2014 Suzuki Gixxer Test Ride Review
Text – Mohit Soni; Pictures – Viraj David; Hrishikesh MandkeBike Tested: 2014 Suzuki Gixxer
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 84,383/-
The Suzuki Gixxer is the latest entrant in the segment but is also the most luscious offeringAfter years and years of being silent, Suzuki is finally awake with a dream that it always wanted to accomplish. First thing was the tie up with four-wheeled brothers to strengthen their market reach and later was to refresh and launch products. First, the scooters got refreshed, then came the Let’s and now it’s time for the Gixxer. Suzuki’s latest motorcycle has been teased for over nine months. No wonder why Suzuki’s new baby is getting all the limelight since the very day first picture came out with the rear number plate saying Suzuki. The Gixxer is the most important product for the Japanese automaker and during our meet with the company, it showed us how hard they have been working on the product since a long time. Attention to detail was critical and even more critical was getting public demand right. With over 10,000 riders being questioned by Suzuki for demand in major cities, Suzuki had to get the Gixxer right. This 150cc bike is a brand new product from top to bottom. New engine, chassis, body panels and much more have gone in the making of the Suzuki Gixxer and it has nothing to do with the GS150R that exists in their portfolio. Suzuki says it is bound to deliver the Gixxer experience because it is made with inputs from MotoGP GSX-R engineers who have worked on the mechanicals of this new bike and so is the design, which is inspired from the GSX-R series of motorcycles. So how is the new Gixxer? Will it mix your thoughts in a mixer? Or will it send you straight away to the showroom. We find out by riding almost 200 (182) kms in half a day over good, bad, straight and curvy roads of Pune to find out.
Styling – The Gixxer does have a design language, it does not look macho or edgy, it just looks pure sporty. Due to every single panel being small but well sculpted, the motorcycle is styled very well. Meanwhile it looks very small in height and length. Tank has many slashes and creases running but is small. The tail piece is virtually non-existent because of the way it flows to the rear and joins the good looking tail light piece and in between there are fibre made grab handles to save weight that come in conjunction when it comes to the rear design which particularly impressed us very much. The panels which are running from the lower part of the fuel tank to the swingarm on the outside try to replicate the perimeter frame, which the bigger GSX-Rs have, but as we know that is not the case here. The two-way exhaust is the star of the package that caught everyones eyes on the road because of the superbike design cues it has.
The headlight is one of the big items of the motorcycle which looks odd to our eyes in terms of design and mounting but it will serve the purpose well in dark times. The fat tyres, fork and rear suspension makes the Gixxer stand out and everybody calls it Suzuki’s very own FZ. However the USP which Suzuki has, is the stunning exhaust. The Gixxer also stands out with perfect and different choices of colours given to it. The Hayabusa inspired six spoke wheels on the Gixxer also accentuate the design further. If you think the mudguard is long, well it’s removable, looks neat after that and is child’s play to get rid of. Overall, Suzuki is not known for their designs but they have done a commendable job this time and it’s being loved by the market.
Practicality – On a personal note we surely liked the way the ergonomics are done. Suzuki has been known to do this well and after spending some time in the saddle, we unconsciously realised how good of a job they have done here. It just does not feel one bit dedicated in spite of the sporty intentions and still gives you utmost comfort while giving you the big bike feel at the same time. Seating position is upright and less dedicated thanks to well-positioned rearset footpegs which allow good space to move around in corners while also giving a comfortable experience for long rides. Mirrors are not that great for big riders but normal people should not have any problems. Seats are well cushioned and provide good comfort for city riding and long distance journeys for both the rider and pillion.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – The cluster is typically inspired from a smartphone and placing one over it proves that fact. It also has smartphone features, such as, more features. Start it and it says ‘Ready Go’. We wonder where did the inspiration come from. There is the segment first gearshift indicator, two trip meters, a digital tachometer and the usual tell-tale lights and solitary turn indicators on both sides with the white colour RPM light starting to blink the moment you come near the limit which starts at around 8000 RPM. The cluster also has Eco and Power modes which are not visible and not advertised by the company much. Power means a lightning bolt while economy shows the Eco sign. Both these signs fall below the gear position indicator. Switchgear is lifted from the GS150R that looks, feels and performs well, it has an engine kill switch.
Performance – Powering the Gixxer is a brand new 155cc engine which Suzuki says is tough as a nut and peach when you ring the hell out of it. Suzuki also says the engine is an ultralight unit that is unheard till now. The engine as we know is the second most powerful motor in the segment producing 14.8 PS of power at 8000 RPM and 14 Nm of torque at 6000 RPM. Class leading numbers coming at marginally less RPM than the competition too. The engine gets the SEP treatment which does not let one lose out on economy while having performance at the same time, one of the many claims Suzuki makes. The engine is an under-square unit which makes the smaller piston travel a shorter distance and still create a lot of torque at the top end without sacrificing on low end torque. You can consider this term as vice versa too. Talking about the piston, Suzuki has adopted triangle shaped piston skirt to considerably decrease friction and other mechanical loses. Meanwhile, many other lighter parts in the engine help in boosting economy and performance at the same time. All this is what the printed papers say, let’s find out how it feels on the road.
