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Old 27th November 2022, 13:06   #91
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Re: Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 Ownership Review

Please check if your vehicle belongs to the recall list. (possible if manufactured prior to April 2021)

https://www.suzukimotorcycle.co.in/service-campaign

Also try using Motul 7100 10w40 on next change which was Suzuki recommended and used earlier before they switched to Ecstar which is manufactured by Idemitsu.
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Old 28th November 2022, 13:00   #92
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Re: Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 Ownership Review

Yes, the Palani Kodai Road is super narrow but has some breathtaking views ( even in the RV mirrors &#128512! After the branch off from the Vattalagundu road, the traffic thins out as I recall from my drives few years ago. I recollect it was difficult to park and view!
Do try the Mettupalyam Kotagiri road too if you liked the palani kodai road. Narrow and winding road makes Overtaking very tough, even in my fast powerful VW, but maybe manageable on the SF250 and similar bikes. Loaded with blind corners, so need to be super careful too.

And yes, ride down to Kodanad viewpoint ; brave the chill & make it early and thou shalt be rewarded in ample measure! I cycled down on my last visit a fortnight back, and i loved it. Super chilly but the rest of the weekend was washed out due to rains.
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Old 28th November 2022, 15:39   #93
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Re: 7,000 kilometers up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
While this short hill station ride was great, a couple of thing about the Gixxer SF 250, werent. For one, it had a tough time dealing with high altitudes. I checked with fellow Gixxer SF 250 and VStrom 250 owners. They confirmed that the motorcycle loses a bit of its crisp acceleration at high altitudes. It isnt the end of the world but yes, it is noticeable.
Great pictures.
Coming to the noticeable reduction in acceleration, it is true for all engines with perhaps electronically controlled turbo engines which can up their boost which works to an extent in compensating being the exception, otherwise the higher one goes the less the oxygen and air pressure and hence lesser power.
Even for say 5000 fee elevation the power loss can be around 15% for NA engines which is very noticeable.
I frequent to Himachal these days and even in my turbocharged Creta the difference in acceleration is there, not sure if its VGT can compensate for elevation or not.
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Old 29th November 2022, 23:33   #94
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Re: Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 Ownership Review

Neil, loved the Alex Rins parody. I have a few questions please. When you mentioned, she didn't have the surge you expected, albeit at a specific altitude, did you mean the acceleration you were expecting was amiss, along with your peers? Or to simply put, the acceleration was there, yet it wasn't linear? And secondly, you mentioned "The other issue that I faced last week was with an unexpected oil leak on the side." Can you mention which side was it i.e., the O ring of which part was displaced? And did the bike return back to normal after coming back to plains? Any color you can throw or expand upon, would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Cheers!
VJ
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Old 30th November 2022, 16:43   #95
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Re: Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 Ownership Review

The munnar theni road is still under rated. Baring 2-3 km strech in patches that still is under construction, This is one of the most beautiful roads in our country. Especially on the western ghats. Eager to know more about the bike since its one of the few that are alive in 200-350 faired yey comfortable bikes going around currently. Waiting for your detailed ownership experience.👍
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Old 4th December 2022, 11:37   #96
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Re: Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 Ownership Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by aneesh2M View Post
Great ride and snaps, this inspired me to take on a solo ride somewhere in western ghats now.

Just wanted to know as you have another big bike in your garage, do you feel small 250/350cc bike feels more comfortable while on such rides in terms of riding/handling/parking and of course easy on pocket?
aneesh2M, the short answer to your question on whether a near quarter liter motorcycle feels more comfortable in terms of
1. riding
2. handling
3. parking and
4. being wallet friendly
is yes, yes, yes and yes.

Before all the superbike owners in India jump up with their knives, pitchforks, abuses and venom, I will concede that my answer is in part, influenced by my years of riding motorcycles (20 years), the other motorcycles in my garage (a Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 and a Triumph Street Triple 675) and the type of motorcycling that Im doing. If one or more of these factors had been different, I wouldnt have seen the need for a light weight 250 cc motorcycle.

Needless to say, the question that you have asked, deserves a more detailed answer than what I have provided above. So, let me compare the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 with the Triumph Street Triple 675, across the parameters that you have listed.

1. Riding
Most people will think that moving from a 100 BHP motorcycle to one that offers up a scant 26.5 PS @ 9,300 RPM, would make for a very dull motorcycling experience. On paper, they would be right. In the real world, its a different story.

