Suzuki Gixxer SF Race Bike Review
Bike Tested: 2015 Suzuki Gixxer SF Race Cup Bike
Price OTR Mumbai: Not For Sale, Rent Amount Rs. 2000/- (Per Event)
The Suzuki Gixxer Race Bike takes fun from the 150cc motorcycle to an all new level
From scooters to motorcycles, Suzuki’s popularity in India has shifted all thanks to the Gixxer. Launched last year, the street-fighter version became a huge success while the Japanese automaker was prompt in bringing the full-faired version, putting the bike in a one-make championship called the Gixxer Cup. On the eve of the first race, Suzuki gave us the new Gixxer Race Cup Bike to ride on the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore. The bikes were new and weren’t completely run-in but in spite of that, we came out hugely impressed with the motorcycle.
Motor Quest: Suzuki showcased the Gixxer in January 2014, launching it in July 2014 while the Gixxer SF went on sale in April 2015. The Gixxer Cup one-make championship was announced last month and a 250cc version of the bike is under development.
The Suzuki Gixxer SF is a very good looking bike and in race form, it looks even better. Out go the headlight, indicators, rearview mirrors, main stand, side stand and rear mudguard. The bike gets a covered pillion seat for improved aeros and that’s not all, Suzuki has opted for lighter components and the overall result is the Gixxer now weighs 20 kgs less at 119 kgs. The Gixxer Race Bike gets a slew of stickers which make it look very purposeful on the race track while the blue paint-job with yellow sticker rims do come across as eye candy. The bike features rearsets with the alloy pegs now 15 mm behind and 20 mm higher, resulting in better corner clearance.
The Suzuki Gixxer Race Bike carries the same instrument cluster as the regular Gixxer but not all of the information is needed on the race track and the meter under-reads by a good 15 km/hr due to the change in gearing. The regular handlebars have been replaced by clip-ons while the forks have been dropped by 20 mm. This results in a lowered seat height which is a good thing if you are short but not something tall riders will appreciate instantly. The riding position is much more sporty and is quite dedicated now, making the Gixxer at home on the race track. One can swap their regular handlebars for clip-ons on their street bikes but that’s something which will rob away the comfort offered by the Japanese bike.
The Suzuki Gixxer Race Bike uses the same 155cc, single-cylinder, 2-valve motor that outputs 14.8 PS in stock form. On the race bike, Suzuki hasn’t made drastic changes to the Gixxer but has given the motorcycle a free-flow exhaust and a performance air filter from K&N, both these things necessitating in the carburettor getting new jetting. The front sprocket gets a one tooth increase for taller gearing which results in a higher top speed and on the race day, the bikes topped out at an impressive 140 km/hr plus. We managed 115 km/hr on the day of our ride as the bikes were new (done barely 30 kms) and the tuning wasn’t right for Coimbatore as the Gixxer is very sensitive to altitude changes. One does need to duck hard to gain maximum velocity while the Gixxer SF has otherwise a very aerodynamic body.
Once you thumb the starter, the Suzuki Gixxer Race Bike comes to life with a loud roar. The new exhaust is loud and has a deep rumble coming out which makes it heard from really far off too. The intake sound is crisp thanks to the free flow filter and this Suzuki is definitely music to the ears, albeit a bit bassy. With all the changes made, the Gixxer Cup bike produces around 18 BHP of power while the light weight further improves acceleration. The performance of the motorcycle was instant on the track with the mid-range being the strong point of the motor. Due to the tuning issues, the top-end couldn’t be exploited and our bike showed signs of uneasiness at the 8000 RPM mark, making us short shift into the next gear every time. On a race track, the Gixxer didn’t feel much fast on the straights but for a 150cc air-cooled engine, it was quite quick indeed.
One of the biggest changes to the Gixxer Cup Bike, that transforms the dynamics of the vehicle are the new soft compound race spec tyres from MRF. The new rubber offers leech like grip, inspiring tremendous confidence to corner and brake hard. The clip-on handlebars and the added weight at the front make the Gixxer Race Bike superlative around corners, making it effortless to turn fast through the bends. The only issue we faced was either the riding boots, the side stand mounting (which wasn’t removed) or the brake pedal scrapping on hard cornering.
The Gixxer Race Bike is terrific to ride on a track, it has very sharp handling
The Kari Motor Speedway isn’t a big track but has lots of corners and there are more right-handers. The Gixxer Race Cup Bike is immense fun to ride, with one approaching the first corner at near top speed, braking hard on the stock hardware for turn one and tipping the motorcycle into the corner with utmost confidence, thanks largely due to its grippier tyres and reduced weight. Turn three is the most exciting because it is where you can carry a lot of pace through the corner. Nice long corners let you feel the balance of the Gixxer very well and no matter how hard you push it, this Suzuki simply follows your command.
The Suzuki Gixxer Race Bike isn’t something you can buy off the shelf but you can buy a regular Gixxer SF and come pretty close to the track machine. Suzuki is offering these bikes for racing and one can participate in it for a nominal fee but the seats are taken for this year. Coming to the motorcycle, the Cup Bike proves that every stock motorcycle has huge potential and for the Gixxer owner or prospective buyer, the sky is the limit. The only gripe with such modifications is the practicality which can go for a toss. Clip-ons are good but they make the riding position aggressive while the rearsets do rob away comfort on long rides. The air-filter and exhaust (with lesser sound to comply with street riding) are something which Suzuki should start offering through its dealers and if warranty and jetting is thrown in, then we will see a lot of people opting to make their fast looking bikes go faster.
Suzuki is on a roll and the Gixxer Cup shows the focus of the company towards racing in India. The Race spec Gixxer SF is super fun and very engaging to ride. We just can’t wait for what’s next from the Haysbusa maker.
* Gixxer Race Bike is faster both in acceleration and top speed, revs quickly
* Handing is even better with the clip-ons and super sticky MRF race rubber
* Fun to ride bike which offers a load of confidence to push hard
What’s Not So Cool
* Not for sale, bolt-on parts aren’t offered for street use yet
Alternatives: Yamaha R15 Race Bike, Honda CBR150R Race Bike
Further Reading –
Suzuki Gixxer SF Review
Suzuki Gixxer Review
Suzuki Gixxer Long Term Review
Suzuki Gixxer vs Yamaha FZ vs Honda CB Trigger vs TVS Apache 160
Suzuki Gixxer vs Honda CB Unicorn 160 vs Yamaha FZ
Honda CB Unicorn 160 vs Suzuki Gixxer vs Yamaha FZ – Video
Picture Editing – Sri Manikanta Achanta