IF LOOKS COULD THRILL...

Suzuki is back in the 250 ti­tle race with its stylish new GSX250R

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Dan Suther­land ACT­ING CON­SUMER EDITOR @MCNNEWS mo­tor­cy­cle­news

This is Suzuki’s first racy 250 since the two-stroke RGV250 and Ja­panese im­port four-stroke GSX-R250 of the 80s and 90s. Sport­ing a vari­a­tion on the leg­endary GSX-R name, the bike has been de­signed to slot neatly into the bur­geon­ing A2-friendly sports­bike class, heav­ily pop­u­lated by the rest of the ma­jor Ja­panese man­u­fac­tur­ers.

At the heart of the GSX250R lies a peppy 248cc par­al­lel twin mo­tor, pro­duc­ing just 24.7bhp. It’s a far cry from the scream­ing mini su­per­sports of the 90s, and it has to be worked hard to get the most from it. How­ever, there is still enough poke to be fun along wind­ing, nadgery back roads, away from faster traf­fic.

It soon be­comes ap­par­ent that this bike is de­signed for carv­ing up city streets, rather than peg- scrap­ing, knee-down, B-road thrills. There is a non-threat­en­ing power de­liv­ery and a great fuel econ­omy, de­spite being caned in ev­ery gear to sim­ply keep up with the traf­fic.

Flat out with your head on the tank, you will be lucky to see 85mph on the lit­tle GSX. Keep­ing up with traf­fic on the mo­tor­way, the bike sounds like it’s in a con­stant struggle, sit­ting be­tween 8500 and 9000rpm at 70mph in sixth gear, close to its 10,500rpm red­line.

At slower speeds it can be jerky on the ini­tial ap­pli­ca­tion of the throt­tle, es­pe­cially when left in a higher gear. This can make it hard to main­tain a steady speed, which could be an is­sue on the urban com­mute.

The gear­box can be stub­born – on more than one oc­ca­sion I was left stranded at the lights, as the bike re­fused to clunk into first gear from neu­tral. This can also hap­pen when chang­ing up to fifth when rid­ing more en­thu­si­as­ti­cally.

At speeds of up to 60mph, the 250 is also quite pre­dictable, with plenty of low-speed flick­a­bil­ity to help you scythe through traf­fic along busy city streets. Com­bined with the non­threat­en­ing en­gine, it’s a great tool for get­ting across town.

Un­for­tu­nately, the easy-go­ing na­ture of this bike is slightly spoiled by its tyres. It comes on IRC RX-01 Road Win­ners and they cause the steer­ing to be­come vague and un­pre­dictable when you start to press on. In wet con­di­tions they be­come quite un­pleas­ant, with the bike feel­ing like it’s go­ing to fall away from you at the slight­est an­gle of lean. It is un­nerv­ing and spoils the oth­er­wise en­joy­able rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

The ba­sic KYB con­ven­tional fork set-up is also too softly sprung to be

‘It’s a great tool for get­ting across town and is a good-look­ing bike’

con­sid­ered truly sporty. While the rear is firm enough to in­spire con­fi­dence, the front-end can feel skit­tish and is prone to wob­bles over bumps at speed.

But­the lit­tle Suzuki does feel like a qual­ity prod­uct. The paint­work is lovely and glints ma­jes­ti­cally in the sun­light. There are no poor panel gaps and no tacky plas­tic tank cov­ers.

At £4399 for the model we tested (the Gp-rep paintjob is £100 ex­tra), the GSX isn’t cheap. Honda’s higher-ca­pac­ity, CBR300R of­fers more power and sim­i­lar big bike looks for just £3999.

The Suzuki looks like a more mod­ern bike though and the ex­tra cash buys you a re­verse-lit LCD in­stru­ment clus­ter, which is very easy to read. The ABS of­fered great feed­back and min­i­mal in­tru­sion to the rider.

The GSX250R looks like more than sim­ply a 250. It may not look that sim­i­lar to a GSX-R1000, re­ally but no-one wants their 250 to be mis­taken for a 125 and that won’t hap­pen here.

You have to rev it hard to get it mov­ing through sweep­ing bends

Sporty looks will at­tract many to this lively 250

The clocks look sharp and of­fer a lit Don’t ex­pect much of a growl from this

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