Bikes 20 Oct 2017

Review: 2017 Suzuki GSX250R

CycleOnline.com.au tests the 2017 Suzuki GSX250R.

Words: Steve Martin

Up until a few years ago, commuting at an affordable cost was a mundane affair. No flashy bike was ever designed or produced cheaply enough to give the double thrill associated with one of the more expensive machines – bikes that not only perform, but look good too.

Thankfully, things are changing with many different bikes available in the learner LAMS sector now and with the new age it’s not only a choice to double up on duty, but a requirement. Following on in the footsteps of some great models already released by Suzuki this year, the GSX250R is a perfect example of getting to work with pride.

It’s aimed at customers looking for an entry-level motorcycle that is easy to ride, cheap to maintain and with a low-level price tag, it sits well in its place in the market. There’s already been a lot of interest in this model.

Image: Russell Colvin.

It wasn’t designed specifically for the Australian market with most of its sales forecast for Asia, but Suzuki Motorcycles Australia is confident that with its good looks and simplicity, sales will be strong here on our home shores too.

You might notice it’s not a GSX-R or a GSX-S, but has its own moniker as a GSX. The factory decided this was the perfect designation for the low- to mid-range torque-biased machine and with daily use its intention – rather than sport (GSX-R) or sport touring (GSX-S) – Suzuki decided on the in between name. That’s not to say that it can’t cross over, because this bike is very accomplished for its size.

Suzuki has really achieved a lot with this little 250, as laying eyes on the bike for the first time was a little like an optical illusion. I almost mistakenly thought I was about to get on to the bigger thousand, proving that it really does have a lot of presence.

Image: Russell Colvin.

That is until you lift it off the side-stand and realise how light this bike is. The 250 can be manhandled very easily whether it be in the parking lot or through the traffic. It’s got very good balance and that makes it an effective bike for the first-time buyer or the less confident riders out there.

It’s roomy once on-board too and, although it is only a 250cc, it feels real and, importantly, solid. It’s appearance really is amazing and Suzuki hasn’t skimped in the way they’ve finished this lady off. The paint is immaculate and striking with lots of nice finishing touches all the way down to the racy looking Ecstar oil sticker near the oil filler cap

The feeling of quality only escalates when you climb on board and take in the overall presentation and finish of the bike from the riders point of view, the cockpit giving off the impression of a bike worth twice the money.

Image: Russell Colvin.

Its new reverse-lit full-LCD instrument panel is very impressive and gives the sort of information you would expect to see on a sports tourer, rather than a less than $6000 bike. There are dual trip meters, clock, gear position, fuel consumption and even a driving range option that go a long way to give the bike a sporty feel and along with the switch blocks, grips and levers there’s nothing to complain about.

Suzuki has saved some money on the suspension by making the front and rear non-adjustable, but the standard internal settings are more than adequate to provide a smooth, controlled ride and in fact through the hills with a bit of pace on board the little Suzuki is quite a bit of fun to ride. It’s very stable and likes to hold its line well.

It has a lot of trail like its bigger siblings and they too have a very confidence-inspiring chassis and handling feel. Its good over bumps and holds its composure well, not once wobbling or giving me any concern or trouble. While some manufacturers are using higher capacity (300 and above) machines in this sector, the GSX still pumps out 20.0kW at 11,000 with 19.6Nm of torque at 8500rpm, keeping it in the ball park. More importantly, the smaller capacity machine makes it almost perfect as a learner machine with its very easy-going power delivery.

Image: Russell Colvin.

The twin-cylinder engine is derived from the INAZUMA 250 (GW250), but it’s been updated to comply with Euro4 emissions, although at the same time it’s gained more power and torque. This comes down to new cams, a new rocker arm and a new honing pattern to reduce friction on the bore. A new lighter pipe fitted with an inbuilt catalyser rounds out the engine performance mods, but reliability has been looked at too.

A modified oil pump keeps everything lubricated properly and increases the life expectancy of a bike that is already unbreakable. New clutch and magneto covers also adorn the bike, giving the engine an updated more modern look which sets off the new styling package of the 250.

The engine is fitted with a very slick six-speed gearbox that is activated and controlled by a nice light clutch that has a very good feel to it. It’s almost impossible to make a mistake and stall when you are pulling away from the lights with its perfect fuelling working in unison with the easy to use clutch also backing up this machines LAMS status.

Image: Russell Colvin.

The GSX is fitted with ABS front and rear and the system works well having tested the bike on some greasy tarmac. The front brake lever has quite a lot of feel to it with an adjustable lever to let you set the distance to suit hand size.

The new 250 is also practical, being one of the few bikes left on the market that has a couple of dedicated helmet locks fitted under the key-locked pillion seat, making it a viable option to ride somewhere leave the bike and helmet in the same place. It’s the little touches like that which make the difference and with so many bikes around now going for LAMS glory, I think Suzuki has understood that from the start.

I became attached to the little Suzuki in the short time I had it in my garage. It didn’t have to grow on me like some bikes and it didn’t really have any glitchy problems to worry about. What it is though is a good, honest performer for a more than fair price.

The quarter-litre machine is now available for a ride away price of MRSP $6790 from authorised Suzuki motorcycle dealers. For more information, visit www.suzukimotorcycles.com.au.

Vital specifications

Engine type: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC, parallel-twin.
Capacity: 248cc.
Transmission: Six-speed.
Power: 20.0kW at 11,000rpm.
Torque: 19.6Nm at 8,500rpm.
Weight: 181kg.
Seat height: 790mm.
Fuel capacity: 15 litres.
Colours: Metallic Triton Blue and Pearl Nebular Black.
Price: MRSP $6,790.
Warranty: Two years, unlimited kilometres.
More details: www.suzukimotorcycles.com.au.

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