It’s safe to say that the New Year has started on a good note, going by all the interesting motorcycles we’re getting to ride. The Intruder 150 is one such bike that gets our stamp of approval, as the new Suzuki tries to carve a niche for itself by elbowing out sporty 150s and old-school cruisers. And going by the attention it’s getting on the road, it seems like the gamble Suzuki has taken in terms of design might have paid off.
It’s been a while since the Bike India office found itself so much divided in opinion about a bike design. There’s clear inspiration from the Intruder M1800 and even a little bit from the almighty Hayabusa. The long flowing panels flanked by enormous fuel-tank extensions, an unmistakable triangular headlight and a chunky Intruder emblem aspire to resemble the larger Intruder. The visual mass manages to camouflage the fact that the Intruder 150 is based on the Gixxer and looks much bigger than it actually is. The styling leans more towards a power cruiser than old-school cruiser design.
The Intruder uses a new sub-frame and a stretched swingarm, which make it 80 millimetres longer overall and add 75 mm to the wheelbase as compared to the Gixxer. The cruiser can easily pass off as a 350-cc bike, for the design does a fabulous job of concealing the puny 154.9-cc single. You’ll be surprised to know that underneath all the muscle, the tank actually holds just 11 litres of fuel… that’s a litre less than the Gixxer 150. The fuel tank tapers and seamlessly merges with the wide and well-cushioned split seat.
Having ridden the bike all day, I found the seat to be pretty comfortable. The riding position is quite relaxed with the legs stretched ahead, though some might take a few minutes to get used to the far-ahead foot-pegs. At 740 mm, the saddle height is 40 mm lower than the Gixxer’s, and with the handlebar bolted on extended mounts, the bike can be used by riders of all sizes. The handlebar mounts are neatly concealed under plastic housing, which also holds the instrument cluster. Borrowed from the Gixxer, this all-digital unit is a bit of a misfit as analogue dials would have better suited a cruiser. The ignition slot is above the headlight, which is a stretch to reach, and with prolonged use, metal key-chains and extra keys are likely to be the cause of abrasion of the area around it.
The sharply designed exhaust with silver highlights looks attractive but since it protrudes from the side it is likely to be prone to scratches. Moreover, with so many plastic panels a big concern is that, over time and given our road conditions, they might start to rattle and the panel gaps could go haywire. Like most Suzukis the fit and finish is pretty decent, and there’s good plastic used on most parts. I must also mention that the quality of paint is top-notch; wax-polishing the bike on weekends will be a rewarding experience.
The rear seat is flat and offers adequate room for the pillion. In Hayabusa-like fashion it comes with a cowl covering the rear half of the bike along with a sleek grab-rail which almost blends with the rear seat and shrouds the compact LED tail-light. All this bulk at the back doesn’t complement the 140 section rear tyre and makes the bike appear disproportionate. I can almost imagine the design and engineering teams at loggerheads over the size of the Intruder’s wheels. Here, aesthetics had to take a back seat to accommodate practicality as a wider rear tyre would have been aesthetically better. The stock tyres from the Gixxer might look under-sized on the Intruder but they provide a perfect performance-efficiency balance on this small cruiser and the power it produces.