When I read that Suzuki was re-releasing a new GSX250R I was very excited. The original GSXR250 was a big hit in Japan, in the late 80’s and early 90’s using a liquid cooled 4 stroke 4 cylinder engine producing 45hp. Pretty much based on the GSXR750 with its box steel frame, dual front callipers and fully floating rear end, it was a teenager’s wet dream, but unfortunately rarely seen outside of Japan. I, however, am not a teenager (despite being told I frequently act like one). I am a big Suzuki fan, this is something I am not ashamed to admit, having ridden most of the 2017 range including the GSXR1000 and 1000RR, but I love my GSXR750. When the opportunity came to ride Suzuki’s new A2 compliant entry “sportbike” I was filled with hope and optimism that they had recreated a legend.
A quick glance at the spec sheet seems very impressive for an entry-level bike, KYB front suspension, a modern LCD litre supersport-esque looking dashboard and motoGP styling for a well-budgeted price, what was not to like? The only downside that I could initially see was the power figure. It produces 25HP from its 250cc parallel twin engine. Far from the originals 45hp, and not a massive amount for a sports bike, my initial thoughts were that the 25Hp figures seem very low for its class I was hoping for more around the 35-45 hp to make it competitive with its rivals.
With pricing starting at £4300 (or £100 extra for GP colours), it seems very reasonable for the equipment on it, but more expensive than the competition. Personally, I would save the £100 and have it in the pearl black option, and put the £100 towards an end can. Not that there is anything particularly bad about the standard can, we have all seen worse Suzuki cans, Cough GSXR1000, but it was very quiet and let’s be honest every teenager wants to be heard before being seen.
Nevertheless, I was excited, to take it out, that was until I found out what else was coming out with me on the same trip. With a fleet of new 1000 class Suzuki bikes of varying formats, and then me on the 250, I thought it was going to be me playing catch-up the whole journey and keeping everybody else waiting. The excitement faded a little bit.
We had a small stretch through town to start, the 250 felt extremely nippy and agile perfect for darting through streets and in and out of traffic. The dash was very clear and concise and comes with everything you would expect, speedo, rev gauge, gear indicator and something most bikes don’t have, a fuel gauge! Not that you really need one on this bike, the frugal motor Suzuki claim 92MPG so fuel stops are not really a thing, I used this fact to catch up with the litre class bikes while they guzzled their fuel up.
We went exploring some nice twisty roads in south Cheshire, and the 250 held its own, to my surprise, I thought the biggest shortfall on the bike was going to be its lack of power, but despite this, it was still very capable of keeping to speed limits. I think the gearing is perfect for the power that it has, you’re not up and down the gearbox all the time, but you do have to drop it a few cogs if you’re wanting to overtake something and top speed wise is very respectable, it will quite happily sit at above the national speed limit.
One big plus factor to small bikes is wringing them to within an inch of their life, this is what makes small bikes good fun. The throttle just becomes an on or off switch keeping it pinned, planting your head on the fuel tank and tucking your arms in as tight as they will go just to achieve every last mph. Of course, when you have maxed it out you are going to need to stop at some point. The brakes are as good as they need to be, with a single 290mm single front brake, there’s plenty of stopping power. The suspension feels soft on both the front and the rear, but then I have to keep reminding myself that this is isn’t ever going to be a track bike. It’s soft enough to soak up the bumps and potholes, something that there are many of these days, but still firm enough to feel sporty.
The riding position is comfy for me, but I am of a small build so I find pretty much anything comfortable, and unfortunately being commuter style pegs they are not adjustable. The bars along with commuter stylized footpegs force you to sit in a sportier riding position. It does come with a pillion seat, I mainly used this as a stop to rest my arse on in corners to sit back off the tank, and I didn’t carry a pillion so I can’t really comment on how it rides with a passenger, but I’m sure it would cope easy enough for a nice steady jaunt out. The bike has a commuter style seat which is good fun, it’s nice and slippery which helps, and I’m not going to lie I was hanging off it, and the guy following me on a DL1000 asked me if I was enjoying myself when we stopped at a set of traffic lights, and yes I was!
The Road winner tyres and sports multi spoke wheels, were good and had a positive feel at slow speed and around town, although when building the pace up they do feel like they let the bike down, mainly due to a lack of feedback, but then this is a sporty commuter bike and not something designed for the track, and later on the weather turned for the worst, and it began to rain which didn’t help matters. They dealt with the water fine, and despite being soaked to the core I still had a big grin on my face, which is rare even when dry. Personally, I would have let a few psi out of the tyres to try and get a bit more grip.
Overall it feels like a good solid step up from a 125, and with the UK licensing laws riders who have the A2 entitlement need two years riding before being eligible for A training it would be a solid buy to pass the time in between, and enjoy it. It’s not an all out performance designed bike to go and lap around the track all day, but something to commute to college or work and back on and still have a good laugh, and more importantly look relatively cool on.