Suzuki Gixxer SF SP - FI ABS variant - Test Ride Review
Praveen M, Engineer-turned-motorcycle journalist. I'm a sucker for cruising down the highways, and twisties in the hills.
Suzuki arrived relatively late to the sporty 150 cc segment. Sure, they had the GS150R since 2008, but it was unable to match the popularity of the Yamaha FZ. Then in 2014, Suzuki came up with the Gixxer, followed by the Gixxer SF in 2015. These two motorcycles helped give Suzuki's sales a big push.
In August, Suzuki Motorcycle India launched the 2017 Suzuki Gixxer SF SP, and Gixxer SP. In the same month the brand launched the Suzuki Gixxer SF ABS. I spent some time riding the bike and here are my impressions.
The Suzuki Gixxer SF isn’t just a fairing slapped on to the regular Gixxer. In fact, Suzuki has developed the aerodynamic full sport fairing in the same wind-tunnel where the legendary Hayabusa, GSX-R and MotoGP machines are developed. The Japanese company has designed the fairing to give maximum wind protection to the rider, reducing turbulence and drag; thereby delivering greater aerodynamic efficiency. This directly results in higher down force for stable braking and lower drag for better handling at higher speeds.
The SP variant comes with a three-tone red-black-grey paint job, which looks rather neat, without being ostentatious. The red stripe on the tank features the ‘SP’ logo, flanked by rivets on the sides. The mid-section of the frame also gets red trim, which complements the black and grey tailpiece. The sporty red rim stickers add to the youthful appeal of the bike. The brushed aluminium tip on the dual exit exhaust gives it a nice premium feel, and I feel the design of the exhaust is one of the best in segment.
The biggest feature of this motorcycle is the inclusion of single-channel ABS. We’ll discuss how it affects the bike’s handling in the paragraphs ahead. Other than that, the bike gets AHO, and a fully digital instrument cluster. Unlike the Gixxer, the Gixxer SF does not come with a kicker. So if the battery fails, you’ll have to push the bike to start. Coming back to the instrument cluster, it features a gear position indicator which is quite handy while crawling in city traffic. Apart from the gear position display, it has speedometer, twin trip meters, tachometer, six-bar fuel gauge, and time.
The switchgear is pretty standard, with engine kill and ignition on the right, and indicator, pass beam, and horn on the left. The quality of the switches, including the Select and Adjust buttons on the cluster are good, and are glove-friendly. The cluster is easy to read in all light conditions as well.
At around 4 in the morning, I freshened up, grabbed the keys and headed out. The fuel injected 154.9 cc SOHC engine came to life with a single press of the starter button. Fuel injection means no choke, no cold start problems, and the bike neatly idles in no time. I swung my leg on the saddle, and twisted the throttle - the on-off throttle transition is noticeably smoother than the carburetted variant.
The gearing is well spaced for city usage. A peak torque of 14 Nm comes in at 6,000 rpm, but the torque spread is linear enough to let you ride uphill roads in second and third gear. Only on very steep hairpin bends, I felt the need to slot into first. The engine is very refined and there isn’t a hint of discomfort even at high speeds. On open roads, the bike can comfortably cruise at around 90 km/h in fifth gear. 60 kmph comes in at a calm 4,000 rpm and the acceleration is brisk even post that mark. At a shade over 7,000 rpm, the bike touches triple-digit speeds. The peak power of 14.8 PS arrives at 8,000 rpm, and you’d be hitting 107 kmph by then. The bike tends to run out of breath over 105 kmph, but till then, the power delivery is good enough for everyday usage.
The vibrations are noticeable only at triple digit speeds, but they aren’t too distracting. Thanks to the torque, the fifth gear pulls right from 27 kmph, and this makes cruising in a higher gear easier. It also translates to better efficiency provided one stays at around 60 kmph. Speaking of efficiency, the bike returned 42.3 km/l in 60% highway and 40% city conditions. Expect a mileage of around 50 km/l if you’re riding in an economical manner. The bike (140 kg kerb weight) is only 5 kilos heavier than the Gixxer and features a 12-litre fuel tank.
The Suzuki Gixxer SF offers a great riding experience in the hills courtesy its responsive chassis that lets you change directions quickly. Moreover, since the steering head does not bear the weight of the instrument cluster and headlight, it feels light and easy to manoeuvre. The ergonomics are comfortable enough for both aggressive riding and touring. However, people graduating from commuters will take time to adjust to the slightly sporty riding position. The 41 mm front telescopic fork and seven-step adjustable rear monoshock are well damped for city usage. They take care of potholes without much fuss.
A 100/80 MRF Nylogrip Zapper FX front and a rear 140/60 MRF Revz – M wrap the 17-inch alloy wheels. The tyres offer good grip, but could do with more feedback. The disc brakes on both ends offer excellent braking with really good bite, but I found myself yearning for better braking feel. The single channel ABS on the front brake aids handling on tricky surfaces like gravel and wet roads.
The motorcycle costs INR 98,928, ex-showroom Delhi for the SP ABS variant. The regular ABS variant costs INR 95,115. The SP edition offers a unique colour scheme, but the regular variants too, especially the Metallic Triton Blue score high in my books in terms of appearance. In the faired 150cc segment, the Gixxer SF competes with Yamaha YZF R15s and the Version 2.0. Though, the two bikes are more powerful, they are also more expensive (by approximately INR 20,000) and lack ABS as well. It is the cheapest faired motorcycle that offers single channel ABS in the country. The non-ABS variant is priced around INR 6,000 lower, but I’d definitely recommend the ABS version over the standard one as it offers much better confidence while braking.
Overall, the Suzuki Gixxer SF is apt for people who want a quality motorcycle with looks and refinement. The Suzuki Gixxer SF SP ABS is a great buy for someone looking for a faired bike that is not only easy on the pocket, but is also reasonably powerful and safe.