Rumours of a 250cc Suzuki motorcycle for the Indian market have been doing the rounds for the past few years. Yes, Suzuki did have the Inazuma 250 on sale in India but its sky-high price and uninspiring styling meant it had a short stint in our market. Indian bikers wanted a 250cc motorcycle developed for our market with competitive pricing and the Inazuma was not that motorcycle. But the Japanese brand has been working hard over the past few years on such a product and will be launching a new 250cc motorcycle in India, next year.
Suzuki could go with a new nomenclature system for the 250, but the Gixxer brand is now a strong and recognisable name, which is why we expect the new 250 to carry it forward. When it arrives, the Gixxer 250 will be a good step-up for existing Gixxer 150 owners who are looking for more performance. Suzuki seems to be following Yamaha’s path; the latter launched the FZ25 last year and the 250cc Yamaha motorcycle has received a positive response from buyers. Following this trend, and with the way Suzuki launched its own Gixxer 150 range, it's fair to expect the Gixxer 250 family will debut with a naked bike, and a more expensive faired version will follow.
While Suzuki hasn’t confirmed this, we feel the Gixxer 250 will debut first as a streetfighter, before a faired variant is launched. The upcoming motorcycle could very well feature similar muscular styling that's seen on the more premium Suzuki GSX-S750 and the GSX-S1000, which are already on sale in India. There's also a chance Suzuki Gixxer 250 might also share visual details with the Houje 300, which shares its platform with the upcoming Suzuki GSX-S300. However, Suzuki's offerings for India have a distinct identity and we expect the upcoming Gixxer 250 to carry on this tradition. The motorcycle is sure to get features such as an LED headlight and tail-light, and an all-digital instrument cluster.
Powering the Suzuki Gixxer 250 will be a 250cc, single-cylinder engine. The new motor will probably get a 4-valve head, but will employ an oil-cooler, instead of liquid-cooling, to keep costs low. Power output should be in the range of 22-25hp. This puts it slightly higher than the Yamaha FZ25, but lower than the Honda CBR250R. Whether the bike gets a five-speed gearbox like the Yamaha FZ25 remains to be seen, but we’re hoping that Suzuki equips the Gixxer 250 with a six-speed gearbox, for better touring ability.
The Gixxer frame has proven to be one of the biggest assets of the bike and there's a good chance that it will continue in this application. Naturally, it will have to be modified and strengthened to handle this new role and the added weight. Bikes at this price point almost always feature a conventional telescopic fork and a monoshock unit at the back and it's fair to expect the Gixxer 250 to do so as well. Anchorage will be offered by disc brake units on both ends and this could be the first small capacity Suzuki in India to feature a dual-channel ABS unit as standard, but that depends on how aggressively Suzuki wants to price this bike.
As we understand it, Suzuki is looking to make this a more sporty motorcycle than its immediate Japanese rival, the FZ25. But the company is also clear that all of its products will be value offerings that come at easily digestible prices. With that in mind, it's fair to expect that the new Gixxer 250 will be positioned somewhere between the Yamaha FZ25 and the Honda CBR250R, which retail for Rs 1,19,335 and Rs 1,64,552, respectively (both prices are ex-showroom, Delhi and for non-ABS models). Given that the FZ25’s price is bound to rise when ABS becomes compulsory in April 2019, we reason that the Gixxer 250 could be priced around Rs 1.4-1.5 lakh (ex-showroom). The pricing depends strongly on what direction Suzuki takes with the bike and whether it will prioritise value or sportiness. Going by Suzuki’s recent run of products, we think the company will strike a smart balance between the two and the pricing will be premium, but not unreasonably so. Look out for more in 2019.