In Kerala, given the density of traffic and the narrow roads, I can barely get into 4th gear on my Triumph. On some days, 3rd is also a challenge. On the Suzuki, I have no such worries. It has a very usable and linear spread of torque. Almost all of the 26.5 of the Japanese horses get to roam around and stretch their legs.

While touring outside Kerala, the additional 75 horses of the Triumph demand to be unleashed. But I ride at a steady 120 kmph. My days of wanting to do higher speeds on public roads are long gone. So the 100 horses only get to canter around, with no real chance of running like they are on a race track. On the Suzuki, I ride at a steady 90 to 100 kmph. I take more time to reach my destination but Im less tired when I get there, on the Gixxer SF 250. This is because I dont have to be as alert all the time while riding at 90 kmph as I have to be at 120 kmph, for hours on end.

In terms of suspension, my Triumph has a fully adjustable Ohlins shock at the rear, which I have set up perfectly to my riding. However, there is no getting away from the fact that its a sporty chassis and suspension setup. Great for cornering but not conducive for your spine, when you crash into a pothole that you saw at the last minute. The Suzuki's suspension is only preload adjustable at the rear. But its so much more forgiving and compliant, than the Triumph's.

2. Handling
The Triumph Street Triple 675 is a beautiful motorcycle to attack twisties with. The bike gives you tremendous confidence in the corners and shooting out of a slow turn to say 50 kmph, is a breeze. From the Triumph family, only the Daytona will outdo it in the twisties.

That said, the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 is an equal amount of fun in the very same conditions. Being a much lighter motorcycle (161 kgs) and a much more affordable one, I literally throw the motorcycle into corners, with a confidence that I do not have on the Triumph. What you lose out on outright punch coming out of a corner, you gain in flexibility and friendliness, while in a mountain section. Another massive advantage of the Gixxer SF 250 in the hills is that you are a gear higher in it, than you are in the Triumph Street Triple 675. On the Triumph, if you want to ride fast in the twisties, you really have to concentrate a lot. On the Suzuki, not so much.

3. Parking anywhere and going
This has surprised me a lot. I bought the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 for its ability to blend into a parking lot and not draw attention. The thing is, the bike does get a lot of attention and Ive had close to a dozen strangers come up to me, to talk about the motorcycle. Maybe its the 100th Anniversary edition paint job.

The Triumph being a black motorcycle, does a fairly good job of trying to merge in with other parked motorcycles. However, young enthusiasts will easily spot it and you might find some checking it out or wanting to take pictures etc.

4. Wallet Friendly Nature
The mileage since day 1 on my Triumph Street Triple 675 - 17.67 kmpl
The mileage since day 1 on my Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 - 28.23 kmpl
The mileage since day 1 on my Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 - 36.59 kmpl

For the Suzuki gixxer SF 250,
- the cost of the first service - Rs 814
- the cost of the second service - Rs 936

Now, Im not in any way, shape or form, advocating that enthusiasts sell their middleweight or litre class motorcycles, and buy a smaller 250 / 300 / 350 cc motorcycle. Each of us has our own requirements, budgets, riding styles and roads to cover, before we finally call it a day. For me, a sporty, reliable, cost effective 250 cc motorcycle, is exactly what I need at this point of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeevsulu View Post
The palani road is phenomenal. I travel to Kodai via palani from Erode all the time. Past 35 years I have been doing this stretch and it always brings a smile on. Nice clicks.
rajeevsulu, thanks for your kind words. I wasnt even aware of how great this road actually is. I must ride through it again, sometime in early 2023.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
Please check if your vehicle belongs to the recall list. (possible if manufactured prior to April 2021)

https://www.suzukimotorcycle.co.in/service-campaign

Also try using Motul 7100 10w40 on next change which was Suzuki recommended and used earlier before they switched to Ecstar which is manufactured by Idemitsu.
Thanks for the heads up DRIV3R. I will be sure to check it. The showrooms have moved to the Ecstar (Idemitsu) engine oil. I worry that buying Motul 7100 and taking it to the showroom, could void my warranty, this early into the bike's ownership. Let me talk to the showroom folks about this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Passatman View Post
Yes, the Palani Kodai Road is super narrow but has some breathtaking views ( even in the RV mirrors &#128512! After the branch off from the Vattalagundu road, the traffic thins out as I recall from my drives few years ago. I recollect it was difficult to park and view!
Do try the Mettupalyam Kotagiri road too if you liked the palani kodai road. Narrow and winding road makes Overtaking very tough, even in my fast powerful VW, but maybe manageable on the SF250 and similar bikes. Loaded with blind corners, so need to be super careful too.

