Making a mark in the Indian two-wheeler market, especially the sub-200cc motorcycle segment, isn’t easy. Ask Suzuki Motorcycle India. It’s got good products such as the Hayate, the GS150R and the Slingshot Plus, but you don’t see many of these bikes on the roads. But this just might change in the months to come as Suzuki has brought one of its finest 150cc machines to India, the Gixxer. Since the time we saw the bike at last year’s Auto Expo, we knew the Pulsars and the FZs are going to face some real competition.
The competition is here. And it looks quite good, too. The design of the Gixxer is muscular; there are not many snazzy graphics, just a solid colour scheme that gives it a lot of class. The digital console—housing a speedometer, an odometer, two trip meters, in-gear indicator, fuel level meter and a clock—is one of the best we have seen in a long time, and appears a direct lift from far more expensive motorcycles. The handlebars get both an engine-kill switch and a pass-light flasher. The heavily sculpted tank is quite functional and has ample room for your knees. The single-piece, long seat is comfortable for long-distance travel. The pillion rider, as expected from a sporty bike, sits higher than the rider and has a good view of the road ahead. The rear-view mirrors clearly show the road behind. The best thing is that there is a lot of attention to detail and not a single thing appears out of place. The company says that the chassis of the Gixxer has been developed by the engineers who designed the legendary GSX-R series for great riding performance. Overall, even the harshest of the critics won’t find any design elements having gone awry.
The 155cc engine powering the Gixxer is a brand-new motor and appears more refined than the GS150R’s engine. This four-stroke, SOHC engine generates a healthy power of 14.8 PS and a torque of 14 Nm. It is mated to a five-speed gearbox.
Fire and engine and you are greeted with a muted purr, associated with refinement. Get on the bike, slot it into the first gear, partially release the clutch, and the power waiting to be delivered is apparent. Second gear onwards, and especially in the third gear, the performance is fairly impressive. The reason is that the 14 Nm of torque is available through the mid-range and even as the engine speed increases, the bike doesn’t seem to run out of torque. The Gixxer easily reaches speeds above 100 kmph. And even at high engine speeds, the amount of vibrations felt at the handlebars and the footpegs doesn’t bother you much. Both the engine sound and the exhaust note are music to a riding enthusiast’s ears. We have one question for Suzuki, though. Why didn’t the company give the Gixxer a six-speed gearbox? As far as fuel-efficiency is concerned, the Gixxer is quite frugal—riding it in a mix of city and highway conditions, and at speeds ranging from 40 kmph to 100-plus kmph, we got 45 kmpl.
It’s not just performance where the bike excels, even handling is noteworthy. We rode the bike during the days it was raining in Delhi and the sticky MRF Zapper tyres (100/80-17 at the front and 140/60-17 at the back) ensured we didn’t skid even while doing some cornering manoeuvres—in normal riding conditions, the bike handles quite well. The front disc brakes and the rear drums work well to tame this bike.
However, Suzuki should consider launching an ABS version of the Gixxer.
The Gixxer is one of the best 150cc machines we have had and is quite an enjoyable motorcycle to be on. It rides well and attracts a lot of attention. And, for R83,473 (on-road, Delhi), the Gixxer, believe us, is rightly priced too. There is nothing lacking in the bike. What Suzuki should now focus on is reaching out to consumers in all parts of the country.