Suzuki Gixxer SF: First Ride Review

When Suzuki launched the 155cc Gixxer in India last year, a whole new bunch of enthusiasts rushed to the Japanese manufacturers showrooms. Not only was the bike good looking, it was one of the best riding 150cc motorcycles in the segment. With offering excellent value for money, the Gixxer is now a popular brand amongst those shopping for a 150cc motorcycle. Almost immediately after the naked Gixxer was launched in India, a test mule of a fully-faired version was spotted on Indian soil. This created quite a stir in the market since Suzuki does not have a fully-faired motorcycle in this class. While speculations pointed out to a lot of things, the Gixxer SF as this faired version is called, is a rival to the likes of Yamaha Fazer & not in the league of Yamaha R15 or Honda CBR150R.

The Gixxer SF shares almost all mechanical parts with the naked sibling, except for the full fairing and other parts related to it. Suzuki has simply built a fairing around the same motorcycle, with no changes made even to the fuel tank. Even the headlamp is identical, which will resulted in competitive pricing. The full fairing lends the bike a rather sporty look and there is no doubt that it will be a favourite amongst the college going crowd.

Suzuki has launched the Gixxer SF motorcycle in India at a price of Rs. 83,859 (ex-showroom Delhi).

On-road Mumbai prices:

  • Gixxer SF: Rs. 97,532
  • Gixxer SF MotoGP Edition: Rs. 99,238

This equates to a premium of Rs. 10,000 – 12,000 for the Gixxer SF over the naked Gixxer sibling. Is it worth it? Does the Gixxer SF run as good as it looks? We took it for a quick spin to find out.

The Gixxer SF fairing merges well with the naked Suzuki Gixxer, looks fantastic
The Gixxer SF fairing merges well with the naked Suzuki Gixxer, looks fantastic

Styling:
Suzuki offers the Gixxer SF in 3 body colours. 2 of them look pretty decent in a combination of white + silver or black + silver. The highlight in the Suzuki showrooms from now however will be the 3rd body colour of the Gixxer SF. Dubbed as the special MotoGP livery edition, this Gixxer SF in blue looks absolutely smashing. If any, there will be very few who would not agree that the Gixxer SF in this livery is possibly the best looking 150cc motorcycle on the Indian streets. We particularly chose this body colour for our road test since the others looked a tad bit pale in front of this.

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At the front, the full fairing of the Gixxer SF envelopes the same headlamp as seen on the naked sibling. Yes, you read it right. The headlamp is identical and Suzuki has done a brilliant job on designing the fairing so that it doesn’t look odd. Headlamp remains the same single pot clear lens unit with pilot lamps. There is a neatly carved aero duct on either side of the headlamp which adds to the sporty front end design. On top, you get a short windscreen which has a bubble like curve effect in the centre. Rear view mirrors are conventionally mounted by fairing standards, on either side of the front windscreen. Two metal stalks protrude from under the headlamp to mount the front number plate. Mudguard is seen in body colour and does not get the lower extension in black plastic. Not really required as the fairing will take care of the mud spray anyway. Telescopic front fork are painted in black and hold the same alloy wheels as seen on the naked Gixxer. Disc brake setup is also similar with a single front disc brake. What’s unique to the MotoGP edition on the front end are the two white + neon stripes on either side of the headlamp. Also, the alloy wheel rim stripe is in neon colour on the MotoGP edition while the other variants have it in red.

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Walk to the side and the Gixxer SF is a very good looking motorcycle at first glance itself. The MotoGP edition simply grows on you instantly and the design details are good. The Gixxer SF makes use of the same sculpted fuel tank as seen on the naked Gixxer. There’s absolutely no change and even the logo is placed at the same spot. What’s gone are the floating side cowls from the naked model where the new full fairing is now mounted. Clear lens turn indicators also protrude out from the side fairing. The Gixxer SF badge is placed right under the turn indicators and Suzuki is slapped on the engine underbelly. On the MotoGP edition, the Suzuki decals running from the tank to the fairing look stunning. They even get a neon strip on top to add more kink. Below, while the other variants get a silver panel around the engine, the MotoGP edition gets the same body coloured racing blue panels. The engine belly also gets a honeycomb mesh behind the front tyre, to avoid stones being thrown on the engine. The engine is exposed a fair bit, and cooling shouldn’t be an issue. A small SEP (Suzuki Eco Performance) sticker is placed on the black frame. Seat is identical to the Gixxer & of the step-up type, but not split.

