After Billy attended the press launch, we wanted to take a closer look at Suzuki’s new small-displacement machine, the GSX250R. This bike is powered by a 248cc parallel-twin, fuel injected engine and features a full fairing that gives it a look reminiscent of Suzuki’s larger-displacement sport bikes.
Like other small-displacement sport bikes from competitors, the GSX250R has a practical, upright seating position, rather than the more aggressive position found on its larger siblings (with much lower bars and foot pegs placed several inches rearward). The aim, apparently, is new riders, as well as those looking for a practical, yet fun machine. Indeed, Suzuki says the GSX250R draws more heavily on its Katana heritage of general purpose bikes, despite naming it with the “GSX” prefix.
Practicality is aided by excellent fuel economy. We easily exceeded 60 mpg despite “wringing the neck” of the small engine during our testing, just as any competent journalist would. Together with a four gallon fuel tank, the machine offers enough range to surpass the expectations of most riders … and their endurance between stops.
With that four gallon fuel tank topped off, Suzuki claims a curb weight of 392 pounds. Not the smallest machine, but the seat height is reasonable at 31.1 inches, and the slender nature of the bike between the riders’ legs will allow even shorter riders to touch down at stops.
With a six-speed transmission, non-adjustable KYB suspension, disc brakes and cast aluminum wheels, there is nothing that particularly stands out on the GSX250R from a chassis perspective. Typical for the small-displacement category, there is only a single disc brake up front.
Tubeless tires measure 140/55 x 17 in the rear and 110/80 x 17 in front. With the increase in small-displacement models available in the U.S., there is a corresponding increase in available tires that will fit the GSX250R.
Engine performance for a 250cc twin is more than decent. The GSX250R provides a somewhat surprising amount of low-end and mid-range, seemingly aimed at new riders and commuters. A linear delivery sees power build as the tach rises towards the 10,500 rpm redline. The six gears are spaced relatively close, as we saw 86 mph in sixth gear at redline.
The non-adjustable suspension has been tuned very well by Suzuki, and offers a relatively plush ride while staying reasonably controlled as the pace rises. Together with the smooth engine, the GSX250R always felt composed on the highway.
On twisty roads, the GSX250R is nimble enough given its relatively low weight and narrow tires, while feeling more stable than some of the competition. It rides a bit like a bigger bike, i.e., with smooth archs and unruffled manners. The front brake is merely adequate, however, for more spirited riding, and can fade much quicker than a twin disc setup.
We found comfort on longer rides pretty good, although the reach to the bars is a bit further than some of the other bikes in this category. The smooth engine means the mirrors remained buzz-free, for the most part, and they are positioned wide enough to provide a clear view.
Altogether, the 2018 Suzuki GSX250R has a well sorted, refined character that should serve new riders well, while providing a practical option for experienced riders that want a small-displacement machine in their stable. The challenge for Suzuki, perhaps, will be finding its niche in an ever-expanding crowd of competitors.
Priced at $4,499, the GSX250R twin offers more engine performance than the 286cc single-cylinder Hondas, the CBR300R and CB300F, both of which are priced close to the Suzuki. Larger displacement twin-cylinder alternatives from Kawasaki (the new 399cc Ninja 400) and Yamaha (the 321cc R3), will each be priced starting at $4,999. Both of the Japanese competitors with twin-cylinder engines should offer substantially more peak horsepower than the GSX250R, however.
The 2018 Suzuki GSX250R is available in Pearl Nebular Black (shown) and Pearl Glacier White. Take a look at Suzuki’s web site for additional details and specifications.
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