DO you subscribe to the idea; “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Well, Suzuki Philippines Inc. (SPH) most certainly does. Case in point: the Suzuki Raider R 150. Even after releasing a number of more modern, fuel-injected models in the market, SPH has retained the R 150 in their product line-up. And why not? Since its debut in 2004, the R 150’s dominance in the Sport Underbone segment remained unchallenged. I decided to spend a couple of weeks of saddle time on the so-called “king of underbones” to discover what the fuss is all about.
SPH was kind enough to lend me the latest version of the R 150 in limited edition gold/black and red/black color combinations. This new variant even comes with a cool blue headlight lens. Initially, I was concerned the R 150’s sleek, compact dimensions might be a bit of a squeeze for a 5’11” rider like me. However, the flat bench-type saddle allowed riders of various build to slide into a comfortable position.
The R 150 is powered by an oil-cooled 147.3-cc twin-cam mill that produces 11.5 kW at 9,500 revolutions per minute and 12.4 nm at 8,500 rpm. You will find that such figures will get you from point A to point B with a big grin on your face. I found myself taking the longer route to the office and the frequent trips to my favorite neighborhood cafe to experience the thrill of riding as much as for the enjoyment of their refreshing halo-halo.
Working through the six gears was made easy by the shift indicator light on the instrument panel. It has low and high settings in which the former prompts the rider to shift earlier for fuel economy while the latter is tuned at a higher rpm to maximize performance. Personally, I prefer to use the “shift by ear” method and this was further encouraged by the R 150’s beautiful exhaust note. That and the manual clutch system offer a more mechanical feel that made riding more engaging. Handling is light and precise while slicing through urban traffic was virtually effortless. Stopping was equally easy with the front and rear hydraulic disc brakes.
With a P 94,900 price tag, you can choose from a wide range of commuter underbones in the market that will offer additional features like fuel-injection, liquid cooling or even an integrated sound system. The Raider R 150, however, is all about the enjoyment of riding in its simplest form. In more than a decade of existence, it still gives the best-in-class performance befitting of its moniker. So indeed, long live the king!