When was the last time a ‘Made for India’ Suzuki on two wheels enticed you to bring it in your porch? Leave aside its bedroom poster heroes, for the fact that the biggies aren’t for everyone, are they? Suzuki started its journey in the Indian mass market with the Zeus and Heat. While both these bikes were decent offerings for their time, neither the Zeus was as godlike as its name, nor the Heat had enough warmth to make it feel desirable.
Then came the Slingshot, GS150R, Hayate and Inazuma, one after the other. But sadly, they didn’t go off to win the sales charts - either they were overshadowed by their established rivals from other manufacturers, or they were way mature for the very young market of ours. Then a certain ‘Gixxer’ came, which not only blazed past all of its rivals, but also reminded us of the fact that its parent manufacturer is the one which has given us some legends such as Hayabusa and GSX-R1000.
The Gixxer was just not another onslaught from Suzuki, but a trailer from the manufacturer about the future products and plans the company has for India in its kitty. Suzuki has moved one segment up by launching the fully faired version of the Gixxer. Christened as Gixxer SF, the motorcycle has now set a benchmark of being the most affordable fully faired motorcycle on sale in India and the flagship model of the locally assembled motorcycles in India.
Given the rising popularity of performance oriented motorcycles are receiving in recent times, it was the perfect time to hop on the saddle of the Suzuki Gixxer SF and test its credentials. So did we!Watch our video review:
Design and equipment:-
The Gixxer has already won several positive compliments for its absolute brawny and naked stance. Upping the ante, Suzuki has replaced the minimalist front headlamp of the Gixxer and slapped a purposeful front fairing at the front, lo and behold, you get the new Gixxer SF. But there’s more to the story, the layers of which will be unfolded one by one in the forthcoming words.
If you closely observe the front face of the Gixxer SF, you will get to know that Suzuki has cleverly taken the design cues of both the Hayabusa and GSX-R1000 for the Gixxer SF. How? The front headlamp is the same unit which is present on the Gixxer, which looks inspired from that of the Hayabusa. The headlamp is flanked with air scoops on its either sides - a trait borrowed from the GSX-R1000.
This full fairing is divided into four different fragments bolted together to form a single unit, thus reducing the costs of damage. The full fairing is proportional in design and doesn’t seem to be an afterthought or overdone at all. Though personally, I would have liked the front transparent visor to be a bit more taller, which would have enhanced both the functionality and front stance of the Gixxer SF. The fairing mounted rear view mirrors are excellent in terms of design as well as rear visibility, and are ergonomically well positioned too.
The addition of the front fairing also means that the Gixxer SF gets an all-new rider cockpit, with the fully digital instrument console now surrounded with black plastic cladding. The console displays an array of information, with digital displays for speedometer, tachometer, odometer, two trip meters, clock, gear indicator and fuel gauge. While the unit is the most comprehensive for the segment, the information on board feels a bit cluttered due to its small size, which gets some time to get used to.
Beyond this front full fairing, the motorcycle shares the brawny and edgy fuel tank, side body panels, rear LED taillamp, body coloured split pillion seats, front and rear fenders and the one-into-two single-sided stubby exhaust pipe with the naked Gixxer. But there are some features which differentiate this faired motorcycle from its naked counterpart apart from the front profile. The list of which includes aluminium cover for exhaust muffler, red stitching on the saddle, clear lens turn indicators and coloured stripes on wheels.
There are no two ways about the fact that the Gixxer SF is the nicest mass market motorcycle by Suzuki in India. But, while the Gixxer SF looks stunning in this special Metallic Triton Blue with MotoGP livery, the same bike looks a bit bland in the other two monotone colours on offer - Glass Sparkle Black and Pearl Mirage White. The build quality and fit and finish of the body panels is excellent for the segment to which the Gixxer SF belongs, however, the black plastic surrounding the instrument console feels cheap and built to a cost.
Engine and performance:-
Suzuki pulled off a lot of anticipation at the time of the Gixxer’s launch that the motorcycle will not be retaining the excellent engine-gearbox combo of the GS150R, but will come with an all-new powertrain. But to a huge surprise, the 155cc engine combined with the new 5-speed gearbox went on to create new benchmarks in the naked 150cc segment in terms of performance and tractability. No surprises then, that Suzuki chose not to fiddle with this sorted formula. So, here comes the four-stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 154.9cc engine for the Gixxer SF.
