A few months after Suzuki Motorcycles India introduced the Gixxer, we are here with its faired sibling, the Gixxer SF. This is not a new trend; manufacturers have been using the same engine in a variety of guises for a long time. This saves on lengthy development costs, as shoehorning new bodywork into an established platform is a lot easier than creating an all-new product from the ground up. Heck, some manufacturers even use the same engines and underpinnings across different classes.
So now the Gixxer SF is here to play ball with the faired 150ccs of India. And we love full fairings here in this country, be it for their head-turning looks alone or their sporty appeal, or both.
Images : Chirag Mondal
Does the Suzuki Gixxer have what it takes? We will find out soon. We won’t go into too much detail here in this review, as we have covered the original Gixxer thoroughly in our road test, and the SF is literally the same motorcycle with the addition of a full fairing. You can read our Gixxer 155 review here
Design and Features
While we weren’t too taken with the name itself, we embraced the styling of the Gixxer with open arms, pointing it out as one of the best aspects of the motorcycle. We raved about its sculpted lines and sinewy, muscular look that gave it a stance more akin to far larger motorcycles than other 150ccs. I even went forward to proclaim to my colleagues that this is the best 150cc naked motorcycle I’ve ever seen in the country.
The SF still has that look, although much of its sculpted fuel tank – a large part of its appeal – is now hidden under a full fairing. The fairing comes with an extremely large and partially left out Suzuki sticker that we have seen on newer Suzuki big bikes before. Suzuki has tried to replicate the feel of its big bikes with the SF and it shows here.
Whether you like what they have done or not is a matter of taste. To us, the headlight assembly and fairing feels rather simplistic, lacking any real definition or beauty. It is the same with the fairing. It doesn’t have quite the pizzazz or the aerodynamic sportiness look that full fairings should have, although it has been also developed at Suzuki’s Hamamatsu plant where all of its research on its big bikes takes place.
The handlebars are another sore point. Suzuki has retained the same one-piece handlebars from the naked Gixxer, and while it feels natural on the original, we would have preferred clip-ons to go with the sportier styling. Even clip-ons on risers, like they have on the newer crop of sporty 150s and 200s, would have been a lot more welcome.
But the complaints end there. This is still a solidly built bike, with extremely good build quality and attention to detail. Every piece and panel, made of plastic or metal, has an air of quality to it.
The rear-view mirrors, now mounted on the fairing, are wide, perhaps a tad too wide, but they give an excellent view of what’s happening behind you. The downside is that they just out to the sides a lot more than the rest of the bike, and while you can bring them in, weaving through traffic with them fully extended is unnerving at times.
The instrument console is also still all-digital, serving up a wealth of detail and info that can be matched only by the KTMs. And, like the KTMs, some details may be a bit too tiny to discern on the move, but it is still pretty comprehensive and we love it.
From the seat down, the rest of the bodywork is exactly the same and the Gixxer SF retains that beautiful stance viewed from the rear three-quarters.
Next page for performance, handling, verdict and image gallery >>>
Performance and Efficiency
With 14.8 PS of power at 8000 rpm and 14 Nm of peak torque at 6000 rpm from its 155 cc SOHC air-cooled engine, the Gixxer is a pretty powerful machine in its class. The difference here is that now, with the addition of the full fairing, it is going one-up with the Yamaha YZF-R15 and the Honda CBR 150R rather than the Pulsars and CBZs. Then there’s the just-launched Pulsar AS150 which, with its 17hp of power, Bajaj pegs as the most powerful 150cc motorcycle, even if it is not exactly in the same class. So, does the Gixxer SF still have what it takes to do battle with the best of them?
Well, yes and no. It is more of a “feeling” thing more than outright numbers with the SF. While the added weight of 4 kgs hasn’t had much of an effect on the move, you get the lingering feeling that the Gixxer SF is meant to be a revvy, sporty motorcycle and it detracts from the excitement.
It isn’t exactly a slouch but, going from zero to 60 km/h in 4.4 seconds , hitting the ton in 15.5 seconds and onto a top speed of 118 km/h. Those are only fractionally slower numbers than what we achieved on the naked Gixxer, so you will understand where that “feeling” thing is coming from.
Where the Suzuki still excels is refinement. Although a sixth gear as on the old GS150R would have been welcome, the Gixxer is still a very refined machine throughout the rev range. It is easy to trundle through city traffic in top gear at speeds as low as 25 kmph and turning up the wick doesn’t bring with it vibrations or any sort of discomfort. There is great low and mid-end torque here to play with, and it gradually tapers out as you approach the 10,000 rpm redline.
Braking is also in the same ballpark, handled by a 266mm diameter disc with twin-pot calipers up front and 130mm drums at the rear. Suzuki could have taken this as a chance to offer a rear disc option but, sadly, they haven’t done so.
As for efficiency, the SF will return around 43 km/l overall, which is again marginally lesser than the Gixxer, but is the tradeoff you have to pay for that added fairing.
Ride and Handling
The Suzuki Gixxer SF rides on the same beefy 41mm telescopic front forks and monoshock suspension as the naked Gixxer. The tyres are also the same, massive 100-section MRFs at the front and 140-section at the rear. So you’d be right if you assumed that the SF rides and handles practically the same way as its streetfighter sibling.
It means that the SF still has one of the better suspension setups in its class. It is neither that harsh that it jars your spine over every bump and pothole, nor so soft that it flops around like a fish out of water in the corners. Single or two-up, the SF handles rough roads with confidence, letting the tyres and suspension do most of the rough work without transmitting it to the rider. It doesn’t exactly glide or sail over like the Honda 150s, but you will never be complaining about its ride quality, even on long distances.
The handling is also in the same zone. Like we said earlier, addition of clip-ons would have greatly enhanced the handling capabilities of this motorcycle while also increasing the sporty appeal. AS it stands, the rest of the package is still a capable handler without being overly aggressive. It takes a tad effort to turn into corners but once you point it into a direction, it holds its line and stays there without needing more rider input. The roomy knee recesses in the fuel tank allows you to hug the bike with your legs and the slightly rearset footpegs with rubber dampeners are adequate for most cornering situations that most riders would see on this motorcycle.
There is always a tradeoff between ride and handling, and the Gixxer strikes quite a right balance for anyone looking for a sporty-looking motorcycle but rides more like a plush commuter.
The Suzuki Gixxer SF retails for Rs 83,439 (ex-showroom,Delhi). It is available in three colours, Pearl Mirage White, Glass Sparkle Black,and a special MotoGP edition SF Metallic Triton Blue.
So who is the Gixxer SF for? If you are someone who have been bowled over by the style and smoothness and of the original naked Gixxer, but have wanted the same package in a fully faired body, you can’t go wrong with this. Just don’t let its full fairing let you into believing that it has turned into a sporty track-loving machine now.
For that, Suzuki Motorcycles India is launching a track-only version for its foray into Indian racing, with clip-ons and the other sporty bits that we have cribbed about in this review. This Suzuki Gixxer Cup version is the one the Gixxer should have been in the first place.
This standard Gixxer SF, meanwhile, is the Gixxer with a full fairing. Nothing more, nothing less. It is still a refined and capable machine, and its friendly demeanor should set it apart from the other faired bikes that it competes with.