After years of bigger-is-better expansion drove displacement, weight and price to new heights, we’re in the midst of a small bike renaissance. For 2014, there are at least 20 street-legal motorcycles available with engines displacing less than 500cc.
Suzuki now offers five—its TU250X retro standard, three DR-Z dual-sport/supermoto models and the all-new GW250. Curiously, the GW250’s styling is based on the polarizing, now-defunct B-King, though—mercifully—it has conventionally mounted chrome mufflers on each side rather than the bizarre twin howitzers emanating from the B-King’s tail.** It’s meant to look modern and accessible, without too much plastic and a manageable 30.7-inch seat height.
Powering the GW250 is a 248cc liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, counterbalanced parallel twin that is smooth, quiet and anything but intimidating. Claimed output is 24.1 horsepower at 8,500 rpm and 16.2 lb-ft of torque at 2,600 rpm. Throttle response is nearly catatonic and it needs a lot of revs to get going. In 6th gear, the engine turns 7,200 rpm at 60 mph and 9,000 rpm at 75, with vibration creeping into the pegs and grips above 8,000 rpm. Clutch action is light, the transmission shifts easily and the tank holds 3.5 gallons of premium fuel.
With a well-shaped and padded seat, an upright riding position and soft but compliant suspension (rear preload adjustment only), the GW250 offers a comfortable ride. The 403-pound bike steers with ease but its dual disc brakes are mushy and have limited feel. Instrumentation is comprehensive and more than 25 factory accessories are in development, including a centerstand, top case and tankbag. Available in Pearl Nebular Black for $3,999 as a 2013 model, a blue color option is in the works for 2014.
2013 Suzuki GW250 Specs
Base Price: $3,999
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin, SOHC, 2 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 53.5 x 55.2mm
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Wheelbase: 56.3 in.
Rake/Trail: 26 degrees/4.1 in.
Seat Height: 30.7 in.
Claimed Wet Weight: 403 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 3.5 gals.
Average MPG: NA
Photography by Brian J. Nelson
**[Correction, 11/8/13] When this story was first published, I incorrectly stated that the GW250 has a single muffler on the right side. My brain must have been firing on one cylinder that day. GD
(A version of this article was published in Kickstarts in the January 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)