The Suzuki GSX250R – A Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing
The Suzuki GSX250R comes dead last in its class
The USA will be getting the Suzuki GSX250R as a 2018 model, but the small capacity rocket has already been released across the pond in the UK – but how does it measure up against the competition? Well, regardless of how it measures up, a new Suzuki sports bike offering in the sub-600cc class is a more than welcome offering. While many other brands have been eyeing up the small capacity market, Suzuki have been a little hesitant to dive in head first. Sure, the VanVan is a staple model in their line-up, Suzuki’s off-road bikes are always in high demand, and you can even argue that their classic themed TU250X is a nice addition. However, there has been a gaping hole in their performance department… but we’re not entirely sure that the new GSX250R fills that void.
The Suzuki GSX250R – How Does It Measure Up?
Well, let’s get started by stating the obvious: this is a 250cc motorcycle. Naturally, it’s going to be a little down on power compared to its closest rivals, the Yamaha R3, the Kawasaki Ninja 300, and the Honda CBR300RR. However, in the small displacement category, there’s not a hell of a lot of difference between something chalked up as a 250 or a 300. Most of the time, so-called 300s are more like 285cc anyway, but even with that in mind, the Suzuki GSX250R is still lacking.
When we first saw the covers come off of the pocket rocket, we were immediately smitten with the racy, MotoGP inspired livery that was splashed across the sporty, aggressive bodywork. All in all, we were convinced that the GSX250R was going to be a pint-sized version of the flagship GSX-R1000. So, when we learned that the GSX250R was going to be sharing the exact same engine with the lackluster GW250 (aka the Inazuma 250) we were disappointed. Fortunately, the 248cc parallel twin has had a little bit of work done to it to improve performance – but not much.
A slightly different tune and the addition of new intake valves for optimum airflow help the GSX250R boost its figures but not in a particularly noticeable way. Suzuki have also added a new exhaust to help improve performance and lower emissions…but at the end of the day, the GSX250R produces a pretty uninspiring 24.7 hp, and 17.25 lb-ft of torque. It might have a racy fairing and GP inspired graphics, but it’s not good looking the part if it’s being blown out of the water by its rivals. For reference, the R3, Ninja 300 and CBR300RR are pushing out horsepower figures in the 34 – 40 range. A horsepower deficit is acceptable when dealing with liter class bikes, but in the small capacity class where every little helps, this is a big problem.
So What’s The Price?
You could argue that anyone buying a 250cc machine is more likely to be a beginner and out and out performance isn’t a big issue. You could also argue that even experienced riders might be buying one as a more comfortable alternative to the Ninja 300 (on account of the more relaxed riding position). I suppose it’s also worth mentioning that if you want to take it racing, you’ll be giving the whole engine an overhaul anyway, so its factory stats are fairly irrelevant…but even so, a few more horses wouldn’t hurt.
A pocket-sized GSX-R1000 it ain’t. However, it does offer a welcome addition to an often neglected segment. But if you had to choose, the GSX250R offers the worst bang for buck ratio, with a base price of $4,499. The Honda CBR300RR retails for the same price, but offers 30.5 hp. The Kawasaki Ninja 300 retails for $4,999 and offers 35 hp. Yamaha’s R3 has a base price of $4,999 and shoots out 42 hp! As you can see, the GSX250R really does fall short.