Suzuki has just released the brand new Gixxer 250 SF here in South Africa. This is not just a cosmetic update of the previous model, but a brand new motorcycle altogether. The previous model was known as the GSX 250 R and it was based on the twin-cylinder Inazuma 250. Even though it looked every bit like the iconic GSXR 1000, burdening it with the GSX badge and slapping an R at the end was a bit cheeky from Suzuki. It was a very tame and unintimidating bike that ran out of puff at the 140 km/h mark. Fortunately, for beginner riders the bike was perfect and the stunning looks were a definite plus.
As far as styling goes, the new bike looks like Suzuki has moved the whole fairing forward over the front wheel. With the larger headlight, the bike also looks more aggressive. According to Suzuki they have stiffened up the suspension and issued the bike with slightly wider tyres and a larger front disk. ABS is still standard on the Gixxer. The bike comes with an unsightly hugger over the rear wheel, but I am sure Suzuki will remove it for you at no extra cost. I am also not too fond of the chrome exhaust tips. I would have opted for a brushed aluminium look, but now I am just nit-picking.
In terms of performance, Suzuki has ditched the twin-cylinder, water-cooled engine in favour of an oil-cooled, single-cylinder engine. There is very little difference between the engines in terms of power output, but the new engine certainly feels more responsive, especially in the midrange. Even in top gear, at the speed limit, twisting the throttle actually translates into some accelerated forward motion. Because of the better response, riding in traffic is more reassuring. You still have to go with the flow of traffic, but it has adequate power now to get you out of a tight spot.
The top speed is up by about 10 km/h but the downside of running the single-cylinder at these speeds is that it does get quite buzzy. I almost felt sorry for the bike. But, it is a Suzuki. It will probably outlast me.
Fortunately, the new Gixxer has lost none of its charm when the roads get twisty. There is something about riding a small capacity bike fast. The bike is light and can induce a smile when you point it at a corner. It is simply not fast enough for you to get yourself into serious trouble and the slightly wider tyres make the corners even more enjoyable.
Where the previous model was a jazzed up commuter, this one tends to lean more to the sporty side while remaining a commuter. It would make the ideal beginners bike and if you have to start somewhere, at least you will have a good looking bike. Currently the price for the Gixxer is R 49 900, but with the deteriorating exchange rate, this price might change sooner than later. So best you get yourself down to your Suzuki dealer and secure yours.