And yes, ride down to Kodanad viewpoint ; brave the chill & make it early and thou shalt be rewarded in ample measure! I cycled down on my last visit a fortnight back, and i loved it. Super chilly but the rest of the weekend was washed out due to rains.
Passatman, I have been to the Mettupalayam - Kotagiri - Ooty - Coonoor side several times in the last few years. It it such a lovely place for motorcycle enthusiasts. I hope to return to that part of the state in the coming days, Weather God's permitting that is!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketscience View Post
Great pictures.
Coming to the noticeable reduction in acceleration, it is true for all engines with perhaps electronically controlled turbo engines which can up their boost which works to an extent in compensating being the exception, otherwise the higher one goes the less the oxygen and air pressure and hence lesser power.
Even for say 5000 fee elevation the power loss can be around 15% for NA engines which is very noticeable.
I frequent to Himachal these days and even in my turbocharged Creta the difference in acceleration is there, not sure if its VGT can compensate for elevation or not.
Rocketscience, a 10 to 15 % drop at the Kodaikanal altitudes (~ 7,000 feet) does seem to be in line with what I experienced. Ive been to other South Indian hill stations which are at even higher altitudes on my other motorcycles and havent felt a similar drop in performance. Maybe it has something to do with the manner in which the Gixxer SF 250 has been tuned / its optimized air-fuel mixture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VijayAnand1 View Post
Neil, loved the Alex Rins parody. I have a few questions please. When you mentioned, she didn't have the surge you expected, albeit at a specific altitude, did you mean the acceleration you were expecting was amiss, along with your peers? Or to simply put, the acceleration was there, yet it wasn't linear? And secondly, you mentioned "The other issue that I faced last week was with an unexpected oil leak on the side." Can you mention which side was it i.e., the O ring of which part was displaced? And did the bike return back to normal after coming back to plains? Any color you can throw or expand upon, would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Cheers!
VJ
Vijay, it was a consistent drop in acceleration, across the board. It was still liner, but it felt a little sluggish. Have you also felt the same when you have ridden different motorcycles in your neck of the woods? Let me put up a separate post on the oil leak and the vibrations, or else it will get lost in this lengthy response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjun992 View Post
The munnar theni road is still under rated. Baring 2-3 km strech in patches that still is under construction, This is one of the most beautiful roads in our country. Especially on the western ghats. Eager to know more about the bike since its one of the few that are alive in 200-350 faired yey comfortable bikes going around currently. Waiting for your detailed ownership experience.👍
Arjun 992, I agree wholeheartedly! I kept stopping every 750 to 1000 meters, to take pictures of the surroundings. Its safe to say that I reached Kodaikanal much later than what I was supposed to!
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Old 4th December 2022, 20:21   #97
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Niggles with my Suzuki Gixxer SF 250

Over the first 7,300 odd kilometers of ownership, Ive only had two real issues with the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250

- Mild oil leak

There was a tiny oil leak which was visible from the outside. The service advisor at Aluva Suzuki said that it was likely due to a displaced O-ring. If that was the case, all that needed to be done, was for it to be set back in place.

Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 Ownership Review-20221115_092723.jpg

Within 10 minutes, the technician had checked the O-ring and put it back, and tightened it to specifications. Since then, the issue hasnt reappeared. Honestly, I didnt expect to find this sort of an issue with a refined and proven Japanese motorcycle ....

- Increase in vibrations

In hindsight, I should not have been surprised that this issue cropped up so early in my ownership experience. I will explain why, in a bit. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine, who also owns a Gixxer SF 250, messaged me the following.

