Thursday, March 22, 2012

Suzuki GS150R Review by Murali


Hi all, This is my first review on the net for a bike. I have been driving for the last 20 odd years. My first experience was with a Luna Later we upgraded to a TVS 50. Then came the Hero Honda CD100SS, Kinetic Honda, HH Splendor and lastly my most reliable TVS Victor. I have being using my TVS Victor for the past 9 years and still this bike is running rock solid.
Suzuki GS150R
My earlier exp with Suzuki came from Shogun & Fiero. Wow what a bike those are. Much ahead of time. This gave me lot of confident in Suzuki engineering. But then I should also not forget how Honda made their champions and shared the same with Hero Motocorp.
So after a long time, I decided to upgrade to a new machine. I actually wanted a powerful commuter bike. If only Suzuki GW250 was avaible, my search would have stopped there. The other 250s (read KTM, CBR250 & Ninja 250) didn’t appeal to me as they don’t belong to the commuter segment. Thus I have to curtail my specs and have to go for a 150+ CC bike with a budget of upto 80K. The ones that came into my focus are:
  • Honda Unicorn/Dazzler
  • Suzuki GS150R
  • Yamaha SZ-R
  • Pulsar 150/180/220
  • TVS Apache 160/180 ABS
  • HH Hunk/CBZ Extreme
Each of the above are good in each spec and most of the time does overlap on features and functions. Let me go thru what I did with each bike.
  • Honda Unicorn/Dazzler: Everything was good about the bike. The engine, handling, performance, resale value and a host lot, though the looks didn’t impress me much. But then the one thing that completely put me off was the attitude of Honda sales team. Just that this vehicle has a waiting period shouldn’t have translated into such arrogance with them. I just didn’t look any further.
  • Suzuki GS150R: As I noted earlier, I just loved Suzuki engineering. Like Honda, I have high regards for their product. But then GS150R was beyond what any other vehicle can offer in this segment. Let me come to it in the later part of this review.
  • Yamaha SZ-R: A truly Value for money package. The same 150cc engine that does duty on the higher specs of Yamaha (Read: FZ16, FZS, Fazer & R15). But then I had that extra money, so thought will spend something more. SZR didn’t fail my choice cause of any lacking, just that other bikes offered me more. These days I see a lot of SZR on road. Good work from Yamaha.
  • Pulsar 150/180/200/220: Same as Honda sales team. The attitude was not encouraging to buy a vehicle from Bajaj stable. Also there were lot of Pulsar on the road and I don’t want to be one of them. Again this is a VFM product.
  • TVS Apache 160/180 ABS: Vibration, sporty stance and not so refined gear box made sure this is out of my choice. I think I would definitely miss the performance that this bike offers. Again this is a VFM product.
  • HH Hunk/CBZ Extreme: Actually I don’t want to look at Hero Honda. This is cause of the bad experience we had with our CD100SS & Splendor. But my brother persuaded me to have a look at this. In my opinion both the vehicles are good, with CBZ extreme scoring higher in the comparison. In fact at one point it was CBZ vs GS150R for me. But then the features that GS150R offered had made my choice skewed towards the same.
Ok let’s start with point that helps me choose GS150R:
  • Engine: It’s Suzuki and it’s very smooth. Thanks to the XTP technology (Xtra Torque Power) and Engine Balance Technology the vibration is arrested in the entire RPM range. The engine delivers quality power & torque for a silky smooth drive.
  • Handling: GS150R weighs almost 150Kg and this weight is translated very effectively in assisting the stability of the vehicle at higher speeds. The way the bike is constructed also offers a lot to the rider in city driving conditions. I feel very positive in handling the vehicle at all speed ranges. It inspires lot of confidence.
  • Brakes & Tires: Ok this had to go into Handling, but I definitely need to put this into a separate point. The alloys are best in this class. Again the brakes gives you lot of confident in handling the vehicle.
  • Performance & the 6th Gear: The 150cc air cooled motor of Suzuki GS150R churns out a maximum power of 13.8bhp@8500rpm and a torque of 13.4Nm@6000rpm. This is adequate for a commuter vehicle. But then the 6th gear makes the most of it. The gear ratio is something very unique in this segment. In fact both the 5th & 6th gear are in overdrive proposition. In 4500 RPM and with 6th Gear, you would literally glide at 60KMPH. It’s that butter smooth. Today I was able to do 105Kmph and still had power, but lacked road to drive further. My guess is that the top speed should be 115 to 120 Kmph. The bike has two modes of driving, ECO & Power. I haven’t really tested these. Will update more on this in future.
  • Styling & Instruments: The 2012 GS150R looks much better than its older generation. The ground clearance of 160mm comes handy on our damaged roads. With LED overall the looks part is very good. The console is the coolest thing in this category. Except for Rpm everything is digital. The dash has a digital gear indicator that tells us in which gear we are riding at. The fuel tank adds lot of character to the vehicle. With 15+ Ltr of capacity, the tank does helps touring.
  • Comfort and Ergonomics: Best in class. Nothing more I can say. Comfort at the max. The suspension comes with 5 level adjustment and the nitro filled rear shocks takes care of your back quite comfortably.
  • Mileage: Not yet tested. But have a gut feeling that I would get somewhere around that 50 mark.
Things that let down this vehicle:
  • Suzuki’s poor marketing.
  • Tall pillion seating.
  • Poor initial pick-up.
  • No tubeless tyre.
  • Could have given an option for rear disc.
  • Monoshocks. This one could have completed the package to the fullest.
  • After sale service. Network is very thin.
  • Sales force doesn’t have enough knowledge to explain customers about all the good thing that this vehicle offers.
  • No DC configuration.
  • Very poor headlight.
In general I am very satisfied with my bike. I have done 200KM so far and I have enjoyed each KM till now. This is my initial impressions. Will update based on my usage and ownership experience. Till then wish you all safe driving.

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