2013 Suzuki GW250 Test
Suzuki’s entry-level GW250 motorcycle won’t turn heads or sales on its looks. There’s ungainliness to it with the ill-matched headlight cowling, radiator guards, and fenders---all too large for the bike---plus an unappealing 1980s-style chrome exhaust. It has a third-world look to it, and is known as the Suzuki Inazuma in other markets. However, once you get to know the GW250 the aesthetics fade into the background and its functional personality shines through.
The Suzuki GW250’s appealing attributes begin with its accessibility. While not cruiser-low, the 30.7-inch seat height will put a good percentage of the riding population at ease in the saddle, and many will be flat footed. For newer riders---a target for this upright entry-level bike---this is hugely important, but even seasoned veterans will appreciate the undemanding ergonomics.
The GW250’s approachable nature continues with a 403-pound curb weight. There is a lot of fun to be had with a motorcycle that isn’t a physical handful, whose weight doesn’t have to be managed so closely as you come to a stop. It allows you to spend more time taking in the environment around you.
Novice riders will appreciate the easy-going nature of the GW250’s parallel twin. The power delivery is smooth, dependable and slow enough not to catch anyone out. Similarly friendly is the slightly late-engaging soft-bite clutch, providing just a little extra room for error to those with a less experienced left hand. The 6-speed manual transmission is predictably spot-on, and finding neutral at stops is simple. Gear ratios are suited to the small powerplant.
There is enough low and mid-range torque---a peak of 16 ft/lbs comes at 6500 rpm---for casual around-town riding, and getting away confidently from stoplights. It was only when accelerating onto the freeway, or riding the GW250 aggressively, that noticed the necessarily short gearing. I did find myself one gear higher than I might usually be at a boulevard-cruising speed, but chances of exceeding the posted speed limit anywhere, without realizing it, are nil. This is not a bad thing.
Similarly, the small, lightweight (claimed 403 pounds wet) GW250 is agile in town, moving between cars, as you’d expect. A happy revelation is how that there is plenty of fun to be had riding through the canyons, as long as you don’t mistake it for a quarter-liter sport bike like the Honda CBR250R. Leaning over and trying to ride it like a Moto3 racer will only be frustrating, as the bike won’t handle well. Ride it less aggressively like the standard bike that it is and you will be rewarded with a good time.
Despite the GW250’s casual nature, the Suzuki can step up when asked. A surprising upper limit can be squeezed out of the 24-horsepower twin when going downhill and tucked in, but acceleration does not come fast from the just-undersquare engine.
Still, the Suzuki GW250 is a plucky bike that you can rev hard and fly along at real-world freeway speeds, though you’ll be spinning just under the 11,000 redline. Perhaps this isn’t how Suzuki’s engineers expect the average GW250 demographic to use the bike, but it’s nice to know it can handle big bike duties when asked. It’s worth nothing that the counterbalancer works well, even at excessive revs, and the mirrors don’t become a blur.
At top speed---about 85 mph, depending on conditions---you will get quite a windblast from the unfaired bike, which handles the swift pace securely on its budget IRC Road Winner rubber, notwithstanding the rain-grooved freeway conditions. Keep in mind that at 65 mph and above, acceleration is a precious commodity.
Because you have to keep the bike revved hard to keep the speed up, simply rolling off the throttle takes care of most of your braking needs. When immediate deceleration is needed, the single front disc slows the bike quickly without being grabby, providing plenty of confidence. The rear disc is useful at low speeds and has good feel.
Suspension is decent, if a bit budget, and around town dips, bumps, and rough asphalt do not unsettle the GW250. In the canyons, you’ll notice that the suspension action isn’t particularly smooth, especially on a rougher road.
In addition to the usual dash info---speedometer, odometer, twin tripmeter, clock---I was happily surprised to see a gear indicator, which is always a welcome addition. There is also a fuel gauge to keep tabs on the 3.5-gallon tank, which I prefer to a low-fuel warning light alone.
The Suzuki GW250 is a solid entry-level bike; dependable, well mannered, and surprisingly fun. It’s only $1000 more than a Honda Grom, and that buys you freeway legality. Its low-key personality makes the GW250 a great choice for novices, yet it is versatile enough for spirited rides if you are willing to twist the throttle open and hold.
Photography by Don Williams
- Helmet: Arai Signet-Q Bomb
- Jacket, gloves and pants: Alpinestars Vika
- Boots: Tour Master Solution WP Road
2013 Suzuki GW250 Specifications
- Engine: Liquid-cooled, SOHC, parallel twin
- Displacement: 248cc
- Bore x stroke: 53.5 mm x 55.2 mm
- Compression ratio: 11.5:1
- Fuel system: Fuel injection
- Starter: Electric
- Lubrication: Wet sump
- Ignition: Electronic ignition, fully transistorized
- Drive train:
- Transmission: 6-speed, constant mesh
- Final drive: Chain
- Suspension front/travel: Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped/4.7 inches
- Suspension rear/travel: Swingarm, coil spring, oil damped/4.9 inches
- Brakes front: Single disc
- Brakes rear: Single disc
- Tires front: 110/80 x 17
- Tires rear: 140/70 x 17
- Fuel capacity: 3.5 gallons
- Color: Pearl Nebular Black
- Overall length: 84.4 inches
- Overall width: 29.9 inches
- Wheelbase: 56.3 inches
- Ground clearance: 6.5 inches
- Seat height: 30.7 inches
- Curb weight: 403 pounds
- Warranty: 12 month unlimited mileage limited warranty.
2013 Suzuki GW250 Price:
- $3999 MSRP.