What's with a 250 cc motorcycle that seems to be the current favourite in the Indian motorcycling crowd? Every manufacturer seems to be jumping on to this segment's bandwagon, with the most recent additions being KTM's new 250 Duke and India Yamaha's FZ25. In fact, every motorcycle manufacturer from Bajaj Auto to Honda has at least one model in this space, and it's a segment which has shown considerable growth and posted the largest month on month growth figures.
In the period from April-October 2016, the 200-250 cc motorcycle segment grew by nearly 45 per cent, and it is only after demonetisation in November that overall sales in the motorcycle industry seems to have slowed down, although the 200-250 cc segment still posted a healthy 20 per cent growth at the end of the calendar year. Clearly, the Indian motorcyclist finally seemed to have warmed up to the idea of a 'do-it-all' bike which has the right amount of road presence, style and performance, coupled with decent fuel consumption. So, Bajaj has re-launched its popular Pulsar NS200 and KTM now has a new addition - the 250 Duke, in addition to its bestselling 200 Duke.
Even Hero has the Karizma ZMR still trudging along the sales charts and Honda's CBR250R is still posting respectable numbers despite being a model which has been around for some time now. TVS has the very-capable Apache RTR 200 4V which is one of the most affordable bikes in this segment along with the Bajaj Pulsar NS200. Yamaha will now attempt to grab a slice of this market with the recently launched Yamaha FZ25. It's only Suzuki India which has no presence in this segment currently, at least in India. Globally though, Suzuki has launched the GSX-250R late last year and there are now rumours doing the rounds that Suzuki India may launch the bike in India later this year. But if it's at all launched, the 250cc parallel-twin engine GSX-250R sits on the upper end of this segment, competing against the likes of the Yamaha YZF-R3 and the Kawasaki Ninja 300 - bikes, which account for only a miniscule part of the 200-250 cc segment sales.
The Suzuki GSX-250R is powered by a 248 cc parallel-twin engine which makes 24.7 bhp and 23 Nm of torque and Suzuki India's past experience in this segment hasn't really been encouraging. The much capable 250 cc parallel-twin Suzuki Inazuma didn't have many shortcomings as a product, but it was ill-received by the market, compelling Suzuki to withdraw the product. Sources in Suzuki India dismissed reports of an impending launch of the GSX-250R as it had done when CarandBike contacted last year after the 250 cc bike was first revealed.
For now, Suzuki India will be focussing on its success in the mass market segments - particularly after the success of the 155 cc Gixxer and Gixxer SF, as well as in the automatic scooter segment with the Access 125. Unless a new, cost-effective, single-cylinder 250 cc product is designed and made specifically for the Indian market, Suzuki may well stay away from this segment for some time to come, unless there's a brand-new product in the making, to replicate or at least partly replicate the success of the 155 cc Gixxer.