2018 Suzuki GSX250R Katana First Look | 12 Essential Facts
The 2017 model year is barely underway, and Suzuki is already tempting us with 2018s, including the 2018 Suzuki GSX250R Katana. This new Katana is part of a larger play for new riders—along with the naked GW250, retro TU250X and oddball VanVan 200—with the sporty GSX250R ready to appeal to nascent sport riders. Here are the fast facts.
The 2018 Suzuki GSX250R Katana motor has the same bore-and-stroke as the 2017 Suzuki GW250 commuter motorcycle. More of a fuel-sipper than a tire shredder, the slightly undersquare parallel twin is tuned for torque. That should give the Katana effective real-life performance on the street, even if it will likely struggle on the freeway.
The GSX250R does suffer a displacement disadvantage to the twins from Yamaha and Kawasaki. The Yamaha R3 is 73cc larger, while the Kawasaki Ninja 300 has 48 additional cubes. Like the Ninja and R3, the GSX250R has a six-speed transmission and fuel injection.
Suzuki claims a number of performance upgrades for the GSX250R powerplant. According to Suzuki, the 2018 gets new roller-type rocker arms, slimmer-stem intake valves, low-tension piston rings, an efficient oil pump, projected-tip spark plugs, and a low-drag electrical charging system.
The 2018 Suzuki GSX250R is a bit portly. According to Suzuki, it tips the scales at 392 pounds, ready to ride. That’s 24 pounds more than the larger-displacement Yamaha R3 and 35 pounds heavier than the single-cylinder Honda CBR300R. To be fair, a few of those pounds are due to the Suzuki’s larger fuel tank.
Suspension is by KYB. The GSX250R lacks adjustable damping, but the shock has seven spring-preload positions.
The seating position is on the sporty side of upright. While it has clip-ons, the GSX250R’s grips do sit above the triple clamp in a compromise between pure-sport style and around-town comfort. The seat height is an approachable 31 inches, with a step-up for the passenger perch.
The wheels are aluminum and the tires are by IRC. The ten-spoke design looks good, and IRC Road Winner RX-01 tires work well on small displacement bikes.
The range of the 2018 GSX250R should challenge adventure bikes. With a four-gallon fuel tank and a claimed 76 mpg, you’re looking at potentially squeezing over 300 miles from a single tank.
The 2018 Suzuki GSX250R could be a sport-touring bike. For a light rider looking to avoid interstates, this could be a workable sport-tourer with soft bags. Suzuki has also outfitted the crankshaft with a balancer to reduce rider fatigue.
The electrics on the Katana are impressive. The instrument panel uses a reverse-lit LCD, with the speed readout in large numbers. The tach is a bar-graph style, and there’s a programmable shift light, as well as a gear-position indicator.
Lighting is a mixture of LED, halogen, and traditional. The headlight is halogen, the turn signals incandescent, and the taillight an LED array.
Neither the price nor the availability date of the 2018 Suzuki GSX250R Katana have been announced. Remember, we’re talking about a 2018 model!
KTM Super ADV R + Lightning Motorcycles’ Richard Hatfield
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends—the weekly Podcast brought to you by the editorial team at Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
In this week’s first segment, Editor Don Williams rides KTM’s new 1290 Super Adventure R. This hardcore ADV bike is big, powerful, and a true expert-level machine. Interestingly, it has multiple points of adjustment within its highly capable electronics package, and Don discovered several big surprises where the bike changed personality completely. His is an intriguing look at one of the most capable off road ADV bikes on the market today.
In the second segment, I chat with Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning motorcycles. This silicon valley based manufacturer was founded in 2006, and having racked up several notable race victories (including Pikes Peak in 2013 with the late Carlin Dunne on board) Lightning have certainly dominated in racing terms. In another first, Lightning has just announced a new rapid-charging battery technology that may well bring electric motorcycles into becoming real-world, practical transport.
So from all of us here at Motos & Friends… we hope you enjoy this episode!