Suzuki Motorcycles India has decided that it will play the 150cc motorcycle and above, and the scooter game in India only. Its commuters, the Heat, Zeus, Hayate and Slingshot did little for its business. It really hit gold with the Gixxer and its variants and the Access scooter, especially in the new 125cc form has done well too. This along with the rapidly changing tastes and trends in the Indian premium market brings us the first derivative off bones of the Gixxer, a cruiser. It is called the Intruder 150 and it is on sale now at a price of ?98,340 ex-showroom, roughly the same as the Gixxer SF ABS. Let's look a little bit closer.
The Intruder engine
The Suzuki Intruder 150 uses the same 155cc engine that does duty so well in the Gixxer. It was, in fact, the combination of enthusiastic performance, excellent refinement and good economy that elevated the Suzuki Gixxer to the top of OVERDRIVE's 150cc commuter motorcycle table. And that's the engine the Intruder gets.
But it isn't exactly identical. Peak power and torque are identical at 14.8PS at 8,000rpm and 14Nm at 6,000rpm.
However, a larger airbox and a completely new exhaust design - and we don't mean the overt styling of the exhaust have a role to play. You see, the Intruder 150 is 8kg heavier and these changes help offset any corresponding loss of performance, says Suzuki. Helping the performance is a larger rear sprocket - up one tooth - which should restore acceleration at the expense of a slight loss of top speed.
The Suzuki Intruder chassis
The engine sits in a frame which again is similar to the Gixxer but not identical. Suzuki officials revealed that a slightly shorter fork extends the trail while the rake angle remains the same as the Gixxer for the Intruder. This allows Suzuki to run the same head stock but the rear of the frame features a new pivot point as well as a longer, box-section swingarm.
This and some chassis reinforcements, say Suzuki, is responsible for the lion's chunk of weight gain. The rear monoshock is new and a slightly shorter unit with seven-step adjustable preload. 1kg additional is attributed to the single-channel ABS unit for the front disc. Everything else remains the same as the Gixxer - wheels, MRF tyres and brakes.
Riding the Suzuki Intruder 150
The Suzuki Intruder 150 proved to a fun motorcycle to ride. It reminds you strongly of the Gixxer 150 and that is a good thing in my book. Translation? The engine feels torquey and ultra-refined and progress is easy without needing too many gear changes. What really impressed is the handling and ride quality, though. The ride is pliant and absorbent and only the bigger bumps disturb. But I got a chance to take a quick spin on a Gixxer back to back and I'd say the ride quality is overall, slightly better on the Intruder though the Gixxer allows you more ways to help yourself - like you could stand up for a really bad one.
The Intruder also likes the corners. It is a longer wheelbase and therefore, it won't turn as sharply as a Gixxer but it does rather well for itself. Even direction changes are handled smoothly and I am honestly surprised at the pace the Intruder could manage on the mountain roads we shot this story on.
The brakes are excellent too but to me these single-channel ABS systems, though cost-effective to be sure, do not help Indian riders. Most of the them default to the rear brake which still won't have ABS. Problem not solved - Bajaj and Suzuki please note.
Niggles? Our test Intruders were wearing chrome mirrors that are accessories (?1,000 a pair) which proved hard to adjust tool-free and that is not nice. They don't vibrate or anything but not having a ball-socket type mirror in today's age is a bit of a surprise.
Features and accessories
The Suzuki Intruder gets almost no new aggregates to be honest. It uses the same all-digital Gixxer dash right down to the shift light. This is a cramped, heavily marked unit and it takes a moment for you to figure out what is displayed how and you will never think about it again. So it works but it could easily be simplified, in my opinion.
The Intruder also gets new forward controls and hiding that subframe (another weight element) is a small belly pan, and on the right side, a rather prominent foot guard, the only chrome element in the whole picture.
Suzuki are selling some accessories for the motorcycle. This includes a ?1,500 grab rail replacement which integrates a small back rest, pattern decals and a tank protector.
Ah, you noticed that we haven't even touched the styling, eh? So let's address the elephant in the room. The Intruder 150 takes design elements from the big Intruders and re-adapts them to the small cruiser role. And that's leads to a challenging design for those of us who know what classically good-looking cruisers look like. So I could criticise the Intruder for having overtly large bodywork, fenders that seem too wide for the tyres, a head light that is not only odd but it sticks out too far as well.
But when we started riding the Intruder, I met the real potential buyers in the real world. They knew nothing of what is a good looking cruiser. They just say paydirt, a very large and impressive looking motorcycle whose price seemed to be rather good for its size.
So the verdict is simplicity itself. If you can live with the design, the Intruder is an extremely efficient urban commuter-cruiser. It's comfortable, swift and knows what to do in the turns too. If you cannot, however, you have to look at the only other 150cc cruiser on the market, the Bajaj Avenger 150.