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Suzuki Motorcycle India launched the all-new Gixxer SF 250 and 2019 Gixxer SF in the Indian market. While the 155cc 2019 Gixxer SF was a model update to the already existing motorcycle, the 250cc marks Suzuki's in the quarter-litre segment.
The last time Suzuki launched a 250cc motorcycle, things didn't go down too well. Anybody remembers the Inazuma 250? Indian buyers felt it was too expensive and tough competition put the final nail in its coffin. Well, there is absolutely no doubt that there is a lot of hope riding on the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250.
The Indian motorcycle market has advanced over the last few years. We went slowly from the 100cc commuters to the 150cc street bikes and then, in came the 250cc segment with the likes of the Kawasaki Ninja 250R and the Honda CBR 250R.
Well, the market moved ahead from there too. Kawasaki stopped production of the quarter-litre Ninja and brought in the 300 and then the 400. Honda has moved ahead with the launch CB300R and the CBR300R will soon follow suit. There is high demand in the 300-400cc segment and this has left the 250cc segment stagnant for a while now.
The only 250cc models on sale in India are the Kawasaki Z250, Honda CBR 250R and the Yamaha FZ25. Suzuki has now joined the fray with the Gixxer SF 250. How does the motorcycle handle? And does it have what it takes to revive sales in the 250cc segment? We find out.
Design & Styling
The Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 comes with brand new styling. A design this sharp hasn't been seen on a low-capacity Suzuki Motorcycle in the Indian market before. If this is a sign of things to come, Suzuki will have young buyers of the country floored in no time.
The Japanese company had been trying to target young buyers for a while now, and with the new Gixxer SF 250, it certainly will get them. The design does seem to have been inspired by the big GSX-R 1000.
Up front is an LED headlamp unit with an instantly-recognisable sharp design and that sets the tone for the rest of the motorcycle. Right above the headlamp unit is the registration number plate holder and above that is a nice little visor. Suzuki is also offering a smoked visor as an optional extra.
The Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 sports a new fairing with a sharper design. The fairing starts higher up and hence gives an impression that the tank too has been redesigned. The motorcycle features a sporty split-seat design and redesigned cowling at the rear.
The entire rear section is in-fact brand new. This includes the LED tail lamps, the mudguard with mounts for the registration number plate and turn signal indicators. Even the tyre-hugger is brand-new.
All this when put together allows the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 to have a premium and attractive image. This is an image that Suzuki has always wanted its motorcycles to have, but it is now finally a reality.
The Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 is currently available in just two colours – Metallic Matte Platinum Silver and Metallic Matte Black. Though both colours have a matte finish, the metallic crystals in the paint do their job of subtly attracting onlookers.
The Gixxer SF 250 is based on a reinforced version of the 155cc Gixxer SF's chassis and it shares almost all of its design with its younger sibling. The biggest difference between the two, for those who know is the matte finish on the 250 and the gloss finish on the 155.
For those who don't know though, Suzuki has provides a subtle but large '250 SOCS' decal on the motorcycle's side fairing. The Metallic Matte Platinum Silver comes with a racing stripe that runs from the tank till the rear cowl.
Engine & Performance
The Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 is powered by an all-new,oil-cooled, 249cc single-cylinder engine. It pushes out a maximum power figure of 26bhp at 9,000rpm. The peak torque output of 22.6Nm comes in at 7,500rpm.
Transmission duties are handled by a 6-speed gearbox. The Indian market is familiar with oil-cooled engines as we have seen them doing duty in the likes of the Bajaj Pulsar 220. Oil-cooled engines we've seen till now were basically air-cooled engines with the added advantage of its oil being cooled. With the Gixxer SF 250 though, things are different.
The cooling fins usually seen on air-cooled engines are missing and it looks like a liquid-cooled engine. Suzuki calls it SOCS (Suzuki Oil Cooling System) and claims to have developed it using inputs from motorsport.
Well, it did prove to be effective during our ride at the Buddh International Circuit with ambient temperatures touching more than 40-degrees celsius. We weren't exactly lenient on the engine even in the sweltering summer heat. We had a full-throttle 30-minute riding session. Performance was brisk and the engine goes through the gears pretty quickly.
We rode around ten laps and the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 regularly touched a speed of 153-154km/h on all of the laps. The 130km/h mark comes up pretty quickly, but the numbers increase with less fury after that mark.
The motor is smooth and is comfortable at redline, but it is happiest at around 8,000rpm and this is exactly where the power band is. Since we were at a racetrack, we couldn't exactly test the length of each gear ratio. However we did a roll-on acceleration test in third gear, going full-throttle at 2,000rpm and going all the way till the redline. It pulled through just fine with no complaints at all.
Ride & Handling
As mentioned earlier, the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 is based on the 155cc Gixxer SF's chassis but is reinforced. However there are a few minute differences that are made obvious while riding. It is 15mm shorter and 25mm wider than the Gixxer SF 155. The wheelbase Gixxer SF 250 is also 5mm longer than the 155. This is a minute increase, but it's effect is felt while riding the bike.
It feels a lot more stable in the corners and a better lean angle can be achieved. This is not a motorcycle that will be used very often on the track, but its lightweight handling makes us believe that it will be a hoot to ride out on the streets.
Suspension duties are handled by a conventional fork up front and a monoshock at the rear. The front suspension has been developed from scratch for this motorcycle and it feels very stable and planted even under hard braking.
Its ability to handle bad roads and comfort levels for everyday usage is anybody's guess at the moment as we rode it on the smooth, paved surface of the Buddh International Circuit. Braking is enhanced by a new 300mm disc up front by Bybre. The brake does not have lots of initial bite, but once it holds on, it does feel powerful.
The Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 does boast of several premium features. It has LED Headlamps with separate high and low beams. It also doubles up as daytime running lights. The motorcycle also comes with LED brake lights.
It also sports a twin-muffler with chrome caps. The alloy wheels with a brushed finish lends the motorcycle a premium look. The Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 comes with digital instrument with information displayed on the negative LCD screen. The screen is small, but easy to read.
It displays information like the speedometer, odometer, trip meters, tachometer and fuel gauge. The motorcycle also features a split seat, Dual-channel ABS, and a brilliant new design.
As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of hope riding on the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 and for good reason. This time though, Suzuki seems to have got it all right. At Rs 1.70 Lakh, it does seem like it is still on the expensive side, but be rest assured that it is not overpriced.
Suzuki has made sure to give you exactly the right amount of motorcycle for the money you are paying. It boasts of good looks, decent performance and excellent build quality.
The Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 is brilliant and we really look forward to road-testing the bike. However, we also are aware that Suzuki will sooner or later bring in the naked variant of the motorcycle - the Suzuki Gixxer 250. This is going to be one of the motorcycles to watch out for. The best part is that it will cost lesser too.