• Sensible Street Fighter: The Suzuki Gixxer

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    D4---Gixxer20160322Named after its race-bred big brother, the GSX-R, the Suzuki Gixxer has a lot of expectations to live up to. With nine Bike of the Year awards under its belt, I’d say the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

    The Gixxer is Suzuki Philippines’ bet in the cut throat backbone commuter segment where the market is small and the players are many. It is propelled by a 154.9-cubic centimeter single-cylinder, air-cooled engine which produces 10.4 kilowatt (14 horsepower) at 8,000 revolutions per minute and 14 Newton-meters at 6,000 rpm. Power delivery is smooth and linear, making it suitable for urban traffic. As expected from bikes sourced from India, clutch pull is light and the handling is nimble despite its 135-kilogram weight. Working the five-speed transmission is quite engaging as gearshifts are precise and has a mechanical feel to it. You’d be riding like a hooligan all the time if not for the rev limiter, which consistently cuts off power at around 7,000–8,000 rpm. I found this to be a little premature because the red line is at 9,500 rpm.

    Under the Suzuki Eco Performance (SEP) series, a limiter is installed to the Gixxer’s otherwise basic mill to achieve a claimed fuel mileage of 55 kilometers per liter. So while the name suggests sporty performance, Suzuki is also banking on efficiency. With a 12-liter fuel tank capacity, the Gixxer will cover more than 600 kilometers in between fill-ups. However, if you are feeling optimistic about current pump prices, you’d be happy to know that the Gixxer is still carburetor equipped, making it easier to tune its performance to your liking. The huge double-piston front disc brake seems to suggest that the Gixxer is meant to run at higher speeds. Though, it would be a shame to replace that stubby twin-mufflers with an after-market pipe.

    Even with the Gixxer’s aggressive stance, riding posture is upright and neutral. The handle has just the right width and the pegs are placed directly under the seat. I would prefer a pair of rear sets, though, as my toes scrape the pavement when banking left. The meaty 100/80 and 140/60 17-inch tires inspire confidence when leaning into corners. The sturdy-looking front fork and a rear monoshock keep the bike planted when traversing uneven surfaces. The indentation on the sides of the fuel tanks enables the rider to anchor himself onto the saddle. Also, the tank itself has of three parts with detachable plastic panels on each side so you can just replace the damaged part in case of a spill.

    The Gixxer comes with a full digital instrument panel that is intentionally designed to look like a smart phone. It has a speedometer, tachometer, an odometer with trip meter, a clock, a gear indicator and a fuel gauge…like a smart phone, indeed. At a price tag of P 89,900, the Suzuki Gixxer offers big, sport bike character coupled with the efficiency and ergonomics of a daily commuter. It is such a fun bike to ride as well, as long as you learn to work around that pesky limiter. To know more about the Suzuki Gixxer, visit www.suzuki.com.ph

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