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  • Sachin Sen

Suzuki Gixxer - Solid Basics Never Go Out of Fashion

Suzuki Gixxer
Suzuki Gixxer

The 150cc category is the best representation of how price sensitive the Indian bike market is. I would say that manufacturers have been quite successful in combining style, practicality, affordability, and performance in various motorcycles in this segment. And though there are lots of good 150cc bikes to choose from, the better ones have one thing in common - they always get the basics right.

And that’s what makes the Suzuki Gixxer one of them…

The first time I rode the Gixxer was in 2014; yes, it was the first-gen and at that time, the Gixxer only came in the 150cc version. Also, at that time, I had a Yamaha FZ-16, a pretty decent motorcycle at that time. To be honest, I wasn’t very excited about the Gixxer before riding it, I really thought how different it was going to be than my bike, and by that time, I had already gotten a bit bored riding the FZ. So it was with a very casual attitude that I approached the Suzuki Gixxer.

But I liked it instantly. In a few hundred metres I noticed that it was a more refined handler; mostly, it felt better in corners, more sure-footed, and more fun. The engine was better too; it felt better at 100 kph compared to my FZ-16 and it was surely faster.

The New Gixxer

Suzuki Gixxer
Looks decent but not entirely proportionate

Riding the latest generation Gixxer brought back similar feelings. But the bike has also changed. The design is completely different now, the new Gixxer looks a bit larger, it has also acquired some weight (the first-gen was 135 kg, the new one is 141 kg ready-to-ride), and within that larger bodywork, the same 155cc air-cooled single appears even smaller than before. While the motorcycle looks decent overall, I would say clearly that the first-gen looked more proportionate as a whole.

That said, the new styling is more sophisticated in comparison; the tail light looks much nicer than before and so does the headlight (from the front). Even the short exhaust with dual outlets has been redesigned and looks better than the one on the previous Gixxer. It is mostly the tank extensions that do not look as good and mess up the proportions for me. On a side note, the current colour schemes are quite bad; I just don’t understand how and why manufacturers can’t see that.

Suzuki Gixxer
Upright yet sporty enough

The riding ergonomics on the Gixxer is quite good and typical of other similar bikes in this class; a slight bent forward along with slightly rear-set foot-pegs lend a comfortable yet aggressive riding position. But the problem is the seat, it’s not comfortable and I mostly didn’t like it. I’m sure this is due to the way the seat fabric feels; it has that cheap feel to it that is prone to cracking with age. This only time can tell.

And that’s about the only complaint I have with the Gixxer really. Because like before, the best part of this motorcycle remains its engine and handling. As soon as you turn the engine on, it becomes clear how well-sorted it feels with the way it settles into a gentle thrum, something that we’ve always associated with a good Japanese engine. And yes, this is true even today. There is no unnecessary drama here, the engine is very smooth and generally quiet. It does produce a gentle scream at higher RPMs when it is pushed. I won’t say that it lacks character.

On the other hand, a motorcycle like the Pulsar N160 has a lot of drama. Its exhaust note is throaty and louder than the Gixxer’s but the engine is not any more enjoyable as such. Feels to me as if Bajaj relies on such antics more to attract riders while the Japanese primarily concentrate on building engines that appear so well put together as if they’re going to last for ages.

Suzuki Gixxer
Fun enough to enjoy daily commutes

On the move, the Gixxer displays one of the best handling traits in its category. It is one of the lightest motorcycles among its peers at 141 kg, but it is sure footed and never feels nervous even in changing road conditions. The handling is extremely predictable and responsive but not overly sharp. Between the N160 and the Gixxer, the Gixxer is lighter and feels more mature and no less engaging. I remember I had fun riding the N160 and enjoyed it quite a lot in that moment, but I would take the Gixxer over the Pulsar after having ridden both. Also, at 154 kg, the N160 is unnecessarily and overly heavy than the competition. There is no justifiable reason for Bajaj to make it like that.

Suzuki Gixxer
Suspension is compliant and feels pretty good in city riding conditions

Gixxer’s suspension is well-damped at both ends; it is neither too soft nor harsh, it’s generally good enough allowing the rider to confidently go through corners. The handling is engaging and the bike is quite involving to ride for such a simple one. The brakes do their job well with enough bite and progressiveness but there’s nothing special about them. That said, the front brake on the Honda Hornet 2.0 in this segment is hard to beat.

Suzuki Gixxer
Uncomfortable seat but overall, one of the better motorcycles in its segment

The only, and the biggest, problem for me with the Gixxer remains its seat. While the riding stance is nice, the seat itself is irritatingly uncomfortable. Overall though, I am convinced that the Gixxer is bound to deliver a satisfying ownership experience, especially as a daily commuter. It is built well, the engine feels solid and the handling makes it enjoyable to ride all the time.

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