Quote:
Speaking of smooth, hows the vibration and buzziness of your sf after 6k km?😅

Mine has a buzziness across the rev range, and it becomes vibration on the handle and seat after 8k or so.
It was at this time, that I had noticed an increase in the vibrations, on my own motorcycle. The vibes were faint at around 4,500 RPM, they got more prominent at 6,000 RPM and at 8,000 RPM, they were everywhere - in the handlebar, on the foot pegs, through the rear seat (the VStrom 250 suffers from this, as well). If I wanted to enjoy vibrations while touring across South India, I could very well have taken my Continental GT 535

Anyways, I dropped into the Aluva Suzuki SVC to ask them to tighten all the foundation bolts but the lead technician was on leave, that day. I asked the other technicians to do what they could. They reduced some of the slack on the chain and tightened some of the bolts, though I suspect that it probably wasnt with a torque wrench set to the company specifications.

The Suzuki Big Bike showroom has opened up fairly close to my place and they confirmed that they had the service manual and the required tools. After keeping the bike for a day and a half, they claim to have sorted out the vibration problem on my bike. As per the service advisor, the foot pegs were loose and that might have contributed to the prominent vibrations. As a point of comparison, their test ride bike has even more vibrations than my bike, so thats saying something!

I havent ridden the motorcycle after they dropped it off at my home, so I need to verify whether its fixed, once and for all.

Now, you might be wondering, why should I have expected these vibrations, in the first place? Well TBHPian SubodhRage had created a thread ("Free" Hassles at the Suzuki Motorcycle After Sales-Service, Delhi) on the very same issue. My friend had recently got the vibrations checked on his bike, using the same vibration tool that SubodhRage had mentioned. On my friend's bike, the tool did show that the motorcycle was vibrating at 5,000 RPM but it didnt cross the threshold limits that are set by the company. Hence, as per Apco Suzuki (Calicut), his bike doesnt suffer from excess vibrations.

I have shared SubodhRage's thread with my service advisor at the Big Bike showroom and asked him to check if the same tool has arrived at the SVC. Since its a fairly new showroom, they are still waiting for some diagnostic tools to arrive from Suzuki. Hence, its possible that the tool isnt available in Cochin, as of now.

Between SuboghRage's bike, my friend's bike and my bike, that is 3 motorcycles with the exact same issue. All 3 bikes have run less than 10,000 kilometers. This certainly isnt a one off issue, and the technical teams in the SVCs dont seem to be aware of this.

I will keep this thread updated on my findings and discussions with the Suzuki SVCs in Cochin.
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Old 4th December 2022, 20:27   #98
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Re: Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 Ownership Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
Vijay, it was a consistent drop in acceleration, across the board. It was still liner, but it felt a little sluggish. Have you also felt the same when you have ridden different motorcycles in your neck of the woods? Let me put up a separate post on the oil leak and the vibrations, or else it will get lost in this lengthy response.
Thanks Neil. Where I ride, you know it's already a high altitude one, in so far I haven't observed any undulations/discrepancies when it comes to sea level vs above sea level power loss, at least with the ones I ride. Contrary to this, my ladies love the cold, they come to their own when they enter the cold zone, the sound muffles, the engine whines different, the smoothness is something to be experienced when traversing from plains to hills, especially on a dull, chilly evening.

Now, this perhaps might be because the ECM and the STFTs and the LTFTs have acclimatized themselves to the ambiance they're ridden on a daily basis (colder areas) and hence the derived improvement.

Interestingly, what I did observe back in the two-stroke days, were the sluggishness on my Shogun. On some days, she would perform like a maniac on meth and on some days like a peeg overeaten for good and sluggish top end. What I observed from this phenomenon was a rich mixture with an enthusiastic premix as the culprit. It took me a couple of days set/reset the carburettor to my liking, post that, even with the temp hovering at 8 Deg C on a cold, cold morning, turn the ignition and and a power kick, and she would roar to life vibrating the window panels of home. Damn, those were days.

Hope it didn't end up as a boring one, wanted to share why altitude and correct mixture matters. But once you did, it would put FI to shame to be honest in my humble opinion. Guess, once old school always an old school.

Edit: Neil, thanks for posting the oil leak details. Guess we both posted with a few mins difference.


Cheers!
VJ

Last edited by VijayAnand1 : 4th December 2022 at 20:32.
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Old 5th December 2022, 09:20   #99
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Re: Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 Ownership Review

[quote=neil.jericho;5450391]aneesh2M, the short answer to your question on whether a near quarter liter motorcycle feels more comfortable in terms of
1. riding
2. handling
3. parking and
4. being wallet friendly
is yes, yes, yes and yes.

