Quick spin – Suzuki GSX-250R | Bike Tests | Latest Tests
Expectations are funny. Roll out a Suzuki Inazuma 250 and you won’t get a lot of sportsbike lovers crowding around for a closer look. But pop more or less the same engine in a new fairing, cover it in that beautiful Suzuki racing livery and call it a GSX-250R – note the R placed craftily after rather than before the engine capacity – and suddenly a lot of people will think you’ve got a little tom thumb cracker on your hands.
Sadly, they will be mistaken. Although very schmick bodywork has been added, the dash modernised and the engine and exhaust brought up to Euro 4 levels, it’s still a 248cc parallel-twin doing the work, with the same bore and stroke, in a double-cradle frame with almost identical geometry and weight to the Inazuma. But – and here’s the good news – once you get it out of your head that you might be riding Suzuki’s Supersport 300 contender, it’s actually a very enjoyable bike.
The engine is silky smooth and will rev right up to the 12,000rpm limit without sounding like it’s screaming for mercy. The gearbox is a gem too, advancing through the ratios with just enough of a click to let you know where you are – and there’s a gear indicator on the dash if you lose track. That said, it’s hard to find a sweet spot with this engine; peak power and torque come on around the 6000-8000rpm mark, but there isn’t a noticeable surge at any point. Around town, third was as high as I had to go, and even then I would have liked a little more poke to accelerate into gaps while travelling around 70-80km/h. On the highway, you can sit on 100km/h comfortably in fifth or sixth, but plan your overtakes well in advance.
Handling is a highlight. The GSX-250R manoeuvres beautifully and responds with alacrity to inputs through those clip-ons. And though the decals might tempt you into a race tuck, you’ll be more comfortable sitting upright; the reach to the ’bars is perfect for this approach. Similarly, the ’pegs are not set too far back, and the seat is backside bliss, even after a couple of hours on the road. Suspension is also set up on the soft side.
Filtering through traffic is so easy that I actually found myself choosing to go down Flemington Road on a Friday afternoon just to enjoy squeezing between the usually impassable banks of cars. Suzuki claims a width of 740mm, which is true for the ’bars, though if you set the mirrors up well it still only comes to about 760mm – narrow enough for most gaps. You can easily pull the mirrors in too, though there are no lock points to easily return them to their original position.
Despite having only a single brake disc on the front, it’s enough for this lightweight bike. The ABS works well – you’ll definitely know when it has intervened but won’t leave you shaken.
One stop you won’t be making very often is at the petrol pump. Suzuki claims you can get 480km out of a single 15-litre tank! The numbers we came up with weren’t quite as flattering, but still around 350km, which is great range for a bike of this size.
Plus points for the controls and dash, too. The reach to both brake and clutch levers is easy, and their actions progressive and untiring. While full-colour TFT is all the rage these days, on a simple bike like the GSX-250R
I love a simple LCD screen. Making it reverse-lit (white on black) probably didn’t cost Suzuki an extra penny, but it really looks the goods. And that’s obviously a big part of this package.
I took the GSX-250R out on the usual Sunday morning test through the hills and found it a pleasant rather than pulsating experience. While the handling is superb, the bike just lacks that raw energy to get your blood pumping.
Those looking for a commuter will find this a very competent, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing little bike, but if you really are in the market for a pocket rocket, maybe look 50cc higher up the food chain.
And for all you LAMS riders out their gagging for a taste of genuine Gixxer action, you’ll just have to wait a little longer.
TEST AND PHOTOGRAPHY MARK VENDER