Ride Review: Suzuki Gixxer SF and 200 Burgman

Suzuki Gixxer SF
As fuel prices tend ever upwards Suzuki have brought in two new models designed to keep you smiling at the pumps. The first bike to make a sheikh frown is the little Gixxer. Resplendent in blue metallic paint with a large “Suzuki Gixxer SF” motif blazed on the full fairing, this is a handsome little beast! A dayglow flash on the fairing is matched by similar colour rim tape on the cast wheels. Pretty! Somewhat incongruous with the sleek faired chassis is a set of really wide handlebars sporting a mild rise. In order to see past your splayed elbows two fairing mounted mirrors perch on the end of impossibly long stalks. To their credit they do work well.

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The Gixxer is built in India and sports 154,9cc, 2 valve, carburettor fed engine. This simple formula results in 14,8 horsepower at 8000 rpm and 14nm of torque at 6000 rpm. The engine employs “Suzuki Eco Performance” design features which aim to deliver superior fuel economy. The result is reasonable performance with the little motor spinning up really smoothly. There is no hint of vibration anywhere in the rev range. 7,500 rpm equates to a road speed of just over 100kph. At the redline (9500rpm) in 5th gear (top) you will see around 122kph. As such, the little Gixxer is happiest commuting around the urban sprawl. Highways are traversed in the slow lane slingshotting the trucks. It does hold its speed reasonably on the hills, but you will really have to punish the little motor. Way better to avoid e-tolls and scythe through the traffic on the alternate routes.

The chassis could handle twice the power (and speed) without a problem. The 43mm front fork stations would work on a sport bike let alone a 139kg 150! The preload adjustable rear shock can be set up to deliver a firm yet controlled ride. The riding position is really comfortable even for a 6 foot plus rider. Your legs fit perfectly into the recesses in the 12l tank and the handlebars, albeit a tad wide, fall comfortably to hand.

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All in all the Gixxer is an honest little motorcycle. If you are in the market for a smooth, stylish, economical city commuter that puts a grin on your face every time you nip around town this could be it. The digital dash keeps you fully informed and even sports a green Eco light that tells you when the motor is operating at peak efficiency. What you save on overall running costs will pay for the bike. Riding slow bikes fast is much more fun than riding fast bikes slowly. Rediscover what got you hooked on bikes to start with. Simple light weight fun at 30kp/L (the test unit was still very tight and will definitely improve to around 35kp/L with more k’s under the belt). For far less than the cost of a decent mountain bicycle, you can park this beastie in your garage. Bargain!

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Suzuki 200 Burgman
Ok I won’t beat around the bush. I freakin’ love the 200 Burgman! I fetched the scooter by van, so the first ride was at peak hour in the afternoon when I realised I had no bird food. I buy my bird food in bulk, two 10kg bags to be precise. Thinking this was a good opportunity to check out the Burgman in traffic, I grabbed a tie down to secure the bags on the seat and off I went. That was after I first figured out that you must hold both front and back brakes whilst thumbing the starter for the Burgman to light up. The Suzuki Burgman range are full sized Scooters. The 200 is slightly scaled down but still offers a comfortable ride irrespective of rider size. The screen works well with no excessive buffeting around the helmet. At 735mm, the seat allows the vertically challenged to get a secure footing when stopped. All the weight of the bike is carried very low. Even the 10,5L fuel tank is below the floor boards. The result is an incredibly nimble package. Simply twist the wrist and the Burgman reins in it’s 18,1 fuel injected horses and squirts of down the road with alacrity. The water cooled engine is a gem. Smooth, flexible and torquey, the CVT gearbox keeps the engine in the power and results in a real magic carpet ride! Cars are dispatched with disdain as you shoot away from the line.

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Despite really light steering and a weight of only 161kg’s the 200 is rock solid and composed at all speeds. Even gusty winds have a negligible effect as you cruise comfortably at 110kph on the highway. The next surprise comes in the form of excellent handling. The Burgman strafes corners and high speed sweeps with precision and accuracy. Ground clearance is superb. Nothing touches down to spoil the fun. Whilst the most fun is to be had on byways, the Burgman does not feel out of place on the highways. Capable of 110kph cruising, and squirts to 130kph a possibility, you never feel intimidated by the traffic around you. ABS and 240mm discs back and front take care of braking issues with confidence.

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The coup de grace was administered at the fuel pump. Get this… Highway from Pretoria to Jo’burg and back. Quick 110kph run to Cullinan and back plus a lot of in between town trawling. 302 Kilos on the clock and there was still juice in the tank. 35k’s to a litre! Incredible! Add to this amazing practicality. Remember the bird food? It didn’t go on top but inside! The 41L storage space under the seat swallowed the two 10kg bags like a wide mouth catfish wacking a minnow! In addition to the boot under the seat there are two other compartments below the dash which swallow spare gloves, wallet, cell phone, toll money or whatever. A power point in the lockable glove box makes powering or recharging a cinch.

The clocks are both analogue and digital. The speedo and tacho are analogue, whilst the fuel gauge, clock, trip, odo and nifty consumption readout in km/l are all digital. The Burgman too sports a green ECO logo that lights up when the motor is showing the finger to said sheikh.

Ok… no more gushing. Quite simply there is nothing wrong with the Burgman 200. In every way it delivers beyond expectation. Put your fragile South African ego in your pocket and buy one. You won’t regret it. I promise I will flash my light and wave when I pass you on mine.

For more information on the Gixxer/Burgman visit: www.suzukimotorcycle.co.za

My name is Dave Cilliers. I consider cars as four wheeled shopping baskets and only worth using as a last resort! For years bikes have been my primary transport. Racing, touring, commuting or just kicking up dust on African tracks, I have owned over 270 motorcycles and ridden millions of kilometres. I am happiest when sharing my passion for motorcycles with like minded people whilst traversing Africa in search of adventure.