We take a look at the BS6 Suzuki Gixxer 250 and SF 250, one a streetfighter and the other a fully-faired motorcycle, which have made quite a name for themselves in the 250-cc space in India.
Story: Azaman Chothia
Photography: Apurva Ambep
Derived from Suzuki’s legendary GSX-R models, the Gixxer line-up in India comprises two naked streetfighters and two fully-faired motorcycles. The 250-cc market has been growing apace over the last few years and the Gixxer 250 and SF 250 have proved to be major contenders in that space. We were very impressed by the BS4 Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 when we got a chance to ride it at the launch which took place at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida. With some race-spec modifications, the Gixxer SF 250 is also used by the manufacturer in its one-make championship series. Let’s take a look at what makes these machines so special.
Both these motorcycles have been built on a diamond frame from the 150-cc models and have been reinforced with thicker steel sections to handle the added weight from this larger 250-cc engine. Both bikes have quite a premium and sturdy-looking design which is sure to catch the enthusiast’s eye. To me personally, an important aspect of the design language is those well-sculpted tanks that allow a rider to lock their knee while diving into corners and this also adds to the bikes’ sporty look and feel. Like all motorcycles in the modern era, these bikes make use of LED headlights as well as LED tail-lights which adds to the premium quotient. Completing the aggressive look of the Gixxer series is the short twin-barrel exhaust that demonstrates an exhilarating grunt when revved.
As for colour options, the bikes come either with a matte black colour option or a blue that replicates their MotoGP livery. There is also a new 100th-anniversary edition blue and silver colour option that seems to be the best-looking of the lot. For this review, we received a matte black Gixxer SF 250 and a blue Gixxer 250 and, of the two, the blue colour is surely the winner, considering that it is brighter and is complemented by a large Suzuki decal running across the bodywork. The design remains the same as that of the BS4 models and the only difference is the use of a BS6 sticker on the tank of the Gixxer SF 250.
When it comes to ergonomics, the Gixxer 250 has an upright and higher riding position and no fairing means that this is the more practical option to slice through city traffic. On the other hand, the SF 250 has a seating position of that of a sports-tourer with a raised clip-on handlebar and its foot-pegs are set low. This ensures that there is no stress on a rider’s wrists and that they won’t have to constantly be seated in an aggressive position, allowing the SF 250 to be ridden for longer durations without any discomfort to a rider. Both bikes get a digital instrument cluster that displays more than adequate information, but we do hope to see Suzuki integrate the new Bluetooth connectivity feature with which both the Access 125 and Burgman Street 125 scooters are equipped.
Now let us talk about the most important part and why you will really buy this motorcycle. The engine used in these motorcycles is a 249-cc, single-cylinder, fuel-injected, oil-cooled unit that puts out 26.5 hp at 9,300 revolutions per minute and a peak torque of 22.2 Nm at 7,300 rpm. In comparison, the BS4 model put out 26.5 hp at 9,500 rpm and a peak torque of 22.6 Nm at 7,500 rpm, which indicates that Suzuki have succeeded in retaining the power figures, albeit with a slight difference in the peak rpm. Just like the BS4 model, we are happy to report that this engine retains all that we liked about it and is even more refined now. It is smooth through the rev-range and the character of this engine allows you to comfortably cruise through city traffic.
While accelerating, you can feel that the power delivery is linear all the way up to the 9,300-rpm mark with a strong mid-range and that the six-speed gearbox is slick and makes for swift up-and-down shifts. The SOCS (Suzuki Oil Cooling System) is impressive as it manages engine heat efficiently in city traffic and even when the bike is being ridden hard. When we were riding on the highway, I was astride the SF 250 and was able to achieve an indicated top speed of 154 km/h in sixth gear before the bike hit the rev-limiter. Meanwhile, Anosh, who was on the Gixxer 250, was able to achieve a top speed of 151 km/h and the bike was not able to pull all the way to the 9,300-rpm mark. This may possibly be ascribed to the better aerodynamics of the SF 250 and the fact that I am the lighter rider. The engine also allows the rider to stay in higher gears at low speeds; a simple twist of the throttle will quickly get the bike up to speed.
Suspension duties are handled by a 41-mm telescopic fork at the front and a swingarm-mounted monoshock at the rear, which work well to absorb most bumps and undulations on city roads. Keeping the bike in contact with the ground is a set of MRF Revz tyres, a 110-section at the front and a 150-section at the rear. These tyres get the job done and, in my opinion, are great for everyday use. The 150-cc Gixxers use slightly narrower tyres and that is why they feel more nimble and flickable, but with these tyres on the 250 what you get is more mid-corner stability with the bike feeling more planted. Needless to say, this instils greater confidence in the rider while hitting the canyons.
Finally, the braking set-up comprises discs at both ends with dual-channel ABS. This set-up perfectly complements the nature of the motorcycle with sharp and precise feedback and no intervention felt from the ABS at the front end. All you need is a single finger on the front brake lever to get the bikes to stop instantly. To suit the touring needs of many, there are also a bunch of accessories on offer such as saddlebags, USB charging socket, brake and clutch lever guards and much more.
The naked Gixxer 250 is priced at Rs 1.65 lakh and the Gixxer SF 250 at Rs 1.76 lakh (ex-showroom). Both these motorcycles prove to be great for a rider planning to upgrade from a 150-cc motorcycle as they offer a perfect blend of speed, safety, and practicality. They might not be the fastest 250-cc machines in the Indian market, but this engine, in my opinion, is a significant all-rounder and makes these bikes the best bet for a rider looking for an upgrade that also promises everyday usability.