The GSX-R badge signifies a predisposition to covering lots of ground in a short time, however, Suzuki’s GSX250R only looks the part.
The GSX250R shares the stylish lines of its namesake, but the targeted consumer is one who might never go near a racetrack. This broader audience includes millennials and those returning to motorcycling after hiatus. Rank beginners might be more comfortable on Suzuki’s 200cc VanVan, but those looking for a sportier, fun-to-ride and easy-to-service bike below $5,000, are squarely in the GSX250R marketing crosshairs.
The fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, twin-cylinder, single overhead cam, four-stroke is smooth, quiet and extremely mild-mannered; a light-year away from anything one might take to the track. Though optimized for low- and mid-torque, the initial launch was shockingly slow, and steep hills produced a pang of performance anxiety. It took a few miles to grasp this bike’s purpose. Despite its sleek profile and thoughts of of turning 10-second quarter-miles, it’s only a 250. Revving above 6,000 rpm before shifting helped to keep the engine in the powerband and moving forward with purpose.
This is a full-size bike with a riding position as friendly as the throttle hit. Even with clip-ons, the grips, controls and instruments are all easy to reach and the spine is comfortably erect. The 31.1-inch seat height is easy to throw a leg over and keeps a rider high above the action, in a ready posture. The seat is not noticeably soft or firm, a good sign.
The electric quick-start responds at nearly the speed of thought. Shifting smooth, with the aid of a wet, multi-plate clutch. The bike turns effortlessly. Suspension is suitably plush, with a telescopic front fork and a monoshock rear suspension system, the latter with seven preload settings. Quick and easy adjustment allows for a smoother ride. The hydraulic, petal-style disc brakes, front and rear are responsive.
Finally, a claimed range of 280 miles on a 4-gallon tank equates to an impressive 70 mpg. The stylish fairing offers little wind deflection, but routes cooler air to the radiator and engine heat away from the rider.
Above all, the GSX250R delivers exactly as marketed: user-friendly, stylish and inexpensive transportation. Riders seeking a full motorcycle experience, and not obsessed with horsepower, should find this a very appealing option.