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Suzuki Gixxer

11 September 2014, 01:28 PM Sagar Bhanushali

Introduction

  

Somewhere in Lavasa’s twisty mountain switchbacks, surrounded by rain and greenery, the all-new Suzuki Gixxer was happily shrugging off the arduous conditions. I was, in fact, having a blast on this 150cc-equivalent of the Japanese brand’s twin-cylinder Inazuma.   

In the time it took me to get from my house to the venue for the official first ride I had plenty of thoughts about the new Gixxer, and I must admit my expectations weren't really high. This new premium 150cc model is bound to go head-on with the new Yamaha FZ and it’s something which is inevitable. And it should be since they both belong to the same segment, after all. The trouble is, the FZ sells like hotcakes and there ought to be reason for that. Arguably, there are many. 

Could Suzuki really challenge the mighty Yamaha or even Honda and Hero to sell a motorcycle that’s more than equally capable all round? The brand has struggled quite a bit with the GS150R and now with the newly launched Gixxer, it has a lot to live up to. It’s a tall order whichever way you look at it.        

The Gixxer, then, is a very important product for Suzuki, but is it capable enough to overwhelm the current crowd favourite – the Yamaha FZ? After a thrilling, wet ride in the rain, I had my answer. 

Design

  

Suzuki’s vision of the new Gixxer was simple in concept and equally straightforward in execution. The brand sought to induce the young brigade of commuters as well as aspirational buyers. And with that in mind, Suzuki took help from its engineers who have also helped in developing the iconic GSX-R 1000 litre-class motorcycle.  

While it may seem pretty convincing on paper, the Gixxer is impressive in metal too. It’s a very smart looking motorcycle, one that easily manages to stand out from the existing 150cc brigade. However, some of you may want to share a difference of opinion when looking at it straight on – largely down to the uninspiring design of the headlight. Even the bright orange indicators and the thick telescopic forks do little to lift up the look. However, move on to the side and your doubts are dispelled immediately, if any. Borrowing quite a few design traits from the GSX-R series, the Gixxer looks rather smashing, especially, with the metallic blue paint featured on our test bike.       

  

The combination of a well-sculpted fuel tank, compact shrouds and the sharply styled rear panels give it a really sporty appearance. The chrome finished dual-exhaust not only adds up to the sporty quotient of this motorcycle but is also properly functional. Concluding the impressive bits are the stylish grab handles which are neatly integrated into the rear -side panels. As for the tail-end, the styling is in keeping with the current design trend and goes well with the rest of the motorcycle. Suzuki seems to have taken quite a bit of inspiration from Yamaha with the R15-like tail light and the long rear fender that looks like it has come straight off the pre-facelift FZ.  

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Suzuki Gixxer [2014-2018]

Suzuki Gixxer [2014-2018]

  • Displacement155 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported47 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)14 bhp
  • Kerb Weight135 kg
  • ;

Last known Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 78,994

Barring a few run-of-the-mill design cues, the Gixxer manages to leave a strong visual impact and gets away from the ‘standard’ and ‘commuter’ categories. I’m pretty certain the Gixxer will enjoy a stronger on-road presence compared to rivals that have recently been revived – the Yamaha FZ and the Hero Xtreme. 

  

Engine and Gearbox

   

The 155cc, single cylinder engine has been specifically designed for the Gixxer. Featuring a two valve head, this air-cooled engine puts out 14.8bhp of power at 8,000rpm and 14Nm of torque at about 6,000rpm. Although the power output is similar to that of the brand’s other 150cc offering – the GS150R, the engine in the Gixxer benefits from Suzuki Eco Performance (SEP) technology which reduces as much mechanical deficiency as possible and helps deliver extra grunt, without compromising on the fuel efficiency. 

Like every other small displacement motorcycle, getting accustomed to the Gixxer’s source of propulsion takes very little time. There is no doubting the refinement or the flexibility of this engine. It feels eager to rev hard and delivers power in an amazingly linear way. Out on the road, there’s more than enough torque at low and midrange and it’s only past 8,000rpm where the engine begins to lose steam and happens to generate a bit of buzz. Speaking of which, refinement levels are impressive most of the time although it is to be said that the Gixxer is a tad behind the new fuel-injected Yamaha FZ and even the carburetted Hero Xtreme when it comes to absolute refinement and engine smoothness. 

 

Much will be said about the Gixxer’s exhaust system which houses a controversially styled dual outlet; however, many would want to agree that the exhaust note is anything but unexciting. This engine’s throaty noise deserves a special mention and even compared to a few bigger displacement motorcycles, the Gixxer is very distinctive from the way it sounds. As far as I’m concerned, the Gixxer emits a nice, throaty noise that is sure to attract other motorists.               