Thanks a lot neil.jericho for detailed reply. Appreciate it and cleared my thoughts.
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Old 9th January 2023, 23:40   #100
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Re: Niggles with my Suzuki Gixxer SF 250

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
- Increase in vibrations

In hindsight, I should not have been surprised that this issue cropped up so early in my ownership experience. I will explain why, in a bit. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine, who also owns a Gixxer SF 250, messaged me the following.
Did you ever find the root cause of the vibes?

I'm looking to buy a used bike and looking at post ABS FZ25 and a Gixxer 250/SF. Used to own a 13 Duke 390 for almost 8 years and just sold it last month. Looking for a downgrade thanks to the circumstances. I was not expecting a Suzuki product to have issues this early in its life as I was looking for a less 'extensive' ownership experience after the KTM (loved it though). I do most of the work on my bikes myself.

One Gixxer came up and it is right inside my budget and I was hoping to pull the trigger. But your thread came up and I'm confused now. Saw another ownership thread where the bike needed a complete head & cyl replacement due to premature oil burning.

EDIT: After replying to this I just came to know that some of the Gixxer 250s were recalled due to excessive engine vibrations back in 2021. The root cause was an improperly positioned balancer shaft, according to Autocar. Sounds like a big mess up in the production line to me. Not sure if it is the exact same reason for your issues

Last edited by b16h22 : 10th January 2023 at 00:06.
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Old 10th January 2023, 09:09   #101
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Re: Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 Ownership Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by b16h22 View Post
Did you ever find the root cause of the vibes?
You seem to have missed Neil's separate thread on vibrations; his latest update can be read here (Vibration issues with Suzuki Gixxer SF 250).
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Old 10th January 2023, 10:47   #102
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Re: Niggles with my Suzuki Gixxer SF 250

Quote:
Originally Posted by b16h22 View Post
Did you ever find the root cause of the vibes?

I'm looking to buy a used bike and looking at post ABS FZ25 and a Gixxer 250/SF. Used to own a 13 Duke 390 for almost 8 years and just sold it last month. Looking for a downgrade thanks to the circumstances. I was not expecting a Suzuki product to have issues this early in its life as I was looking for a less 'extensive' ownership experience after the KTM (loved it though). I do most of the work on my bikes myself.

One Gixxer came up and it is right inside my budget and I was hoping to pull the trigger. But your thread came up and I'm confused now. Saw another ownership thread where the bike needed a complete head & cyl replacement due to premature oil burning.

EDIT: After replying to this I just came to know that some of the Gixxer 250s were recalled due to excessive engine vibrations back in 2021. The root cause was an improperly positioned balancer shaft, according to Autocar. Sounds like a big mess up in the production line to me. Not sure if it is the exact same reason for your issues
b16h22, the Yamaha FZ25 and the Suzuki Gixxer / SF 250 are two very good options in this segment. However, they are quite different in nature. Coming from the Duke 390, I have a feeling that you will enjoy the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250, a lot more than the FZ25. I dont recall when I last rode the FZ25 but Im pretty sure that the Gixxer / SF 250 will trounce it in handling and all round sportiness.

Coming to the vibrations, they havent been eliminated. I'll post an update on the other thread.

In summary, most owners have made their peace with it and are enjoying their Suzuki 250's with whatever vibration levels are felt. One of the prominent SF 250 owners from our state, is using Motul's fully synthetic engine oil and Nanolube. That has helped reduce the vibrations. My bone to pick with Suzuki is that the motorcycle was smooth when I bought it but after 6K kms, it has developed this buzzy nature, which is consistent with the experience of other Suzuki 250 owners across India. Other than these late blooming vibes, I really enjoy the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250, as a complete package.

Coming from the BS3 Duke 390, the vibes on the Suzuki 250 will probably not bother you in the least bit!
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Old 10th January 2023, 12:41   #103
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Re: Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 Ownership Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by sukiwa View Post
You seem to have missed Neil's separate thread on vibrations; his latest update can be read here (Vibration issues with Suzuki Gixxer SF 250).
Sorry. I came across that thread after posting here

Quote:
Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
b16h22, the Yamaha FZ25 and the Suzuki Gixxer / SF 250 are two very good options in this segment. However, they are quite different in nature. Coming from the Duke 390, I have a feeling that you will enjoy the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250, a lot more than the FZ25. I dont recall when I last rode the FZ25 but Im pretty sure that the Gixxer / SF 250 will trounce it in handling and all round sportiness.

