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Review: Suzuki Gixxer

Driven September 2014

Review: Suzuki Gixxer

Suzuki Motorcycle India Private Limited has been in the country for a while now, and though it may have a wide range of two-wheelers spread across various segments – from 125cc scooters to 1,000+cc street-scorchers and power cruisers, its motorcycles haven’t really been the standard choice for Indian consumers. At least not in the way the company would want them to be. But there’s a new Suzuki in town now, and it promises to ruffle some feathers in the premium 150cc motorcycle segment. Let’s see if the new Gixxer can do that, shall we?

The Gixxer is a very neat-looking motorcycle, with a hint of sportiness to it. The sweptback headlamp, with that tiny fairing that sits atop it, looks attractive and full of intent. It houses a compact, all-digital instrument cluster that’s filled to the brim with information – like a speedometer, odometer, two trip meters, in-gear indicator and fuel level meter – much like the bigger GSX-R1000. When you turn on the ignition, the Gixxer makes its sporty intentions known with a ‘go ready’ message on the orange-lit display.

The tank is heavily sculpted, and leaves more than enough room for your hands and knees when taking turns, while the new 155cc engine sits pretty, mounted on the single downtube frame. Those Y-shaped 3-spoke alloys lend the bike a grown-up sportsbike look. The single-piece seat gives the rider and pillion ample room to adjust themselves for a comfortable long-distance ride. However, the seat cushion is a bit stiff. The pillion rider sits higher, too, which provides him/her a good view of what is to come down the road. The shapely rear section of the motorcycle looks streamlined, with a nice flow from the tank, all the way past the flashy chrome dual exhausts (globally a first for Suzuki in the sub-250cc motorcycle category), back to the swanky LED tail-lamp unit.

Since the coming of time, the large-hearted Suzuki GSX-Rs (or ‘Gixxers’) were always known for their raw power delivery, and now, the recently-launched 155cc Gixxer appears to hold fort on that front. At the heart of this matter is Suzuki’s all-new 155cc motor – that incorporates the company’s new-found Suzuki Eco Performance (SEP) tech – which is mated to a five-speed gearbox. With 14.3bhp and 14Nm on tap, the Suzuki has the highest power and torque figures as far as the higher end of the 150cc motorcycling spectrum in India is concerned. The new engine features all sorts of new techno-wizardry to reduce mechanical loss, and maximise combustion, like an inverted triangle piston skirt, among other MotoGP-inspired bits. The result, is that the motor is extremely smooth in its method of power delivery. Although Suzuki has excluded a fuel-injection system and left it to a carburettor to handle the mixing, the Gixxer boasts a claimed efficiency figure of 63.5kpl in real-world conditions.

Yes, Bajaj loyalists may proclaim that the 150cc Pulsar has enough grunt to put a smile on your face, but the Gixxer is lighter, and has a marginally higher power output, which leads to it being more punchy in the low- and mid-range of the powerband. Here, we rode the Suzuki through a congested, very wet Pune city – the hills of Lavasa being the destination for the day. So, we got a good idea of how the bike fared in city and highway cycles, as well as the awesome sequence of bends up and down the pristine hills. The Gixxer felt nice and torquey, and was able to take all 135kg of itself up the inclines without feeling overly stressed, in second gear, at 2,000rpm. On flat surfaces, it felt more than comfortable cruising at 60kph in fifth at 4,000rpm, with just a twist of the throttle required to get past a vehicle. The engine revs sweetly from 2,200rpm to around the 6,700rpm mark, with revs limited to 8,500rpm.

Smooth and comfortable the Gixxer may be, but the best part about this new Suzuki is the way it handles. The chassis, which Suzuki says has been designed keeping in mind the ideologies of the Hayabusa and the GSX-R1000, is just brilliant. As we soon learned on the bends leading to Lavasa city, the Gixxer will suit knee-down enthusiastic riding styles on the twisties, as well as the more relaxed city rides with aplomb. The riding position is slightly tipped-forward, and while the seat itself provides adequate grip, you can easily slide around it, which makes positioning yourself to corner hard a breeze. The tubeless 100/80 R17 (f) and 140/60R R17 (r) tyres held up very well in the wet. The disc brake up front had a nice progressive bite to it, but the drum at the back lacked bite. The seven-way adjustable rear monoshock absorbs all sorts of undulations well. However, some may find the suspension a little too firm, even on the Level 3 setting, with 7 being the stiffest. While the switchgear feels well-built and nice to operate, the fit and finish of the Gixxer is up there with the best in the business.

Overall, the Gixxer is quite an impressive machine. With the Gixxer, Suzuki appears to have taken cues from the competition, and melded them all together into one impressive package. Finally, Salman Khan can now hold his head high, knowing that at least one of his endorsements will, for once, fare well in the market.

The numbers
1cyl, 155cc, air-cooled, carburetted, 14.5bhp, 14Nm, 5M, 135kg, 63.5kpl*

The verdict

One of the best 150cc performance bikes. Performance, handling are its strong points. The price is just right, too.

(*claimed)



Christopher Chaves

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