LAMS regulations could well have put the 250cc capacity sector out of business in Australia. Snag’s glad it didn’t. Suzuki’s Gixxer 250 has rekindled his faith in little bikes that can.
What we like:
- That weight. Love, love, love
- Well priced
- Nice lines and styling
Room for improvement:
- Working hard at higher speeds
- In a difficult market sector
I like small capacity motorcycles. I always have. The original impetus for this little factoid lies way back when I was a broke, aspiring journo, and having to put fuel into a tank as infrequently as humanly possible meant I could get at least one more pizza in any given week. Yep, it was all about practicality. Or, more dramatically, survival.
Of course, I idolised the lucky buggers that could ride bigger capacity motorcycles. They were the ‘adults’. I hoped to become one. It’s a shame, but I eventually did just that. And it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, but this is a bike review and not an introspective philosophical sermon, so I’ll simply sigh, and get back to guts of the yarn.
The Gixxer 250.
There’s really nothing terribly startling nor massively innovative in this little beast’s specs sheet, but the real-world star factor is indeed writ large right there in those specifications. So, let’s get to them.
First up, go to the bank and grab $6490 if you wanna put this one down your driveway. That’s cheap for a big-brand new bike. Simple as that.
To the donk and stuff now. What we have here is a 249cc liquid-cooled single delivering 19.8kW at a pretty significantly high 9300rpm. There’s the first clue to one of the heroes of the spec list – the bike keeps giving at the top, where many are running around looking for an asthma puffer, the Gixxer keeps pulling. Great when a bit of pace is required. Next pleasantry is the seat height of 795mm. With the narrow nature of the whole shebang and being able to control the bike at low-speeds from that pew, manageability is simplified greatly.
Stopping power is pretty strong. The Gixxer has good brakes with a Bybre (an arm of Brembo) twin-piston caliper on a 300mm disc at the front. Interestingly, while the non-adjustable front fork is kinda plush, dive under braking is minimal. That was a nice surprise. At the back is a run-of-the-mill 220mm single-piston arrangement.
It’s kinda sporty and pretty for mine as well. Design highlights include the stylish twin-outlet exhaust with chrome caps, brushed-finish alloy wheels, neat rear tyre hugger and the clear digital instrument binnacle.
Now, if you are anything like me, you hate the rising cost of go-juice. Another little feather in the Gixxer’s cap is the fact its 12-litre tank is good for up to 400km. Love that. It’s a fuel-miser.
The weight figure of 156 kilograms dripping wet brings much to enhance the bike’s city prowess in regard to manageability. Push it up gutters to footpath park, slide it down tight alleys, slam it on the stand and you’re into work/home/school/fetish club in seconds. Easy stuff.
There’s a choice of two models here. The Gixxer 250 boasts a naked sportbike aesthetic, while its counterpart, the Gixxer SF 250, features a full fairing, which offers better weather protection and a touring orientation for it. The SF will set you back $6790 and the bodywork adds five kilograms to arrive at 161kg. Seat height also goes up slightly here to 800mm.
As mentioned, the star of the show here is ease of operation. The six-speed box’s ratios keep you in the heart of the power, most of the time. Getting away at lights is easy, in fact you’ll beat anyone who hasn’t spent 100 grand on their car and splitting to get to the front of the commuting drone queue is a breeze with those narrow bars and slender single-cylinder accommodations. Zip to the front, place your feet flat, pull in the lightest clutch in the business and get ready to order you latte before work or school. Magnificent traffic manners are assured.
A confession. I own a fully-fruited BMW S 1000 XR. It’s fast, tough, and definitely holds a big fistful of street cred. So, why did the Gixxer 250 become the bike of choice during its stay at the Snag Palace. Well, here’s why. It’s just about the most user-friendly thing that has cast a shadow on the Snaggy shed. Ever.
So… The 250 market lives. And that makes me happy. I love little bikes that reward the rider and keep money in my pocket. If you ride this bike well, not much will beat you around town. And that’s a big call. It boasts the all-important Right Price, it’s well put together and hits the design brief smack-bang twixt the eyes. A three-year warranty applies here and for a little single that’s a reassuring backstop.
True, it may not push the S 1000 XR all the way out of the shed any time soon, but it made a strong case for the bike of choice when urban running was the order of the Snaggy day. Just what the Gixxer 250 was perfectly designed to do.
INFO MOTO’s QUICK SCORECARD
Engine: 7/10 – Good peak power, low-vibes for its size and configuration.
Gearbox: 9/10 – Suzuki. Enough said. The kings of slick gearbox operation
Chassis: 8/10 – Tidy, light handling and good brakes without much dive.
Photography by Ben Galli.
Snag’s career in motoring journalism spans 29 years with stints at major bike mags Australian Road Rider, Motorcycle Trader and AMCN along with contributions to just about every other outlet worth a hill of beans. He was editor of Unique Cars magazine and hosts his legendary podcast ‘Snag Says’ when he gets off his date.