This was my official Entry to the Bikeadvice 12th Ownership review Contest. :-) Written with a primary intent of helping fellow consumers to make their decision and also to maybe win an awesome new Helmet or Gloves or tank pad. :-).
It was in the June of 2010 when for the first time I started seeing bikes in a different light. Until then, my perception of Bikes was purely as a means of transportation. That was when I came across the oft quoted quote –
Four Wheels move the body, two wheels move the soul!
The reason for my awakening was my friend’s post about Motorcycle touring on his Facebook profile. It shared in detail all his experiences on a day long ride, the places he saw, the roads he rode on, the butt pain he endured. :P , everything. And then the bug bit me. I would crawl the online forums and websites learning about people’s rides and the specialty of their Bikes – how they planned the ride, what they endured on the ride, what they experienced and finally what they were blessed with as reward. Almost a year of such virtual joyrides, it was July of 2011 and I realized that it was time to go from Virtual to Real. I was hooked and I could only cure myself by getting a bike and going out there and experiencing it for myself.
Bee in my bonnet at all times – I need to get my own bike.
Requirements – Touring Friendly, Reasonable Power, Pocket Friendly, Upright riding position, Solid dependability, and of course style and reasonable mileage !
And thus the search to get my first bike began! I would spend hours at end researching about bikes and am indebted to Bikeadvice.in where majority of the information regarding reviews would come from. (I think Review competition 8 or 9 was what I was reading at that time.) I also googled Tourer’s personal blogs and narrowed down on which bike would best suit my requirements. The undisputed hero in my books was the Suzuki GS150R. At the same time, pictures of the 2012 model began to surface online. :-) . I still remember my excitement at having seen the first spy shots. One visit to the Service center, one test ride later, I was on my way to getting a GS150R or the baby Gixxer.
Name of the Bike - Suzuki GS150RVariant/Model Year - Pearl White, 2012 versionPrice - Rs. 75,400/- On road.
Stage 1 Complete -
The bike of my dreams came into my life on the 24th of October, 2011. It was heavy rains in Mangalore on that day and I got drenched during my first ride only. How awesome is that! Every day of the past year and half with my bike, who I named ‘The Chill Pill’ has been magical. I Commuted to work, I toured distances of about 350 kilometers in a day, went on solo night rides for coffee about 50 kms away, offroaded on reasonably level surfaces, and much more. Its been about 18 months and even now I cannot leave the parking lot without turning back and admiring my bike for the absolute beauty she is! My experiences and reviews, please find it below :
Reason for Purchasing –
Newer and refreshed variant of the touring and executive commuter capable two wheeler which has solid dependability written all over it. Primarily, I wanted the bike for office commuting and long distance touring without any vibes. I am delighted to say that it has fit both the roles beautifully with whatever beginner touring I have had the opportunity of undertaking.
Looks and styling - Things that make this bike attractive in my books are
- Massive and Royal Fuel tank reminiscent of the Super Bikes.
- Digital Speedometer with riding assists that enable you to set the bike in different modes like economy, power and god modes for complete control over Power and Fuel economy.
- 18" rims that make touring a breeze.
- Upright riding position again a plus for Touring.
Rear End/Tail design -
- The Tail end design of the bike keeps you looking at it in admiration all day long. As it is the tail end design is incorporated from the Elder Gixxer series (600, 1000, 1300 Hayabusa).
- LED Stop light and Rear indicators incorporated with the bikini fairing which gives a super cool Fit and Finish.
- Stock tires are MRF Zapper Series. The 100/18 section rear tires suit the bike perfectly and inspire confidence for Reasonable cornering.
- The Number plate holder and the Rear Tire hugger serve their function well and do not vibrate or shake causing uncomfortable moments when riding.
- The swing arm does not stand out but looks like a well built unit and blends in with the rest of the bike perfectly.
- Saree guard too camouflages well with the rest of the bike and does not look out of place.
- The Silencer with a chrome heat guard again look refreshingly modern and flashy compared to the muted dullness from the previous version.
Front End design-
- The Bike has a Bikini Fairing which has been beautifully proportioned.
- The newer Headlight cowl makes the bike look sharper and more interesting than the previous versions.
- Headlight design is inspired in a V form with 35/35W Halonix bulbs. At the two tips of the V, the pilot lamps serve their functions beautifully by aesthetically improving the Front end looks.
- Providing braking at the front end is a 200mm Regular Brembo/Bybre Disc which provides ample braking punch and feedback.
- The Mudguard is incorporated such that it is a combination of the body color and jet black color matching the engine accents.
Engine and performance-
- The bike has been designed for tireless cruising at normal highway speeds and it does the job without any complaints whatsoever.
- The acceleration is enough to give a thrill to the rider and the top speed of unmodified bike is about 120-125 kmph depending on the rider weight.
- Riding the bike on hilly roads is no trouble as it has ample power to accelerate without any major effort. The rider can ride relaxedly and pull up reasonably no matter what the angle of up rise is.
- Gearshifts are the typical Suzuki Butter smooth types. Having 6 gears help with Highway cruising and shifting happens beautifully. All said, it’s a commuter/tourer and the shifting needs to be done with respect to its segment.
- The bike does not feel underpowered in any particular gear. If possible, the the 2012 version has been improved in ride feel.
