The Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 is the Japanese brand’s latest product, and seems poised to shake up the growing quarter-litre segment with its flexible engine, neutral handling and sharp looks. The bike was launched two days ago, priced at Rs 1.71 lakh (ex-showroom), and we spend yesterday putting it through its paces at the Buddh International Circuit, India’s premier racetrack. Here’s what you need to know.
1) Those fresh looks are sure to attract attention
The Gixxer SF 250 may be powered by a freshly-developed, oil-cooled engine placed within a reworked diamond frame, but the first thing you see is that edgy design that manages to make a favourable first impression. The bike looks sharp and sporty, swathed within that matte-finished plastic that has just the right amount of cuts and creases to keep from looking too staid, and without overtly-done decals that may have ended up looking too busy. Seems just right for our market that’s always been obsessed with full-faired motorcycles.
2) The all-new 250-cc single is extremely user-friendly
Underneath that fairing beats a 249-cc, air-and-oil-cooled single that breathes through a four-valve SOHC head, and is mated to a smooth-shifting six-speed gearbox. Peak figures are 26.5 PS at 9,000 rpm and 22.6 Nm at 7,500 rpm, but what I really liked about this motor was its willingness to pull all the way from its midrange to the 10,000 rpm limiter in a strong and linear manner, without any sudden surges and flat spots. Peak power is identical to the Honda CBR250R and lower than the KTM 250 Duke, but torque is delivered in a smooth and predictable manner, complemented by spot-on throttle response and fuelling. Sure, vibes are felt at the upper reaches of the rev range, as expected with a single, but the engine’s flexible character should make the Gixxer SF 250 extremely capable, be it within the city or out on the highway.
3) The Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 isn’t meant to be a focused sport bike
Although that edgy, full-faired design may awaken the boy racer within you, closer inspection and a quick ride will reveal that this bike really isn’t intended to set racetracks on fire. The foot-pegs are quite low and comfortably set, while the clip-ons are also raised high enough to be within easy reach, without splaying yourself across the tank. There is a forward bias to the riding position, but it is definitely far from a full-on race crouch, and this relaxed posture is further complemented by a spacious, well-padded seat.
The result is a somewhat sporty riding position that doesn’t put too much weight on your wrists and shoulders, ensuring comfort over long periods in the saddle; Suzuki are marketing this bike as an entry-level sport tourer, and I’m inclined to agree with them on this count.
4) Ideal for riders who are moving up from a 150- or 200-cc bike
The friendly nature of the Gixxer SF 250 means that it could be an ideal upgrade for someone who currently rides a 150- to 200-cc motorcycle, and wants something stylish and new. The comfortable riding position and relaxed engine character would be at home doing urban commuter duty through the week, while there is enough power available for blasting down the highway at triple-digit speeds, or even some one-wheeled antics, on the weekends.
5) The Gixxer SF 250 is something that both, young as well as mature riders will enjoy
Younger riders will surely take to the sporty looks, the unique signature of those LED headlights and the whole racer-boy image that comes with a fully-faired machine, while older riders will definitely appreciate the comfortable riding position, strong midrange and everyday usability of this bike. The Gixxer SF 250 will unquestionably appeal to a wide spectrum of riders.
Fans of the current 155-cc Gixxer SF’s handling might be disappointed that the new 250 is slower-steering than the older bike, taking longer to get to and from full lean. We have already mentioned that the Gixxer SF 250 is more sport tourer than racetrack tool, and it is our opinion that better mid-corner stability at the expense of side-to-side flickability is a sensible trade off. Now, if you want to know why the 250 is slower to steer than the older Gixxer, and how to regain some of that lost flickability, read our detailed ride review of the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 in the July issue of Bike India.