Make : Suzuki
Model : Gixxer 155
Version : Naked
Date of purchase : 13th April, 2016.
Current odometer reading : 7200 kms.
Fuel efficiency : 45 km/l.
2015, a lazy summer afternoon. I was doing what any other typical teenager guy would do, wasting my time without any guilt and wondering where my life was headed. Nowhere, the answer echoed from inside. But at least I wasn’t switching my interests, and I knew what I wanted to become, an automotive journalist! Not knowing how to ride a motorcycle, it was a stuff of dreams.
The two skills which are of utmost importance in this field are riding and writing. I didn’t have the proper equipment to hone my riding skills but I could write on my rusty WordPress account. My account needed a complete overhaul. Obviously, I couldn’t ride a motorcycle and review it but I knew each and everything about the Indian automotive scene. And the 150 cc naked bike market was on boil, thanks to the fierce war going on between the “lord of the street” Yamaha FZ16, and the newly launched “street sport bike” Suzuki Gixxer 155. By reading and watching every damn thing available on the internet, I knew that the Gixxer was slaying the Yamaha in almost each and every aspect. So I thought of jotting down reasons why Suzuki Gixxer was the king of the 150 cc segment. And there it was gentlemen! My first automotive blog, “6 reasons why suzuki gixxer should be crowned as 150 cc king”
And now after an year, I’m carving the corners on the ghat section on my commute to college, riding miles on the highway on the same bike! Yeah, call it magic, call it true!
1. The decision : Everyone close to me knows about my obsession with nakeds. I mean, naked bikes, mind you! No one could’ve imagined that I’d fall in love with the color orange, but it was before KTM literally barged into the Indian biking scene and bowled over
the conservatives by launching the radical Duke 200. But getting a 200 cc hooligan which churns out 25 bhp as your first bike wasn’t rational. So I narrowed down my search to 150 cc, and at that time the only two bikes worth considering were Yamaha Fz16 and Suzuki Gixxer. The latter being the better among the two, obviously. The next thing I know, we were standing in the Suzuki showroom, talking about the on road price of the bike. Rode it home as a pillion, because I still had to learn how to ride a bike perfectly. Even as a pillion, the exhaust note itself was something worth all the money we’ve paid! Then came the naming process. I’ve this special thing for the letter “f” partly because I love the f word, and partly because I seriously don’t know. It had to be something from the letter F. Falcon. Fucking Falcon! It suited the bike perfectly, because its elder brother, the mighty Busa translates to “Falcon” in Japanese.
2. Looks : That ass. That side profile! Them curves! *whistles*
You probably think that lean and muscular can’t go hand in hand. Suzuki proved it wrong on so many levels when they came out with this baby gixxer. The twin exhaust port with the chrome cup being the highlight of the bike, it looks like a proper streetfighter should. LED Tail lights with those devil horns’ inspired grab rails look like they dropped straight out of hell.
The well sculpted tank, beefy 41 mm shockers upfront, meaty MRF tyres and the sleek headlamp complete the look. As far as looks are concerned, except hornet there’s no other competitor for this little beast!
One more thing which gels with the lean and muscular looks of the bike is the absence of stickers. There are just a few of them, on the right places. I like my girls and bikes without too much ink on their body.
They say that if you don’t look back at your bike after parking it, you bought a wrong bike. Well, I didn’t. Everytime I park my bike, I look back at it with eyes full of love and admiration. Honest confession : Falcon gets a good night kiss everytime every night. Getting the drift how sexy it looks?
3. Engine and performance : Suzuki makes one of the best automobile engines in this world. This one is no different. The 155cc mill carries over the legacy of the namesake “Gixxer” in terms of refinement and performance. It churns out 14.8 bhp @ 8000 rpm and 14 Nm of torque @ 6000 rpm. Sure, the numbers aren’t something to write home about but what’s worth the mention is how the above figures are delivered in the real world.
It feels peppy right from the word “Go”. There’s ample torque in the low end to handle your urban hustles. The power delivery though linear, there’s a typical suzuki mid range grunt which lets you utilize the 14 nm of torque efficiently.
And when you take it out on the highway, it doesn’t feel out of place. Overtakes come with just a slight turn of the throttle. Having taken it to the highways nearly every fortnight or so, I can vouch for the fact that it can cruise at 85-90 km/h whole day long. The absence of the windshield and the fairing make their presence felt though. Suzuki recommends idemitsu’s 10w40 semi synthetic engine oil for the Gixxer. Having clocked more than 6k kms, I decided to put in Motul 7100 10w40, which is fully synthetic. Who goes by the rulebook, anyways! The difference was noticeable. Falcon became smooth and there are no vibrations whatsoever even near the redline. This engine oil though costly, has brought out the real capability of the engine. I wouldn’t recommend using a fully synthetic engine oil in the infancy of the engine. Let it break in by using mineral oil in the start, then upgrade it to semi synthetic and then finally, to fully synthetic.
Talking about the numbers, 0-60 is disposed in less than 5 seconds. And 0-100 takes around 15 seconds. Those aren’t mind numbing numbers, but like I said, it’s the way these figures are delivered.