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Rear end is identical to the naked Gixxer, with no major changes at all. You have LED tail lamps protruding out of the rear panel in a black plastic housing. The pillion grab rails look good when seen from the rear end as well. The rear mudguard gets a removable long extension for those monsoon rides, a thoughtful addition. We are glad Suzuki provided this extension and gave the ugly looking tyre hugger a miss. Turn indicators carry clear lens at the front and back. The 3 bi-spoke black alloy wheel at the back mounts on to a 130mm drum brake. If only Suzuki offered a rear disc brake, it could have rounded off the motorcycle well. A small saree guard is mounted on the LHS of the rear swingarm and is not too much of an eye-sore. One can live with it without having to rush to a mechanic to get it off. The rear tyre does get a small hugger on the inside to avoid dirt being sprayed on to the rear monoshock. The exhaust pipe has been another highlight on the naked Gixxer and shares the same design on the Gixxer SF as well. On the SF though, the end can loses the cheesy chrome tip and is painted in silver. This looks a lot more subtle and yet, elegant compared to the naked sibling. Those who love the extra bling can get it switched at the dealer level later.

Instrumentation & ergonomics:
The Gixxer SF gets an all digital TFT screen as an instrument cluster, similar to the naked sibling. Backlit in red, it looks good in the dark. The digital tachometer runs horizontally on top with the redline starting at ~ 9,500 RPM. Digital speed is shown at the LHS lower corner. The digital cluster although looks good, is a bit cluttered. It displays speed, revv counter, fuel gauge, time, selected gear, trip meter and odometer which covers up the entire screen with no room for anything else. A couple of tell tale lights are placed on the 4 corners of the instrument cluster. You get a white backlit shift indicator which can be adjusted according to your needs. While the white light does its job well at night, we found that it is far less noticeable under direct sunlight. The speedo console is neatly envoloped in black plastic, made of good quality. It will surely pass the test of time but will only demand frequent cleaning. Ahead of the speedo console, there is some place to tuck in oddities such as a wiping cloth, etc.

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The key is also unique and gets extensions at the right spot to help you twist it in the ignition mode, or switch the bike off. Switch gear is made of decent quality plastics and not too many would complaint about it. It is at par with segment standards. You get an engine kill switch on the right and a choke switch on the left which will come in handy. Clutch and brake levers also fall right in place and are painted in black. Rear view mirrors mounted on the fairing have long stalks, and function well. They can be adjusted to your height giving a miss to your elbows covering most of the display area. Like the naked sibling though, the Gixxer SF does not get a pseudo-carbon fibre like effect behind the rear view mirrors. The conventional handlebar setup is carried over from the naked version.

Although MotoGP inspired to look at, hop on the Gixxer SF and you’re at ease instantly. The bike sports an upright position and will keep long touring riders very, very happy. Footpegs are rear set at the same angle like the naked Gixxer, which is a good blend of sporty feel. The handlebar is not the clip-on type, hence, raised and offers an upright riding style. Riding position is very relaxed and long rides will not result in a lot of fatigue. While shorter riders would find a good mix of sporty riding stance, the taller riders will find it upright. Don’t get us wrong though, riding position is good enough to drop your knee when attacking corners. For the pillion rider, the seat has ample room. Not the best, but not the worst either. Also, the aesthetically perfect grab rails even function well providing good support to the pillion when the rider is in a rather enthusiastic mood. Hopping on and off the bike is fairly easy for the pillion.

One thing which Suzuki has missed yet again is the small extension of the side stand. You will find yourself fiddling with the footpeg and gear lever while getting the stand down. This was missing on the naked sibling as well.

Engine, performance & handling:
The Suzuki Gixxer is powered by a 155cc, 4-stroke, single-cylinder, air-cooled, SOHC, 2-valve petrol motor producing 14.8 BHP of power @ 8,000 RPM and 14 Nm of torque @ 6,000 RPM. Engine is mated to a 5-speed gearbox and the bike weighs 135 kg. The Gixxer has an average 12 litres of fuel tank capacity and the company claims that the motorcycle is equipped with the latest Suzuki Eco Performance (SEP) technology which reduces mechanical losses and enhances combustion leading to a fuel efficiency number of 63.5 kmpl.

