The all-new Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 marks Suzuki Motorcycle India's comeback into the rapidly growing 250 cc motorcycle segment. In fact, the Suzuki Inazuma was SMIPL's first 250 cc offering in the Indian two-wheeler market. Launched at quite a substantial ₹ 3.1 lakh price tag in 2014, the Suzuki Inazuma failed to make any headway in India, despite being a well-engineered motorcycle with a smooth parallel-twin engine putting out close to 26 bhp of power and 24 Nm of peak torque and with very likeable ride quality and road manners. A ₹ 1 lakh slash in the price tag also didn't help the Inazuma's fortunes in India, and just over a year after it was launched, the Inazuma was quietly discontinued from the Indian market.
Now, just over five years later, Suzuki India is back in the 250 cc segment, albeit a little late to the party, with the all-new Suzuki Gixxer SF 250. The new 250 cc Suzuki boasts of an all-new design language, which is sharp, sporty, and definitely very attractive at first glance. It's a made-in-India motorcycle, and has been primarily designed for India, the world's largest two-wheeler market. So, is the new Gixxer SF 250 a capable and worthy product to take the fight to its rivals in the 200-250 cc motorcycle segment? And will it be able to do what the Inazuma failed at? Those are some of the questions we had in mind as we headed to the Buddh International Circuit to sample the new 250 cc Suzuki.
Design and Features
The new Suzuki Gixxer 250 is a handsome motorcycle. Any angle you look at it, it's well proportioned, and has a sporty silhouette. The sharp and sculpted fairing, topped off by the modern LED headlight, gives the Gixxer 250's face fresh appeal. The clip-on handlebars and split seat add to the sporty appeal of the design. The LCD instrument panel gets a premium dark blue backlit finish, and offers good readability; just a glance is enough to get your bearings on the current speed, rev counter, gear position indicator, and clock. Additional information includes dual trip meters and tell-tale lights.
The 17-inch alloy wheels get the machined finish and are shod with fat tubeless rubber - a 150 mm tyre at the rear, and a 110 mm tyre on the front wheel. The double barrel exhaust end can gets a chrome finish and has a new design as well. The tail section is sleek, ending in the new LED taillight, but it still remains more or less similar to the older generation Suzuki Gixxer 155. If it's one part in the design department which needed some more thought, to my eyes, it's perhaps the rear section. It's still neat and proportionate, but it could have done with a fresh new design.
Performance, Ride and Handling
Out on the track, it's immediately apparent that the Suzuki Oil Cooling System isn't just plain marketing speak. The engine's performance is refined, and acceleration is linear. The numbers on the speedo climb quickly out on the back straight at the BIC, and with my body weight of 76 kg, I saw a maximum speed of 152 kmph; a leaner and younger rider would probably see marginally more speed. The Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 gets an all-new 249 cc, single-cylinder, four-valve, oil-cooled engine which puts out 26 bhp of maximum power at 9,000 rpm and 22.6 Nm of peak torque at 7,500 rpm.
Compared to its closest rival, the Honda CBR250R, the output figures are more or less evenly matched, but it's the way how the performance is delivered which makes this Suzuki special. The exhaust note is nice and slightly bassy, without being too loud to make your neighbours cringe. The engine pulls in linear fashion, without surprising or alarming you, and that is certainly welcome for the target audience the Gixxer 250 addresses. It isn't exactly the adrenaline pumping hooligan, but you immediately begin to appreciate its taut handling and confident manners on tarmac.
It's the well-behaved, well-groomed gentleman, if not the unruly ruffian, and that's the Gixxer 250's biggest strength. The chassis has been completely updated from the older generation 155 cc Gixxer SF, and is still a steel downtube frame, while suspension is handled by a telescopic front fork and monoshock rear. A racetrack is no place to test for ride quality, but the Gixxer SF 250 promises to have a taut ride, just like the older generation, 155 cc Suzuki Gixxer. Around the corners and chicanes on the racetrack, the Gixxer SF 250 encouraged me to push it faster and at higher gears than I had initially thought it would be comfortable doing. And when it's time to slow down from high triple digit speeds to take a fast corner, the dual-channel anti-lock brakes (ABS) helps shed speed without drama, and with you having a sense of complete control, even under hard braking.
The 2019 Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 may be a little late to join the 200-250 cc motorcycle segment, but it's certainly a capable, grown-up and mature package, suitable for riders who may be looking to upgrade from a 150-160 cc motorcycle. It may not have the outright acceleration and sharpness of a track-focussed, true-blue sportbike, but that is not its intent either.
The Gixxer SF 250 sits in a space where everyday practicality, smooth performance and effortless highway cruising in triple digit speeds can be easily and comfortably despatched with. To that end, it does offer a wholesome package, and that's why, even at ₹ 1.71 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), it offers very good value. Unless you're looking for more thrills, and more excitement, the SF 250 could just be the ideal companion, both for your daily commute, and even the occasional long distance ride.
(Photography: Rakesh Singh)