MEET SUZUKI’S MIXED CHROMOSOME TWINS
It has puzzled me for a numerous amount of years why South Africans have never adopted sub 500cc motorcycles as a primary mode of transport. Looking at other African countries and how they commute in their 150cc and 250cc motorcycles, I often wondered when this trend would debouch into our SADC region. We could perhaps point this conundrum to economies of scale, and also how majority of the South African population falls below the lower middle class bracket. But then again, so do East and Western African countries.
Motorcycle manufacturers have played their part and made attempts to reach out township markets by introducing biking as a commuting option. I know of a specific manufacturer that had setup shop in the middle of a township, but still, no favorable outcome. Perhaps the market wasn’t yet ready at the time. Or perhaps, their marketing strategy lacked a bit of Kasi insight. Whatever the reason, South Africans are still not budging.
A big part of me attributes this challenge to how people view themselves, and also how they perceive motorcycles. We all know how brand and image conscious we have become as a nation, perhaps people don’t want to see themselves in their designer outfits commuting to work in a little scooter. On the other end, there’s a sad misconception about bikes where non-bikers regard any purchase of a motorcycle as equivalent to purchase of a coffin. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done by current bikers and motorcycle manufacturers to address this issue.
Either way, we now find ourselves in challenging economic times and are left with no choice but to cut down cost in our everyday activities. This includes daily commuting. Along with many other “new normals” that we have come to adopt and become accustomed to, I am sincerely hoping to see daily commutes of bikes also starting to become a new normal.
Enter Gixxer 250cc!!! Suzuki can be listed as one of those manufacturers who’ve heeded the call of making their entry level bikes not look like entry level bikes. With an introduction of their Gixxer 250SF series, the commuter bike market is certainly been given a makeover.
Visually, the 2020 Suzuki Gixxer 250 and Gixxer SF 250 look similar to their preceding models. While the former has large tank shrouds and tall and wide handlebars, the latter features a windshield, a full fairing and low-set handlebars. Some of key features include LED headlamp, chrome-tipped dual-port muffler, a fully digital instrument console and split seats.
Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 bares a superbike design, even though the handle bars sit slightly higher than those of conversional superbikes, the grip is much wider, yet the bike retains it’s sportiness looks as you riding. There’s enough room on the 800mm seat to comfortably lean back a little, and pull off that WSBK type of riding position. The foot-pegs are mildly rear-set which feel apt for everyday riding. Head and tail lamps are LED, but turn indicators are of the old school kind. The digital instrument console is easily viewable in sunlight. TFT display reading options include speedo, tacho, fuel
gauge, odometer, two trip meters, clock, gear position indicator and a shift light. The engine comes in 249cc and sports a 4-valve head and an SOHC setup.
The Gixxer has some impressive midrange performance. I currently weigh 90kg and decided to take it on an uphill challenge on 5th gear at about 40km/h. To be honest, I expected a bit of jitter and lag or perhaps even downshift a bit just to keep the steady momentum going, I was utterly disappointed, the Gixxer ran smoothly. Suzuki has also managed to keep its power and torque figurations similar to those of the BS4 models, with the 249cc engine on both bikes making 26.5hp at 9,300rpm and 22.2Nm of torque at 7,300rpm. In comparison to the BS4 bikes, peak power is identical, but is produced 300rpm higher in the rev range.
In this lockdown and recession struck economy we find ourselves in, I was super excited to run a few errands on a quarter litre Gixxer capable of delivering 35km per litre. With a fuel tank capacity of 12 litres, you are looking at a full tank riding range close to 420kms.
The Suzuki Gixxer SF250 has incredible handling ability, extremely light on it’s feet and gives a rider seamless ability to change direction at a spur of a moment. This can be attributed to the lightweight frame, telescopic forks at the front and swingarm-mounted monoshock for the rear that Suzuki has crafted into their Gixxer SF series. To ensure quick and efficient braking, Suzuki has thrown in a dual channel Anti-Lock Braking System too. On pothole-ridden roads, the motorcycle retains it’s strong built quality, giving the rider supreme comfort, agility and performance. It’s quiet impressive how Suzuki has managed to combine a sporty riding style with comfort. Furthermore, the six-speed butter-smooth gearbox yields seamless shifts through the gears, regardless of whether you are shifting up or down.
While the Gixxer SF 250 doesn’t have a direct rival, the naked Gixxer 250 faces competition from the Yamaha FZ2. And in terms of pricing, the 250 SF is reasonably priced at R50 000 while the Gixxer sits at R45 000
|Engine Displ.:||249 cc|
|Power:||26.5 PS @ 9300 rpm|
|Gear Box:||6 Speed|
For more info visit: www.suzukimotorcycle.co.za