Suzuki Gixxer SF250 owner rides the Honda CBR250R & shares his thoughts

Since its a global model, you get a ton of aftermarket parts, across all price brackets, for the Honda. The Suzuki doesn't have even 5% of the aftermarket parts, in comparison.

BHPian neil.jericho recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

From the time that I decided to get myself a smaller capacity motorcycle for touring, my friends asked me to keep an eye out for a low run but mint condition Honda CBR 250R. All of them claimed that it was a motorcycle that seemed to be built for my exact use case. As most of you will know, finding a CBR250, with that caveat, is almost impossible. All roads then led to the Suzuki showrooms and 6 months later, Ive had a topsy turvy ownership experience with my Suzuki Gixxer SF 250.

Out of the blue, a friend's TN 37 registered Honda CBR 250R came up for sale. The bike was in Cochin and had run less than 34,000 kilometers. Best of all, it came in Honda's stunning Repsol livery. The moment I got to know about the availability of the motorcycle, I went giddy with excitement. This was exactly the motorcycle that I was looking for, right?

For anyone interested in a high level comparison of the two motorcycles:

  • The handlebar setup on the Honda CBR 250R is narrow and high. The handlebar setup on the Suzuki Gixxer SF 250 is much wider and lower. With the Suzuki, you dont get any pressure on your wrists.
  • The footpegs on the Honda are quite high. The footpegs on the Suzuki are much lower. Overall, the ergonomics of the Suzuki are much more comfortable, for someone of my height.
  • The engine on the Honda has an unexciting low end but packs a punchy mid-range. Hence, you think that you are doing 90 kmph, whereas you are actually doing 75 kmph. The Suzuki powertrain offers a very linear power delivery. Hence, you think that you are doing 75 kmph, whereas you are actually doing 90 kmph.
  • The brakes on both bikes could be better. That said, the braking setup on the Honda probably edges out that of the Suzuki, by a tiny margin.
  • The Honda engine wasn't as perfectly smooth, as what I thought it would be. There were vibrations around the 5,000 mark in the 3rd, 4th and 5th gear. However, the moment I slotted the gearbox into 6th, everything became butter smooth. This is the famed Honda refinement, that I have heard so much about! The Suzuki engine (post warranty replacement) is really smooth below 5,000 RPM and then vibrations seep in.
  • The Honda offers a nice windscreen which does a good job of deflecting air off your torso. The windscreen on the Suzuki is only for getting Instagram likes.
  • The rebound on the rear suspension on the Honda did throw my off my seat (in fairness, it wasnt set for a rider of my weight). The Suzuki's suspension is a lot more forgiving, in comparison.
  • Since its a global model, you get a ton of aftermarket parts, across all price brackets, for the Honda. The Suzuki doesn't have even 5% of the aftermarket parts, in comparison.
  • The longevity of the Honda engine is without a doubt. Its like a fine wine that ages gracefully. The short term refinement of the Suzuki engine itself is suspect. God know what it will be like with 1,00,000 kilometers of riding across Indian roads!

The difference in the handlebars.

The difference in the foot peg heights.

The difference in the combined ergonomics.

Thankfully, my friend trusted me enough to lend me the bike for a few days, so that I could see whether the CBR 250R suited my requirements. On paper, it was perfect. I even did a short Sunday morning ride with my usual riding partner, who was on his famous red Tiger 800. Sadly, I just couldn't come to terms with the ergonomics on the brilliant Honda CBR 250R. The riding position simply put too much pressure on my wrists and wasnt spacious enough for someone of my height and broad-ish frame. With a heavy heart, I handed the keys of the lovely Repsol edition CBR 250R, back to my friend, and collected my Suzuki GSXR 250. For now, I'm helping him find the right buyer for his CBR 250R. Too bad it couldn't be me!

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