But sadly, the powerhouse, treated with Suzuki Eco Performance (SEP), hasn’t received any power and torque upgrade over the Gixxer. This means that the engine still continues to churn out 14.8PS of maximum power and 14Nm of maximum torque. However, given the prowess of this engine, there was hardly any complaint from it. The Gixxer SF weighs only four kilos over the Gixxer, and though the additional weight has taken a toll on its initial spur, the performance is zippy when you blaze past 3,500rpm.
As assumed, the front fairing has enhanced the performance and stability of the motorcycle at triple digit speeds, but a drastic change was what we didn’t expected. The Gixxer SF can fly all the way up to a speedometer indicated 132 kmph with me on the saddle, which considering the character of this 155cc engine is a praiseworthy thing. At such towering speeds, the Gixxer SF never felt fidgety, but sounded refined and was at ease doing so. In the course of time, I got an overall fuel efficiency of around 45-46 kmpl, which is quite good for a motorcycle of this demeanor.
Ride and Handling:-
The Suzuki Gixxer did set new benchmarks in the segment for its sorted out balance of ride and handling. The same genes have been transferred to the Gixxer SF as well. Although the bike has got a significant mass at the front, giving it a much bigger bike stance, but that doesn’t mean that the motorcycle is intimidating to ride in the thronged and busy streets of the inner areas of city.
Given the extensive city commute I did on the Gixxer SF, the bike never felt as agitating or ponderous to handle. The Gixxer SF is easy to dodge through the streets, and the credits for this easily goes to the excellent mass centralization of the motorcycle. The upright handlebar and the mildly rear set foot pegs may not offer you the dedicated athleticism one presumes for a faired motorcycle, but these two traits assure it of being a sublime sports tourer, destined to have equal levels of vigor in both city as well as highways.
The front 41mm telescopic hydraulic forks and the rear seven-step adjustable monoshock with rectangular swingarm are tuned on a softer side, which may not give it the verve and precise dynamics an R15 offers. But it certainly will not agonize your back at all, credits of which partly goes to the comfortable single piece seat as well.
The Gixxer SF retains the braking combination of the naked Gixxer of the front disc brake and rear drum brake, but as the bike is positioned at a premium over the latter, Suzuki could have utilized this opportunity for equipping it with a rear disc brake.
Value and competition:-
The Suzuki Gixxer SF is available in only one variant, which is offered in three colour options. While the vanilla colours, Pearl Glacier White and Glass Sparkle Black, can be fetched for Rs. 92,596, you have to shell out a bit more for the lustrous Metallic Triton Blue with MotoGP livery, which bears a price tag of Rs. 94,238 (both prices On-road, New Delhi).
With these prices, the Suzuki Gixxer SF has surpassed the controversial Hero Karizma ZMR as the most affordable fully faired motorcycle currently on sale in India. At this price, the Gixxer SF surely offers a stupendous value, considering its balanced credentials and contemporary package.
As far as its onslaught on the market is considered, Suzuki has tried to shoot two sparrows with one arrow with the Gixxer SF. While its price point positions it against the Yamaha Fazer FI Version 2.0, the addition of a fully fairing suggests that the Yamaha YZF-R15 is also in the cross hairs of this new Suzuki.
The Gixxer SF certainly offers you more value for your buck over the Yamaha Fazer FI, which appears to have taken a step backward with a considerable decrease in power and increase in its price. However, the R15 is in a completely different league than the Gixxer SF in terms of overall dynamics with the racing pedigree it offers, making it a track-worthy scalpel which the Suzuki Gixxer SF isn’t.
With the Gixxer SF, Suzuki has shown that it has the ability to instill the genes of its poster lads in a mass market motorcycle, rather than being just a manufacturer of accomplished but lackluster motorcycles.
The bike looks smashing, and has the stance of being perceived as a middleweight motorcycle. If someone is not into motorcycles at all, he/she can mistake it for a liter class superbike too (happened with some of my friends when they saw the photos!).
The 155cc engine has already proven its prowess in the naked Gixxer, so the quest of being mechanically proficient is solved. Though we would have liked to see a marginal bump in the power and torque outputs over the regular Gixxer - that would have made this bike even more hoot to ride. Hope you are listening, Suzuki!
Even with the increase in its dimensions of the front face, the Gixxer SF continues to be as nimble as the naked Gixxer, if not more. While the dynamics are not as focused as that of the R15, the well-resolved balance of ride quality and handling makes the Gixxer SF a jack of all trades.
Ticking all the right boxes, the Suzuki Gixxer SF surely offers you one of the best value for money propositions in the current Indian two wheeler market, even surpassing the Gixxer in terms of package to price ratio. And given the accolades that the Gixxer received last year, that itself is a good feat to boast of. Nice move, Suzuki!
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