• Photos: Salman Kazmi
  • Text & Tester: Syed Shiraz

Suzuki makes some of the most wonderful motorcycles on the planet, and thanks to the all-conquering GSX-1300R (the Hayabusa, for the uninitiated), the brand’s image as a performance-bike maker has been deeply entrenched into the minds of the masses too. Of course, the more enlightened of the lot have always been aware of the company’s technical prowess, and they have also not forgotten the 80s’ AX-100s, 90s’ Shoguns, and even the first Fieros. That is why both these sections of the bike-riding populace have expected a lot more from Suzuki across all segments in India.

Rider Gear Check: 

Suzuki Gixxer

Also, while on the one hand its erstwhile partner, TVS, did its own R&D on the Fiero’s engine and gave us the Apache RTR, Suzuki India on the other hand gave us the demure GS150R. The bike was so shy that it hardly ventured out of the showroom. Which is a pity, because it was a fine product, marred only due to its inconspicuous looks and zero promotion by Suzuki India.

But it’s better late than never, right? So yes, after putting in around a good two years in development, Suzuki India finally launched the Gixxer in September this year. The motorcycle is already doing good, but since many of our readers still wanted us to review the bike, we complied!

Design, Instrumentation & Build Quality

Suzuki Gixxer

Aah, that design! This Suzuki looks beautiful from every angle. Generally, you would not expect a bike from this segment to be turning heads but this one does, and quite a lot! The Gixxer looks muscular, but not bulky, and the proportions are just spot on. The sharp headlight is mounted low and covers the lower triple clamp that gives the bike a hunkered-down, menacing look when viewed head on. The well-sculpted tank gets superbly designed extensions and the black & grey mid-section is nicely done too. The Y-shaped three-spoke alloys look fab and just look at that exhaust! That’s, without a doubt, the best one so far in this category of bikes.

 

Suzuki Gixxer

Moving up, at the rear, you’ll almost miss the large grab rails; yes, they are large, but may still go unnoticed – that’s how beautifully they have been integrated into the tail-section. The tail lamp gets LEDs while the rear mudguard is a long two-piece affair giving you the advantage of shedding some of its plastic without using a hacksaw. The overall build quality of the motorcycle is excellent and the bike feels solidly put together, however, the plastic and finishing of the switchgear could have been better.

Gixxer Switchgear

Gixxer Switchgear

Also, the fuel-filler cap is a chunky piece but does not come with a hinge and you have to hold on to it when it’s your turn at the fuel pump.

Gixxer Fuel Cap

But Suzuki India has really upped the game when it comes to instrumentation. The all-digital display, other than containing a bar-type tacho, fuel-level meter, numeric speedo, odometer, and two trip meters, also shows you the time, the selected gear, a fasten-your-helmet-strap warning,

Gixxer Instrument Console

and the number of missed-calls from your wife/girlfriend.  Okay, I made the last two up, but seriously, forget the 150-160 segment, this one’s instrument cluster is so comprehensive that only the much expensive (comparatively) KTMs come to my mind when I think about such in-dash features.

Engine, Gearbox, and Performance

Suzuki Gixxer

It’s not just the boy-racers-on-a-budget who want the best accelerating 150 cc motorcycle there is; that office-goer-in-denims who plans to upgrade from his current 100-125 cc steed will do it only if the bigger-engined bike makes his regular rush hour grind less painful. A bigger engine, more often than not, means more power which translates into a whole lot of goodies that alleviate your traffic woes.  Like, say, ‘getting away from the crowd’ for one. The Gixxer has that covered and produces a healthy 14.8 PS at 8,000 revs and 14 Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm from its carburetted, SOHC, 2-valve 155 cc motor.

Gixxer Engine & Kick Starter

The power and torque figures are better than both the Hero Xtreme’s and Yamaha FZ-FI’s, but since an engine is as good (or bad) as the gearbox it comes mated with, those figures would have little meaning if Suzuki didn’t equip the bike with the right transmission. Well, fret not as the Gixxer comes with one of the best gearboxes in the segment and the five-speeder is not only a slick and refined unit, it gives the bike some unheard-of mannerisms – 25 km/h in top (fifth) gear sees around 1,300 rpm on the tachometer, and there is no snatching or knocking at that speed!

Suzuki Gixxer Instrument Cluster

Plus, when you are in a mood to gun it, the 135 kg Gixxer will happily oblige with sprinting to around 90-95 km/h in no time. Post that speed, the progress becomes a shade slower, and I could manage a speedo-indicated 116 km/h before the vehicles ahead started to appear too close for comfort. I reckon the Gixxer should touch 120 km/h, on the speedo, on a good day.

