The launch of the Gixxer SF 250 gave Suzuki an opportunity to update the Gixxer SF which was introduced for the first time back in 2015. The mid-cycle refresh has brought along some significant updates to the 155 cc model, especially in terms of design. The price, however, has gone up by around INR 8,000 to INR 1,09,870 (ex-showroom Delhi), which is quite a raise considering the segment it sits in.
Yesterday, IAB was invited to the BIC to get a firsthand experience on the 2019 Suzuki Gixxer SF to find out if all the updates are worth the price hike and if it is any better than the old model.
The most notable update the Suzuki Gixxer SF gets is its sportier and more aggressive design which has been carried over from its bigger quarter-litre sibling. This means that it features the same alluring all-LED headlamp, body fairing, V-shaped LED tail light and split seats. The only few minor differences which can be spotted between the two (if you pay enough attention) are the different stickers on the fairing, paint finishes and alloy wheels (10-spoke on the bigger SF and 6-spoke on the Gixxer SF). The striking similarity between the two models is surely an added bonus for the smaller one.
At 715 mm, the Gixxer SF is 25 mm narrower than the Gixxer SF 250 (740 mm). The difference in the dimensions isn’t hard to notice. Also, the bigger Gixxer looks slightly more muscular because of its matte paint scheme which highlights its cuts and sharp design edges, while Gixxer SF’s gloss paint is very regular in appeal. This is the same design ideology that’s implemented by KTM in its current RC series of motorcycles.
It gets a fully digital LCD instrument panel identical to one seen on the bigger Gixxer, but with an inverted colour layout. Available information remains the same such as current speed, fuel indicator, rpm band, gear position indicator and more.
Engine and Performance
The 2019 Suzuki Gixxer SF carries the same 154.9 cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled engine with fuel-injection. But instead of adding some additional horses, there is a slight dip of 0.7 PS in power. The engine now delivers 14.1 PS at 8,000 rpm and 14.0 Nm of peak torque comes at 6,000 rpm. Also, the transmission lacks one gear when compared to the SF 250 and the power is sent to the rear wheel via a 5-speed gearbox. It took some time for us to adjust our senses to the Gixxer SF since we rode it right after the bigger Gixxer. Some differences in the clutch action, brakes, gearing ratios, power delivery and more, were clear-cut.
When asked about the lower power output from the engine, Suzuki answered by saying that it is the mid-result of the BS-6 emission upgrade process, though the engine is still BS-4 compliant. The engine is slightly lower on the power, but the motorcycle is as much fun on the road. Lower output isn’t visible and it still lunges forward with the similar buttery push. Power delivery is spot-on in the lower and mid-range band, but it tends to lose steam when approaching the redline. We found ourselves riding mostly in the top two gears around the circuit. Also, a special mention has to be made of its fuel-injection which does a tremendous job of keeping the fueling smooth and linear.
The Gixxer SF is capable of doing around 126 km/h depending on the gross weight and drag, which is at par with all the motorcycles of the segment.
Handling and Riding Dynamics
Like the SF 250, the smaller Gixxer too is no dedicated supersport motorcycle but is a very versatile handler which is ready for anything you throw at it. It essentially utilizes the same frame as seen on the previous bike, and only a few minor changes have been brought in terms of a marginally thicker (by 0.3mm) centre tube and new suspension mounts. Its short wheelbase of 1,340 mm, thinner tyres and low weight (146 kgs curb) make it more fluidic than its bigger sibling but not at the cost of stability or cornering abilities.
It packs the same traditional telescopic front forks and a monoshock at the rear which does the job well. The setup has been tuned for comfortable riding as it offers slightly cushiony feel which should serve well on everyday roads. It split-seat setup looks is decently padded for average sized riders. Also, thanks to its higher-set clip-ons, the overall riding posture remains comfortable while looking sporty at the same time.
Coming on to the brakes, it comes loaded with 266 mm disc at the front (SF 250 has 300 mm) with added safety net of single-channel ABS. The braking on the motorcycle is efficient and progressive, but at the same time, you really have to pull the lever with force to make full use of its braking bite and bring the bike to halt if you are going way above restricted speeds. On the other side, you get decent feedback from the rear-end before it locks down in case you are really smashing the brake paddle hard.
The 2019 Suzuki Gixxer SF is reborn in a completely new avatar which definitely makes it more likeable than the old model. With a new and more aggressive design, LED headlamps and clip-ons it has now inched closer to becoming a more worthy contender in its segment. to the Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0, which is considered an epitome in the 150 cc category fully-faired bikes. But the core difference is that it doesn’t play the game by the same rules, it competes in a slightly different league for people who want a motorcycle which is more of a mix-bag and can do it all, and that has always been the point of its existence.