Here is our first ride review of the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 motorcycle
The fully faired counterpart of the Suzuki Gixxer 150, the Gixxer SF 150 was launched back in 2015. The Japanese motorcycle manufacturer entered the faired street fighter segment with pizzazz when it introduced the SF that drew its DNA from Suzuki’s legendary GSX-R series. Fast Forward to 2019 and we get a much improved and more powerful model of the Gixxer SF. A few months back, Suzuki took the covers off a 250 cc model for the Gixxer series that came loaded with technology and on paper boasted of a superior performance. Auto Tech Review recently got to sample this faired beauty on the streets of New Delhi. Here is our take on this contender from Suzuki that takes on the likes of the Honda CBR-250R.
Suzuki, a commonly known brand name in Japan and part of the ‘Big Four’ OEMs in the country, began its journey of making two-wheelers back in 1952. However, it was not until 1984 that the motorcycle manufacturer got down to roll out a proper sports bike with steel double loop frames and air-cooled inline fours. With a few motorsport titles under its belt and a world of possibilities ahead, the motorcycle maker kick-started its journey in making sports bikes. Now in 2019, we have yet another blue blooded street fighter ready to prove the prowess of this Japanese stalwart.
At first glance, it is easy to fall in love with the new Gixxer SF 250. The bike has resplendent proportions no matter which angle you choose to ogle at it from. The job for designers surely would not have been an easy one and acknowledging the crisp lines & seamless curves, it is evident that this product has seen many hours on canvas. A full LED headlamp upfront dominates with a futuristic look, while sharp lines and tucks on the sides ensure an edgy look. The tank is sculpted and muscular adding a shade of bulk to this otherwise slender motorcycle.
The rear tapers off seamlessly with a surprisingly minimalistic look. The LED stop lamp also follows this plain and simple look. Suzuki has done a commendable job on the quality front and this is evident the moment you crank the engine. The fit, finish and build are superior to any other product competing in this segment. Further, aesthetics and overall ergonomic functionalities are spot on.
On the all-black model we rode, I found the 250 decal on the sides to be lacking in flair. This is a bike to be celebrated. If not by Suzuki, then at least by owners! A bolder 250 badge here would have definitely done the trick in my opinion. While the overall look of the bike is as sharp as a Samurai’s sword, the turn indicators do stand out as an eyesore and could definitely have been sportier to look at.
This fully faired motorcycle essentially sports a straight ahead look with design inspirations drawn from what’s trending in Europe. The bike gets an all-LED instrument cluster that just feels right at home with the overall hi-tech look the Gixxer SF 250 has. The set-up displays a tachometer, speedometer, trip distance, gear position, fuel level and others.
Suzuki has also built in a stubby looking twin-muffler exhaust system with a dash of chrome to add a premium feel. The exhaust offers a meaty grunt and as you rev up this single cylinder engine, it gets adequately vocal. Over to the rear, a blacked out tyre hugger performs its duty and adds a touch of quality to the looks. The five twin-spoke alloys offer a neat appearance with brushed alloy finish, giving it a modern look.
Suzuki has also offered an electric push start system apart from other functions and features such as clip-on handle bars, a 6-speed gearbox, split seat, wider tyres and a stiffer front suspension. The motorcycle also offers a split saddle with a generous amount of space for the rider and not so much for the pillion. The cushioning is adequate at the most and could definitely see some improvement.
WHEN RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD
Perched on the saddle of this 250cc motorcycle, it is easy to lose track of speeds. This was my first thought as I revved up the motor and breezed past swarms of commuter bikes. The oil-cooled single cylinder engine is rated to turn 26.5 ps of power at 9,000 rpm and belts out a hefty 22.6 Nm at 7,500 rpm. A slight twist of the wrist and it’s easy to tell the Gixxer SF 250 is raring to go. Mated to a 6-speed transmission, the motor finds its own in the mid-range of the rev band. From there on it just propels to the redline. The bike is comfortable cruising at a 100 km/h in the fifth gear and for highways it can merrily cruise between 120-130 km/h in sixth gear. If you want quick overtakes, just ‘drop a gear and disappear’.
Speaking of dropping gears, the transmission is slick and a no fuss unit. It does the job supremely well and only once during our tests did I notice a false neutral. With a powerful motor and a lightweight construct of just 165 kg, the Gixxer SF 250 is as quick as a whistle but also packs the right stopping power. Suzuki has decided to offer a dual channel ABS for this model. The set-up is offered on both front and rear wheels, thus offering more confidence to the rider, when braking hard. During all our tests, this point proved itself resilient again and again. The perforated 300 mm disc brakes in the front feature a twin piston calliper, while the rear features a single piston unit.
The chassis on the Gixxer SF 250 is similar to the one on the 150 cc version of the bike but with a few upgrades – the central tube is thicker, the suspension mounting is reinforced, the springs either have been retuned or replaced with better performing parts. The suspension is stiffer and offers more control. This is evident when you fling the bike in a corner. With wider tyres and more grip one gains a lot more confidence while riding this machine at high speeds.
DEALMAKER OR DEALBREAKER
Price in India has been excruciatingly significant for buyers in the two-wheeler space. For the new Suzuki Gixxer SF 250, the price in our opinion is marginally on the higher side, yet it does offer value for money in terms of quality, safety features and performance. At Rs 1.71 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the Gixxer SF 250 is cheaper than the Honda CBR 250R by around Rs 24,000 and by Rs 17,000 for the Bajaj Dominar. Another essential factor is the fuel economy of the motorcycle. While ARAI has published a figure 38.5 km/l for the Gixxer SF, the real world fuel efficiency of the motorcycle is slightly lower if you constantly push the engine hard. While cruising at city speeds you can derive results in excess of the ARAI figure.
TEXT & PHOTO: Joshua David Luther