Suzuki Inazuma: The Time Machine
I was very excited to learn many months ago of Suzuki coming out with a new 250. I was thinking of something on the lines of a mini GSXR and the B-King to cater to the faired and naked enthusiasts respectively ala Yamaha?s R15 and FZ16.
Then the images of the first bike started to roll out on the web. Not everyone was sure is this would be the actual 250 or just a photoshopped image, but everyone knew it would be a naked and everyone wished that it would look like the BKing production, if not the concept.
BKing concept as showcased in 2001
What actually came out as a production bike in 2007
And the Inazuma GW 250S, the faired version of the IZ250
Rewind a little bit and some of you might know that the original B King concept was the one which attracted most Oohs and Aahs when Suzuki first showcased in 2001. It looked like it meant business and gave the word ?streetfighter? a visual synonym in the world of motorcycles.
By the time the bike was actually brought into production, it lost its appeal due to some subtle and very obvious design philosophy changes. A concept is always appreciated by its looks first rather than the assumed performance since no one can actually ride and test it. Companies look at the positive feedback and they all forget about this basic fact.
The sales of the BKing were a disaster, much like Yamaha?s MT-01. However the bike was fantastic. Having ridden it extensively around NZ in 2010, I can vouch for its brutal power and handling. But that wasn?t enough for people to shell out the money.
Five years since the launch of the production BKing, the Suzuki Inazuma 250 was unveiled. And most people went ? Facepalm! There was just one question ?Why couldn?t Suzuki just make the bike look like the BKing concept, or at least the BKing production bike?.
Inazuma means ?lightning? and there was a Suzuki Inazuma 750 as well, but it looks nothing like what they have done with the 250.
No matter how hard I try, I cannot say the bike looks beautiful. From some angles it does look meaty, but overall it is very dated and confused. I say confused because it doesn?t look like streetfighter, it doesn?t look like a caf? racer. It just looks very, - commuterish, and it is categorized as such in most countries.
The rear looks thin, especially with the two exhausts. The best view would be the front 3/4th, where the bike looks its biggest. The lines are very simple and would suit very simple tastes, but when you have precedents like the BKing concept, years to work on it and competition like the CBR250 (on the budget side), then how can the single most important thing in this segment be ignored ? looks.
Rather than stamping this out as a disappointment just based on this aspect, I would like to now look at the positive sides and delve a little deeper.
Best thing would be to have a look yourself and decide, it just might hit the right chords.
Twin cylinder, 248cc, 24.5 Bhp@7000 rpm. It will rev up to 10,500, but it feels on edge. The acceleration is nothing to write home about and the gears are pretty short. I was at a speedo indicated 110 kmph at 8000 rpm. And you can?t do this all day long, as the engine feels strained though smooth. It is not aimed at the performance bike category hence it can pass of a great premium performance commuter.
It should cruise at 80-90 all day long with a fly screen however.
I rode it for around 30 km on the highway and in city. The torque is good enough for you to set up little red light GPs, but watch out if it?s a bike like the KTM 200. However expect respectable pull only above 4500 rpm.
Sounds decent, in-between the single cylinder CBR250 but definitely not sweet as the Ninja 250 at higher revs. But you will get heard if you are maxing it out at 10500 rpm or thereabouts.
The bike is incredibly easy to ride. Flip the stand, thumb the starter and you are off. Everything is very functional and the seat is widest in class offering great comfort, especially for the pillion. The build quality is also very good, the kind expected from Suzuki.
The success of this bike will depend on the price and the positioning. It can be marketed any which ways, but there are bikes which do not need any marketing and the customer knows they are worth their salt. The Suzuki Hayabusa was an insane success. The Suzuki Bandit 1250 was also a plain looking bike but very functional and served the purpose. It was a decent success. However the IZ250 is different, it is competing in an already very competitive market and its major buyers will be the youth who are very tired of going through decades of drought of good performance bikes in India. I am not sure if they would like to relive that again.
Put this mill into a mini BKing or a GSXR 250 if you may and I will line up first to buy it!