2014 Suzuki GW250 Review: Ridin' Large

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2014 Suzuki GW250 Review: Introduction

2014 Suzuki GW250
The 2014 Suzuki GW250. Photo © Basem Wasef

The best beginner motorcycles come in all shapes and sizes, and in varying shades of newbie-friendliness, from purely entry-level bikes to intermediate and advanced beginner rides.

The all-new 2014 Suzuki GW250 takes a stab at the relatively untapped sporty naked bike formula, offering a surprisingly large body with styling that appears inspired by the late, great B-King überbike; let's take a closer look at how Suzuki's entry level model (priced at $3,999) tackles the competition.

The Goods

The GW250 is powered by a liquid-cooled, 248cc parallel-twin powerplant mated to a six-speed transmission, fed by a 3.5 gallon fuel tank. Non-adjustable, non-inverted 37mm forks can be found up front, while the rear offers a 7-way preload adjustable monoshock design, which requires the saddle to be lifted off for access. A single-disc 290mm front and 240mm rear brake are mounted to 17-inch wheels, and ABS is not available.

A low seat height of 30.7 inches makes it easy to climb on and off the GW250, which offers a generally upright seating posture. Though only available in black, the GW250 can be ordered with a few Suzuki accessories, including a top case for cargo storage, various decorative bits, an engine bar, a center stand, and a small sport screen for wind deflection.

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Suzuki GW250 On the Road: Big Bike, Small Ride

2014 Suzuki GW250
The GW250's parallel twin engine produces 24.1 horsepower and 16.2 lb-ft of torque-- not quite enough to athletically hustle its 403 pounds of mass. Photo © Basem Wasef

The first (and most important) thing you need to know about the 2014 Suzuki GW250 is its considerable size, given its quarter-liter displacement: though its 30.7 inch seat height is in the ballpark of the Honda CBR250R (30.5 inches) and the Kawasaki Ninja 300 (30.9 inches), the GW's wheelbase and overall length eclispe those of its closest competitors. Also (and perhaps more notably), the Suzuki tips the scales with a ponderous curb weight of 403 pounds, which is considerably heftier than the Honda (by 46 lbs) and the Kawasaki (by 19 lbs.) The Suzuki's modest 24.1 horsepower engine output is also outclassed by the 26 hp Honda and 39 hp Kawasaki, giving it an unfavorable power-to-weight ratio compared to its sportier competitors.

Swing a leg over, and you're greeted by an impressive array of instrumentation which includes an analog tachometer, a digital speedometer, and a digital gear indicator. The riding position is comfortable for my 5 foot, 11 inch frame, and there's definitely something to be said for its larger scale layout. But click the pedal into first gear and release the clutch, and you'll find there's quite a bit of revving required to get the bike up to speed.

First gear is short-- you'll want to upshift into second sooner, rather than later-- as are the remaining gears, as evidenced by the fact that cruising at 70 mph translates to a stunning 9,000 rpm on the tachometer, just a couple thousand revs shy of redline. The engine feels smooth as it's running at those speeds, but you just can't help but wonder if you're taking it to an early grave as you rev the bejeezus out of it.

Handling-wise, the GW250 manages to hide its weight fairly well, especially when moving at speeds over 30 miles an hour. It's not quite flickable and leans more towards the "stable" side of the spectrum, but there's enough controllability to make it feel maneuverable. Brakes are similarly capable, with strong stops at hand-- though initial bite is not quite as meaty as you might find on an all-out sportbike.

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Bottom Line, Specifications, Who Should Buy the Suzuki GW250?

2014 Suzuki GW250
A top view of the 2014 Suzuki GW250-- aka, the Inazuma, as it's known in Japan. Photo © Suzuki

Bottom Line

 

The Suzuki GW250 faces some tough competition in the beginner bike market, namely from the Honda CBR250R ($4,199, or $4,699 with ABS) and the Kawasaki Ninja 300 ($4,999, or $5,299 with ABS). Though it's not freeway legal, the minibike-inspired, 124cc Honda Grom ($2,999) also battles for attention in this segment, along with other smaller displacement dual-purpose and cruiser-style bikes.

While it can't compete with the CBR250R or Ninja 300 when it comes outright sportiness, the GW250 holds its own as a comfortable, mellow, around-town cruiser. It may not blow your socks off in terms of performance, but if every penny counts and you're stylistically averse to fully-faired, small-scale sportbike replicas, the GW serves as a decent alternative to the usual beginner bike options.

Specifications
 

  • Engine: Liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 248cc parallel twin
  • Output: 24.1 horsepower (@ 8,500 rpm), 16.2 lb-ft of torque (@ 6,500 rpm)
  • Fuel capacity: 3.5 gallons
  • Curb weight: 403 pounds
  • Seat height: 30.7 inches
  • Front suspension: 37mm Kayaba
  • Front suspension stroke: 4.7 inches
  • Rake/trail: 40º/4.13 inches
  • Rear suspension: Kayaba monoshock, 7-way adjustable preload
  • Rear suspension travel: 4.9 inches
  • Front brake: Single-disc, 290mmm
  • Rear brake: Single-disc, 240mm
  • Wheels: Three spoke, 17-inch (110/80 front, 140/70 rear)
     

Who Should Buy the 2014 Suzuki GW250?

 

Larger-framed riders looking for an alternative to fully-faired beginner sportbikes, and who aren't seeking ultimate performance.

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