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Suzuki has carried over the engine & suspension setup unchanged from the naked sibling. There’s no mechanical change at all; no fuel-injection, no tweaked suspension, no fuel map change, nothing.

To fire up the Gixxer SF, Suzuki provides an electric starter and a thoughtful kick starter as well. Start the bike you’ll notice the silky smooth nature of the engine. It is at par with the Yamaha Fazer in terms of refinement and the vibrations are very well controlled. On idle, there is bare minimum vibration felt of the footpegs and on the handlebar. The exhaust note on idle is soft, but when hard on the throttle while riding, it is the perfect amount of gruff to add to the riding experience. Slot in first and wring the throttle… The engine comes to life smoothly and power is delivered in a very linear manner. The revv happy motor does not get nervous even around the redline and continues to pull without vibrations. Throttle response is crisp even though it lacks fuel injection, thanks to the generous torque figures for this.

Aero performance with the addition of the full fairing is brilliant. The wind is deflected well and on speeds, the rider is very comfortable. At high speeds, if you sit in a crouched riding position, the bubble like front windscreen deflects the wind over your helmet nicely. Suzuki claims that the Gixxer SF fairing has been developed in same wind tunnel where Hayabusa, GSX-R and MotoGP bikes are developed. Interesting! The fairing is reported to improve aerodynamic efficiency and provides better downforce.

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When hard on the throttle, say on the highways, the bike pushes beyond 80 kmph effortlessly, even with a pillion. Low and mid-range punch is very good, but the power tapers of slightly towards the redline. We spent most of the time riding in the city and even with two-up, the bike managed to scoot around city traffic without any hesitation. Thanks to the availability of torque lower down the revv range, you don’t have to downshift frequently on the Gixxer SF. You can simply open the throttle even if the speed drops without the engine showing any signs of knocking. The gears slot in nicely and the bike did not false shift even once. Clutch is light and well weighted. At all times, there was a solid feeling of reliability from the Gixxer SF and the bike did not heat up too much when we were stuck in stop and go traffic for 15 minutes.

The Gixxer SF rides on the same single downtube, steel tubular frame as the naked sibling. Suspension duties are performed by a 41mm front telescopic fork and an adjustable rear monoshock. Coupled with fat radial tyres at the front and back and a manageable 139 kg weight, the Gixxer is very nimble in its riding dynamics department. The Gixxer has proved its mettle in the performance motorcycle segment and the Gixxer SF is just as dynamically rich a motorcycle in the segment like its donor motorcycle. Stability in the corners and even at high speeds is spot on and the rider can choose to either wring the throttle even more or push the brakes hard without a second thought. The front end is also well balanced and does not lighten up at high speeds.

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The MRF Revz tyres provide good grip while cornering and even on high speeds. Braking performance comes from a 266mm front disc brake and a 130mm rear drum brake. Brake bite is adequate and the bike stops without fishtailing under panic situations. The brake bite does not fade away either after continuous hard riding. If only Suzuki added a rear disc brake, it would have rounded off the Gixxer SF really well. This would have taken the pricing a bit higher though, and dangerously close to the likes of Yamaha R15.

We only wish the Gixxer SF was a bit more sportier than it currently is. There is no problem with what we get as of now, and this will surely attract a much wider audience. But a slightly more sporty riding style would have made the motorcycle much more fun playing around corners.

So, should you buy the Gixxer SF? Well, the answer would be yes if you want a poser under Rs. 1 lakh. Yes, it doesn’t do anything radically more over the regular Gixxer model, but then, the addition of fairing attracts those who prefer form over function; and this audience is quite a number to miss. With a well designed fairing, and the superb looking MotoGP livery, the Gixxer SF under the sporty skin is a very practical motorcycle for daily commuting. Where people stepped back from the Yamaha R15 just because of the committed stance, the Gixxer SF steps in with the right amount of comfort. We surely recommend the bike for those who are willing to buy it.

Click here to check out the Suzuki Gixxer SF photo gallery.

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Parichay Malvankar

Parichay Malvankar

Founder, owner and editor-in-chief of www.shifting-gears.com; a born gearhead, nothing apart from a set of wheels gets his pulse racing.

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