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Text: Avinash Noronha/ The Monk
Photos: Sunil Gupta/ sunilg
The Suzuki Gixxer 155 is the latest attempt by the Japanese manufacturer to get a foothold in the ever growing motorcycle market of India. The bike’s name has been derived from the extremely popular GSX-r series that has been running strong for almost three decades. Dating back to March 1985 when the first GSX-r 750 was launched, this series of motorcycles have come a long way, gaining thousands of diehard fans worldwide. Suzuki Motorcycle India has taken a big gamble by using the legendary name, the Gixxer, as the motorcycles were popularly known, for its 155cc offering in the country. How will the fans react to a small capacity bike being honoured with this iconic series and does the Suzuki Gixxer 155 have the DNA to match its name. Well, we need to ride it to find out. And what better place than the curvy tarmac of Lavasa on a wet monsoon morning to have some fun on this ‘street sport’ motorcycle.
Suzuki has come up with a new category – the street sport tag. But the Gixxer 155 does realistically belong to the executive commuter segment and it has the Yamaha FZ fair and in its crosshairs. The bike is designed to appeal to the younger crowd who want a powerful, good looking bike which wouldn’t burn a hole through their pocket! And in that Suzuki looks to have a winner on their hands. The bike does not just look muscular but is also built like a tank. With the typical robust Suzuki quality, which looks like it will last a century! The beefy front forks, the muscular chiselled tank, the devil horn like grab rails, all give the bike a wicked look. The chunky exhaust makes the bike look bigger than it actually is. The 140 section rear tyre has a rounder profile and doesn’t look as broad as it is, but is a boon while cornering. The rear LED tail lamp is a welcome addition, but doesn’t gel so well with the rest of the bike, while the rear mud flap is broad enough to keep those behind you clean. A little too broad some might say, and therefore is easily removable to make it sleeker. The switchgear on the motorcycle is top-notch and works smoothly. But the best bit is the extremely comfortable saddle which is where the rider would always want to be, and gives you a great view of a well thought out console. The fully digital display is clear and gives all the information you require, it is visible in bright sunlight and is orange backlit for night riding. The mirrors on the bike are simple and give an adequate view of the traffic as you leave it behind!
And that is the biggest strength of the Gixxer, the ability to leave traffic standing as you make a quick getaway. Suzuki has put in a lot of effort to ensure that you have an adrenalin packed ride every time you go for a spin on this bike. Some of the top race engineers who are involved in WSBK and MotoGP worked on the design of this bike according to the company. The lightweight chassis helps this motorcycle achieve the lightest in category kerb weight of just 135 kg. The Gixxer, as with other offerings from the company, is equipped with SEP (Suzuki Eco Performance). SEP is a relatively new design process of the company wherein maximum performance is extracted without compromising on the efficiency. Companies are generally vague on how did they go about achieving this, but Suzuki did give us a few hints. To reduce mechanical losses and maximize combustion efficiency, lighter engine components have been used. An inverted triangle shaped piston skirt has also been utilised to increase bottom end torque, smaller and lightweight rocker arms and a reduced angle of the valves have all helped better combustion, aided by the good looking dual type exhaust. The bike also sports a 41mm fork at the front and a 7 step adjustable mono shock at the rear to give it better overall rigidity. The 154.9cc engine produces a healthy 14.8 Ps @ 8000 rpm of power and 14Nm of torque @ 6000 rpm. All this from an Air-Cooled Carburetted engine, which makes it quite impressive, both on paper and presumably also in practice.
True that motorcycles are not made to be ridden on paper, they are best take onto some smooth sinewy tarmac like Lavasa. Unfortunately our flag off point was at the wrong end of Pune, which meant we had to traverse through a big part of the city to head towards Lavasa. But even dark clouds have a silver lining, and our route was littered with many dark clouds! We rode the commuter bike through the busy streets of Pune during rush hour traffic before we could see a patch of highway tarmac. This gave us a wonderful opportunity to experience the motorcycle where it would spend the majority of its time. Weather was anything but ideal, a light drizzle ensuring that the roads were wet and slippery and potholes filled with rain water. Ideal conditions for testing out a bike’s capabilities! And the Gixxer passed with flying colours; it is light and nimble and easy to flick through traffic. The MRF tyres the bike is shod with provides adequate grip even in low traction conditions. Braking is a breeze what with that 240mm responsive front disc, those beefy 41mm front forks and a light stiff chassis, the bike never feels perturbed. The low end torque allows one the convenience of riding without too many gear changes and the ergonomics ensure the rider is in a commanding position to see all that is going on in traffic.
Once we had stormed out of traffic and leaned into the curves of Lavasa, the bike was in its elements. Throwing the Gixxer around on the wet roads up there was far easier than expected. Holding steady through the corners, the bike egged on the rider to go faster. And even though this is a peppy bike with good pull through the rev range, you do get reminded that this is a 150cc every time you try overtaking a bigger vehicle uphill. It feels as if it has run out of juice just that tab bit too early. Which was surprising considering that this bike pulled uphill in second gear with a pillion on board at 14 kmph without the engine even lugging! Presumably the low end torque comes at a price. The overall ride quality on good tarmac was an extremely pleasing affair and will surely bring a smile on the face of the rider.
My list of grievances from this motorcycle is rather short, starting with the headlight. The 35W bulb might be adequate for most city riding, but a 55W would have been a blessing on the highways. There should have at least been an option of a rear disc brake, and I do hope Suzuki will add this feature in the near future. The pillion seat is not the most comfortable in the market, with the pillion complaining that the edges were pressing against the posterior! The rear mud flap could have had a sleeker design and the kick lever would have looked better with a simpler design. Barring these minor setbacks, the Suzuki Gixxer 155 is a wonderful bike.
The Gixxer 155 may be very humble in comparison to its elder siblings, but Suzuki has done an awesome job of bringing out a fun motorcycle to commute on. The company has got a winner on its hands and priced at INR 72199 ex-showroom Delhi, it undercuts the Yamaha FZ series by a few thousands, making it a very attractive proposition for the buyer. How well will the Gixxer fare in the Indian market depends entirely on how aggressively Suzuki markets the product.