Other design elements-
- As said previously, the majestic and massive fuel tank is the highlight of the overall design giving it a super-bike like look and it merges with the rest of the body of the bike as magically as art. The Fit and finish of the bike when comparing either paint job or the exposed frame is perfectly taken care of. The detailing has been managed well. Overall material usage is quite good with use of higher quality plastics on the switch gear.
- The seat has been designed with care and riding long distances can prove to be very comfortable when compared with other bikes. The seat is plush without being too stuffy.
Ride quality and handling-
- The suspension at the rear is adjustable up to 5 steps so the rider can get a custom suspension setup to suit to every kind of riding terrain. Again bear in mind that the bike is aimed at commuter/touring and it does the job it was designed to do with poise and majesty. Cornering is very much possible if you know what you are doing and the bike takes it all neatly and without any issues. The bumps on bad roads are absorbed quite nicely thus giving a very relaxed and balanced riding experience.
- Since the bike weighs 150 kgs dry, it proves to be very confidence inspiring at higher cruising speeds. The bike does not easily get affected by cross-winds generated by heavy vehicles like Lorries on the open roads. Even though the bike is heavy, maneuvering around the city is not a problem too. Once the rider gets used to the weight, he/she can quite easily counter-steer the bike to make it more maneuverable.
- Riding with a pillion proves very comfortable as the seats have been spaced quite amply. Top speed with an average pillion for this rider has been 105 kmph.
- Seat comfort is an average between Hard and Soft. It is hard enough to give you a sturdy seating position and soft enough to support the rider on long riding hours on the saddle. The upright riding posture and the seat quality are prime ingredients for success when touring on this bike.
- The riding position would be suitable to a rider with a minimum height of about 5 feet and 7 inches at least. However, taller people, some about 6 feet three inches also can ride this bike very comfortably.
- The handlebar again has been set very intelligently and quite within the reach of the rider supporting the upright riding posture.
- The brakes perform well with good amounts of bite in them. The rear brakes are still drum brakes with occasional screeching sounds under wet conditions, otherwise it performs its purpose flawlessly.
Fuel efficiency and Maintenance
- Until the first service(1000 kms) the bike returned a efficiency figure of 44 kmpl approximately. However, over successive services and improved riding style with uniform acceleration and reasonable cruising speeds of about 80-90 kmph on the highways, the bike has been consistently delivering fuel efficiency figures of about 52 kmpl! The fuel efficiency figures at the sales center was 55-60 kmph so a drop of about 10 percent from claimed figure seems like a very reasonable deal.
- Servicing/maintenance charges have been very much in control over the past year with the major charges being only for Engine Oil. Approximately about Rs.1600-1800/- has been spent for the entire year and half bringing the maintenance cost to about Rs.100/- per month. Again i am a very normal rider who has clocked 9000 kms in a year and a half.
Issues, Problems, Service Experience –
Initially I had read online that getting a Suzuki serviced is a major pain, but I have not faced any such issue with them. They are a good lot. Experiences -
- The only issue faced was toughened Gear shifts during rainy season which was fixed expertly at the service center at minimum charges.
- Overall service experience has been hassle free with the service persons working on concerns quite neatly and expertly.
Final Verdict and Advice for New Buyers
If the rider is looking for no-nonsense city commuting and long distance touring without any trouble and minimum of back pains, then this bike has been designed for you. To tell you frankly, I have not regretted my decision to go for this awesome bike, and I do not think I will! The bike is suitable for City commuting in an executive fashion and for long distance cruising/touring as a breeze.
Things that are awesome –
- Clean-set Digital Speedometer with dual trip-meters and fuel meter along with option to set Riding modes like Economy/Power/God.
- Majestic Proportions of the vehicle inducing a superbike riding feeling.
- Gorgeous and Sharp looks.
- SJCS – Suzuki Jet Cooling System, spraying oil on strategic positions to keep the engine functioning as cool-ly as possible. Again a plus for Touring. Strangely this feature is not marketed by the company.
- Engine Balancer Technology – Along with a sophisticated technology having a flywheel to counter vibrations provided, the engine has been mounted onto the chassis such that the contact points have dampeners on them causing as little vibration to be passed onto the structure as possible, thus giving the rider a vibe-free ride experience.
- The Upright Riding position.
Things that could be better -
- Higher Displacement - Preferably 200cc with competitive Power/ Torque figures which would enable even better cruising speeds. Combine that with amazing stability, the vehicle would be a grand touring option.
- Tubeless Tyres - Currently, the bike comes with Tube tyres which in case of a puncture deflate immediately. However, in case of Tubeless tyres, the rate of air going out in case of minor puncture is lesser meaning u can get to the puncture repair shop in time and save yourself some trouble.
Ride quality and handling – 9/10 (Ride position a major plus)Performance – 8/10 (Reasonable amount of power. Easy.)Fuel Efficiency – 9/10. (Considering the weight and the returns.)Looks/Design/Styling – 9/10Maintenance – 8/10 (2 points off for the reason that u need to take your bike at 8:30 to the service center even after a appointment. :/ . Maybe not such a minus actually.)Overall Average – 8.4/10.
Personal Rating of the Vehicle - 9/10.
Final Words – Thank you for reading my thoughts on my dear bike. If you are a prospective buyer, I hope I have helped you make a decision in terms of understanding the true strengths of this bike. Suggestions, Comments and Criticisms welcome!