Suzuki’s re-entry in the quarter-litre segment saw the launch of a brand-new motorcycle, the Gixxer SF 250. While it is a fully faired motorcycle belonging to the legendary GSX-R family, does it have enough juice to be called a supersport?
The Gixxer SF 250 does not look imposing at first glance. Its aesthetics are almost identical to its smaller counterpart the Gixxer SF 155, but the 250 is visibly bigger. The motorcycle is among the first to be manufactured with Suzuki’s new design language and its freshness is visible.
It gets a complete LED setup for the headlight and taillight, sans the turn indicators. The angular headlamp gives it a sense of belongingness to the GSX-R family. However, it is distinctly different from its international counterpart, the GSX250R.
Suzuki has designed this 250cc motorcycle from scratch, making it starkly different from its international counterpart. The Gixxer SF 250 is lighter than the GSX250R by a full 20 kilograms, but its 12-litre fuel tank capacity comes up short compared to the latter’s 15.4 litre tank. The SF 250 also gets a dual-channel ABS unit as standard, while it is offered as an option in the GSX250R. Its seat height is also 10 mm more than the GSX250R and gets a fatter rear tyre.
The Gixxer SF 250 fills the void left by Suzuki when it launched and failed with the Inazuma 250 in 2014. Since the motorcycle is brand new, Suzuki was able to make up for its shortcomings and offer a feature-laden option in the quarter-litre segment.
Suzuki has given the motorcycle a 249cc oil-cooled single-cylinder motor, which makes 26.5 PS of maximum power and 22.6 Nm of peak torque and is mated to a 6-speed gearbox. Its linear power delivery might not excite someone with too much expectation, but since I own a 2015 Yamaha YZF-R3, I can say that it is sufficiently peppy and crisp.
Its throttle response, too, feels butter smooth and lag-free. The motorcycle can carry any gear in corners and does not feel sluggish even in the lower rev range. The footpegs are also middle-set but prove to be obtrusive when I try to move my legs behind, but again it is designed for a shorter rider than me (at 6 feet 3). The 800 mm seat height also puts the rider above peers but is comfortable enough for anyone to hop on. A ground clearance of 165 mm also meant that I could ride freely without worrying about speed breakers or undulations on the road.
Ride quality is not the best in class and the seat started to hurt after prolonged riding. I also felt the need for the motorcycle to be a little more forward biased as tall riders can make the motorcycle feel like a commuter.
The clip-ons to be tourer-oriented rather than race spirited. The handlebars are long, sturdy and comfortable. However, I found it difficult to reach the buttons if I held the clip-ons on the outside end. This is the general position of riders holding their handlebars, so it might be a problem for people with small hands. I felt the windscreen was more show than function as it is so tiny, I could not tuck in behind it even if I wanted to. The tank is sculpted and broad and helped me grip the bike with my thighs better.
The Gixxer SF 250 gets the Suzuki Oil Cooling System (SOCS) which was originally designed for the big boys in its stable. The heat management on this motorcycle is phenomenal and it takes a long time in bumper-to-bumper traffic to radiate considerable heat.
I did not get a chance to extensively test the cornering abilities of the motorcycle, but I can say that the telescopic forks do their job of absorbing bumps well. However, there is also enough feedback to keep the rider connected to the road. The monoshock also offers enough damping without feeling too soft or bouncy. Bybre’s brakes work well for the motorcycle and though they are equipped with dual-channel ABS, I did lock up the rear a couple of times.
The MRF Revz C tires which are shod on 17-inch alloys, to be grippy enough for the average Indian rider. However, for an adrenaline-filled cornering junkie or a speeding enthusiast, the tires can feel a little lacking. The 150-section tire in the back surely puts the Gixxer SF 250 a notch above others, but the motorcycle could do better with a smaller but more rounded tire.
Overall the Gixxer SF 250 can be a great choice as a beginner’s motorcycle, as it teaches the rider all the nuances of going fast while giving him a considerable margin of error. Its torquey ride is smoothly complemented by its nimble body, making it an agile vehicle under most circumstances.Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro and gain access to curated market data, trading recommendations, stock analysis, investment ideas and insights from market gurus. Now, get Moneycontrol PRO for 1 year at Rs 289. Use code FREEDOM.