Suzuki have recently launched the GW250 Inazuma in India priced at Rs 3.1 lakh ex-showroom, Delhi. The motorcycle is billed in international markets as the uber-commuter in the A2 license class. What that means is a level of comfort, quality and feel that you don't normally get in the segment. But in India, this proposition isn't a hundred per cent valid. That is way too much money to be paying for a commuter, right? I rode the motorcycle nearly 400km today and realised that the Inazuma is actually a bit expensive for most people, but a motorcycle you can dismiss because of the its price? Oh, I wouldn't do that.
I rode with luggage and pillion at speeds ranging from 80kmph (feels like 50 says my pillion) to 135kmph and never did the pillion pegs ? usually the first to cry uncle vibrate
In terms of the spec, the Inazuma is a basic motorcycle. The frame is a single-downtube cradle and as Suzuki UK put it, "There's aluminium in places where you don't expect it on a motorcycle this size." Suspension is a telescopic fork at the front and a rear monoshock. There're disc brakes at both ends, but no ABS. The engine similarly, is a parallel twin with two valves per cylinder. A six-speed gearbox manages the task of channelling the power.
But when you match 183kg to 24PS of peak power and 22Nm of peak torque, the result isn't exciting. Which is why the Inazuma has been at the receiving end of criticism since the price came out. Because on paper, there's a 140-something kg motorcycle with 45PS available for a lakh of rupees less. Which is precisely the reason why we ride everything before we offer our opinions on machines ? the specification isn't the whole story. Here are four things the spec sheet doesn't tell you.
Amazing, amazing refinement
The Inazuma's 248cc engine comes with a balancer shaft like many other parallel twins. But between the gentle tune and the balancer, the Suzuki Inazuma offers some of the best refinement there is on the market in India today. It starts up quietly with just a hint of the twin-thrum in the engine and exhaust note and on the move, it's like a cat ? you see it move, but you don't hear it. Even nearing its 11,000rpm redline, the Inazuma has an iron grip on vibration, harshness and noise that is supremely impressive. So it might only do 135kmph (we haven't tested it yet, claimed top speed is 150kmph), but it does every single of those kmph with elegant, unrelenting civility. I like very much indeed. What is even more impressive is that today, I rode with luggage and pillion at speeds ranging from 80kmph (feels like 50 says my pillion) to 135kmph and never did the pillion pegs ? usually the first to cry uncle vibrate.
Terrific highway motorcycle
The Inazuma's quiet refinement comes with impressive economy numbers too. On our fuel economy tests, it managed 30kmpl in the city and just over 35kmpl on the highway. Which, on a 13.5 litre tank, means that Inazuma offers a highway tank range of nearly 500km. If you've been using a Royal Enfield to cruise our highways at, say, 80-100kmph then you really should try the 'Zuma. The sense of poise, graceful progress and peace at these speeds that the 'Zuma offers is unrivalled. Where, for instance, the KTM 390 Duke feels settled in at 130kmph, the 'Zuma feels like it'll do 100kmph sweetly, smoothly until all of the Middle-East runs of oil.
And then, while the 390 feels sharp and rigid and stutters over bumps, the 'Zuma absorbs nearly everything giving you that sense of the magic carpet ride. Factor in comfortable ergonomics and spacious accommodations of the pillion and the rider, and you have India's top highway-going motorcycle in front of you. Move over Honda CBR250R.
That ride quality
I have touched upon it already but it bears repeating. Unlike the current crop of sporty-stiff motorcycles in the class, the 'Zuma is significantly softer and more supple. Which means our undulating tarmac is absorbed without fuss. It does bottom out now and then with luggage and pillion (I think I need to try a harder preload setting), but 99 per cent of the time, you see a big bump and then gape in awe as the suspension reduces a volcanic crater to a mere pimple. Very, very impressive and one of the reasons to think about spending the money on the Inazuma. There's no other motorcycle on sale in India I can think of that is this comfy to ride.
It's a high quality motorcycle
In the process of trying to pay as little as possible for our motorcycles, we tend to accept a certain level of quality as acceptable. The 'Zuma is several notches above that in quality. Everything seems almost over-engineered on the motorcycle and over a fairly harsh 400km today, I found that sense of indestructibility endeared the motorcycle to me that much more. Suzuki have always maintained a very high quality standard for the Indian products, this one raises the bar another notch.
But that price...
Yes, the Rs 3.1 lakh ex-showroom Delhi is a bitter pill to swallow and the best value for money the Inazuma isn't. However, when you put a parallel twin to handle the propulsion, the price rise is a given. Which is why I believe that the Indian Yamaha R25 will actually be called the R3 and have a 300cc single. Compared to the other twins of equal of similar displacement, the 'Zuma does all right. Compared to the singles, it's not even in the ballpark.
The distinction between and choosing amongst a single or a twin is an intensely personal thing. But if you're looking for a gentle, unintimidating, quiet motorcycle that'll waft around town in peace and cross our great country with elegant speed, the Inazuma is where it is currently at, despite that cost threshold that you will have to cross. Best value for money it isn't. But motorcycles, as the 'Zuma proves, are more than the sum of their price tags and specifications.