Ride, Handling and Braking

Gixxer cornering

Handling is one thing where the Gixxer would leave the competition for dead – yes, it’s that good! It inspires so much confidence that this might just be the bike to get your first knee down on. The featherweight would change direction in an instant, but without being fidgety in a straight line at high speeds; in fact, it remained super-composed at the aforementioned top-end.

Suzuki Gixxer

The single downtube chassis (and also the engine), according to Suzuki, has been developed by the same engineers who designed the company’s GSX-R series! And it shows. If the Gixxer sneaked out of home on a Sunday morning for a couple of hot laps on a track, the GSX-R 1000 and 600, standing in the paddock with their tyre-warmers on, would look at each other and nod in acknowledgement of the kid’s handling prowess and won’t, at all, scoff at the idea of the young one getting their legendary family name.

Suzuki Gixxer

Also, there is no vibration whatsoever throughout the rev range, save for towards the red line, but even then it’s a faint sensation that you might only feel through the tank (if you are hugging it, i.e.) – the handlebar and footpegs remain devoid of it all the time! So no funny tingling sensations in the butt or the hands, and that coupled with the well-padded saddle will entice many owners to get Leh’d on this one…

Suzuki Gixxer 9

The bike gets chunky 41 mm front forks while a monoshock takes care of the damping duties at the rear, which, by the way, comes with seven settings for spring preload adjustment instead of the regular five. And that’s nice because you WILL have to play with it to tune it according to your taste and/or need. I say that because even though the stock setting (my test bike came with the adjuster at position 3) was perfect for my 52 kg weight while riding solo, the rear bottomed out on speed-breakers while riding two up with the pillion weighing around 60 kg.

Suzuki Gixxer exhaust & monoshock

Preload set to the hardest, we went to hunt the same speed humps, and this time we won. Repeatedly. Then I also rode solo with that setting, and loved the taut feel. If it did not bounce with my body weight, it won’t jump around under heavier folks. Strangely enough, the standard tool kit supplied by Suzuki (under the seat) does not come with the preload adjustment wrench. But no worries, almost every second household has an adjustable spanner, which you may use if you have 10 seconds and don’t mind rolling up your sleeves…

Gixxer front brake

The Gixxer gets a disc brake up front and a drum at the rear with no option for a rear disc available as of now. The front is great both in feel and bite while the rear, though lacking in both comparatively (and obviously), gets the job done at all speeds! The grippy rubber makes the brakes (that rhymed!), especially the rear one, earn brownie points due to the fantastic grip they provide. The MRF Zappers – 100/80 at the front and 140/60 for the rear – performed well on wet roads too!

Fuel Efficiency

One of the most important criteria in the 150 cc segment, the fuel efficiency of a motorcycle here can

Suzuki Gixxer fuel tank

either be a big incentive or a major dampener for a prospective buyer whilst making his decision. I rode the Gixxer like it would be ridden by the majority of its owners – 80 per cent in stop and go traffic, 10 per cent with the throttle pinned to its stop, and the remaining 10 per cent in a relaxed manner. Such riding saw a dot 50 km/l which is fabulous for what is such a fun motorcycle! Ridden carefully, I won’t be surprised if someone tells me they extracted around 10 more kilometres from a litre. A 12-litre fuel-tank means a touring range of 600 km, so with petrol prices hovering around 64 rupees in Delhi a weekend trip to the nearest hill station would cost less than 800 rupees in fuel! I should have one of these…

Suzuki Gixxer

Verdict

Verdict? You still need one? Here it is then: The Suzuki Gixxer is the BEST motorcycle in the segment, PERIOD. Why? Simply because it is not only the best-looker of the lot, it also does almost all things

Suzuki Gixxer acceleration

better than every other contender. Okay, let me do a quick recap – it looks beautiful, has the best power-to-weight ratio in the segment, is quite fuel-efficient, handles like a dream both in traffic and out on the highways, is well put together; need more? Its suspension (rear) can be precisely set up if you have the inclination; it has the best instrument console; and again, it looks so darn beautiful!

Still greedy? It’s priced extremely (no pun intended) competitively at INR 79,809 (on-road) in Delhi. That makes it a couple of hundred bucks cheaper than even the old (carb) FZ-16! Just for reference, the new fuel-injected FZs start at INR 85,604 (on-road) in Delhi…

Suzuki Gixxer

Still can’t make up your mind? You need a therapist then. Okay wait, we are bringing a comparo soon!

