To date, Suzuki’s performance in the Indian motorcycle market makes a good barometer of just how tough it is to make your mark here. A bike maker as experienced as this Japanese giant, riding on so much success with cars has failed to find firm footing. The truth is our bike market is a ruthless playing field, where only exceptional motorcycles can cut any ice in the end. Suzuki’s previous bikes have all come across as half-hearted efforts, making this, the handsome new Gixxer seem like their first real two-wheeled try in India. Read on for all the answers.
Fresh and eye catching, the Gixxer makes amongst the better looking 150s we have today. Shapely and contemporary, the naked Gixxer is a butch, macho machine with sleek, angular cowls. There’s a typical Suzuki touch to the bikini front fairing, apart from which elegant alloy rims, chunky tyres and charcoal black highlights all add up to make this one purposeful looking Suzuki. Other neat touches include tank extensions as well as a finely styled conical exhaust canister with chrome accents and dual outlets. Attention to detail is at a whole new level relative to previous small capacity Suzuki bikes here, seen in beautiful bar-end weights, the contoured saddle’s contrasting stitch sutures and top-drawer alloy cast footrests and mounts.
Riders are greeted with nifty digital instruments, including a cascading rev counter right at the top, a large and easy-to-read speedometer, a bar type fuel-gauge, gear indicator, useful clock and even a rev redline warning flasher, all nicely fitted within a compact LCD display. Much of this Suzuki’s feel-good factor comes from its grips and switches offering nice tactile feel, with the mirrors cleverly shaped to offer good rear view.
An engine-kill switch is part of the package, as is a pass-light flasher. The Gixxer comes with a meaty feeling fuel-tank with adequate thigh indents, and there’s a nicely finished alloy fuel-filler, that unfortunately lacks a hinge making filling up a touch more cumbersome.
The motorcycle grab-bars integrate well with its tail, and all this form hasn’t come at the cost of function on the Gixxer, as seen in broad protective mudguards over both wheels that we can confirm work to offer good wet weather protection. The drive-chain is a sporty looking exposed affair, while Suzuki has done well to ensure really good overall quality, with neat fit-and-finish very much apparent on the Gixxer.
Power is by a Suzuki-built four-stroke, 155cc, SOHC and CV carburettor fed powerplant. The air-cooled single-cylinder has long stroke dimensions, as fits its intended urban role well, with Suzuki stressing good torque output was a consideration when tuning the Gixxer motor. On the go, the motorcycle feels clearly tuned to delight in the circus of urban Indian traffic. The Gixxer puts out a healthy 14.6bhp at 8,000rpm, and 1.43kgm of peak torque that’s delivered nice and low in the powerband, at 6,000rpm.
There’s friction cutting measures, including roller cam followers and an inverted triangle piston skirt all aimed at enhanced efficiency. Thumb-started of course, the Gixxer thoughtfully also provides a kick-lever for emergency use.
If you’ve ridden Yamaha’s older 150cc FZ, in its pre fuel-injection days, you already know exactly how the Gixxer delivers its power. It’s uncanny how similar the Gixxer feels to those Yamahas, with similar engine character, refined and silken smooth nature, while sounding a shade gruff when hard on the throttle, pushing the Suzuki bike to unleash all its performance potential. The Gixxer engine is flexible, with power building smoothly, a strong wave of acceleration apparent from right after idle. Unlike the sweet revving Hondas in its segment, the Gixxer once again feels more like the Yamaha bikes, providing good low- and mid-range grunt, but with power tapering off rapidly after that, with the top-end of the rev band feeling only mediocre. You don’t need any more than this when riding in city traffic, and there’s a bulletproof feeling of reliability.
Unlike Suzuki’s earlier six-speed GS150R, the Gixxer comes with a five-speed gearbox, shifting with precise, light feel in a one-down, four-up pattern. The gear ratios are well suited to this engine, and the new Suzuki comes with a nicely weighted, light-feeling clutch. Performance is par for the class, our tests proving the Gixxer is good for a 60kph sprint in 5.61seconds from rest, thereon zipping past 100kph in 19.25secs. We achieved a true top speed of 115kph pushing the Gixxer to its limit, throttle pinned open to the stop in top gear.
The Gixxer uses a single downtube, steel tubular frame that bolts in its engine as a stressed member. A clear advantage over almost all its 150cc rivals in India is the Suzuki offering the rigid benefit of fat, 41mm front forks, working with a seven-step adjustable single rear shock.
You sit ‘in’ the bike, with a nice feeling of control thanks to wide handlebars, these giving you excellent leverage when changing directions. The Gixxer’s upright riding position is comfortable, while long hours in the saddle prove this is well padded and roomy enough for even riders as tall as 6 feet.
Once again taking a leaf from Yamaha, the Gixxer excels to provide excellent MRF tyres, tubeless front and rear, with the rear also offering radial construction. There’s loads of traction available on all surfaces, and ride quality is just right as well, our test bike feeling nicely sprung, neither too soft nor harsh when punching over potholes. The Gixxer rides with light, fleet-footed feel, turning into corners with a confident and willing nature. Straight line stability is good, and so are the light Suzuki’s high-speed cornering manners.
The large diameter, 266mm front disc brake and 130mm rear drum brake work well when used in tandem to haul the zippy bike down, these brakes feeling powerful and providing strong bite.
The 135kg Suzuki Gixxer is capable of reasonable efficiency for a 150cc bike, returning us 41.7kpl in city, and 44.2kpl when tested on the highways.
It’s unquestionable then; Suzuki has hit the nail smack on the head with the Gixxer. There’s nothing lacking on the motorcycle, for Suzuki is, on the contrary, offering more than most of the competition on this attractive new machine. Leaving just one question, as to how well does the Gixxer score at the value-for-money stakes? At Rs 72,199 (ex-showroom, Delhi), the bike maker clearly has this covered, slotting this competent, high quality, soundly engineered motorcycle in with an edge.
We’ve long criticized Suzuki and frowned at every one of its previous commuter bikes, but the Gixxer overturns that, winning our approval as such a well-rounded, overall good motorcycle. There’s no two ways about it, the Gixxer makes a top-class 150, that’s ready and able to take on the very best in its segment, to come away smiling.