Coming to the vibrations, they havent been eliminated. I'll post an update on the other thread.

In summary, most owners have made their peace with it and are enjoying their Suzuki 250's with whatever vibration levels are felt. One of the prominent SF 250 owners from our state, is using Motul's fully synthetic engine oil and Nanolube. That has helped reduce the vibrations. My bone to pick with Suzuki is that the motorcycle was smooth when I bought it but after 6K kms, it has developed this buzzy nature, which is consistent with the experience of other Suzuki 250 owners across India. Other than these late blooming vibes, I really enjoy the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250, as a complete package.

Coming from the BS3 Duke 390, the vibes on the Suzuki 250 will probably not bother you in the least bit!
That is unfortunate. I'm not a huge fan of splitting the bottom end of a bike that early in it's lifetime even if it is under warranty. You cant ensure the quality of the rebuild. I sold my Duke as a head rebuild was looming close and the techs are not even comfortable with valve clearance adjustments let alone a complete rebuild and parts were getting really hard to find thanks to the age of the bike. But in general, my duke was okay mechanically if you forget the consistent issues across all KTMs.

I don't mind the vibes but I do care if it is a result of a design oversight from Suzuki or it is poor Quality control enforcement at the production level. If it was a mis-positioned balancer gear as they claim, shouldn't the vibes be present from day one? as the balancer will fail to dampen the imbalances. What I don't understand is that most of you are having the vibes crop up after running it for a few 1000 kms. Did they look into valve clearances? or any other possible signs of stress in the engine at higher rpms? I feel 26 ps from a 250 single that is not liquid cooled is a moderately stressed power unit. Do let us know how it works out for you. I used to read your Conti thread back in the day

Coming to the FZ25 VS Gixxer, I'm aware that FZ is more of a 250 commuter than an entry level sportsbike and Gixxer is a better switch but I'm not 100% fit right now as I had a lower back injury last year and didn't ride motorcycles for a while. I can only ride up to 10-15 kms these days. So the lack of top end or on the limit handling are not the biggest factors for me right now. I need them to be reliable and easy for DIY maintenance with good parts availability. At the same time, they need to be fun in the real world KL roads up to the speeds of 90-100. Let's see how it goes
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Old 14th January 2023, 22:58   #104
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A weekend at the Kari Motor Speedway with RACR (Rajini Academy of Competitive Racing)

My ownership experience with the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250, over the last month and a half, hasnt been the most pleasant, on account of the widespread issue of excess vibrations (Vibration issues with Suzuki Gixxer SF 250), which seems to be common across the Gixxer and Gixxer SF 250. What better way to take my mind off it, than with a weekend at the track, in the excellent company of a couple of TBHPians?

Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 Ownership Review-img20230108wa0044.jpg

Its been several years since I attended Indimotard's Level 1 program (Royal Enfield Continental GT 535 : Ownership Review (29,000 km and 7 years)) at the Kari Motor Speedway, and the subsequent open sessions. When I attended the Royal Enfield GT Cup selections in 2021, I immediately knew that my skills were extremely rusty. The only way to get back to form, as limited as it was, was to go back to the basics and start all over again.

TBHPian deepfreak15 had completed his Level 1 and Level 2 certification (Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway) with RACR [Rajini Academy of Competitive Racing] in 2020. He even went on to do their Level 3 program (Motorcycle Track day with RACR - Kari motor speedway) in 2021. Based on his positive experience, I planned to attend the Level 1 and Level 2 program with RACR in November 2022. What made things even better, was the participation of krishnaprasadgg, who would also attend the classes with me, and deepfreak15, who signed up for the open sessions. As fate would have it, that session got rained out and moved to this past weekend.

All in all, we had 35+ riders sign up for the track weekend. The Level 1 and Level 2 students were split into two batches. The handful of Level 3 participants went out on track, along with the riders of the open sessions. This way, there was enough track time for everyone to practice what was being taught in the classroom sessions. I was probably, one of very few riders attending Level 1 and Level 2, who had been at this track in the past. The overall classroom instructor was Navneet Muralidhara. The Level 1 and Level 2 students were split into smaller groups. Each group had a different coloured armband, for easy identification. A coach / trainer, who is a national level racer, was assigned to the groups. It was nice to see prodigious young talent being able to take each group of enthusiastic riders, out on track, and help them hone their skills. krishnaprasadgg and I ended up in the same group and had Lani Zena Fernandez as our coach.

