The Indian market has posed a great challenge to motorcycle manufacturers of every origin. We have seen numerous models come and go, whereas a few have maintained their strong hold and only some of them have been tagged as best sellers.
Some of the toughest times have been faced by Japanese manufacturer Suzuki. With the GS150R, their recent 150cc segment motorcycle, Suzuki had expected bigger numbers in terms of sales and popularity than what it got for them, and after a lot of struggle and careful treading they have come up with yet another 150cc segment motorcycle which will play quite a role in deciding what Suzuki’s future in the Indian commuter motorcycle market will be.
Gixxer’s looks and styling
The first thing to notice about the Gixxer is its looks and styling. Well-shaped and contemporarily styled, the Gixxer’s body has an abundance of angular flows and surface changes that provide for quite a dynamic feel overall. The bikini front fairing has Suzuki written all over it and other details like the six spoke wheels, fatter tyres and a very differently styled exhaust can with superbike dna reflected in its chrome accents and twin outlets, make this a very purpose-built Suzuki.
Other details include shapely tank extensions, great looking bar end weights, alloy cast footrests and mounts and contrast stitching on the contoured saddle. The Gixxer, one can say, has been tailor-made for the Indian market with the key focus being on styling, fuel efficiency and cost effectiveness from the production point of view.
The instrument cluster is inspired from a smartphone and one can literally place one by its side and confirm the resemblance. What’s slightly cheesy though, is the “Ready, Go” flashing on the screen once you turn on the key, and it really wouldn’t take a genius to figure where that might possibly come from. The panel sports a gear shift indicator, two trip meters, a digital tachometer, a bar type fuel guage, large speedo display and plenty of usual warning lights.
Engine kill switch
There is also a choice between an eco and a power mode depicted by an eco sign and a lightning bolt, respectively. The mirrors are quite cleverly shaped but aren’t of much use to “big” riders, but go with the overall shapes and surface flow of the rest of the front. Quite a lot of the switchgear comes from the GS 150R but somehow seems to go better on the Gixxer. It also comes with an engine kill switch – quite common on most bikes nowadays.
The fuel tank is quite muscular with thigh indents that provide for a great grip when riding fast and hard. It adds to the sport bike feel that the numerous other cues together work to achieve. It also sports a finished alloy fuel filler cap that could’ve done better with a hinge.
The grab bars are well integrated into the tail and broad protective mudguards on both wheels hint at a decent wet weather protection. The chain is exposed and at the very least, adds to the sporty feel of the bike. The company has done quite a good job on overall fit and finish quality and the one thing that remains to determine whether or not this will be their great success after years of trial, are the power, performance and mileage numbers.
The Gixxer derives its power from Suzuki’s brand new 155cc engine which is claimed to be quite tough in terms of rigidity and delicious smooth when you push it to its limits. Churning out 14.6 bhp, it is supposedly Suzuki’s first “ultralight” engine in the segment. Producing 14.8 Ps of power at 8000 rpm and 14 Nm of torque at 6000 rpm, it provides for good numbers at much lower rpm levels in comparison to the competition. The engine gets a good bore:stroke ratio that provides for smaller piston travel and very decent torque production both at high and low ends.
In contrast to the six-speed GS150R, the Gixxer is equipped with a five-speed gearbox with precise and light gearshifts in a one-down four-up pattern. The gear ratios are well-suited and the bike has a very light feeing clutch. It takes round 5.1 seconds to hit the 60kmph mark and another 13-14 seconds on top to cross 100. All these provide for a best in class performance that will give the likes of the Honda CB and Yamaha’s FZ quite a run for their money.
Seating position is great and upright, with a wide handlebar that allows for good ease when turning and a saddle that is roomy and padded enough for even the tallest of riders to comfortably do long travel ranges. The bike has a singe downtube steel tubular frame that holds the engine as a stressed member. The front suspension has big 41mm forks and a seven-step adjustable monoshock in the rear.
Plenty of traction, thanks to tubeless front and rear MRF tyres, means great tackling of pot holes, confident cornering and decent straight line stability.
The Gixxer offers a decent fuel efficiency of over 41 kmpl in the city, and 44 on the highway.
The only thing left to decide the fate of this fresh 150 cc from a company that has so far excelled at cars and yet faced quite the battle with the success of its motorcycle class, is how it is priced, and at an ex-showroom price of Rs 72,200 the Gixxer definitely wins approval as a great all-rounding bike and could well be the game-changer for Suzuki.