fuel tank. On the launch ride I did manage a bit less than that, with my bike showing 110mpg by the end of the day. That was town riding, some country B-roads and a short squirt down the A14 though, and in the bike’s defence it was still in its run-in mileage, so there is likely better economy to come.

Once the morning’s photos were completed, we began to thread our way out of the city and across to the lunch stop at the pretty town of Ely, and that feather-weight handling was put to the test on some faster sweeping fen roads. With lumps, bumps, and subsidence it was a stern test for the little scooter and, aside from some hopping about on the worst of the bumps, again, it performed pretty well. As is the way on a small bike or scooter test, the ride quickly deteriorated into a silly riding competition that saw the group pinned to the throttle stop and slipstreaming our way across the Cambridgeshire countryside. With nobody wanting to lose out to one another, carrying as much corner speed as possible was the order of the day, and when the surface was good the Suzuki performed admirably. It didn’t take much of a bump or undulation in the middle of the corner to have the bike throwing shapes beneath me though. It’s silly to do it really, and while it’s at odds with how an owner will ride one, it’s good to know it can handle a little bit of boisterous riding if it’s required.

Part of the route saw us flicking onto the A14 for a couple of junctions, and this did highlight one factor if you are planning to commute on the Burgman. The flyscreen that is fitted as standard doesn’t really do anything of any merit and, should you need to spend more than a couple of minutes on a dual carriageway, a slightly taller accessory would be a must-have item. While we are on the subject of creature comforts, storage options on the bike include the two glove boxes in the fairing and the under-seat compartment which is 21.5 litres in size. The glove box on the right is open, while the one on the left is closeable but not lockable, but it does feature a handy illuminated USB port for on-the-fly charging. Most scooter manufacturers will claim an underseat storage space large enough for a full-sized full-face lid, although in my experience that is rarely true. With the Burgman I could just squeeze my Shoei X-SPR under there, although if I closed the seat fully it would have been touching (and scratching) the top of the helmet. The other two storage compartments are great, and the closeable one on the left is easily big enough for my iPhone 12 Pro Max and my GoPro.

2023 Suzuki Burgman Street 125EX verdict

Light, manoeuvrable, eminently easy to ride, and frugal to the hilt are the main phrases I’d use if asked to quickly describe the new Burgman 125. It’s not dripping in headline-grabbing technology, but what it does have is implemented well. The styling might not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s finished nicely, put together well and does tick the box if you are looking for a 125cc scoot with the look and feel of a pricier maxi-scooter style bike. And, while we are on the subject of the price, that is a subject that very few people can grumble about, as with a £2,999 RRP (£3,078 OTR), it’s knocking on the door of much less desirable bikes from some of the lesser-known Chinese brands, and a fair chunk less than some of the bikes from the more established Japanese names.

You can find out more about the new 2023 Suzuki Burgman Street 125EX on the official website.

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