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TBHPian deepfreak15 has really gone in detail, while describing the Level 1 and Level 2 program, on his thread. Hence, Ill just add in a few details to complement his writeup. As a longtime motorcycle enthusiast, it was surreal to get hands on feedback, during different drills, from Rajini Krishnan, himself. He has built himself a great racing academy and crucially, is helping to make track riding affordable enough that enthusiasts, both young and old, can dip their toes in these untested water. Not only does RACR help rent riding gear and motorcycles (thereby reducing the entry price barrier for enthusiasts), but the courses are also very wallet friendly.

Our group enjoyed learning under the wisdom tree of our coach, Lani. She patiently answered all our questions, with detailed explanations. Her individual feedback on our riding, was always on point, with the intention of helping us improve our technique, while overcoming our trepidations. By the end of day 1, all of us were a lot faster than when we started off, in the morning. By the end of day 2, all of us were even faster than what we could have imagined, at the start of the program. This progress came from the teaching, learning and unlearning.

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Overall, I would strongly suggest Indian motorcycle enthusiasts to sign up for a track certification program, to help learn crucial lessons and skills, that they can then carry into riding on public roads. I know that I became a far better road rider after attending my first track training program. This past weekend's session helped me further improve my riding ability. Im sure that it will do the same, for you as well.
neil.jericho is offline   (11) Thanks
Old 14th January 2023, 23:13   #105
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Assorted thoughts from the track weekend

A few notes on my riding across the different sessions
- I was able to get in a rhythm rather quickly, on account of my familiarity with the track. Where I struggled, was with consistency.
- I would do 2 perfect laps, while hitting all the markers, but on the next lap, while attempting to push the pace, I would invariably fluff some of my lines. No harm, no foul. Without that, I wouldnt have known whether I was being too conservative, in certain sections of the track.
- It was only once we started with the body positioning drills, that I really managed to find that extra speed in the corners. Sadly, my body positioning was nowhere as good as what it was, when I attended the Indimotard sessions. This is one area that I really need to improve on, in subsequent open sessions.
- Fitness plays a massive role in succeeding at the track. More so, as you get older. Thankfully, I am fitter now, than I ever have been. This went a long way in helping me manage the track sessions. Despite that, I did find the hard braking was putting pressure on my thighs, during day 1. I definitely need to improve on my lower body strength, before the next track day session.

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Me on the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250

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krishnaprasadgg with his Honda CBR250R


A few notes on the motorcycle across the different sessions
- The lightweight and flickable nature of the Gixxer SF 250, made it seem like the motorcycle was built to be ridden on race tracks. The 100th Anniversary edition paint scheme did add an extra 10 kmph down the straight at the Kari Motor Speedway. I think.
- The front brakes, while not being the sharpest around, performed well enough, even when stress tested on numerous occassions.
- The Apollo Alpha H1 tires took everything that the weekend at the track, put them through, and passed these tests with flying colours. They didnt really need to be warmed up to perform well and offered great confidence, both during hard braking and while cornering.
- If there was one weak link, it was the suspension. By day 2, I had really started to dig into the motorcycle's capabilities. On hard braking, the plush suspension (which does a fabulous job in the real world) started making its limitations known. This led to some chatter from the bike, especially the rear, which told me that the suspension needed to be sorted out, if I was really going to dial up the pace. Unfortunately, the rear suspension needs a particular type of tool to adjust the preload, which the track technicians did not possess. The next time that I head to the track with my GSXRRR errr I mean the Gixxer SF 250, I will stiffen the rear suspension before-hand. As for the front, if I need to stiffen it, I will need to install preload adjusters and put in heavier fork oil. If this bike was a keeper, I would have spent the time and the money, to do so. Let's see how things pan out.

Of course, all of this is secondary, if you dont have a great bunch of people to ride with. I was fortunate to have a really nice set of riders in my group. We were able to continuously give each other feedback, after each session. This helped us learn and steadily build our confidence. Not once did any of us put the others at risk, with a dangerous overtaking move or an over enthusiastic dive into a corner.

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From left to right : krishnaprasadgg, deepfreak15 and me

And lastly, a big thanks to krishnaprasadgg and deepfreak15 for making this such a fun and lively weekend. Im certain that this is only the first of many more exciting weekends for us, at the track!
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