Unlike the GS150R, which gets a six-speed gearbox, the gearbox in the Gixxer is a five-speed unit. Nonetheless, the gearbox is just as impressive as the engine and will leave most users impressed. The first three gears are perfectly suited for city riding and so are fourth and fifth if the need be. All in all, the ratios are evenly spaced and suitably tall to cover a range of speeds. The Gixxer is very well capable of cruising at near triple digit speeds, despite its weak top-end grunt. The new FZ, in comparison, comes across as a softer, more refined motorcycle of the two but do note that it is also significantly slower than the Gixxer. The new Xtreme, on the other hand, also marches ahead if we are talking refinement but then again, the Gixxer fights back with better throttle response and tractability across a wider rev range. Eventually it’s the more powerful Suzuki which makes more sense for a spirited user. Sure, the FZ is extremely refined, but it is nowhere close to the Gixxer if outright performance and tractability is all you need.   

  

Ride and Handling

   

Judged on engine and gearbox performance alone, the Gixxer leaves a very positive impression. If anything, it’s even better when the going gets twisty. Largely thanks to its chassis and the sticky MRF Zappers, it is an incredibly fun machine to ride. There is nothing high-tech or special about the frame or the suspension, and yet the Gixxer handles remarkably well, whether in a straight line or through the corners. Armed with all the basic essentials - telescopic forks up front and a monoshock at the rear, along with 17-inch tubeless MRF tyres; the Gixxer takes corners with such ease and precision it may well put many expensive motorcycles to shame. 

Its compact dimensions matched with the short wheelbase contribute to the Gixxer’s quick, easy turn-in even at high speeds. Like the FZ, the steering is neutral and predictable under most circumstances but again, it’s the Gixxer which happens to provide a more rewarding experience with its sporty yet comfortable riding stance and the reassuring stability.

 

Complaints about the powertrain and handling are almost none but it is not to say that the Gixxer is dynamically unmatched. Braking is one area that can be bettered. Bringing this 135kg machine to a stop is a single disc up front from Bybre and a drum brake in the rear. While the stopping power is more than adequate with good feel at the levers, Suzuki would definitely make a strong case for itself by allowing buyers to spec their vehicles with an optional rear disc brake. 

For a motorcycle that handles so sharp, the Gixxer rides surprisingly well. The damping is very well calibrated and that helps in maintaining composure over undulations or rough roads. The ride quality is neither stiff nor overly soft and just about perfect for the kind of roads we have.          

Ergonomically, there’s very little to complain. The riding position is not quite as upright as the new FZ but it is comfortable nonetheless. The tank is sculpted in a way which ensures you are properly held on to the bike when the mood calls for some enthusiastic riding. Even otherwise, the Gixxer feels at home when navigating through traffic, thanks to its light handling and the well-organised ergonomics. All in all, the only downer in this package is the pillion accommodation. The pillion seat is not quite as generous as the new FZ and the Xtreme - both these bikes get a more comfortable saddle. 

 

Instrument console and features

   

The Gixxer houses a smartly designed instrument cluster which, according to Suzuki, is inspired by modern smartphones. The rectangular binnacle features a fairly big display which is surrounded by tell-tale lights for the side indicators, neutral and high beam. A neat touch is the white shift light that is to be found on the right side of the cluster.  

The instrumentation is all digital right from the speedometer and tachometer to the fuel gauge. On the whole, the red back-lit console is very well laid out and is legible under all conditions. Suzuki, rather thoughtfully, has added a gear indicator and a digital clock – features that are bound to be appreciated on a daily basis.

   

    

Verdict

  

After flogging the Gixxer through several kilometres of soaking rough tarmac, I realised that I wasn’t being physically worked like I would have been on any other 150cc machine at the same pace. The rock-solid grip, light controls and sporty yet comfortable ergonomics put me in a zone that made me feel connected to the Gixxer, and that’s saying something for what is basically a commuter motorcycle. 

At Rs 72,000 ex-showroom Delhi, the Gixxer is significantly less expensive than the new fuel-injected Yamaha FZ which starts at about Rs 80,000. The snazzier looking FZ S is a couple of thousand rupees extra, if you will. The Gixxer, then, is not only great to look at and brilliant to ride, but it’s also extremely good value.           

Sure, the new Yamaha FZ is more refined and probably better put together too, and the vastly improved Hero Xtreme is more appealing than ever, but all things considered, there is nothing else in the 150cc segment which is quite like the Gixxer. Fear not, Suzuki fans. It is not just another 150cc commuter. It’s something I would totally recommend anyone looking to get their hands on a premium 150cc motorcycle. 

 

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