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Text: Sunil Gupta/ Sunilg
Photos: Sandeep Goswami/ Old Fox and Sunil Gupta/ Sunilg
It has been a while since Suzuki entered the ever-growing Indian two-wheeler market and they have been a silent player till sometime back, seemingly content with a very short product line-up that included Zeus’s and Heat’s. But it seems they no longer want to sit on the fence now and are all geared up to get a bigger pie of this market. There has been a slew of launches from the Suzuki stable, like Bandit, Gixxer, and Hayabusa, mostly catering to the superbike segment only. But with GSR150 and Access 125 sales figures bringing smile to their faces, Suzuki seems to have understood the importance of the commuter segment that has been bread and butter for the Indian manufacturers. And, to serve to that very segment, they have launched a brand new bike, the Suzuki SlingShot 125.
We recently got our hands on this machine for 3-4 days and we decided to make full use of it. Given below is an attempt to convert our experience in to black and white.
The Looks and features
Though we found the Suzuki SlingShot design to be minimalistic in nature, when we were riding this bike on the streets of Delhi, it managed to get a few heads to turn and inquiries from petrol pump operators and general road users, so there seems to be a slight element of freshness in it, be it the bikini fairing with sharp headlight design or the new alloy wheels. This windshield-less headlight design is highly responsible for the peculiar looks this bike has. It gives the bike a very ‘edgy’ feel. Theheadlight assembly hosts a 12V/35W bulb. Also fitted in this fairing/headlight assembly are turn-indicators with clear glass and orange bulbs inside.
The instrument console as we said is ‘minimalistic’ or slightly over-minimalistic we should say. The console houses a large analog speedometer on the left with its dial in blue-white color combination and the needle in orange. The odometer is also located on the upper part of it. The fuel gauge finds its position on the extreme right of the console. Sandwiched between the speedometer and the fuel gauge are the neutral position indicator on the bottom, the high- beam indicator on its top, and then the turn indicator light on top of it. Sitting on top of everything is the ever-so-useful gear position indicator, which is a very handy feature while riding a motorcycle. But, there is no tachometer, even the trip-meter failed to find a place in the instrument panel.
Moving rearwards, the upright handlebar gives way to a muscular looking petrol tank. The tank has a 12 liter capacity with 2.1 liter reserve. The contrasting black color side panels improve the overall visual appeal of the bike. This is followed by the body-color rear panels and a single unit tail lamp.
The bike has been given an all-black look, which is the most common thing in most of the Indian bikes nowadays. The heat-shield on the exhaust pipe has also been painted black.
Apart from the headlight assembly, the most distinct feature of this bike are the split-end 5-spoke all black alloy wheels, which have the love-it or hate-it factor in them. The Sling-Shot also comes with spoke version.
The Suzuki Sling-Shot is available in four colors – Metallic Mustard Yellow, Metallic Fox Orange, Candy Antares Red, and Pearl Nebular Black. The one that we rode was Metallic Fox Orange.
Electric start comes as a standard in both the versions, alloy and spoke wheel.
Engine and Performance
Powering the Suzuki SlingShot is a 125 cc 4-stroke SOHC mill that is capable of producing around 8.5 Bhp at 7500 RPM, which is not something that you can brag about since the other bikes in the same category are pumping out more power. However coming to Suzuki’s rescue here is the sufficient amount of torque that SlingShot manages to produce. At 3500 rpm, you have 10 Nm of torque at your disposal which makes it quite comfortable in city riding conditions, especially for those who are not very comfortable with the idea of changing gears quickly. The bike easily picks up from as low as 30 KM/H in fifth gear without any hiccups at all. The bike does 0-60 with relative ease, even the 0-80 didn’t seem like a tough job; however, it takes its own sweet time to move beyond that figure and would tell you that it is not made to do high-speed runs. It is made for comfortable commuting in city and it does just that.
Doing the job of transmitting power from the engine to the wheel is a 5-speed gearbox, which we found to be of top quality. Throughout the test period, the gear shifts were positive and smooth with hardly any glitches or false-neutrals. The universally-adopted 1-down 4-up pattern finds its way in this gearbox also.
Ride Quality, Comfort, and Handling
When we rode it, the traffic condition in Delhi was at its worst due to the Commonwealth Games and stuff and for us, this seemed like the perfect condition to test this bike.
The bike performed like a charm in the stop-go-stop traffic that it faced, requiring minimal effort from the rider and this is what SlingShot is made to do. The upright sitting position and the comfortable seat also add to the small list of goodies it offers. The vibrations were minimal throughout the rev range during our test period.
One of the key features of SlingShot is the way it handles in the day to day riding condition. A very short turning radius makes it a good traffic cutter and the response to the quick maneuvering inputs from the rider is also impressive. This bike comes fitted with a 2.75 x 18 tire on the front and 3.00 x 18 tire on the rear, which is neither-too-skinny-nor-too-fat a set of rubber.
It is okay as long as you are ‘riding’ it; however, braking is a different story all together. SlingShot has drum brakes at both the front and rear. With disk brake feature is not available even as an option and so braking is a sad story here.
Fuel Economy and Price
If we say that these two factors will be the most crucial in determining the fate of Suzuki SlingShot, or any other bike in this segment, it won’t be wrong. When they launched SlingShot, Suzuki promised to provide the fuel economy and pricing comparable to a 100 cc bike with looks to match a 150 cc premium bike. While the looks are subjective, Suzuki cannot afford to produce a bike that gives anything less than what they promised. SlingShot claims to return a FE of 70+ KMPL and comes with a price tag of Rs. 45,911 for the alloy version and Rs. 43,945 for the spoke wheel one (Ex-Showroom).
Quality has always been Suzuki’s USP in India and this is quite visible in SlingShot too. The fit and finish of every part is at par with industry standards.
At this price tag and for its ride quality, and if you are not a BHP-sensitive soul, the bike seems to be a competent contender in 125 cc commuter segment. The things that work in SlingShot’s favor are the good torque range, comfortable ride, build quality, and the claimed fuel economy. But, there are some glaring omissions of certain goodies like disc brake, tachometer, and trip meter that some of its competitors offer. If Suzuki manages to address these issues, then they surely have a winner on their hands.
1. Good Torque.
2. Good claimed fuel economy.
3. Build Quality.
4. Comfortable seat.
5. Gear position indicator.
6. The most practical grab rail.
1. Lack of disc brake.
2. No tachometer or trip meter.
3. Less BHP figure.