Suzuki Motorcycles – The Suzuki GW250F at a glance
ENGINE: Two-cylinder, 248 cc, four stroke, liquid cooled, SOHC (24 hp, 17 lb/ft)
TRANSMISSION: 6\Six-speed constant mesh with chain final drive
SUSPENSION: Front telescopic, coil spring, oil damped; Rear swingarm type, coil spring, oil damped with pre-load spring adjustment
BRAKES: Front 290 mm Disc; Rear 240 mm Disc
TIRES: Front 110/80-17M/C 57H; Rear 140/70-17M/C 66H
WHEELBASE: 1,430 mm
LENGTH: 2,145 mm
WIDTH: 790 mm
SEAT HEIGHT: 780 mm
CURB WEIGHT: 189 kg
FUEL CAPACITY: 13.3 litres
FUEL ECONOMY: As tested 3.3L/100km (comb)
COLOURS: Pearl Nebular Black or Metallic Triton Blue and Pearl Glacier White
The survival instinct tends to get stronger with the passing years. Which, to me, always seemed backward to the way it should be.
But, on the plus side, that means that common sense will occasionally overrule impulse. Which is why I seem to be starting every spring with lightweight bikes lately. Machines that are benign enough to forgive some of the early riding season rustiness and errors in judgment.
On the negative side of the equation, however, there always lies the chance of looking ludicrous, with six-foot-three me like a bear on a circus bike.
But, not to worry with a 2015 GW250F ($4,499), a new model from Suzuki Motorcycles that adds a headlight housing, windscreen and full fairing to the Chinese-built entry-level GW250 ($4,199) naked bike that first debuted in Canada in late 2013. Besides being one of the cheapest offerings in the market, it is also one of the bigger bikes of its class – heavier and larger in almost every dimension compared to the Honda CBR300 ($4,699), Yamaha R3 ($4,999) and Kawasaki Ninja 300 ($5,399). Twin mufflers, one on either side of the bike add to the illusion of width and mass.
Styling of this GW250F shares the “Baby King” influences, the headlight and fuel tank cover-integrated signal light styling cues of its naked sibling.
The short windshield takes wind pressure off the rider’s chest from the neck down and the fairing adds a little more wind buffering.
Adding a new model with a fairing for better rider protection gives Suzuki a broader lineup to tempt beginner-level riders from a next-generation customer base that remains elusive and hard-to-define.
The GW250F is very approachable with a comfortably upright seating position and with a relatively low 760 mm seat height. It weighs in at 189 kg, a little heavier than some of its competitors but still very manageable.It’s an easy reach to the handlebars and even taller riders will find their knees fit neatly into the tank indents.
As expected with a 250, bike operation is easy with a light pull on the clutch and brake levers, a simple-to-find neutral slot and easy clicking through the cogs of the six-speed tranny.
Acceleration isn’t exactly “twist and shout”. It’s more like “twist and wait”. But while the adrenalized excitement of intense acceleration may be missing, all the other joys of riding a motorcycle are there – the lightweight handling, the seesaw rhythm of a curving country road, just being out there in the wind and sun.
I kept in mind that I’m bigger and heavier than the target audience this bike was built for so, who knows, it might feel almost sprightly for a hundred pound rider.
Twin-cylinder power delivery is smooth and consistent. Sixth gear will do for laid-back “swanning” around town at any speed above 50 km/h and the engine spins at around 7,500 rpm at 100 km/h. It will push to around 9,000 rpm at 120 km/h, the engine singing out and nearing the 11,000 rpm redline, which is where you’ll be if you try pushing past 130 km/h (not me, of course, officer).
I earned the same 3.3L/100km (comb) fuel economy average that I got on last year’s test ride on the GW250 naked bike, which translates to a potential 400 km range for the 13.3-litre fuel tank.
A few other points to mention – rock steady mirrors, a real passenger seat with grab bars, adjustable rear suspension, three-spoke 17-inch sport wheels and a gear shift indicator (bonus on an entry-level bike).
The cockpit features an analog tach in front and centre, idiot lights to the left and a rectangular digital readout to the right including an LCD speedometer, odo, twin trips, clock, fuel gauge, maintenance interval indicator and adjustable rpm indicator. And the available accessory list includes a centre stand, engine guard, top case and other trim pieces.
Last year I rode the basic black GW250 but this year’s blue and white GW250F adds a premium, two-tone look to the palette.
And with the added fairing the GW250F adds a little more rider protection from wind and weather while still offering entry-level pricing and a lightweight choice for budget-conscious beginners with an inkling for longer treks along with everyday urban commuting.
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