4. Ride and handling : Sagar Sheldekar from PowerDrift remarked “No matter how powerful, good looking or well equipped a motorcycle is, it’s still only as good as the confidence it inspires in the rider. And that’s exactly where the Gixxer will blow you away.”
I want to end it here only. He summed up the whole ride and handling section in just two sentences. But as an aspiring automotive journalist, I’ve to try too, right?
The feedback from the front end, the stability, the sticky 140 section MRF rubber, and the chasis, they all combine to offer an adrenaline filled adventure every time you jump on the saddle.
You know exactly what’s happening on the front end of the bike, the front end is so communicative and full of feedback.
Take this for an example, the bike is tempting you to push harder into the corner, and you do, and if you do it a bit harder you end up scraping the footpegs on the tarmac. It isn’t a flaw, no, it’s more of a compliment on how well the Gixxer handles! It dives into the corner with confidence, holds its line and then exits the corner without any drama. It’s among the best handling motorcycle in its class.
I’ve ridden the bike extensively in the rains too and it only proved that how good the front end and the MRF revz are. Not on one occasion did I feel that the bike was running out of traction.
Coming to the ergonomics, the footpegs are a bit rear set, and it comes with a flat handlebar providing an upright stance. It’s just the right mixture of sporty riding dynamics and comfort.
Equipped with 41 mm front shock absorbers and a pre-load adjustable monoshock at the back, the setup is a bit on a stiffer side. But it’s a great compromise between the ride quality and handling. It glides over small potholes but struggles a bit when you throw the big boulders at it. It still remains stable though.
The stability doesn’t leave its stride on the highways too. Even at three digit speeds, it feels stable enough for a 150 cc naked bike. It feels connected to the tarmac. The gixxer stands upto its legendary name in this department too.
5. Gearbox : Suzuki equipped the Gixxer with the segment standard 5 speed Gearbox. They could’ve used a 6 speed Gearbox as they did in the GS150r, to improve highway rideablity.
Shifts are on the harder side. I thought that they’d become a bit smoother with the odometer climbing up but it only improved a bit. False neutrals aren’t that uncommon too. I do like the assured “clunk” when you shift a gear. But suzuki could’ve done with a bit smoother gearbox like its other Japanese counterparts.
6. Switchgear and the instrument cluster : Yes, it does come with an engine kill switch (Hey Honda Hornet!”)
The quality of the plastics used is decent but there’s scope for improvement. The indicator and the headlight switches aren’t that smooth to operate.
The instrument cluster is dope though. It looks like it’s taken straight from the bigger Supersports or litre class bikes. In fact it strongly resembles the cluster of Suzuki GSX-S1000. Talk about legacy! It provides plethora of information including the speedometer, odometer, tachometer, two trip meters, fuel gauge, clock, gear shift indicator and a rpm blinking light.
Coming to the headlights, it has 35/35w halogen which is definitely inadequate and if you’re thinking of hitting the highways very often at night, my advice is to bump up the watts. And the horn sounds so puny that it feels like it has been borrowed from a gearless scooter and not a 155cc naked motorcycle!
7. Braking : The braking department is taken care of by 266mm disc brake upfront and 130mm drum brakes at the back. The golden bybre calipers look gorgeous! The front disc brake is quite good, it has adequate bite as well as feedback. It isn’t the same case with the rear drum brake though, it lacks bite as well as feedback. It could’ve been definitely better. I haven’t ridden the rear disc equipped gixxer but I assume that it’s definitely better than the drum brake.
8. Exhaust note : You might be thinking that I could’ve included this point in any of the points written above but no, the exhaust note of the Gixxer is so good that it deserves a special mention. The music which the twin exhaust port produces while riding, provides the perfect background score! It’s surprisingly throaty for an engine of this capacity. While riding, accelerate a bit hard and then let go off the throttle, what will follow is the intake roar of the engine. I sometimes accelerate hard just to listen to the exhaust note! I’m thinking of installing a K&N air filter and slapping a free flow exhaust to increase the aural pleasure. Who lives by the rulebook, anyways! *winks*
9. After sales support : One reason why suzuki is lacking behind in the competition despite having a good portfolio is the after sales support, or the lack thereof. I’m experiencing this now. Had a crash on 9th October, 2016 and was in dire need of some spare parts, including the Handlebar and left side rear view mirror. They took around 1.5 months to get the Handlebar and still there’s no sign of the left side mirror. Unavailability of spare parts is a major issue suzuki should look into. Fired up some emails and made some calls too, but still there wasn’t any response from the other side. After getting frustrated, I installed TVS phoenix’s mirrors and they are good.
10. Conclusion : I’ve fallen in love with Falcon in the 9 months of its ownership. It has delivered on every count! Be it making my daily commute to college interesting, slaying every corner the tarmac throws at it, or munching miles on the highway. The only major issues I’ve faced so far is unavailability of spare parts, and rattling of some parts. But when I look at the kind of package it’s and the amount I’ve paid for it, I can live with these issues. Falcon for life and beyond! \m/
Photography credits : Harshad Sadhnani. Thanks bro!