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Suzuki GW250: MD Ride Review

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After briefly testing the Suzuki GW250 in Florida several months ago, we asked Suzuki for a bike that we could ride here in Southern California. As you probably know, the U.S. market for smaller displacement bikes is relatively strong, and we felt Suzuki’s entry into that segment needed more seat time.

All the technical details related to this bike are discussed in our initial riding impression here. In summary, this is a six-speed, fuel injected twin displacing 248 cc. Competing with Honda’s single-cylinder bike in the same category, and Kawasaki’s high strung Ninja 300, the GW250 offers something a bit different.

This feels like a bigger bike in the sense that it handles a bit slower than the competition, and has a relatively long wheelbase. It takes some effort to turn in, but the reward is excellent stability and predictability that will be valued by less experienced riders, in particular, and commuters who are just looking for a comfortable, easy to ride and economical mount.

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The twin-cylinder engine is tuned for excellent low and and mid-range power, something that separates it somewhat from both the Honda and the Kawasaki mentioned earlier. Frankly, for commuters and most street riders, the Suzuki GW250 might have the best powerband in the segment. It feels peppy at rpm levels where the other bikes in the category might just be waking up from their nap.

The suspension is surprisingly good, because this is a budget bike, after all, and it does not feature adjustability. Suzuki did an excellent job of compromising between comfort and control, and the GW250 offers sufficient stiffness for spirited riding for more experienced riders, while still being smooth enough on the highway to satisfy commuters.

Speaking of commuters, we recorded an average of 61 mpg during our test. Coupled with the 3.5 gallon gas tank, the GW250 offers good range. With the very comfortable seat and upright ergos, you could ride this bike all day.

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Although it is a naked, something about the design of the headlight and mini-fairing helps keep some of the pressure off your chest at high speeds. This makes freeway commuting a bit more comfortable than it would be on many other nakeds.

We think Suzuki was smart to stick with relatively narrow tires, including a 110 section front and a 140 section rear, which helped the bike feel lighter under the rider, despite weighing roughly 400 pounds wet. This also helps keep unsprung weight down to improve suspension action, acceleration and braking.

The predictable handling makes the GW250 very fun to ride. Novice riders can feel like a hero on this bike. As for more experienced riders, well … you know that saying about riding a slow bike fast being more fun.

The brakes are up to the task, but certainly not at modern sport bike levels of performance. They haul the little GW down competently and without drama.  The six-speed tranny was slick, and we don’t recall missing a shift.

The clutch is smooth and predictable, adding to the bike’s easy-to-ride nature.

We were pleasantly surprised by the little Suzuki. The GW250 has very thorough instrumentation, as described in our earlier article, that contributes to its practicality (along with the good gas mileage and comfortable seating position). It is easy to ride for both beginners and experienced riders, with a twin-cylinder engine tuned for real world performance. There is a good dose of fun to go along with that practicality. If you are looking for the most nimble, sporty handling in the segment, the GW250 probably isn’t for you, but for many other riders, at an U.S. MSRP of $3,999, the GW250 represents good value in today’s market. Visit Suzuki’s web site for further details and specifications.

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39 Comments

  1. ryan says:

    Damn this bike doesn’t compare to even the HYOSUNG GT 250..GT has inverted forks..suz not..2 cams to 4 cams for the GT..Smaller TIRES for the Suz..1 yr warranty to 2 yrs on the GT..This thing looks Chinese like the CF 650NK..So since price is the deciding factor the HYOSUNG is better than this Slowzuki..

  2. Mars says:

    yep – it looks chinese.

    look at that little bolt-on faux chrome exhaust can cover.

    nyet.

    it looks chinese.

    full stop.

    puts wallet away.

  3. Brian says:

    Glad to see any and all kinds of bikes hit our shores. Good on the Japanese for fielding a broad selection of affordable bikes aimed at putting more people on two wheels. Until you travel abroad you forget that many countries rely on motorcycles for affordable transportation, we Amers primarily think recreation -

  4. Tank says:

    The way I look at it, it weighs 500 lbs. less than a Gold Wing! LOL

  5. Provologna says:

    I like this bike.

    I also got a kick out of the “small” tire description for 110mm front and 140mm rear tires. My late 70s GS1000 came with 3.25″ (about 85mm) front and 120mm rear tires.

    • xlayn says:

      Indeed, that’s not a small tire for that bike, maybe it’s way to big.
      We may need to perform a reality check by googling “kawasaki 2 stroke 750 triple” and check the tire width

  6. TimU says:

    Yea, that’s it! I’m going to run down to my local Suzuki dealer and buy a new 2014 GS-500. Oh, wait a minute, Suzuki no longer imports it to the US. Now I’ve got to wait for this 250 to grow up to a 350/400.
    Never mind, I’ll take a Yamaha SR-400.