Related: Yamaha FZ-S FI Version 2.0 Road Test & Review

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  • Reeto

    As always a brilliant review Shiraz, was a pleasure reading the same. If the rider weighs around 90 kgs, then what should be an apt rear suspension setting? Also since Bombay roads are marred with potholes and undulations, how do you think this bike can cope with it?

    • Syed Shiraz Shah

      Thanks a ton Reeto! 🙂 I feel that even the softest of settings (1-3) would work for even a heavier rider provided he is riding solo! The equation changes with a pillion — that’s when you would need to choose the hardest one. But that might prove to be too hard on bad roads while riding solo…

      Again, with seven settings to choose from, one can certainly find the perfect balance according to road and load (that rhymed! lolz) conditions 🙂

  • kp

    Fantastic review!!gixxer 155 fine motorcycle

    • Syed Shiraz Shah

      Thank you kp 🙂

  • balraj

    beautiful designing by Suzuki, I expected Yamaha FZ V2 to be designed better but they spoiled by putting a big plastic Tyre hugger which does not blend with the overall design.

  • Ben

    One of the best review I have ever read. Congragulations to the author. Brings out a lot of emotions relating to the bigger brothers as well as the classics. Really good and best written. Gixxer rockz!

    • Syed Shiraz Shah

      Thanks a lot for the kind words Ben! Much appreciated 🙂

      • Ben

        Really a master piece.

      • Syed Shiraz Shah

        Thanks again Ben 🙂

  • navjeet singh

    i have gixxer now for 5 months. gearbox acclaimed to be smooth but not as smooth as yamaha bikes. earlier i had yamaha szr. i miss the butter smooth gearbox in yamaha. gixxer gearbox is bit tight. maybe its due to newness. i did not go for yamaha fuel injected bike just because torque and power figures are lower than gixxer. first suzuki bike for me. its kind of different feeling . i was a big yamaha fan. driving gixxer is ok. but slightly i feel yamaha should have increased power figures also . instead of 13.1 ps if it was 15ps then things would have been different. after the demise of the two strokes frankly i still cannot find satisfaction driving 150cc four stroke bikes. purchased pulsar 220 cc bike also. but mileage is big let down otherwise the bike is thunder . i cruised above 110 kmph for long distances. lastly i will go for ninja 650cc. maybe in the future. hopefully my last bike .

    • kp

      Gixxer launched on September 9 not even 3 months how can you own it last 5 months and I took test ride 2 times gearbox is smooth

      • navjeet singh

        i might have done date calculation wrong but everything i wrote is true.

      • navjeet singh

        and have you driven yamaha bikes.?

      • kp

        Yes, didn’t find gixxer 155 gearbox and clutch inferior at all its better than old fz and on par with fzv2 …if your problem persists better check with service centree

    • Ben

      The problem is with Service center. Be it car or Bike, a Suzuki will never go wrong with the gearbox. You drain the oil, flush and clean the gearbox completely with mild petrol. Leave it to dry for 3-4 days as petrol can catch fire easily. Then fill up cheapest mineral oil initially for the first 10000 Kms and then switch on to semi synthetic or fully synthetic. The main suspected problem will be metallic pieces struck in between gears which spoils the smoothness or else if you did not maintain prescribed speeds properly during the break in period which leads to improper gear wear clearances.

  • dinesh

    one of the better reviews of gixxer, good job bikeadvice

    • Syed Shiraz Shah

      Thank you Dinesh! 🙂

  • Arnold Seva

    That Gixxer is bloody damn GOOD !!!!

  • ashutosh

    Good review.

    • Syed Shiraz Shah

      Thanks Ashutosh 🙂

  • Julian Bennet

    Brilliant and smooth review Shiraz bhai, you actually made me read this article twice. It felt as if I am speaking to myself while riding the bike.

    BTW your body language in the pictures show your confidence in the bike especially the wheelie. This directly reflects the bikes handling ability.

    • Syed Shiraz Shah

      That’s a lovely compliment Julian! Thanks a ton bruv! 🙂

  • Prakash S

    I have bought this bike in January.. 1st Service Done.. The breaks are (yes both !) spongy.. Good bike … disadvantages:
    1). Rear Sear height
    2). Spongy Breaks – Front break is acts like a drum (I am shocked about this )