The SEP equipped motor has it all – top-end, bottom-end and a very strong mid-rangeThe engine is super smooth and there is no doubt about the ultra light tag either. The 155cc motor also has the best in class NVH and fuelling throughout the rev range deserving a special award which ends up making the mill so much more flexible. No vibes throughout the rev range and the throaty sound it erupts is the torque that is talking or perhaps shouting. The engine despite being torque focused is a complete screamer like a horsepower oriented engine. The powerplant not only screams till the 10,000 RPM redline but this motorcycle does pull and pulls like no other bike in the segment. Nail the traditionally crisp Suzuki throttle and the Gixxer picks up momentum very quickly. Numbers gather on the speedometer as if fingers are being snapped. 90-95 km/hr is achieved in short shifting itself. Talking about gearbox, the transmission is smooth and has the springy feel from the long throw shifter but the clicks have the thudy nature. Ratios are on the taller side but the powerband is shorter due to the 10,000 RPM redline and because engine revs quite fast so it feels shorter in terms of gear ratios but it isn’t. The SEP motor makes much better top end power than its rival in terms of feel because the engine does not feel out of breath at the top-end. We will verify the feel in numbers when we VBOX it as it was no point of a heavy rider in the wet doing runs which are going to be 3-5 seconds slower than usual.
We did manage to hit a top speed of 115 km/hr on a straight road quite easily and it was eager to go ahead. The meter is no doubt full of speedo error. It is not a la KTM or Karizma with a super precise cluster. However, top speed should be a genuine 115 km/hr for sure. Acceleration and mid-range is where you will have all the fun. None of these segment bikes have top-end power focus but that does not mean they do not have good top speeds which is achievable but those speeds are the not the speeds which you can cruise at, obviously. The only complain we have is that the engine isn’t as peppy as a Suzuki engine should be. It is, but not like the GS150R or other Suzuki scooters for example. It is tamed down for the good which in other words is called fuel economy. Mileage should be in the range of 50 km/l. We achieved 31 km/l because we were redlining in second and third gear (sometimes fourth) constantly on twisty roads and our engine was brand new which had 350-400 kms on the odo. As you can see, much better things are expected from this already impressive motor despite being in the run-in period.
Dynamics – The Suzuki Gixxer is armed with a single downtube frame, fat 41 mm forks at the front and adjustable mono shock suspension at the rear. It is also accompanied by fat radial tyres on both ends. The short wheelbase and a light kerb weight of 135 kgs will make you believe that it is going to be dynamically rich. The motorcycle is the most dynamically rich machine in its class and is insanely rewarding to ride, this is after a really long time from some other manufacturer from Japan. The Gixxer feels very agile and mid-corner balance and stability is spot on. Turn-in is not that crisp but if you turn-in a bit late, you can enjoy it. The geometry is the right setup between crisp turn-in and high speed stability which is spot on and the handlebar does give you a lot of feedback at triple digit speeds. The setup and the handlebar positioning also gives you a low u-turn radius so the compromise is well worth it.
Grip levels are good and so are the tyres which lend you confidence to extract the maximum out of the Suzuki Gixxer. We were riding in soaking wet conditions enthusiastically on twisty roads and there was not a hint of nervousness from the chassis. Ride quality is good despite the suspension being properly stiff but it does not throw you off as the low end damping is finely tuned at both ends. Front brake is a Bybre unit and the initial bite is good and post that also braking is progressive. Rear is a drum unit and works very well and is calibrated in a sense not to lock up despite hard braking.
Verdict – If you have a sharp memory you must remember that we asked something like the Gixxer from Suzuki when we reviewed the GS150R last year and the idea has come to life finally. We knew it had the potential to do it and they have surpassed our expectations when it comes to the new Gixxer. A potent, powerful and fuel efficient engine with wonderfully crafted ergonomics and the dynamic rich nature of the motorcycle makes it a complete all rounder in the 150cc category. Value for money quotient is quite high and the styling is icing on the cake for most of you out there. The Gixxer is one motorcycle which will change the fortunes of Suzuki in India and give them unparalleled love considering our love for Japanese motorcycles. Suzuki needs to ramp up their after sales service outlets to enjoy unanticipated love from enthusiasts. Yes, the Gixxer is that good.
The Suzuki Gixxer is a comfortable, efficient yet sporty motorcycle for the masses. The clear target at other Japanese rivals means that Suzuki is up and ready for some serious action and business is about to boom as the Gixxer ticks every box the customer always wanted. The Gixxer has the potential to mix the competition in the mixer.What’s Cool
* Class leading performance
* Dynamics and essentials in abundance
* Value for money
What’s Not So Cool
* Cheap turn indicators
2014 Suzuki Gixxer Specifications
* Engine: 154.9cc, 2-valve, air-cooled, SOHC
* Power: 14.8 HP @ 8000 RPM
* Torque: 14 Nm @ 6000 RPM
* Transmission: 5-speed
* 0 – 100 km/hr: 18 seconds (est)
* Top Speed: 115 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 45-50 km/l
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: Single Downtube
* Suspension: Telescopic Forks (Front), Monoshock (Rear)
* Tyres: 100/80/17 (Front), 140/60/17 (Rear)
* Brakes: Disc (Front), Drum (Rear)
2014 Suzuki Gixxer Dimensions
* Length x Width x Height: 2050 mm x 785 mm x 1030 mm
* Wheelbase: 1330 mm
* Ground Clearance: 160 mm
* Seat Height: 780 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 12-litres
* Kerb weight: 135 kgs