What difference would it make if you take a naked bike, and slap a full-fairing on it? Going by the number of heads turned, we’d reckon it’s quite substantial, especially in India. The bike in focus is the Gixxer SF, Suzuki’s latest contender in the sub-160cc performance bike space. We put it though our test routine to find just out how well it performs.
The Gixxer SF turned heads wherever it we took it. With styling inspired by the larger GSX-R series superbikes, it is a beautiful motorcycle to behold, especially from the rear three-quarters. The vibrant MotoGP colour scheme also attracts quite a bit of attention. The fairing, combined with the muscular fuel tank, the lithe tail, a wide rear tyre, and the stylish and large exhaust end-can, make it look like a larger-capacity motorcycle than it is. From a distance, you could easily mistake it for a sub-400cc sportsbike! The only thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is the space near the engine that’s left uncovered by the fairing, which takes away some of the big-bike appeal. Nevertheless, this is one bike that you won’t fail to look back at every time you walk away after parking it.
Build quality on the Gixxer SF is top-notch, as is always the case with Suzuki’s motorcycles. Panel gaps are tight on the bike, and the plastics used feel solid. Paint finish is exceptional, and the satin-finished black parts such as the wheels, the swingarm, the engine, and the handlebar, give the bike a premium vibe.
The SF seats its rider in a slightly canted-forward posture that feels sporty, yet is very usable. The pillion seat is also sufficiently comfortable, with chunky grab rails, and well-positioned foot pegs.
The SF employs the same 155cc air-cooled single cylinder motor as the naked Gixxer, nary a change to it. For a sub-160cc bike, performance is remarkable. It may produce only 14 bhp, but it also makes oodles of torque at low revs, allowing for sprightly acceleration from standstill. On the move, the power and torque on tap helps the bike to execute some quick overtakes without shifting down. Moreover, above 6000 rpm, the aluminium-finished exhaust emits a nice and loud rorty note, which sounds really nice. Keep the revs under 6000 rpm, and the engine feels relaxed, making cruising at highway speeds a leisurely affair.
Unlike most fully-faired bikes which have clip-on handles, the Gixxer SF gets a wide single-piece handlebar. This gives the rider enough leverage to change direction in a jiffy. That, along with a taut chassis and grippy tires makes the SF a lot of fun to ride. Despite the presence of the full-fairing, it feels just as agile as the naked Gixxer. It turns into corners eagerly, and holds its line unwaveringly, even at high speeds. Straight line stability is quite good too.
Ride quality is one of the Gixxer SF’s biggest pluses. The telescopic front forks and rear monoshock absorb bumps and potholes with aplomb, translating into a plush ride. This makes the SF quite well-suited for touring on Indian roads, if you are so inclined.
The bike comes equipped with a disc at the front and a drum brake at the rear. This setup, combined with wide and grippy tyres, conveys a reassuring feel, and proved to be very effective for decelerating at a whim. In our tests, it came to a dead halt from 60 kmph in 14.85m, without any drama. We reckon it’d perform even better had Suzuki provided it with a rear disc brake.
The Gixxer SF comes fitted with a fully-digital instrument cluster that includes a gear-position indicator, and a shift up indicator, along with all other necessary information. Also included are clear-lens indicators that are flexible, and an LED tail light.
Suzuki has put the Gixxer SF on the block for Rs 94,067 (on-road, Delhi). While it is on the expensive side of things, we feel that it is justified by the high level of fit and finish, the cushy ride quality, and its exciting dynamic characteristics.
So, adding a fairing to a naked bike does indeed make it a tad more enticing. As it retains the Gixxer’s excellent mechanical package, the SF now not only rides like a performance bike, but it also looks the part too. That said, we feel that Suzuki should have created a clearer demarcation between the naked and more premium faired version. On the SF, they should have offered either a power hike, or at least a rear disc brake, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. Both the Gixxer and the Gixxer SF are exactly the same, be it in terms of performance and dynamics.
Don’t get us wrong. As we have iterated in this test, the Gixxer SF is a brilliant motorcycle; if you’re in the market for a fully-faired performance bike for less than Rs 1 lakh, your only option is the SF, and it‘s a very good one at that. But, if you are in a situation where you have to choose between the naked and faired Gixxers, we suggest you to go naked, and save Rs 10k in the process.
|Engine||4-stroke, 1-cylinder, air-cooled, SOHC|
|Power||14.6 bhp @ 8000 rpm|
|Torque||14 Nm @ 6000 rpm|
|Chassis Type||Single Downtube Diamond type|
Rear:Swing Arm, Mono Suspension
|Fuel Tank Capacity||12|