  7. Stella says:

    Kinda reminds me of a Kymco Venox. A 250 with the weight and look of a bigger bike. Some people like that.

  8. Stan Gale says:

    What are they making these bikes out of? A 250 that weighs 400 lbs? Looked at this article due to having teenage daughters. HEAVY.
    The 250 Ninja weighed just over 300, the 300 Ninja gained 60 pounds. The CBR250 wet weight is 357 pounds.(And it’s a single!) The wet weight of 250 rebel is 320 pounds. But what about the Yamaha WR250R? Wet weight is 295lbs, 105 pounds lighter than this Suzuki GW250. (Another comparison – the wet weight of an Yamaha R6 is 416 pounds, just 16 more than the GW250!)

    • John A. Kuzmenko says:

      If this bike is built in China, I wonder what grade of (heavy) steel is used for the frame and other parts.

    • Curly says:

      The Yamaha MT/FZ-07 weighs 394 full up wet and that’s a 689cc bike with 74hp. Hard to believe that Suzuki can’t make a 250 that’s at least 50 pounds lighter than that. After all, they are the guys who pretty much invented lightweight sport bikes with the GSX-R750. They should put it on a diet, crank it up to 350cc and do a little restyling.

    • GearDrivenCam says:

      I agree that many of these bikes simply weigh too much for what they are. Then again – the outgoing Ninja 250R’s wet weight was closer to 380 lbs too. Kawasaki just released a new Ninja 250RR Mono single (not in N. America) producing 28hp (4 more than the GW250) and has a claimed wet weight of 332 lbs (71 lbs less than the GW250!!). That’s more like it.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I agree that many of these bikes simply weigh too much for what they are.”

        the problem isn’t with the bikes weight. sounds to me like the problem is the erroneous mental association we (the humans) make between displacement and weight. Zed14 =’s 1400lbs therefore Nin250 =’s 250lbs. granted, that’s over an generalization, but this is what we do and unfortunately the relationship isn’t that linear.

        • xlayn says:

          Indeed, but depending on your weight you are talking bout less celeration right?
          Top speed may be hurt.

          Target users will decide, maybe the handling and long term low maintenance pays and buyers decide with their wallets that the bike is worth it.

          On the other hand, if you are expecting performance, lightness and top speed, sure the price tag would be on another category as well as maintenance and engine life span…

    • Blackcayman says:

      The low price is the deciding factor in the weight.

    • Scotty says:

      Compared to the WR250R this bike wont need an oil change and engine service every 5 minutes.

      • Selecter says:

        The WR250R (like my WR250X) does like frequent oil changes – I do mine every 2500 miles or so (easy to remember). However, valve adjustment intervals are 26,000 miles, so aside from oil and chain lubes, that family of WR is fairly maintenance-free.

        Are you thinking about the WR250F?

  9. todd says:

    It should do fairly well now that Kawasaki abandoned the lucrative entry level marketplace. It undercuts the (much better looking) CBR by a couple hundred and there’s more negotiating room, being a Suzuki. I wonder why Suzuki makes this available while keeping the more popular TU250 out of California. Probably the same smart thinking that led them to replace the super-successful SV650 with the Gladius dud.

    • Dave says:

      Re: “Kawasaki abandoned the lucrative entry level marketplace.”

      ??? Huh? I think the Ninja 300 is dominating in this market.

      • todd says:

        At over 5 grand and with the level of performance on tap, the new three-hundred doesn’t appeal to the beginner as much as the old, approachable 250 did. Sure, the Ninja is a better bike and an experienced rider can get more out of it than a GW250 but more power/weight/intimidation/cost is not what beginners are looking for in a motorcycle now, is it.

        • Dave says:

          Is it what? Heavy? No. Powerful? No, not enough to be intimiating. New riders were buying 600’s back when they were affordable. The Ninja is selling very well and I’d bet my bike that it sells mostly to newer riders. There are Vespa scooters that cost more.

  10. Robert Turnwall says:

    I read the the bike is made in China that’s why it has that funky look as all bike made in China do..

  11. DCE says:

    I would like to see a comparison between this and its TU250X stable mate.

    • denny says:

      Comparison? Oh – TU-250 (probably for touring universal) is a BEAUTY, although I do not fancy that split seat.

  12. denny says:

    If you have seen something more ugly, let me know, would you? I’ll get camera ready. I collect pictures of ugly bikes.

  13. Gary says:

    Great looking all-around bike. When I started riding, 250 cc bikes were “midsize” street bikes. Nice to see them make a comeback.

    It would be interesting to do a comparo between bikes like this Suzuki and a mid 70s RD 250 or maybe a 380cc Suzuki Sebring (my first street bike).

  14. Gabe says:

    Nice photos, Chris!

  15. TimU says:

    Let me know when they release a 350/400cc model.